Building your successful laser hair removal clinic with Soprano
Hair removal clinics in 2020 are alive and kicking
Back in 2017, there were skeptics that declared laser hair removal clinics market might be dead. They were far from the truth. With the annual market revenue exceeding 1 Billion USD globally, it remains in the top-2 in aesthetic aesthetics performed by devices (The other being non-surgical body shaping). It is true that younger generations are more open to trying home devices and dubious DIY methods. It is also true that in a few specific local markets, treatment prices have eroded. However, natural population growth as well as the increasing awareness among new segments and territories overcome those factors. The N. America market as well as Europe both have over 8.50% expected CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) until 2022, which is a good financial indicator that this treatment is still very much in business.
So we learned there are still many good reasons for hair removal clinic owners to maintain and grow their businesses. It is clear there is room for new entrepreneurs to start their own practices. At Alma, being one of the global leaders in medical devices, especially advanced hair removal solutions, we come across both kinds of professionals who seek our technology and experience in the field. Connecting with these individuals strengthens our understanding of the market’s needs. This is one way we can remain one step ahead of the competition.
Learning from experienced hair removal clinic owners
Recently, we had some free time during the COVID-19 pandemic to speak to a few successful hair removal clinic owners to gather some useful tips and insights for newcomers in this field. Obviously, some things might feel different in the next few months due to the recent quarantine and social distancing many people had to undergo. However, we believe many of these insights are elementary and will withstand any current circumstances.
We’ve first reached out to Dr. Daniela Lemes of Daniela Lemes Dermatologia & Laser. Dr. Lemes runs a successful and established practice in one of the aesthetic capitals of the world, beautiful Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We’ve spoken right as the crisis reached Latin America, but Dr. Lemes sounded poised keep things running as long as possible. Being a very experienced physician, working in hospitals as well as a private clinic, she has a very broad perspective on aesthetic medicine in general.
How did you get to the aesthetics field? What was your main motivation starting?
“I started 18 years ago, when aesthetic dermatology was relatively young. Seeing how happy patients were after they visited me was my strongest motivation. Especially ones that were suffering from a long lasting aesthetic condition. Back then, lasers were not available in most clinics. So it was a simple way for me to differentiate myself from others. As time went by I learned more and more about different lasers and other devices, especially by participating in medical congresses. That’s where I could really compare and experience many technologies and new treatment methods in one place.”
You’ve started working with Alma hair removal technology fairly early, what influenced that decision?
“Yes, I started working with Alma already in 2006, so my clinic was still relatively new. I know many doctors are most often influenced by customer requests and industry buzz when they look for new technology. My rule of thumb was – if I can trust this device on myself and my parents, then I can trust it to treat my patients. Researching Alma’s hair removal and other devices I learned that it is committed to safety and efficacy. After these two most important factors, comes the technical support and durability aspect, which I am happy to say I’ve had very few problems with my Alma devices if any. Also I must acknowledge the great work by Alma’s Brazil partner, LBT lasers.”
It sounds you have no regrets with that decision
“Not at all (laughing). Early on, when some patients asked me why my treatments weren’t as cheap as some other clinics I told them they are welcome to go out and discover for themselves. Quickly they were all back telling me I was right. If you are looking for results, and also won’t agree to suffer painful treatments with cheap devices – then find yourself a clinic using genuine Alma Soprano hair removal technology. That is true not only for hair removal, but for all medical aesthetic devices. I also use Alma’s Accent and Harmony XL Pro laser and could have probably found cheaper alternatives but I wouldn’t compromise quality in my clinic.”
Other than technology, running a clinic also means customer service and marketing – how do you handle those?
“For marketing, I have an agency that helps with social media (Instagram and Facebook) posts. I find these channels highly important both to reach new patients as well as solidify my brand for my loyal patients. I will also start publishing some YouTube content as I know that is important for search engine results. In terms of customer service I must say that I am blessed to have very satisfied patients. I rarely have to deal with unhappy customers. And when it occurred, a few free sessions always solve the issue!”
Any last words of advice you can give to beginners?
