Business Spotlight - Building your Brand Interview with Stephanie Damalis, founder of Damalis Skin Clinic Wimbledon
In this blog series I am going to share snippets of wisdom and lessons learnt from entrepreneurs and business owners.
From how they started & what makes them unique, to how they grew & engaged with their customers, these Business Spotlight interviews are going to inspire us with bitesize learning and top tips. We start with an interview on Building your Brand.
To start, could you please introduce yourself? What inspired you to start your own skincare business and to start building your brand?
My name is Stephanie Damalis and I am the owner and founder of Damalis Skin Clinic London.
I am a medical and cosmetic doctor with over 13 years of experience. I have an interest in skin health & anti-ageing & firmly believe that any treatment should include the skin.
My style of treatment is subtle cosmetic results that keep you looking natural and still like you.
My aim is to enhance your features and minimize the signs of aging so that you look refreshed and vibrant without having the “done” look. As an advocate for patient safety, I teach medical professionals in the aesthetic sector how to be safe injectors, alongside running my private clinic.
Becoming an aesthetic doctor has allowed me to use my medical knowledge, consultation skills, surgical skills and need to help people all in one area. This is something I absolutely love.
Building a personal brand is essential in the skincare industry. How did you go about defining your personal brand, and what values does it encompass?
Before opening my own business, I didn’t understand the importance of having a personal brand.
I always had a vision for my business and over the years my brand has developed and changed.
My values have never changed however. I want people to feel informed, empowered and in safe hands after having a consultation with me. When you have the responsibility of treating peoples faces, there needs to be trust and I aim to establish this early on in the journey.
Every brand has a unique story behind it. What is the story behind your skincare clinic’s brand?
I developed adult acne and this affected my self-confidence. I tried many different treatments that never worked, many made my skin worse and I was tired of wasting money.
I finally discovered medical grade skin care products that changed both my skin’s appearance and my mental health. This was my biggest driver as I wanted to help others in similar situations. This is where my love for skin health developed. I wanted the clinic’s name to represent me but also be clear instantly about what services I offer. So I decided on Damalis Skin Clinic London.
Your personal journey and expertise play a significant role in building your brand’s credibility. Can you share your background and how it has shaped your approach to running the clinic?
Well now you know my skin story, having experienced it was awful however, it has allowed me to understand what others are going through and given me the confidence to help them.
Completing my cosmetic dermatology course has given me a sound understanding of how products work. The products I choose to sell and use, have clinical trials supporting them, meaning they do what they say they do.
That was my journey treating adult acne but I have since tried a multitude of products to minimize and prevent the signs of aging.
I have completed multiple courses and still continue to learn, to ensure I can offer my clients the most evidence based and up to date knowledge when it comes to the health of their skin. Every product I promote in my clinic I have personally tested either on myself or close friends. I want to see the results before I offer it to my clients.
Consistency is key when it comes to branding. How do you ensure that your personal brand aligns with the overall brand of your skincare clinic?
I totally agree with you on this one, people need to see consistency in order to trust. I want to promote products and services that I know work and give results.
I am a medical doctor that wants to see scientific evidence before deciding to use a product. My personal brand reflects honesty and dedication to your skin journey and this is reflected in the products I advocate.
Skincare is a highly competitive industry. What strategies do you use to differentiate your clinic and establish a unique position in the market?
With the multitude of brands available and every brand making a claim that their cream is the best to prevent aging, it is a tough industry to navigate.
My clinic offers skin analysis on a skin analysis machine meaning skincare is tailored to your skin needs and your skin goals.
I am not discrediting over the counter products however depending on your skin concern, many over the counter products have the correct ingredients, but they are often in lower quantities or in formulations that don’t allow penetration of the ingredients deep enough into the skin to make effective and long lasting changes.
In today’s digital age, online presence is crucial. Do you use social media, your website and other online platforms to build and promote your brand?
Starting my own business has led to the need to learn more about the use of social networks and the importance of a digital presence.
Before this, I had an instagram page where I had pictures of myself posted from other people but not my own posts.
I started by opening a business instagram page as this was free and allows more results in the immediate future.
I did an online course to learn the very basics about instagram and then just started posting. My posts are not the most professional looking however the page represents me, is authentic and gives helpful advice to women noticing the signs of aging.
I knew I needed a website alongside social media however this was going to be a much larger investment in terms of time and cost so I developed my website slowly over months.
I now have a platform filled with information for people to educate themselves around aesthetic treatments in order to make an informed decision about having a treatment.
Content is continually added to my website making sure it is always up to date. Online presence makes you less of a stranger, people know who you are and what to expect before they book for their consultation.
Testimonials and reviews from satisfied clients can be powerful for building trust. How do you encourage and showcase client feedback to enhance your brand’s reputation?
