Irish beauty chain Sisu opens first US clinic

Move marks global expansion of Cork-based company

Sisu Miami

Irish cosmetic treatment chain Sisu has opened its first US clinic in Florida, one of a number of clinics planned for the US in the coming months as targets significant growth in the market.

Chief executive and cofounder Pat Phelan said the company planned to have 10 clinics in the US by the end of the year, with five open in London and an additional clinic in Dublin, in Castleknock also planned. The company is also looking at property in Boston and Chicago.

Sisu currently has 17 clinics open, including the latest US site; that number of set to expand to 31 by the end of the year.

“We’re building a global brand,” Mr Phelan said. “In July we’ll be opening in the US, UK and Ireland new locations in one month.”

Located at The Shops at Merrick Park, Sisu’s latest clinic sits alongside retailers such as Nordstrom, Gucci, J Crew, Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus. It will focus on botox and dermal fillers, as well as permanent fat reduction and a collection of Sisu exclusive treatments. The company is aiming to fill a gap in the market, with a patient-centric approach to cosmetic medicine.

Mr Phelan founded Sisu with doctors Brian and James Cotter in 2018, having previously sold his former business, the payment fraud detection company Trustev to Transunion in a $44 million (€37.7 million) deal two years earlier.

The Miami clinic has been some time in the planning, with the company’s expansion into the US delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We researched a lot. One of the things we did was a patient segment study that looked at who would consume our treatments, who our patients are and how they operated in their general day to day lives,” said Brian Cotter. “The provision of the service here in the US is, is it’s quite sub-par. A lot of times you had people who were getting treatments for a long time, they knew nothing about the product. They didn’t know how these things worked. It was a case of they just got it, they’d hop up on the couch and they had it done. And we think that’s a big opportunity in the States for us, you have these visually stunning clinics but you give a very different in room experience. Everybody says bringing a cosmetic clinic or aesthetic clinic to America - excuse the pun - there’s almost like a raised eyebrow to it. It is here, but we can do much, much, much better.”

Sisu has raised $11 million in funding to date, with a $5.5 million round designed to support its US expansion. The company is now focusing on clinics in New York, Texas and Florida.

“From Cork to New York: often when I say to people, they kind of start laughing,” said Dr Cotter. “But the success at home has allowed us to drive things on in the US.”

Part of its strategy includes making a number of key hires in the US. Sisu appointed a US vice-president of operations to help deliver on that promise, with Drybar’s former vice president of operations Cristina Kennedy taking up the role a few months ago.

“I’ve done this a number of times, and this is the strongest bench I’ve seen,” said Mr Phelan. “Though I will say probably the difficult part is because we have very high expectations. It’s hard to get people.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist