How to Launch a Skincare Clinic
Thinking about launching your own skincare clinic? We asked Aesthetician and Founder of West Room Aesthetics, Dija Ayodele, to share her top business advice and all that she has learnt along the way.
Tell us about how West Room Aesthetics came to life?
The dream was to create a space where we could execute skincare to the most professional level but also educate and build a supportive community around women and skincare, especially black women. I wanted to make this happen without any added anxiety which I noticed many black women experiencing in the world of beauty.
What advice do you have for aestheticians looking to open their own skincare clinic?
We could write a whole book on advice, but my main tips are:
Know your audience. Know your niche within that audience and know how to cater to them by learning what makes your audience tick.
Be strategic with what you have to offer. You don’t have to open up your clinic and deliver everything at once – you can build your services slowly.
Learn how to say no. You don’t need everything your rep is selling or you’ll have masses of products sitting on the shelf collecting dust. If you know your audience, it will be a lot easier to learn which products and services suit them. It will also become second nature to know when to say yes and, most importantly, when to say no.
Track your data. Whether that’s clients, feedback, figures, consultation forms or anything that is data to you – track it. If you don’t, you will be making decisions based on how you feel rather than on the evidence. As a result, you won’t be able to make the most effective decisions for your business.
Look after your staff. They’re the ones who run your business. Look after them and their needs, pay them fairly and take care of them – they keep the business going for you.
Get clients to pay deposits. Whether that be a 50% or 100% deposit (which is our policy in my clinic) – this will be a huge help for your cash flow.
What is/was your biggest challenge when launching West Room Aesthetics?
For us, it was opening up West Room with a shoestring budget and then finding ourselves in a pandemic 6 weeks later. This really affected our margins and we had to double up on our efforts to keep the business alive.
What do you wish you had known before starting your own skincare clinic?
Keeping a very clear, beady eye on the cash flow is key. Whether you do this yourself or with your accountants, it’s really important.
The second thing I wish I knew was to ask questions earlier. A lot of us consult Google or try to work things out on our own; I will always reach out to other people whom I believe to have experience or that have been in the same situation as me. I am very good at doing this now but back in the day not so much. This is truly something I wish I did earlier.
What’s the best business advice you’ve been given?
Given the fact I’m always asking people for advice, the best advice I’ve learnt (and from Caroline Hirons herself) is don’t spend the VAT! It will just cause a headache as at the end of the day, you’re going to need to pay it no matter what.
The second-best piece of advice I’ve learnt is to spend time investing in and building relationships – whether that be clients, suppliers or industry experts. These relationships won’t be about ‘what can I get from this person’, but are a mutual understanding and service. I always say ‘to be of service to people, stop making everything about yourself’!
Finally, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given is that no one can ever be you. Don’t be afraid of being authentic and vulnerable, and sharing information about your business – even if people to try replicate your ideas, they will never be you or do you in the way you can.
What’s your favourite skincare treatment/most popular treatment in the salon?
Any vitamin A-based treatments are my favourite to do. The results are quick, the treatments themselves are quick but most importantly, the results are superior for addressing current skin concerns and also addressing potential future concerns.
Best-kept skincare secret?
This would have to be that skincare is actually really quite simple and doesn’t have to be that hard! I think people build up the idea that healthy skin is ‘flawless skin’ – which it isn’t – but many also think that in order to obtain healthy skin you need to have an extravagant, extensive routine when really this couldn’t be further from the truth. Simplicity is key. I think this is one of the best-kept secrets, as somehow as an industry, we’ve managed to convince people that skincare has to be highly complicated.
Qualifications: NVQ Beauty Therapy, CIBTAC 3 & 4 Aesthetic Practice
Follow Dija, @dija_ayodele