Testimonials and reviews are like gold- the online version of “word of mouth”.
Trusting someone with your face is a huge decision. Hearing from other people that have seen a practitioner and have been happy with the experience and outcome of the results is comforting.
I always ask my clients for feedback and they receive a follow up email with a review link to complete if they want to. I think reminder emails and messages are key here as we all live busy lives and if we don’t complete the review then and there, we tend to lose sight of it.
Transparency and authenticity are increasingly important to consumers. How do you communicate your values and commitment to clients through your brand story?
This point is critical, we have moved away from perfect appearances and filters as people want to be able to relate to you and the perfect complexion with no lines or wrinkles is not a reality.
I never use filters on my instagram page and often showcase myself undergoing various treatments. I point out areas of concern on my own face which are often concerns for others. These concerns are often due to changes to the various layers of the face as the face ages.
Skin is a complex organ and our skin reacts to so many factors that it is not possible for it to be in perfect condition all the time, regardless of how well we look after it. All the layers beneath the skin provide support to the skin in various ways and if these layers are not healthy, they can show on the skin too as shadows, folds, lines and wrinkles.
Building partnerships and collaborations can help expand your brand’s reach. Have you collaborated with other professionals or brands in the skincare industry, and if so, how has this benefited your clinic’s brand?
Unfortunately not but this will be changing soon.
The skincare industry is constantly evolving with new trends and technologies. How do you stay updated and ensure your brand remains relevant in the ever-changing landscape?
The aesthetic industry as a whole is constantly evolving alongside the skincare industry. Over the past 10 years there have been dramatic changes within this industry. We are slowly moving away from trying to put as much filler into our face as possible and now seeking a more natural look, with skincare and skin health at the forefront of it all.
This is music to my ears as it has always been my way of thinking and treating, addressing the skin alongside injectable treatments.
Attending conferences all over the world, reading monthly journals and latest research papers ensures my knowledge is kept up to date so that I can offer my clients the best and safest services possible. I also attend many day courses around various topics providing me with the latest techniques and allowing me to continually improve my practical skills.
I also work alongside amazing colleagues and we often discuss the latest trends and interesting cases to learn from each other.
Many entrepreneurs face challenges while building their brands. Can you share some obstacles you’ve encountered and how you overcame them in your journey?
The obstacles are endless however they keep you on your toes and challenged. There will always be unforeseen challenges along the way which we need to accept.
The biggest challenge I faced was developing my website. Despite doing my research I chose a company who wasted my time and money for over 6 months. This caused a lot of stress and delayed my website launch.
I was afraid to lose the money I had already paid so I persevered with them for too long. In the end I had to make a tough decision and lose the money and find a new website development team. The transition was worth it and I have a team who understands my vision and I can leave the hard work up to them so I can focus on delivering my treatments. .
Building a brand takes time and effort. What advice do you have for other skincare professionals looking to establish their own personal brand and clinic?
Be patient and don’t give up. It takes time for people to trust others, especially when it comes to their face. The first 1-3 years is about building up your clientele and investing back into the business so making money over this period is not the priority. This is my outlook for my business.
Your brand likely has a vision for the future. Can you share any upcoming projects or goals that you have for your skincare clinic and personal brand?
Helping other people with their skin health and boosting confidence rewards me greatly. The vision for my clinic will always be to continue to add services that will help achieve this for my clients.
Finally, for those readers who may be interested in pursuing a career in skincare or starting their own clinic, what words of wisdom or encouragement would you offer them?
You need to be your biggest fan and believer. No one else can do this for you. Know your dreams and keep pushing until you reach them. Challenges are normal and don’t represent failure. Learn from the challenges, move forward and help whoever you can along the way. Oh and don’t forget to enjoy the process.
To find out more about Steph and her services, take a look at her website SKINCLINIC.CO.UK
I find it looks fantastic! Well done on making that difficult decision and moving on to a new website team.
Steph’s website is https://skincliniclondon.co.uk
I was involved in creating the images and photography for Steph’s website, which you can see weaved in her pages.
I find the images and the website work really well together and they highlight the importance of great portrait photography.
Professional Photographer in London
I love to help businesses and entrepreneurs with images and photographs that represent them & their brand and are authentic.
Portrait photographers in London are great, creative and professional and they advise their clients in the best way.
In my work as a London portrait photographer and Branding Photographer I love to find out more about a client before we start working together, to understand their story, background, visual preferences and styles and how they want to come across.
Achieving something that looks great, aligned, on-brand, tidy, well organized and is full of information is by no means, an easy task. And the challenge Steph talks about is a very real one. Finding the right people and persevering even when there are obstacles, is the way to achieving the ultimate business goals.
For any questions about creating images for your business, get in touch with me directly and I would be happy to schedule a call.