A Clear Vision
When Eric Schweiger, M.D., opened his dermatology clinic, Schweiger Dermatology, four years ago in New York City, he quickly noticed a skincare niche that wasn’t necessarily being addressed—the management of acne. “I realized about half my patients were acne patients, and there were no other dermatologists focusing on acne—everyone was doing cosmetic and anti-aging,” says Schweiger. “I wanted to focus on acne scarring, offer laser and lights, and take insurance to help my acne and acne-scar patients really improve their quality of life. I wanted to make treatment more accessible than booking an appointment at a doctor’s office.”
With this in mind, he decided to cater to these clients by creating Clear Clinic, which debuted alongside his midtown dermatology practice and features products and services that specifically treat the unsightly condition. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, there are three New York City Clear Clinic outposts paired with Schweiger Dermatology practices in Midtown East, the Financial District, and the Flatiron District, and business is thriving. “We opened our first Schweiger Dermatology office in 2010, and in early 2011, we added Clear Clinic to the practice,” says Schweiger. “In September 2012, we opened our Flatiron location. In 2013, we doubled the size of our Midtown office and opened another location in the Financial District. We’ve gone from two to 58 employees in the past three years and have grown to more than 25,000 patients in our database.”
Under the supervision of Schweiger, Clear Clinic is staffed by board-certified dermatologists, board-certified physician assistants, licensed clinical estheticians, makeup artists, and mental health professionals to fully provide patients with complete care. From extractions and cortisone injections to cutting-edge lasers and fillers, Clear Clinic uses a multipronged approach to treat acne and acne scars, and patients receive a customized plan tailored to their specific needs. Here, learn how Schweiger has found success with his acne-focused skincare spas.
How did you come up with the concept for Clear Clinic, and why do you think the business has been able to succeed in a marketplace as competitive as Manhattan?
A. There’s an unmet need for acne care in New York City. There are more than 300 dermatologists in Manhattan, and most are focusing on anti-aging. We’ve been able to deliver outstanding care to acne patients, and we are rewarded with return visits and referrals to their friends.
How has Clear Clinic continued to succeed in these trying times?
A. The reason we’ve been able to succeed is because acne is a condition that needs to be treated, as opposed to a condition that people just want to treat. When people cut back on discretionary spending, they cut back on their Botox and fillers, not their acne treatments.
How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?
A. We deliver excellent service. As soon as we learn about a new and effective technology or product, we invest in it. Our biggest referral method is word of mouth. You make one patient happy, and he or she tells 10 patients.
What do you do to keep your offerings fresh and current?
A. We always have the newest technology and the newest products. When there’s a new technology, we invest in it right away.
How do you use digital marketing and social media to boost business?
A. I don’t think they necessarily do boost business. Social media engages clients and allows us to stay connected with them and have ongoing conversations.
What cost-cutting measures did you employ to offset tough economic times?
A. We took the opposite approach and continued to invest in the best technology. The market will always reward businesses with superior products and superior results. We decided not to make cuts and instead rode it out. If you scale down, you have to scale up again.
What have you learned from surviving difficult economic times, and how do you plan to incorporate those lessons in the future?
A. We were at a competitive advantage, because we were going against the grain. I have learned to focus on delivering results, offering the best services, and staying true to my vision.—Compiled by Julie Keller Callaghan