Moderator: Welcome to today’s episode of True To Form with your Host President and Cofounder of Crystal Clear, highly regarded speaker, and two times Inc 500 Entrepreneur – Tim Sawyer. True To Form is a podcast that highlights leaders making headway in the aesthetic, anti-aging, and elected medical industry. Learn from the experts to discover the secrets of success and pitfalls to avoid when growing all aspects of your elected medical practice. This week’s episode is brought to you by DermaConcepts, the exclusive distributor of Environ Skin Care, which provides the results driven at home and professional treatment products and technology backed by clinical studies and science that are a generation ahead of other skincare company.
DermaConcepts also provides industry leading education, marketing support and an innovative business model, guaranteeing ROI results for our practice and outstanding patient satisfaction. Please join me in welcoming your host, the authentic, the transparent, Tim Sawyer.
Tim Sawyer: Hello and welcome to True to Form, the podcast that connects you to the people technology in hot topics that shape the elected medical community provided to you by Crystal Clear Digital Marketing and brought to you by this week’s sponsor DermaConcepts, the exclusive distributor of Environ Skin Care. I’m your host Tim Sawyer and to all our returning guests we say welcome back, and for our first time listeners we appreciate you joining us and encourage you to become a subscriber. With that said, I’m super excited about our guest this week. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better we’re taking it to another level as promised we bring you the movers and the shakers.
And today we have two very special guests, well-known leaders in the aesthetic industry, and it is my pleasure to introduce to you Rob and Carol Trow. Rob and his wife Carol own DermaConcepts USA, exclusive distributors for Environ Skin Care for the United States as well as Rocasuba which has the same role for RapidLash products throughout North America Environ under Dr. Des Fernandes was the modern progenerator and world authority of modern medical needling vitamin A and C step-up systems in skincare. They’ve quickly become one of the fastest growing companies in the aesthetic field. Rob’s background includes two decades in higher education as a faculty member, administrator, and business consultant.
Rob was President of a private service company with revenue over 500 million before retiring. He joined his wife Carol to help grow Environ Skin Care into one of the leading niche brands. He has been in this skincare field for close to 20 years. Rob is also an authority in the business of skincare, has published over 100 articles for professional publications, and speaks frequently on current and emerging topics of interest at national and international meetings. He holds a bachelor’s degree, two master’s, and did his doctoral studies at Harvard University where he also taught CEOs, COOs and CFOs of major corporations in executive programs. His wife Carol is a nurse, began her career as a nurse later transitioning to the field of professional service marketing having served as Director of Marketing for a Fortune 1000 company.
Carol went on to found a marketing firm specializing in the field of practice enhancement for plastic surgeons, cosmetic dermatologists, lawyers, and CPAs. She has over 20 years in the medical skincare field including founding and serving as the President of DermaConcepts USA, the distributor of Environ Skin Care. She has co-authored with Rob over 100 published articles on the science of skin health and related topics. And with all that said again it is my pleasure and our honor to host the two of you. So welcome to the program guys and tell us a little about yourself Carol.
Carol Trow: Hi Tim, and thank you so much for that lovely introduction. I appreciate it. I had a very interesting past to the field of cosmetics, skincare. And it really started I would say over 25 years ago I was a registered nurse but my change in family structure, I became a single mom didn’t allow me to any longer do shift work those. And so I actually had to find a new path for working and for raising a family at the same time. I did go into marketing at that time and had probably about a 10 to 12 year experience in doing professional services marketing and I culminated in a position as Director of Marketing of a Fortune 1000 company.
This in turn allowed me to establish I would say again approximately maybe 28 years ago my own consultant firm helping plastic surgeons and derms fill their practices. One of my clients happened to serve as a resident in plastic reconstructive surgery under Dr. Fernandes in South Africa many years before and you may have friended Dr. Fernandes.
Tim Sawyer: I was going to ask you-
Carol Trow: And there is the connection.
Tim Sawyer: Yeah, okay, got it.