“If hair removal is going to be a major part of your clinic, then you should definitely build it around a reliable device. A proven device such as Alma’s Soprano laser. However, if you are also a dermatologist and look to perform advanced skin rejuvenation and anti-ageing treatments, then Alma’s Harmony XL Pro is a great solution for you. Not only it has 3 different lasers on it, it also uses Alma’s SHR IPL technology for hair removal so you will have a very diverse offering for your patients. Later on when you can expand, you will probably want a separate dedicated Soprano laser hair removal device.”
Achieving your goals through self motivation and dedication
Next up, we wanted to meet someone from our own local vicinity. In Israel, health administration and government executed one of the world’s most strict social distancing plan. As part of that plan, beauty clinics as well as many other small businesses were closed down on the second week of March. All of this hasn’t deterred Keren Ben-Yaish, owner of “Nihohot” beauty spa in the picturesque northern town of Zichron Ya’akov from her inexhaustible optimism. “This will all very soon be a distant part of history” she reassures her Instagram followers. Keren has started out as a young make-up artist, but quickly took to studying to be a certified cosmetologist.
You have a personal story to how you got to aesthetics
“Yes, as a teenager I suffered heavily from Acne. It got to the point I wouldn’t go to school. So I really feel like I’m on a god-sent mission to help others overcome whatever problem they suffer. So they don’t have to hide at home like I did. Once I finished my certification I started working from home, and my mother which has always been there for me joined to give a hand. When I had a few regular clients I took a small room at a hair salon in town. I worked all through two pregnancies and towards the end of the second one, my husband and business partner Aviv surprised me and led me to this cool corner shop at the center of town and told me that after we have the baby this is going to be your new clinic.”
When did you start offering hair removal at your beauty clinic?
“Around 2009, a representative of Medical Nova (Alma’s Israeli partner and now part of Alma) came to my clinic to show me this new technology by Alma Lasers. It was a device called “SPA SHR“, and though back then it wasn’t yet so popular, I quickly understood this is going to be a huge step forward to my clinic. Within a year’s time I already outperformed my initial projections to the point the device couldn’t keep up with the amount of work I had. I was then introduced by Medical Nova to the more advanced Soprano XL laser. They assured me it could withstand the work load and also expedite treatments.”
What kind of laser device do you use today?
“I am very proud to own the latest and most advanced laser hair removal platform – Soprano Titanium by Alma. I was one of the first 3 clinics in Israel to get it. Most of my clients ask for a full body treatment and with the Titanium everything is much quicker and smoother for both the patient, and the practitioner. Patients are in and out of the clinic in half the time. Faster treatment times are very important now that clinics are reopening. It’s crazy! everyone is trying to schedule a hair removal session before summer season starts. Also, everyone is so anxious to get to the beach and with the Soprano they can do that very shortly after the laser treatment.”
Are there any patients that you decline to treat?
“Hardly ever. One of the advantages of the Soprano technology is that it’s safe for all skin types. So I have clients that have very light skin as well as dark-skinned patients. A while ago I was approached by a lovely young woman that has freckles and moles all of her skin. I decided to consult with Alma’s local clinical team until I felt safe enough to treat her. She was so delighted to finally be hair free, and with a virtually painless treatment she was really surprised. Of course you need to be highly experienced and informed about the technology and the interaction of laser and skin tissue to have this confidence. It comes with time and dedication.”
How do you keep up with large laser chains?
“You have to understand that for the past 11 years, only me and my mother have been treating our patients. We are responsible to the process from start to finish. When you go to chain clinics, sometimes you go through 8 different practitioners during your 8 hair removal sessions. That is crazy. My patients don’t mind paying a little more or travel to have someone who really cares for them and takes good care of the device treat them.”
We know that you are very active on social media, how did you make the transition to that?
“It’s been real fun. For the first few years, I could do very well just using word of mouth and my loyal clients recommending me. But in recent years, I wanted to expand my reach to people out of town. Social media makes it simple and easy. I have two talented freelancers that help manage my Instagram profile and sponsored campaigns. They make the first contact with new leads, and then pass them on to me.”