Founded 20 years ago, Perth-based Skindeep Medi-Spas founder and director, Helen Golisano, talks about her growing business and plans to move into franchising. Kymberly Martin reports.
If 2014 was a busy year for the Skindeep Medi-Spas group then the end to 2015 will have even more to celebrate. There is a new salon opening in the expanding Swan Valley region, adding to the existing salons in the Perth CBD, Mullaloo, Floreat and Como. Also scheduled for release is a new franchising business structure.
The idea behind this is not just so beauty therapists can enjoy the benefits of having their own salon, but also gain from Helen Golisano’s knowledge and experience from more than two decades in the industry.
“We are strongly in support of salons that are owned and run by therapists. We want to help them to succeed straight up with support at all times from someone who has been in their position,” Helen says.
“There has been significant growth in the number of salons owned by business people rather than therapists, and to be honest, it is a bit concerning for the industry. We want to support therapist-owned salons and are putting strategies in place to help them achieve this dream in Perth.”
When it comes to business, retaining status as an industry leader can be a big ask. “We want to be anticipating where the industry is going and ensure we’re delivering top-of-the-line technology, treatments and products for our clients. As a small business, we also feel the pressure of clients wanting treatments seven days a week and late into the evening to match with their schedules.”
Helen adds that the cost of rostering highly trained therapists, particularly on Sundays and public holidays, can be crippling for small business, and she tries as best she can to balance the needs of clients with the wellbeing of her team.
Helen says the biggest mistake you can make in business is to take shortcuts.
“It may seem like you’re saving in the short term, but investing in cheap equipment or buying cheap products shows in the results you deliver to your clients. Not valuing or understanding your staff and not having experience in the industry can be highly detrimental to a salon.”
Staff can make or break your business in her opinion. Helen says mentoring them to be the best they can be — “they are all individuals who want different things out of life and career, and they learn and grow at different speeds.”
She advocates one-on-one catch-ups at least every quarter to find out what makes them strive to improve, because “not everyone places their focus on dollars; they might want more training, more flexible working hours, etc.”
Having a good training plan is important too, along with involving staff in major and minor decisions. “Open communication as to how they can further themselves in your business so they don’t feel the need to go elsewhere to advance their career,” was her advice.
The industry can expect to see more growth coming from light therapies, which Helen acknowledges has grown substantially since the salon implemented IPL over 11 years ago.
“We now have Omnilux, Fraxel laser, Emerge fractional laser and most recently added the DermaFrac machine. These are all light based and deliver incredible results. I believe there will be even more light-based technology developed in the future. It is a natural and non-invasive results-driven therapy that improves skin from the inside out.”
However Helen thinks the fast pace of technology can be both a challenge and a blessing.
“Keeping up with what’s hot and being in touch with international trends and thought-leaders: Technology has also changed how business operates. How we connect with each other — it’s easy to flick an email or chat on Facebook, but I feel that both in business and in my personal life, it’s important to maintain a personal connection with people.”
For now Helen is enthusiastic about the newest additions to the salon’s skincare menu with Elizabeth Arden PRO, a collaboration between Joe Lewis, founder of the Priori range and Elizabeth Arden.
“The science and technology behind his products is fascinating, showing how we need to both protect our skin from surface damage and repair the DNA of our cells. The PRO range covers all facets of the skin health pyramid in an affordable, luxurious line of products that feel amazing on the skin.”
The salon has enjoyed phenomenal growth in the past year. It engaged a personal marketing consultant to work with the business to ensure the brand message was being clearly and effectively communicated. This has resulted in significant growth in the number of clients connecting on social media and in the newsletter database. There was also a heavier focus placed on getting client feedback and case studies.
“We also started business coaching three years ago. After spending the first 18 months reassessing and rebuilding the basic building blocks and systems of our business, we are now seeing the fruits from our labour in the profits. Managing good stock control was a major focus and has made a big difference to our bottom line.”
To thrive and survive you need to be resilient, she says, not take things to heart, start every day afresh with a positive approach, and stay passionate.
“I think you need to surround yourself with professionals who are specialists in their fields so you can focus on what you are good at. We have bookkeepers, a marketing team, a business coach, legal support, an accountant, etc.”
She says business is about many little blocks all fitting together nicely.
“It’s not about one solution, one plan, or one big idea — it’s the synergy across your business, team and stakeholders that will help bring you success.”
“To balance work and home, go to your ‘third space’ between work and family, so you leave the stresses of the day out of your home life. And above all, don’t lose your passion; when and if I ever do it will be time to move on.”
“Our team is carefully selected to match with our values, and we really feel like what we’ve created is something special — a family that cares for staff and clients like we would friends.”
Skindeep Medi-Spas, skindeep.net.au