Back in 1995, an American brand called Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics launched what would become one of Australia’s largest distribution companies – Professional Beauty Solutions. We sat down with co-founder and CEO Matt Williams to talk about the family company’s fortuitous beginnings and where it’s headed next.
Congratulations on your 25th anniversary! Can you tell us how Professional Beauty Solutions got started?
“PBS got its unexpected start back in 1995 when my parents – Gaye and Graham – met Youngblood founder Pauline Youngblood while on a trip to California. After this chance meeting, they took on the Australian distribution of Youngblood and introduced Australia to its very first mineral makeup brand! They grew the brand over the next ten years, and in 2006 Lisa and I took over the business.”
What is it that’s made PBS so successful?
“Unlike some companies with appointed CEOs at the helm, Lisa and I are small business owners from way back, who have worked day in and day out for decades to grow our business and offer our clients the best possible products and service. We know the struggles that are unique to small-to-medium sized businesses, because we are one – which means we’re able to effectively support our salon, spa and clinic partners with the day-to-day challenges they face.”
You’ve expanded into the technology category with Dermalux and more recently, Lynton. Can you tell us about your move into this space?
“The introduction of UK-made Dermalux LED proved how much powerfully profitable treatments can transform a salon’s financial position. We’ve always taught our salons the importance of having profitable services on their treatment menu and how successful retailing can take them from break-even to the profits they deserve, but adding an effective, reliable, results-driven device that offers extraordinary client results and predictable salon profits has been a game-changer for PBS – and has seen our clients’ businesses transformed. Adding Lynton to our portfolio has added a new dimension to our offering, and their devices offer our clients an incredible return on investment.”
Why did you choose to partner with Lynton?
“Lynton is the only laser and IPL manufacturer in the world that began as an academic project, with the sole purpose of developing medical grade equipment – and their devices are now found in over 1,000 clinics and hospitals across the UK. Their journey began 26 years ago when two of the founders (Andy Berry, PhD and Andrew Charlton, PhD) began developing the world’s first Q switch laser. They were later joined by Jon Exley, PhD – another leading physicist at The University of Manchester – who set out to develop the world’s first IPL device. Unsurprisingly, Lynton’s technology remains some of the best in the world and they’re the only laser and IPL company to be listed on the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Between their amazing results, ongoing academic research, and quality manufacturing and training, there’s simply no comparison between cheaper devices and a company like Lynton.”
Both brands are designed and manufactured in the UK – why has that been important to you?
“As one of our first Lynton customers (who also happens to be an engineer himself) said to us the other day, ‘You just can’t beat British manufacturers. They over engineer everything, so it’s no mystery as to why they have machines still working 20 years after purchase.’ Both Lynton and Dermalux have won multiple awards for manufacturing excellence (Lynton won Best Manufacturer at the 2019 Aesthetic Awards, after Dermalux took home the title in 2018) and the performance and precision of their devices is simply unparalleled. The years Lynton spent perfecting their IPL technology can be seen in their specifications and results, and as Dr Exley told us, “Anyone can make an IPL, but it’s very difficult to make a really good IPL.” Just like a moisturiser, not all products are created equally, and it’s the same with devices. The “trade secret” customisation of Lynton flashlamps means that Lynton has the only IPL device capable of producing sub-millisecond pulsing with a 5-pulse train sequence and fully controllable delays. With a Lynton IPL device you can successfully and safely treat a wider variety of concerns and provide clients with results they will keep coming back for.”
Are Lynton devices accessible to the average beauty business owner, or are they aimed at high volume chains that can afford to spend more?
“We believe Lynton gives you the best of both worlds – superior quality and affordable price. There’s no denying there are some quality manufacturers already in the marketplace, but the high price of these devices means that a decent return on investment isn’t possible for many salon spa and clinics – unless they’re extremely high volume. This has led to the demand for cheap Chinese devices, and it’s why we know there’s a gap in the market for Lynton – a superior and more affordable alternative for salon owners.”
What does the future hold for PBS and your clients?
“We’ll continue to provide our salons with everything they need to build a profitable, predictable business that supports them and their families – world-class products and equipment, industry-leading education, free professional marketing resources, and solid business development. Lisa and I are so inspired by the energy we see our partners put into their businesses every day, and we’re grateful to be a part of their journey. Our number one goal is to have our salon partners be the most profitable in the industry, and we’ll keep providing them everything they need to make that happen.”
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