Name: Dr Shehla Ebrahim
Locations: Vancouver, BC
Website: www.afterglowskincare.ca, www.amblesidedermedics.com
Bio: I am a family physician with a special interest in dermatology. I am the owner and founder of 2 award inning medi-spas on the North shore in Vancouver, BC. As a graduate of the University of BC, I began a career in family medicine in 1992.I am a certificant and a fellow of the college of family Physicians of Canada. Responding to the urgent need for dermatological care in my community, I pursued a diploma in Dermatology through Cardiff University. I have a flourishing focused dermatology practice which has enabled me to reduce wait times for the patients in my community.
What made you pursue cosmetic medicine?
Having practised Family medicine from 1992-2005, I started feeling unfulfilled in my current profession. Pharmaceutical based medicine was disenchanting, patients were never satisfied, and the energy was wearing me down. I also realized that I possessed creative and artistic qualities and it would be a winning combination to merge art and creativity, with science and technology of the emerging aesthetic medicine industry. I recognised that I wanted to be in control of my own destiny and the only way to do that would be to be in business for myself. In 2005, I took a leap of faith and opened my first location in North Vancouver.
Kindly give us a background of your clinic.
I am the medical director of 2 award winning medi-spas on the North Shore, in beautiful British Columbia. I have a full service medi-spa and my patient population comprises mainly of women between 45-70 who have a disposable income of 60,000 or more. Most of my clients are women who are interested in positive aging. Wanting to be the best version of themselves and wanting to look the best for their age. Both the clinics offer a complete menu of medical aesthetic services covering the face to the body.
How do you manage your staff members?
I always used to tell my staff that customers come first. Now I tell my customers that my staff comes first. We all know that finding and keeping good staff can make or break your business. I have a successful business model that has enabled me to keep the same staff for 14 years and that business model is to have:
1) humility in leadership.
2) To respect and appreciate my staffs need to have work life balance.Most of these women are young,have children and unlike the baby boomers like myself who make work our number one priority,,these individuals have priorities other than work which needs to be balanced.
3) To run the business like a family owned business.
4) To respect and value who they are and making a daily effort to thank them for their service.
5) Build a team that buys into my vision of providing exceptional and high quality service with integrity and authenticily.
My staff is paid hourly plus commission. Generally, between 20 to 27$ per hour depending upon their seniority. Commission is fixed for some treatments at 125$ and others as a percentage of the treatments sold. Varying from 5%-20%.
I hire staff based on my intuition and their personality. Technology can be taught but personality cannot.
It has been my experience that people leave your business because of who they are and not because they were not valued as we are taught in business and HR management seminars.
Which light based or laser devices are currently in use in your practice?
I use a number of laser and light and energy-based devices in my practice. IPL, fractional, fully ablative, microneedling, ultherapy and coolsculpting. My favourite is IPL and Micro needling with RF and total resurfacing. Over the years, it has been my opinion that many devices are overpriced and underperform and do not meet the expectations that sales people promise.
I now look at buying second hand devices esp. for hair removal. There are a number of companies in Canada and USA that sell second hand devices which will then allow you to pay them off quickly.
What marketing strategies do you employ?
Marketing is the most difficult yet the most exciting part of my business.
Because the industry is very competitive, it is important to find creative strategies that will set you apart from the other clinics. Other the usual website that use SEO and SEM strategies, the best way to now market your business is through social media. This would include Facebook, Facebook live, Instagram, paid google adwords, blogs, newsletters, videos and you tube. Having your own video channel and regularly posting videos is a very effective and inexpensive way to market one’s business.
Which treatments and procedures are usually done in your practice?
The most profitable treatments are injectables and constitute 60% of my business. These would include, botox, and fillers.
Over the years I have dropped treatments that no longer serve me or my patients. These include laser treatment of veins ,nonablative fractional and some chemical peels. I have added other treatments such as PRP for hair loss and vampire facial. I have recently invested in female rejuvenation treatments and threads.
Please tell us any anecdotes you can share.
Aesthetic medicine is a fascinating and everchanging industry.
The most exciting thing about this industry is how rapidly things change and all the different treatment options available to our clients. Clients are generally opting for little or no downtime treatments that get them back to work faster and are willing to pay a premium for these treatments. From treatments that slow down the aging process to treatments that may reverse aging, such as recent advances in regenerative medicine. Harnessing the power of blood to improve the quality of one’s skin to using stem cells for tissue regeneration and minimally invasive treatments such as threads to lift the skin.
What pearls can you share to fellow physicians in the field?
Having passion is the number one criterion if you want to be successful in this industry.
Everything else will happen effortlessly and money will come wherever it is supposed to come from as long as you are first happy without it. Treat your employees with respect. Honour and always thank them for their efforts in helping your business grow.