SSKIN salon is one of the Gold Coast’s finest beauty hubs – nestled near the banks of the Nerang River in Bundall, Queensland. The salon is the recipient of multiple accolades, including ‘Best Injectors’ and ‘Best Beauty Therapist’ on the Gold Coast. Co-founders of SSKIN Amy and Emily Hembrow chat to Shania OBrien about opening an award-winning salon, COVID-19 lockdowns, and the beauty industry.
Tell us why you set up SSKIN?
“We wanted to create a space where we wanted to go ourselves; a space that focused on the whole experience from the moment you are greeted all the way through to your aftercare. To be honest, there wasn’t somewhere on the Gold Coast that we would 100 percent recommended to our friends and family. We were always passionate about beauty but with our business background, we knew we could create a strong brand and business plan based on our in-depth knowledge of the customer and experience we wanted to create.”
What accolades has SSKIN won since its inception?
“Since opening in August 2020 we have been finalists in the ABIA awards in four categories; finalists at The Business News Australia Young Entrepreneur Awards; won The Gold Coast Bulletin’s Best Beauty Therapist of the Year for two years in a row; and taken first and second place for the Gold Coast Bulletin’s Best Injector on the Gold Coast competition.”
How many rooms do you have? Can you tell us about the atmosphere at SSKIN?
“We have four treatment rooms each themed by a colour: our Rose room, Ocean room, Sage room and Lavender room. SSKIN provides a beauty experience that is calming, bespoke, and luxurious.”
It is such a lovely space – can you give us an insight into the salon interior, how did you go about choosing the style?
“The interiors approach aims to focus on the notion of sculpture by implementing organic forms and tactility; and employs a colour palette that is indicative of skin tone gradients, with complimentary earthy accents.
Main features include the recessed shelving for retail display and decor elements, custom upholstered treatment chairs for the room colour blocking. Plush furniture with unusual forms, statement point of sale counter made from travertine stone, large custom mirror for user generated content, concrete custom sinks, colour blocking in treatment rooms and textural wall finishes.
Each element works to evoke feelings of relaxation, interest, and luxury. Prompting customers to interact with the space whether it be through the textures, emotion, or social media. We were able to achieve this effect through customer feedback, social posts, and the feelings that the clinic evokes.”
Can you tell us a bit about the products you stock and use at SSKIN?
“We take a holistic approach to treating our clients, so we treat both topically and internally. Currently we stock Medik8 Professional and retail and Vida Glow as our supplement brand. We have been doing extensive research because we are looking to bring one other skincare brand into the clinic but it has to be aligned with our brand and holistic views.”
Can you give us some details about your PRF treatment?
“Platelet-Rich Fibrin (PRF) is a new step in the aesthetic world, providing an all-natural solution for facial rejuvenation and the treatment of hair thinning. Developed in France, it has been hailed in the industry as the second generation PRP due to its incredible regenerative properties.
Unlike traditional Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP), this technique allows fibrin to remain in the injectable portion of the sample, triggering the activation of platelets. This very process is what sets PRF apart from all other aesthetic treatments. Injection of the PRF containing the activated platelets increases the local concentration of growth and healing factors. PRF also stimulates wound repair over a prolonged period of time, leading to increased cell production.
PRF can be used to treat various skin concerns such as pigmentation, scarring, enlarged pores, texture and tone, tightening and firmness. The treatment can also improve fine lines and wrinkles, tackle alopecia, hair thinning, and hair loss.
Areas that can be treated include around the eyes, cheeks, neck, décolletage, scalp, and the backs of hands.”
Can you tell us about your naturopath services?
“We determined that holistic treatment is the best way to ensure impeccable results for everyone who comes to SSKIN, as everything connects to each other. Therefore, we offer a referral program for appointments with Clinical Naturopath Brooke Oke from Goodkind Naturopathy. We have Brooke in clinic on Thursdays offering her services to our clients and have seen some truly amazing results.
Brooke has quickly established herself as a women’s health Naturopath, supporting so many individuals on the Gold Coast already. She has completed over eight years of tertiary education and practiced as a Registered Nurse specialising in mental health for almost a decade.”
What is your most popular treatment?
“Our most popular skin treatment is Skin Needling. All of our clients absolutely love the results, and first-time clients also walk away with a complimentary at-home care kit.”
Can you tell us about opening during the pandemic and how that faired for you?
“During the renovation of SSKIN, we faced many obstacles. We had planned to have all building completed by April 2020. With the pandemic we had to strip back our builders to only one person on site at a time. There were also delays in materials and fixtures. Some of our suppliers also had to cancel our orders as small businesses were hit hard by the pandemic.
We sat down with our design team and project manager via Zoom to reassess our plan and timeline. We realised we had to supplement and change initial design features, and source from local suppliers who had stock on hand. This was a very slow process in comparison to our initial timelines. With regular Zoom meetings and constant communication, we were able to source new suppliers and progress with caution.
Because of this, we took our time and readjusted certain elements that could have derailed us. It saved us money in building fees long-term as we could make little tweaks to the plan before ordering materials. We were fortunate enough that by the time the build was complete beauty clinics were able to reopen in Queensland.”
What do you wish you knew before getting into the beauty industry?
“That you need to be able to pivot and adapt to your climate. We had to implement some contingency plans early in our business journey due to COVID-19. For example, we had to adapt our business plans and think outside the box for revenue streams that could keep the business afloat in case of lockdowns. It was evident the services industry has a very different model to the e-commerce industry we have previous experience with.”
What is your favourite part about the industry?
“We love the beauty industry because of its strong community that empowers women. We have built some great relationships over the years, [and are always eager to learn more going forward. There are so many great mentors and industry leaders who have helped us get to where we are], and we would love to pay it forward when we get the chance.”
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