Carol Trow: Dr. Fernandes at that time was creating a skincare line mainly for his patients in South Africa that included vitamin A and the antioxidants because he realized the importance of vitamin A in skincare and had unfortunately lost to those young patients who came to him at a point that was really too late with melanoma. And he was determined at that time to find a product or the proper ingredients to help his South African population. One thing led to another, other patients wanted this product, they came to Dr. Fernandes just to get the product and he is sure that there was really a market for good skincare. He actually contacted Dr. Miller in Brookline, Massachusetts who at that time was the one of the leading plastic surgeons and reconstructive surgeons in the Boston area.
And he asked him to help market this line of products in the United States. Dr. Miller at that time asked me to help him and hired me to test market Environ Skin Care in the United States. And from there the rest is history. We now after two decades are the exclusive distributor of Environ Skin Care in the USA and the Caribbean with a full time field and office staff of over 50 amazing colleagues.
Tim Sawyer: Wow! First of all, congratulations.
Carol Trow: Well, thank you.
Tim Sawyer: That’s amazing.
Carol Trow: And the growth has been phenomenal and really we give so much credit to the wonderful staff that we have that has grown over the last 20 years with us. We’re still adding representatives and we’re still adding educated every year in a very planned manner though in order to ensure responsible growth. And we’re most proud that our client retention exceeds over 97.8% in five-year period.
Tim Sawyer: Well, I know, I can say this Carol that I travel and Rob knows as I do 35, 40 shows a year. And I am always so impressed with the folks that work with you and the knowledge you can tell they put the time and energy into really understanding the not only the economics and the business around skincare but the product itself, the ingredients, the Why, Environs Why and they internalize that and they can articulate it so well. And I’m always blown away every time I have a chance to need to be on a panel or speak with some of your representatives. But that said what I’m curious about is something about the product itself is God, it has to be fueling the growth.
So what is it about the product itself that makes it unique and what would be the value proposition for the surgeon who is opening a med spa or has a plastic surgery practice or a med spa, what is the product itself value proposition?
Carol Trow: I would say there are a couple of very important factors. We are not trend based; everything that we do in terms of formulating products are for a reason, every ingredient is placed into the formulation for a reason. It is not because something is a very hot topic right now. Basic formulation has never changed. We’ve added ingredients but the vitamin A antioxidants are there just as they were over 25 years ago. Since then of course based on scientific and clinical research we’ve added other types of ingredients such as peptides, hyaluronic acid, various hydroxy acids, growth factors, but the basic formula never ever changed.
And one very, very important thing that we do is we start our formulations low so that someone can get used to the ingredients gradually without a retinoid reaction and they can then continue their journey with Environ by increasing the strength of the products. It’s called our step-up system and it’s start low, go slow, and grow.
Tim Sawyer: Got it, got it.
Rob: And I think another point is that Environ is possibly the only and I say this without hesitation the only brand that has its own factory that’s a pharmaceutical grade factory where everything is done under nitrogen blankets red and yellow light, triple treated air and air locks, the same that is used in hospital operating rooms. So the products are made with the utmost of integrity. The other is that everyone who works in the factory is gowned, booted, wearing hoods and masks. So it actually qualifies as a pharmaceutical factory. We’re the first brand to use airless pumps throughout the line except if the product has acid. We’re so exclusively through medical affiliated practices.
We have no online sales. We have the step up system that Carol had mentioned. So the only brand that’s been certified by the Swiss Vitamin Institute for the level, quality and effectiveness of its ingredients and they’re tested every batch is tested. We make products every two weeks. We also have developed a complete serious of pre and post procedures for all of the cosmetic work whether it’s lasers, blepharoplasty, a facelift, liposuction, tummy tucks so that we can enhance the results that a trained plastic surgeon, dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon gets. When all that is wrapped around what we are primarily is yes we have the best products and probably every brand you talk to says they have the best products and the best ingredients. We do but in addition to that we’re known for extraordinary professional training development and education for staff. We offer over –.
Tim Sawyer: I want to make sure that I want to stop here for a second because one, as I mentioned my observation is the people that you have on your team and let’s talk about the business of business for a second. The people that you have on your team are extraordinarily informed, well prepared, articulate and Carol as well talk a little bit about your philosophy in terms of how are you attracting this quality talent and then your philosophy towards training them?
