Q&A with Martine Jarman, owner of SkinGenius Clinic

Martine Jarman is an award-winning skin health specialist, owner of SkinGenius Clinic and winner of Professional Beauty’s Aesthetic Therapist of the Year 2015 Award.

She talks to us about how salon owners can effectively work aesthetic treatments into their business and shares her stance on where the lines should be drawn in terms of treatments therapists can do and those that should be left to medics.

You’ve been in the aesthetics industry for more than 20 years. What have been the biggest changes to the field in that time?
MJ: The biggest area of change has been in the facial aesthetics sector. The demand for clients to look good for their age while maintaining a natural appearance is an area that we’ve seen an increase in product and equipment development. The intervention for non-invasive procedures seems to be the biggest area of growth, such as injectable treatments, skin-peeling, skin-needling and light-based treatments offering hair removal and skin rejuvenation.

Many salons are rebranding as skin clinics to keep up with market trends, investing in cosmeceutical brands and introducing the above services into their treatment portfolio, as well as utilising the service of a medical professional to offer injectable services. There is also an increasing number of medical aesthetic clinics opening up on the high street which offer an array of surgical and non-surgical procedures.

How can salon owners work out what aesthetic treatments would work best in their business? 
You need to do a competitor analysis of what treatments and procedures are being offered in the local area. It may also be a good idea to develop a client questionnaire to discover if your customers are visiting any other establishments for aesthetic treatments as well as what treatments they would be interested in seeing launched within your business. 

It’s not wise to undercut other clinics on price point as you will only devalue the treatment procedure, not just for yourself but for the whole industry. Cheap pricing can reflect on a low level of service and compromise standards, so offer outstanding customer service instead and clients will keep coming back. It’s also wise to assess your team of therapists and see who’s prepared to train in aesthetic treatments and who has the relevant qualifications and confidence to perform such treatments. Not all therapists wish to take the aesthetic route so its better to utilise their skills with the clients who prefer to take the organic/holistic approach.

How can salon owners effectively work these treatments into their salon?
If you’re a salon that currently only offers relaxing facial treatments, my advice is to launch a separate aesthetics treatment menu. Host a launch event so clients can see the new treatments being performed and create bespoke signature treatments branded to your salon – this will prevent competitors plagiarising your treatments. 

It’s a minefield choosing which skincare brand to bring on board or which piece of equipment to use to deliver the best results. My advice is to do plenty of research, ask for supporting clinical data, look at studies done over a 12-week period and speak to other clinic owners about their experience with the distributer. Ask questions about the training provided, the ongoing support they received from the distributer and so on.

Where do you think the lines should be drawn in terms of treatments that therapists can do and those that should be left to medics?
In the absence of tighter regulation within the aesthetic industry it is important to put client safety first and ensure that such treatments being administered are being performed by a qualified, experienced and reputable professional. Therapists should be able to work together with medical professionals and if a therapist wishes to embark on a career in the aesthetics field then I recommend they seek work in an established medical aesthetic clinic to obtain experience.  

While the industry has been proactive in raising awareness a lot more needs to be done to bring the beauty and aesthetics industry to a level where transparency is at a suitable standard. The Health Education England (HEE) are looking at introducing a qualification framework of Levels 4–7 which should help to tackle this issue and represent a positive way forward for the industry.

What are you working on this year and why? 
In September I’m opening a new clinic in Cheshire and will be upgrading my microdermabrasion to the Hydrafacial system, which supersedes traditional microdermabrasion. I’m currently doing research on introducing a new high-tech laser system and will also be launching the Oxynergy personalised skincare system. I’m also in the final stages of developing the SkinGenius Plasma treatment and a Liquid Laser Lift treatment, both of which are undergoing cases studies with clients. In the future, I would like to launch my own brand of products and develop treatments for the industry.

You’ve previously won our Aesthetic Therapist of the Year Award. How did this award benefit your business?
I was very honoured to receive the award and gain the recognition within the industry. It enabled me to maximise on business as I was able to use the award to feature in local press and call myself “award-winning” on my website, social media channels and in marketing material. I’ve gained some additional consultancy work and was delighted when City and Guilds invited me to sit on their advisory board and to work as a consultant on the development of their new beauty qualifications. I’ve also been invited to talk at beauty and aesthetic events as a leading expert within my field of skin health.

What do you think are the biggest challenges in the aesthetics market and how should we tackle them? 
The global aesthetics market is booming and the demand for minimally invasive or non-invasive treatments and procedures are the key to fuelling this growth, so it’s a good industry to be working in. However, stringent safety regulations for aesthetic treatments and social stigma associated with these treatments are some of the biggest restraints hampering the growth of the market. Unsafe practice and substandard treatments are unacceptable for patient safety.  

Until the new standards of qualifications are implemented then I believe it is down to the responsibility of the individual for self-regulation. I recommend joining an association and looking for training providers that offer a high level of training, which is accredited and provided by a qualified trainer.