Scandi design looks to be a trend here to stay and stepping into HÜD Skin + Body, it’s easy to see why.
The St Kilda salon has been created with functionality, simplicity, and clean lines full of small personal touches that make it feel like you’re visiting an old friend.
Owner Gry Tømte says building the salon was a labour of love that paid off.
“I still absolutely love coming into my clinic,” she said.
“Being quintessentially Scandinavian, it has the warmth and homely feel of a Nordic lounge room.
It’s important to us that our clients feel relaxed and not in an overly clinical, sterile looking space.”
Personal touches that give the salon its warmth include log fire places, lots of greenery, timber finishes and sentimental black-and-white photos of Gry’s mum and dad in Norway during the 1960s.
A bespoke graffiti artwork on the wall by local artist Brian W Connolly, depicting a Nordic fairytale with a troll picking up flowers and an elf, is totally on trend.
The 46-year-old said reduced cortisol levels were key to treating inflammatory skin disorders such as acne, so she designed her space with that in mind.
The salon initially started out with three rooms, with one being occupied by a cosmetic doctor.
“As the business grew we felt the pressures of too little space and built an extra room on the main floor for the doctor,” Gry explained.
“At the same time we took a hard look at our offerings and trimmed it back to what we specialise in and are passionate about, and cut the rest of our services out. It didn’t take long before we grew again and were booked out several weeks ahead.”
This prompted Gry to build another three rooms in the basement, which were previously used for storage.
HÜD now features seven treatment rooms, plus a brow bar, skin consultation lounge, spray tan room and reception.
Gry’s team of 16 “incredibly talented, passionate staff” include two brow artists, two clinic coordinators, a manager and a mix of paramedical skin therapists, dermal therapists and a cosmetic nurse.
“My team are definitely the heart and soul of this business,” Gry said.
“We are like a family. Having a strong, positive team culture is something that is extremely important to me.”
Gry said her strong client and education focus kept the team motivated.
“I believe everyone must be challenged constantly in order to grow,” she said.
“We spend a lot of resources on training and education and my team are truly dedicated to getting results for their clients.”
Gry isn’t afraid to put her money where her mouth is – she’s invested $80,000 in education over a two month period this year.
“Our clinic motto is ‘We change lives’,” Gry said. “And what could be more rewarding than that?”
Gry knows firsthand how lousy having bad skin can be.
“While I was living in Toronto I was battling acne and melasma ‒ yep, I won the lottery in skin problems,” she said.
“It had a huge impact on my self-esteem and I became slightly obsessed trying to find any kind of research that could help me with my skin. I finally found a clinic owner and aesthetician in Toronto who started treating me. During our talks she suggested I look into making my obsession with skin an official career, so I obtained my aesthetics diploma.”
In the years following, after moving back to Australia, Gry took every opportunity to advance her training and obtained more than 20 different certificates in advanced modules across IPL/ laser, advanced skin analysis, acne modalities, paramedical skin revision, needling and more.
“I think my personal experience with acne and pigmentation shines through and is a big part of who our clients are,” she said.
“The same goes for our staff. Most have suffered with acne and have a huge amount of empathy with our clients.”
She said nowadays her own education revolved around gaining business skills while she invested heavily in her staff’s education in skin-related advanced modules to best treat her clients, who varied in age concern but include aa lot of young professionals with conditions such as acne, rosacea and pigmentation.
Gry said the salon’s signature treatment was enzyme therapy.
“We have successfully instilled in our clients that we cannot just remove skin without rebuilding it,” she said. “Over-exfoliation is an epidemic and is one of the main culprits in a lot of the concerns we see on a daily basis. It’s our non-negotiable.”
Gry said she searched high and low for a skincare range that matched her philosophy and eventually discovered DMK.
“I wanted a range that ticked all the boxes ‒ highly effective, something that had great variety of options in terms of treatments and homecare, no gaps, with excellent education, strong values, and not available online,” Gry said.
“DMK is the whole package for us and we absolutely love being a part of the wider community of incredibly inspirational clinic owners and therapists.”
Gry is also working on her own range of makeup, Elk Cosmetics.
“It is a project I have been working on for quite some time, but packaging and formulation takes a lot of time and energy when you’re growing a skin clinic so it’s still in the works, although we carry a limited range in clinic,” she said.
Gry also stocks Regul8 herbal supplement for gut health and is in the middle of formulating an internal acne supplement.
She says her philosophy when it comes to good skin is to always treat skin inside and out.
“The days of micro and overly ablative heat-based treatments are numbered and treating the internal structures and function becomes the focus,” she said.
“Working with internal health is taking over the spotlight, and for good reason. Reducing stress and improving gut function will inevitably lead to far better results.”
She doesn’t run campaigns or believe in discounting to attract, but instead relies on word of mouth and social media.
“The beauty industry is being killed off with discounting,” she said.
“We’ve just had a price increase and we’re busier than ever by focusing on results and customer care.
Gry says social media is “such a powerful tool if you stay authentic to your brand values”.
Gry’s philosophy is certainly one that is reaping benefits – aside from being booked out well in advance HÜD was awarded the DMK Vic/Tas Clinic of the Year and Therapist of the Year the last two years running.
“It’s really such an honour among so many amazing, dedicated clinics and therapists,” she said.
Gry’s personal mantra: ‘Learn, give and be the best version of yourself every day’, is one that has worked wonders for the Norwegian beauty and we can’t wait to witness her continued success.