Carol Trow: Well, one thing is that Rob and I always look at each other and say our team is so much smarter than we are and we’re so proud of that fact. They are extremely dedicated, passionate and that’s a very strong word that I don’t use lightly they all have passion for the industry, for the products, for forming wonderfully productive and strategic relationships with their clients. To me that’s one of the most important factors that we have is that we are strategic partners.
Tim Sawyer: Right.
Rob: I think one of the unique things which some people may criticize us for but for us it worked well. We have no little management. Most companies have area sale directors, vice president for marketing, vice president for sales; we’re in some ways we’re an educator and [Indiscernible] [00:15:18] culture, that if you don’t have grit we’re not the right place to work. If you need someone to tell you what to do every day, we’re a horrible company. However, if you’re motivated and want to in effect run your own business though it’s actually not a business here we have salaries and commissions all those, they do extremely well. We also don’t do in the industry which is reduce commissions or cut territory.
When in other words, if someone gets up to 100 counts it’s not .unusual for a skincare company to bifurcate the territory, bring in someone else and then the rep has to work harder again to build up their practice. We do allow reps which we pay for they have some reps under them. But it’s a family, it’s loyalty and it’s very empowering. If you don’t have a grit we’re a bad company. One of the statistics that we’re proud of and we’re not perfect, if someone makes it through the first year, year-and-a-half outside of marriage, you will be away, we haven’t had anybody leave our company.
We feel precedented and they’re all recruited by other companies all the time. And yes, they’re highly compensated because we don’t invest in this middle management but they’re highly empowered. They’re invested in their own future and their own success and they can grow to having compensation levels well into the mid six figures.
Tim Sawyer: Wow! That’s amazing.
Carol Trow: Yeah, and they are really our works family. We call them our extended family. We believe in treating everyone as we would want to be treated. And I think they appreciate this tremendously and give back to us and to their clients because of it. Work, family balance is so important to us and we always say family is first and we truly believe that.
Tim Sawyer: Well, and by virtue of the fact that the two of you are on the call together as husband and wife running this business together. And as you mentioned prior to the opening Carol that you’re spending every waking minute would rub. First of all, congratulations to both of you on that.
Carol Trow: Thank you, Tim. I know a lot of people question how that works.
Tim Sawyer: Go ahead Rob.
Rob: Is this a good time for me to ask Carol for a raise?
Carol Trow: You know, Tim we love well, we live well and we work well together. So we’re so fortunate for all of those things. And I really believe that since I asked Rob to be my assistant many years ago it’s really worked well, he has grown nicely.
Tim Sawyer: That’s amazing. And so how do you guys see? So I had a couple of questions for you and these questions come up and they’re common questions around skincare. And what do you say to the person who if you think about all the priorities that an elected medical practice has and they say well, I want to have my own skincare line. To me it feels like probably not always the greatest move but how would you talk someone through that who thinks or desires to have their own skincare line?
Rob: There are a couple of points. First of all, it is very self-aggrandizing to someone to have their name on products. The quality of most of the products are not as good as a top branded product. Sometimes the products mix ingredients with different pHs. We have a label may look good but it cancels the efficacy of each ingredient. But more importantly when you deal with a good company you’re getting a tremendous battalion of people who are going to grow your practice. They’re going to grow your practice by training your staff. Companies like ours also provide at no cost courses in retail selling because most people who enter the aesthetic field have not thought about selling; they don’t teach it.
We teach them about cross-selling and upselling. We teach them how to do procedures so that they can enhance the results for their patients. We teach them the importance of healthy skin. We run programs on staff compensation on how they can motivate their staff. We run courses on skin analysis. We do exams, training — there is a statistics that Carol and I always are amazed at. We offer over a thousand two-day in-residence training programs a year. We offer over a thousand half and full-day programs, and we offer in practice over 4000 onsite programs a year. We are an education company, we’re a strategic partner as Carol said, we also participate with practices on patient education programs.
