How and when did you start in Aesthetics?
I decided to train as a Nurse in 2006, working within the NHS and at the same time started to do my Aesthetics Training. I was very focussed on wanting to work in Aesthetics and for a long time I juggled my Aesthetics career with my work in the NHS. As the economic climate was not right at that time to take on a premises, I worked from home and built up an incredibly loyal clientele through social media and networking, whom I still continue to treat in 2020.
When did you open Ciao Bella and where did the concept come from?
Ciao Bella means ‘Hello Beautiful in Italian. I am Sicilian and my Grandmother paid for my first Aesthetics course after she visited Harley Medical for a quote. Realising I was a Nurse and could also train she encouraged me and funded my early aesthetics training. By 2017, I had been looking around for premises for a while and was focussed on what I wanted. I was looking for a large ‘destination location’ multiple rooms, great parking, training facilities and at the same time I did not need a town centre location with footfall as all our clients are scheduled and booked.
Can you describe your location and tell me more about your team?
Ciao Bella is on the border of the countryside in Bristol, with five parking spaces and is a large location over two floors. We have a downstairs waiting area and reception space with an open area for browsing and meeting the staff. Upstairs I have two clinical rooms, a large training room and another consultation room. Training is extremely important to me and reflecting on my own journey, I particularly enjoy my role mentoring other practitioners and I am now a MATA training location for all aspects of aesthetics, injectables and Level 7 Training. I am lucky as I am surrounded by the most incredible team of 8 women, 5 nurses and three admin and support team members.
How do you spend a typical day?
Since lockdown started, I have taken up running and am really enjoying the exercise, I also have a 16 month old daughter who keeps me super busy. When I am in Clinic, I am booked all day and am always in clinic before the team starts and the day begins. My typical day is split between treating patients, consulting patients, and also supporting and mentoring my team. There is a strong emphasis on advanced treatments in clinic and in February this year I introduced Alumier MD and now along with my Venus VERSA and Tribella this range plays a big part in our treatment planning. We do a lot of consultations for patients with acne and rosacea and I feel that I now have all the tools I need. I also spend time strategizing and developing my business. I am extremely proud that just before lockdown we were inspected by the Care Quality Commission and are now CQC registered.
How did you decide to introduce Venus VERSA & Tribella from Venus Concept
I did a huge amount of research to the market and other devices available before I invested. I knew I wanted a multi-application platform with treatment possibilities that allowed me to address the most in demand skin concerns including rosacea, acne, skin laxity, stretch marks and textural conditions. I then met Paul Talbot from Venus Concept and discussed Venus VERSA and how my business could evolve with the technology and how simple, straightforward and easy it was to incorporate into my busy practice. Venus VERSA has allowed us to address treat all indications and more besides. Since we launched with Venus Concept we have had an extremely positive experience and I now have a full time Nurse called Emma dedicated to delivering these treatments. Tribella is a great treatment for us as there is a lot of public awareness and therefore demand for the treatment and I love that it won the best new treatment at the Global Awards last year. There is always fantastic press for the treatment and the results are truly life changing.
What is your next step for your business and how do you think our industry will develop?
I work very closely with Allergan and am working with them to further develop my business. At the moment, we have all the treatments we need and we are continuing to grow steadily. We are increasing our footfall, adding new patients and maximising my teams time. I am so proud of my business and this year we have entered the ‘Safety in Beauty Awards’ this is the first Awards we will have entered so I am excited about that. During this period of lockdown, I think patients have had an opportunity to become more educated on treatments that are available and how to choose the right location for their treatment plan. We have more patients engaging with us on Social Media and I am delighted to be able to connect with our audience to educate, engage and inform them about our industry. You can always find me on Instagram and across other platforms. The feedback I am getting already and one of the post lockdown focusses, will be that patients will want to address their own skin challenges – photo rejuvenation and nano fractional RF with VIVA will be huge in demand treatments.
Getting on with business with the COVID 19 Virus.
We have done extensive preparation and introduced new policies which are ready and in place for re-opening which will allow us to have our clients enter the clinic in the front door, five minutes before treatment commences, to be connected to their practitioner and go direct to the treatment room, use contactless payments and exit through our rear entrance. In this way we limit other personal interactions. Our focus will always be to ensure patient and team safety at all times, without compromising treatment outcomes.
Hopes for the future?
I do hope that people will see this as an opportunity to in some ways press the ‘reset’ button. I hope that people will take more time for themselves and their needs – I know I have. It’s a good time to try and understand why we don’t sleep as well as we perhaps could, are we eating the right foods and can we exercise a bit more? At Ciao Bella we adopt a 360 approach to our patients and we want to support our patients and their needs and we hope that our patients will also continue to support their local businesses as everyone has done throughout the lockdown.
I am looking forward to continuing to grow my practice and my team and I also have my eye on a new technology for next year, but you will have to watch this space to learn more.
Find Alex on Instagram @ciao_bella_aesthetics