The key to any successful business is knowing your target market. Cosmetic nurse practitioner, Katherine Millar-Shannon from Duquessa in Melbourne says the secret to her success is being able to tune her business into her clients’ needs.
Who do you find comes through your doors?
“A lot of women are like me,” says Millar-Shannon. “A lot of them are over forty, they have had children and have been home for a long time, and they have gone back to the workforce feel as though they are behind in their career. So they need to try and get that back. I can work on internal [such as IV nutrition] and external heath and it gives women that empowerment to get back to work.”
What is your most popular treatment?
“Predominantly my business has always been injectables. That gets the patient in the door and then you find out what’s going on,” says Millar-Shannon. “They might need their hoods treated, they may need a colonic, they may need an energy shot. I might send them off for bloods. And then I do nice things – I give them a facial, a nice body treatment so that kinds of just filters on. But most of my market is injectables.”
How important is it to you to get your clients’ confidence back?
“A lot of women say they feel really empowered after a course of treatment here [at Duquessa],” says Millar-Shannon. “It gives them a boost, and not just superficially. Women say to me “give me my mojo back”. I say to them, “there is only so much I can do, the rest is up to you” but by the time they come through my doors, they are so desperate.”
How do you help the women who are already at work?
“We get a lot of career women who have high anxiety,” agrees Millar-Shannon. “They have high paying jobs, they have kids at home and husbands – who they’re always bluing over something because they’re never around. So when they get here they want that indulgence.”
You have recently hired a beauty therapist. What is her role in your practice?
“I got Fiona in last year because I needed someone who is mature enough to work with the women coming through our door,” says Millar-Shannon. “I have tried younger staff but they can’t relate to mature women.”
Why is that?
“[My clients] want that indulgent experience but they want mature staff,” says Millar-Shannon. “I find that a woman over forty can relate better to the women who come in. A lot of our women will come in an end up crying on the bed and I haven’t even started the treatment. Because it has taken so much to come in here and they kind of drop their guard. They say “I’m really tired and it’s showing at work”, or “People are saying that I don’t look approachable because I look angry all the time.” So they start doing skin health and injectables and it gives them a lot of confidence.”
What is your approach to cosmetic treatment?
“We never go too fast too soon because it is too obvious,” says Millar-Shannon. “I don’t want women to feel as though we have taken advantage of them, [aesthetically or] financially. So we try to make plans over 12 months, which gives them some options. If [my clients] do something every month or two then it will be subtle and they are able to see and appreciate the work that we are doing.”
You have some very famous faces coming through your doors, why do you think people come to you rather than a cosmetic doctor?
“I think its about the holistic approach and I think its about credibility,” says Millar-Shannon. “I find that a lot of doctors…don’t have the eye. If they are male doctor, they look at women differently – and they inject differently. I find women injectors, particularly nurses, are better at it. Because they are always injecting in hospital, they have the gentle touch, we’ve got the bedside manner. Also women will challenge women and I think we can work better with them.”
Have you ever been challenged by a client?
“One of my clients has a phd and before she came in, she actually Googled my creditials and my grades,” says Millar-Shannon. “I have had her for three years, and she is one of my biggest spenders. It’s about trust.”
How do you get them to stay loyal?
“We [work hard] to keep them,” says Millar-Shannon. “We do follow-ups with all our patients; we send them a thank you letter with a voucher; we send birthday cards. Also I am on-call 24 hours a day, which is really important especially with injectables. I always give patients my personal email and my mobile number. It makes them feel safe.”