Inside Track Q&A: Anna Gunning, Clinical Director of Laser and Skin Clinic
Bringing FDA-approved skin, laser and injectable treatments to clients
Anna Gunning, Clinical Director of Laser and Skin Clinic
The Laser and Skin Clinic is an award-winning group of aesthetic clinics with locations in Dublin, Mullingar and Athlone.
Q What’s sets your business apart from the competition?
We remain at the forefront of the industry by continuing to provide only the most advanced FDA-approved skin, laser and injectable treatments to our clients. What sets us apart is maintaining and growing an all-encompassing group of aesthetic clinics, which are identical in treatment offering, technology, skill-set and standard of care.
All team members are trained to the highest standard and training is something we view as ongoing.
Q What was the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
A close friend once said to me when I was starting out that there will always be obstacles along the way but to keep positive and focus on my goals. Another great piece of advice I received was from my Mum when I was a teenager. She told me that I could do anything I chose if I set my mind to it.
Despite the fact that I was coming from a nursing background and knew very little about setting up my own business, I never let it stand in the way of what I wanted to do.
Q What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in business?
Hiring the wrong person to “fill the space” which has been costly in time and money. An experienced aesthetic nurse, doctor or therapist requires an exceptionally high level of expertise – there is a huge amount of commitment involved on both sides.
Q And your major success to date?
Expanding my business from one clinic to three equally performing successful clinics within the first five years was only a dream at first and now it’s a reality! Winning the award for Best Clinic Ireland 2015 and Best Clinic Group in the UK and Ireland 2016 at the Aesthetics Awards was another pinnacle moment for us. Especially as we were up against the cream of the crop in terms of UK Clinic Groups, and being judged by renowned experts in the field.
Q Who do you most admire in business and why?
I have great admiration for Marissa Carter as she is a self-made businesswoman who has achieved so much with her brand Cocoa Brown. She’s an inspiration to us all!
Q Based on your experience in the downturn, are the banks in Ireland open for business to SMEs?
Yes, I was very fortunate to have a great relationship with Ulster Bank. They have been a great support since I started the business. Over the past two years, there seems to have been a turnaround where people want to invest in their businesses again and banks are willing to lend.
Q What one piece of advice would you give to Government to help stimulate the economy?
I would advise the Government to support employers when recruiting young people who need to be trained up to a professional standard. The SME sector could be more supported in retailing as we are in constant competition with major international retailers for shop frontage. So many SME’s are disappearing from the main shopping streets, leaving every town in Ireland looking the same. SME’s are unique and bring something different and local to each town.
Q What’s been the biggest challenge you have had to face?
Speaking for myself and aesthetic clinics alike, the challenge of an unregulated industry in Ireland without guidelines in place to support aesthetic business owners and nurses within the aesthetic industry is ongoing.
Unfortunately aesthetic treatments can be carried out by unqualified people who give the industry a bad reputation. The public can be unaware and vulnerable to treatments that are unsafe, unethical and administered by someone who will not have the experience to deal with complications if they occur. European regulation is in the pipeline but this may take many years to implement which is cause for concern.
Q How do you see the short-term future for your business?
We are well established after 12 years and the fact we are growing year on year, even through one of the worst recessions in decades, our future looks very promising.
Q What’s your business worth and would you sell it?
Like anyone who has built their business from the ground up, I couldn’t possibly put a figure on it. I’ve been growing and expanding this business since 2004 to get it to the level it is at today. I feel now is the perfect time for the Laser and Skin Clinic to expand not to sell.