My greatest concern is that at the heart of the beauty industry, women, in particular, are told that they are not enough just the way they are. I really want to be mindful that we are adding to your life and wellness, not selling you a product you might not need. When you look good, you feel good. We believe that healthy skin is one of the most simple ways to feel beautiful, especially since we recommend not wearing makeup now that we are all wearing masks in public!
I I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Sarah Allen & Claire O’Bryan, ANP-C, Co-Founders of The Skin Clique. The Skin Clique is the nation’s only network of healthcare providers that specialize in concierge Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, and medical grade skincare, all in the comfort of your own home. With over 20 years of experience between the two, Dr. Allen & O’Bryan have become power players in the health and wellness and medical fields.
Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always loved to be artistic, and have decorated cakes since I was little. When I chose a career in Internal Medicine, I found that I loved complicated patients and procedures. But, I missed exercising the creative part of my brain. I have always been interested in minimally invasive aesthetic medicine, and discovered that was the perfect way to marry my artistic strengths with procedural medicine skills. Further, I taught home visits to post-graduate medical residents. These were an extension of my practice so I thought what better way to tailor medicine to my patients than bring minimally invasive treatments (Botox, dermal fillers and chemical peels) to them in a safe environment with board certified, expertly trained providers.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
There are too many to mention. This is a very silly example, but I love Christmas. I love December, and everything about it. One year, I had to ask my boss if I could have a week off in December. He said “we’ll have to wait until everyone else’s requests are in”. At that moment, I knew I never wanted to be in a position where I had to ask for time off again. I believe that autonomy in setting your own schedule is the biggest component of professional happiness. It was then that I decided I would forge another path.
I also have a patient story -
One day, I was called to a beautiful home for a Botox treatment with a wonderful patient. We talked about what she needed, but she kept saying “I need my lips done. I need my cheekbones done. Why don’t we do this?.” It dawned on me that something else was going on so I asked her about her personal life. She opened up to me about how her daughter had to move back home and couldn’t find a job. Her marriage was in a difficult place, and her husband wasn’t emotionally available. Quite frankly, she was sad and was trying to fix that. At that moment, I knew she didn’t need more treatments. What she needed was someone to talk to, and that was a powerful thing. I recommended a therapist, and we discussed some way that she could find joy. She is now doing better than ever! That was a pivotal moment for me to see how much patients will open up when you are in their comfortable place, and what an awesome responsibility that is as a healthcare provider.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
Absolutely! We have heavily recruited physicians and nurse practitioners over the past year to the point that we have grown the team from just myself to over 40 injectors throughout 38 cities in the span of 18 months. After we reached 12 injectors, we really started to see things take off, both from a recruiting standpoint and financial standpoint. But, we started to see we needed strong processes in place to continue sustained growth. We needed a process for ordering supplies, onboarding, and training. The structure of your organization begins to change because you need to duplicate your processes every day. Think of a recurring process every time you build a new function into your organization. Write your thoughts and checklists down as you perform those functions yourself. That makes it so much easier to pass off and remember while you are actively in the thick of those processes and performing them yourself.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband and business partner have been supportive since day one! This absolutely would not be possible without his constant encouragement and belief in what we are doing. I would get so tired some days, but my husband’s constant support kept me going. I also met Claire O’Bryan, one of our Co-Founders, who pushes me to see things in a different way and always encourages me to consider the medical provider perspective. She is so protective of our brand and identity, and we are better because she is part of our team. Telling Claire about my dream was the first time I ever said it out loud, and that was scary! But she was so supportive and excited to help grow the company!
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
COVID-19 has reshaped the way businesses operate, and we had to adapt as well. We needed to think about those who can’t or don’t want our estheticians coming to their homes during the pandemic. Our Beauty Knocks BOX bridges that gap! We can still provide our patients with curated, medical-grade skincare products through a monthly subscription box and patients still have 24/7 access to a personal esthetician. Businesses need to think about alternative revenue streams to supplement their current business models
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
- Choices- one of the things I love the most is also one of my biggest concerns. Patients have a choice which products to use. And, sometimes that choice can be overwhelming, but it also offers a depth and breadth of products that we have in our arsenal to tailor to your skin.
- The opportunity for growth by experts in the beauty industry- For so long, celebrity endorsements have driven the narrative for beauty products. We want to give patients objective data to show that medical grade products work, that medical treatments work and they don’t have to be intimidating or scary, but available to everyone!
- To help people feel beautiful with something every day- What greater gift is there than to give you confidence in your own skin so that you can conquer your day, tackle that difficult meeting, get that promotion, or hop on social without having to use a filter!
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
- My greatest concern is that at the heart of the beauty industry, women, in particular, are told that they are not enough just the way they are. I really want to be mindful that we are adding to your life and wellness, not selling you a product you might not need. When you look good, you feel good. We believe that healthy skin is one of the most simple ways to feel beautiful, especially since we recommend not wearing makeup now that we are all wearing masks in public!
- There are so many choices. As a consumer, this is wonderful, but also scary, overwhelming, and expensive if you aren’t buying the correct products for your skin type. We are working to change this to offer tailored suggestions to patients for skincare regimens that actually work!
- Lack of transparency is another big concern. I certainly believe there is a lack of transparency in skincare products and the ingredients included in them. But, there is also concern about “clean beauty” and its meaning. Who certifies that? With our new skincare line, we list all ingredients and are transparent about what is included in them.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
Exercise is one of the most important things that is often overlooked. When you exercise, your skin has a glow. You release endorphins that help you feel beautiful. You sleep & hydrate better. It is the magic bullet that so many patients are looking for. We don’t seek to add more steps in our patients’ skincare routines. We seek to educate them on the science behind why we recommend products for their specific needs.
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
Claire O’Bryan, ANP-C-
Be Authentic — We live in a world of filters and Photoshop, so patients really love seeing our genuine, unedited “Before and After” photos. It helps us highlight the true benefits of the products and services we provide, while giving the patient realistic expectations. Our patients are savvy, and they are often researching everything before we see them.
Provide Value — We don’t just mean value for services or goods. We mean true value for things like education and time. Nothing is more valuable than our patients’ time, and we give that back to them in concierge form! Who has time to drive to an appointment, wait 30–45 minutes, and then get 5 short minutes with their provider? We also love providing the value of education, not just at appointments but with our social media. We always want to take the time to make sure our patients understand WHY we are recommending something, because it will be that much more valuable to them! Everyone has different skincare needs so we make sure our patients get a thorough understanding of exactly why their skin needs a specific treatment.
Don’t Ignore Small Towns — Our most successful markets are smaller, more rural towns! There is so much demand in smaller towns for a multitude of reasons, and this has been a really fun thing to discover and explore. Our providers in small towns become busy quickly, and get tons of experience.
Put Yourself Out There — Literally, you are the face of your brand and your practice! My business partner, Dr. Sarah Allen, and I have found that we get so much more engagement when we show our own faces and talk about our own experiences versus generic photos and captions. It feels weird, and a little terrifying, but patients seem to love it. Plus they know we aren’t overly Botox’ed or overly filled, and that gives them a sense of who we are and how we inject!
Innovate — During quarantine, we were finally able to launch our Beauty Knocks Box, the first-ever medical-grade skincare subscription box. This was an idea we’d had for months, but never took the time to fully explore what it would look like for our business. We were so happy to have several weeks to work on this project nonstop, and we’re so glad we took the time to do it! This has been a game changer for our business, driving people to us from all over the country in ways we’d not thought of before. Don’t just look at what other people are doing and try to emulate it, come up with your own ideas and strategies and put the time and effort into them.. Adapting to current situations and coming up with alternative revenue streams will do wonders for your business!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Dr. Allen: As a mother of four girls, I want to create ways for girls and young women to feel beautiful and enough, just as they are. As Claire always says “it is well known that societies that lift women up function better as a whole”. I want to create a safe space for them to be creative, energetic, give them opportunities, and not be susceptible to abuse and marginalization.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Dr. Allen: I have three favorite quotes that I say to myself over and over again.
- “Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not” -Robert Kennedy. I have always believed in the possibility of creating something and the excitement that goes along with it.
- “To whom much is given, much is expected” — Luke 12:48. I know I have been very privileged in my life, from my upbringing to my education, and to use that for the greater good and to give back, there is nothing better.
- “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as longs as you ever can” — John Wesley. Be the best human you can be, give all you have to offer, and treat people with kindness everyday. You never know what they are facing, and how small acts can add up.
How can our readers follow you online? Across all platforms @theskinclique or www.theskinclique.com
About the Interviewer: Jilea Hemmings is a staunch believer in the power of entrepreneurship. A successful career revamping Fortune 500 companies was not enough for her entrepreneurial spirit, so Jilea began focusing her passion in startups. She has successfully built 6 startups to date. Her passion for entrepreneurship continues to ﬂourish with the development of Stretchy Hair Care, focusing on relieving the pain associated with detangling and styling natural black hair. For far too long, people with tender heads have suffered in pain. Until now.