SkinSpirit Skincare Clinic and Spa

Opened in Palo Alto, CA, in 2003, SkinSpirit Skincare Clinic and Spa has since grown to become one of the country’s top destinations for aesthetic skin- and bodycare, with five locations in California and three in Washington. Although cofounder and CEO Lynn Heublein had been working in the tech world, she didn’t feel personally connected to it. Wanting to find a better work-life balance, she took a sabbatical to figure out her next step. During that time, she met plastic surgeon Michael Dean Vistnes, M.D., who believed in a need in the skincare market for Botox and other injectables. Aiming to bring together cutting-edge products and services in a luxe spa-like setting, Heublein and Vistnes, who serves as medical director, launched the SkinSpirit concept, which offers a variety of facials, Botox and other injectables, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal, vitamin injections, and more. “We’ve expanded to eight locations in the past 10 years and have seen a compound annual growth rate in revenue of more than 30 percent during this period,” says Heublein. Here, she shares how controlled growth helps ensure the brand maintains its reputation for quality.

[Q+A]

To what do you attribute SkinSpirit Skincare Clinic & Spa’s success?

We focus on recruiting the best people, making sure they are expertly trained before they see any client, and making sure their skills continue to develop as the industry evolves. Our training is focused on providing our clients with the most natural results possible. We also have a very smart medical director and expert team working with him that curates all the treatments and products we offer. We don’t want to promote anything we don’t believe in 100 percent. We back this up with exceptional customer service to make sure our clients are happy with their experience and value what we provide them.

How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?

Repeat clients come back because of the experience, quality, and value of our services. New clients come primarily through word of mouth from our very happy, beautiful, and natural-looking clients.

How do you use digital marketing and social media to boost business?

Our products and services are highly researched, so we invest in SEO to help us be on top of relevant searches. We also use paid search and post frequently to Instagram and Facebook to tell a story about our brand.

What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced in growing the business?

Our greatest challenges are finding the right people to join our team and ensuring we have consistency across all our locations. We are highly selective and have high standards for practitioner competency. This has kept us from growing super fast like other larger multi-unit or franchise businesses. However, we are not unhappy growing at a slower pace, as our mission is to be the best, not the biggest. Besides the quality control limits of our growth, another big challenge is what bad competitors do to the category. Places that have unskilled or untrained practitioners, of which there are many, can do poor work that looks unnatural or asymmetrical. This makes all of us look bad and perpetuates consumers’ fears about looking weird if they get aesthetic work done. The reality is that you only notice the bad work, because good outcomes don’t look like anything has been done.

How do you keep the treatment menu fresh and relevant? 

There is a lot of investment taking place in the skincare and anti-aging category by many product and device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, so there is a lot from which to choose. We bring in new treatments and products on a regular basis but are highly discerning about what we add. We want to make sure the technology is safe and will give a good result for the majority of clients. There are lots of things that are flashy, but often these companies over promise and over hype their benefits. We do the work for the consumer, so they don’t have to worry about whether a treatment is effective or risky. On average, we bring on two to three new services and three to five new retail products per year. As we’ve been in business for more than 10 years, we have a very broad menu of options.

What plans do you have for the future?

We plan to grow our business on a slow and steady basis so we can maintain quality and opportunities for our staff to grow with our company. Our newest location in San Francisco just opened in December 2016. We’ll be looking to expand after we’ve made sure we’ve got everything on track there. We’ll probably make a decision about what’s next in the middle of 2017.

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