What’s so special about The Face Place? Leading cosmetic medicine expert and entrepreneur, Dr. Catherine Stone, shares the secrets to her success and reveals why so many women trust in her clinic.
The start of this new decade marks almost 20 years since you started The Face Place. If you think back to then, what would the 2001 Dr. Cat have to say about what you’ve gone onto achieve?
Gosh, I don’t think 26-year-old me would have ever dreamed what would happen over the next couple of decades. I think I’d be pretty blown away! When I started, it was just me. I invested everything I had in starting the business on $13,000 and I knew very little about running a business. So I think I’d be a little bit proud of how it has grown and the incredible team who have made The Face Place the amazing hub of innovation and education for cosmetic medicine that it is today.
I’ve been fortunate to be part of the launch of Botox into Australasia, play a major role in the TV program 10 Years Younger, be a finalist in EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, see my patients in London at one of the top Harley St clinics, as well as introduce innovations into the NZ industry in both cosmetic injectables and sexual rejuvenation. I think the 2001 me would be pretty stoked with how it’s turned out.
When you started, people didn’t know anything really about Botox. How would you describe now the public awareness for Cosmetic Medicine?
There has been a massive shift in awareness in Botox since I first started. I remember giving education seminars at hairdressers and beauty therapists to help people understand the concept. Public awareness and understanding shifted dramatically in NZ when Ten Years Younger hit top ratings in the mid-late 2000s and since then awareness has continued to grow.
What sort of shift have you noticed in terms of what is important to patients?
Our patients are very discerning and have become much more educated about cosmetic medicine. They are not looking for cheap options or a quick fix; they want personalised customer service, a tailored approach and longer-term care. Our team isn’t on commission, so you never get sold treatments that aren’t right for you. And of course, our people are some of the most highly trained in the industry.
In the very beginning, we may have had people who were simply curious to try Botox for the first time. Now, we have a long history of providing ongoing, personalised treatments for them. Our reputation is for beautiful natural-looking results, which we achieve by using lower doses more frequently – which often becomes more cost-effective, even if it may look like we charge more per unit or syringe. When it comes to cosmetic medicine, our patients also know less is more.
Tell us more about who your patients are and why they choose you?
Our main client base is professional women in their 30s, 40s and beyond. They want to succeed at work and know that, in many ways, their face is their business card. They want to be taken seriously – they don’t want to look cheap and tacky. Rather than wanting over-pumped lips, they prefer a judicious approach. It’s all about subtle tweaks that keep them looking like themselves, only better. Our patients have high standards, whether they’re just starting to climb the corporate ladder or are already at the top.
Another reason our patients choose us is that we have such a personalised approach and you become like family. We offer an in-depth consultation process so we really get to know your needs, because we want to nurture an ongoing relationship with you. There is always a professional yet very friendly atmosphere in our clinics and I think our patients really respond to that.
What’s been your proudest business moment along the way?
My biggest success that I think I’d be proud of is the amazing team, culture and patients that make TFP the success it is today!
As you grow your business with more staff, how do you retain the culture and values that you want The Face Place to stand for?
We have a very comprehensive recruitment and onboarding process, so once someone has gone through the process, we are relatively confident that they are a great ‘fit’ for our team culture. We communicate our culture and values right from the first (group) interview and give people the opportunity to leave if they don’t feel it’s a good fit. We tend to take on people who are passionate about what we do – hire great people, give them the direction, education, tools and support that they need and then allow them to work together as a team to do a great job and succeed!
We are different to a lot of places in that each clinician has a weekly ‘one on one’ with their team leader or a senior person, with a massive focus on support and ongoing education. It allows us to pick up any issues early on and helps everyone on the team feel heard, recognised and supported.
How do you balance health and time and friends and family and business?
Sometimes badly! As a business owner, it’s very easy to slip into full focus on work, so I have to remind myself often that it’s important to fill up my cup with other life elements. I have daily self-care rituals such as meditation, walking in nature, eating healthy, and working out – once it becomes a habit or ritual, you don’t even have to think about it.
I have a wonderful ‘work family’, as well as an incredibly supportive group of friends and family. They understand that I might not live in their pockets or talk every day, but I prioritise important life moments and events and I’m always there if needed.
You wrote recently about Instagram banning plastic surgery filters. What have you noticed about the pressure of social media on people and their self-perception of their appearance?
I really feel for young women today with the amount of social media pressure – this is a new phenomenon that can seriously affect their self esteem. While we ethically don’t treat patients under the age of 18 with cosmetic injectables, we do find younger women are increasingly enquiring about cosmetic medicine.
Our focus is on helping these people continue looking normal and beautiful, rather than regretting their decisions in a few years’ time.
Have you got a vision for your business in 2030?
Not yet! I couldn’t have imagined what happened in the first decade (TV, writing for Woman’s Day, training with the pioneers of cosmetic Botox, being in EY Entrepreneur of the Year), or in the second decade (almost losing everything, being invited to Richard Branson’s private island, doing a clinic in Harley Street, the clinic expanding to over 30 people), so I’m just open to whatever life has to throw at us for the next decade.
Our industry is so rapidly changing that what we do, at least in the way we do it, might even be obsolete in 10 years’ time! As AI, 3D printing, health personalisation and advanced robotics become more prevalent, we could potentially be replaced by machines over the next decade… who knows where the next few years will lead us!
And, as always, I’m excited to take new patients on a journey with us and help them live their best lives with great skin and increased confidence, so they feel beautiful inside and out.
What’s been the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Be open, curious and always learning, while practising discretion as to what you allow past your ‘filters’.
For example, at The Face Place, we only provide treatments that are safe, simple and effective, naturally-based and non-animal, medically-proven and that we would (and do) try on ourselves.
When we do trial anything, it then has to be high reward, low risk and good value for money. It means we are open and curious about anything that fits within these boundaries (and we’ve trialled a LOT of things that have never made it to being offered in clinic), however it cuts out a lot of work looking at things that don’t fit our values filters.
Are You Ready To Put Your Best Face Forward?
The first step on your journey with The Face Place is to come and see us for a full consultation, where we can assess your unique needs and inform and educate you about all your treatment options. This investment ($250) is deducted against the price of any treatments or products.
Choose either a Skin Consultation (for a skin assessment and recommendations of medical grade skincare and other treatments) or an Injectable Consultation (if you are interested in Botox, dermal filler or PRP).
Book online at thefaceplace.co.nz, call us on 0800 267 633 or pop in to see us at our Britomart or Takapuna clinics.
50 Customs Street East, Auckland, 1010
Level 1, 10 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, 0622