Industry Insider: Douglas Sykes from Advanced Esthetics Solutions

This month The Harley Street Journal meets Douglas Sykes, Director of Advanced Esthetics Solutions based in Cardiff, and finds out what it takes to run a successful product company in an ever-changing industry.

You’ve established Advanced Esthetics Solutions as a big player in the aesthetics industry. Having grown the company from grass roots, can you explain what the ethos is behind AES?

To offer tried-and-tested non-invasive solutions which make commercial sense. Our industry is driven by the consumer’s needs and the price that they are willing to pay for a result-driven treatment. From our grass roots it was important to work with partners that would listen and understand that the UK market is completely different to other parts of Europe, in both legislation and the hunger for new technologies.

AES provides non-surgical solutions for a variety of cosmetic concerns. Can you tell us more about the range of products and services you offer?

Our portfolio is broken down to three segments: Facial, Body Contouring, and Lasers. All our platforms have Medical CE with independent clinical studies and an abundance of pier reviews. Our protocols have also been written by medical officers, giving the end users total piece of mind. Also, being an owner of a medical clinic, all our devices are tested vigorously to make sure that we achieve the maximum results with 100 per cent consumer satisfaction.

What sets AES apart from other product and device distributors within this sector?

Unlike other distributors we do not distribute for just one brand, as it is our belief that no one company can manufacture the best of everything. Our facial and body platforms are manufactured in Israel by Pollogen, and their patent technology includes TriPollar, TriLipo, VoluDerm and the award winning Geneo+. Our lasers are manufactured in Italy by the Bios Group; their portfolio includes the Superbium – the most versatile multiplatform laser on the market – and the Square Epil, which is the first Alexandrite/Nd:YAG with a square spot of 27mm or round spot of 30mm. In summary we offer choice, and therefore our recommendation would be not be bias towards what we have, or not have, available.

What is the key to running a successful medical and cosmetic product company in today’s marketplace?

Customer service is paramount; treating customers the way we want to be treated ourselves. Honesty is vital too; if you sincerely believe that the client’s initial enquiry will not work for them, be honest. Avoid being a ‘box shifter’ and concentrate on being an educator, because the dividends will pay off. Understanding your market and the ability to change to market trends is also important.

Your company message is: ‘Pure Science. No Fiction.’ With so many energy-assisted devices now available in the UK, what makes the Lipofirm PRO, and other body contouring treatments you offer, stand apart in terms of technology?

Whilst we have seen considerable growth in the body contouring market in the UK most devices share the same technology, and therefore are not offering a point of difference. AES was one of the first companies seven years ago to introduce ultrasound cavitation and radio frequency all on one platform in the UK. Technology has moved on since then, and the Lipofirm PRO and Lipofirm MED set new standards in the body contouring arena with patented TriPollar technology and DMA (Dynamic Muscle Activation) delivering two technologies at the same time. It’s now possible to produce unrivalled results in less than 30 minutes.

The non-surgical market continues to grow within the aesthetics industry. Do you think consumers are turning their backs on traditional cosmetic procedures?

As owners of both a non-invasive and cosmetic surgery clinic, we haven’t seen a decline in the demand for surgical treatment (for example breast implants, where frankly there is no other alternative) but we have seen a dramatic increase in non-surgical/non-invasive aesthetic treatments such as dermal volumisation, which is a true credible alternative to dermal fillers. Also, the ability to make substantial circumference differences and reduce cellulite, without the significant downtime of surgery, is a contributing factor to the growth of our non-invasive treatments.

It’s clear 2017 is going to be a big year for the non-invasive aesthetics industry. How do you see AES evolving to stay ahead in a competitive marketplace?

At AES we have already scheduled the launch of new technologies for the next two years, with all the clinical trials, pier reviews and white papers in place. It is for this reason we believe we will continue with the significant growth we have enjoyed over the last five years.

As the director of a successful company within this sector, what advice would you offer others within the industry looking to grow their company or clinic?

Market trends change and any business must adapt to these changes. When embarking on an investment, look closely at the R.O.I and how realistic it is. Even if you’re dramatically reducing the manufacturer’s projected treatments, always look for return on investment within a maximum time of twelve months. Investing in technology that has all the clinical papers, and correct certification giving evidence and peace of mind to the claims they make, is vital. Also, understanding the origin of the manufacturer is important too, as we have a significant fluctuation in currency which could influence the price of purchasing parts going forward.