And if you read and look at everything we’ve done none of it is branded Environ we’re DermaConcepts. It’s product neutral, it’s education, we even have people from other companies come. Our goal is to increase the success of procedures for helping practices retain their staff. Most people don’t realize it but most aesthetic support staff stay at a location for two to three years and then move on. So you have to constantly retrain and support. So you lose that with the private label plus with a private label is usually a big buy in. We turn our whole company inventory and this is another amazing statistics in 45 days everything is turned.
Carol Trow: So also it shows that everything is fresh. And besides moving fast it is fresh on our shelves and that’s very important to us. We do have expiration dates on every product and that’s really best to use by dates. But we do that to show that really it’s very important to us that people use the products as they would buy milk, buy it as fresh as it is made.
Tim Sawyer: Well, and I really, I love – I really love the culture that you guys have created. It’s amazing to me and of course I’ve had the pleasure of meeting these incredible people that work with you. And in fact we’ll be onsite with Candez [Phonetic] [00:23:15] this weekend in LA, I think she is going to be in LA at a show.
Carol Trow: Well, that’s a real treat. Candez is amazing as our Director of Education and Training. She has grown with us over the past 13 years and she is a true leader in this industry and a pleasure to listen to when she presents not only her wonderful South African accent which is beautiful but the knowledge that she has.
Tim Sawyer: In full disclosure she is my favorite presenter and I listen to a lot of people present and I can listen to that accent all day.
Carol Trow: Exactly.
Tim Sawyer: But I really give you credit because like I said that the people that you’ve built a really strong culture. And now I’m learning by speaking with the two of you why that is because you put so much time and thought into your people. And I also love the idea that you’re an education company, right and that your group is not just focused on hey, I’ve got to get my five skews into this med spa or this derm practice but they really do want to partner. And I think that is lost a lot of times on the busy practice manager who is just trying to check boxes and say okay, I need a skincare line and I’m not sure they think through all the advantages or benefits associated with a strong partner. And I hope that’s one of the takeaways for our listeners is that in getting a great skincare line is important.
But getting a great skincare partner who can teach, train, educate, motivate and then also help understand that there is a sales component to this, right. In other words, somebody has to educate the client and be willing to ask. And Carol, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this because this comes up all the time, right. So you have the reluctance sometimes at the front desk the person who is at the front desk was they didn’t hire me to sell stuff. But the retail is such an important component not only in the economics of the practice of the med spa. But also if you think about it, the person is going to buy a skincare products somewhere, right.
So they’re going to go spend $1500 on treatments, procedures, whatever it is. And then it amazes me how many practices lack to focus on that retail component and they let the person walk out knowing that they’re going to go buy some products that are not going to enhance that $1500 investment. And so what would you guys say to that that front office culture that says well, no one hired us to sell stuff?
Carol Trow: Tim, you’re so right in saying this. And actually it’s not only the person at the front desk often it’s the aesthetician as well who really is afraid to sell as such. And we always say it’s not selling, it’s educating. That patient, that client is coming to them for a reason. First of all, they’re coming in for a treatment. They now want to know what should I do to continue this expert treatment that I’m getting and continue the results at home. It is really up to the aesthetician first of all to do a consultation, to find out the background, the medical history, the lifestyle of this person.
And while they’re giving the treatment or right after the treatment is over to explain what was used in the treatment room and how they can continue with products at home that will continue these wonderful results because you can get a treatment once every month or once every six weeks but it’s really what you do at home, that is most important. And we believe in educating all levels within that office from the doctor to the nurse, to the aesthetician, to the front office person.
Rob: But it’s important to us also to make sure that these folks want to get a full product regime to use themselves so they can see the results personally. Second of all, we have of which we provide incentive programs for practices to reward people who are successful sellers and marketers as a strategic partner. And lastly, we have the ability to create the [indiscernible] [00:28:42] branded signature services for each practice, so that we have 15 peel treatment options for residence training, free body treatments, over 15 basic facial treatment options. We offer devices that enhance the efficacy of topical skincare products including cosmetic rollers in the family of beauty appliances.
But most importantly all right, we have people who will come into their practice and provide treatments for the staff so they can experience. Many times people who are in aesthetic practices or like the shoemaker who has a whole of issues he is still busy running around, he hasn’t fixed his shoes so we make it a point to go in and offer treatments which has to do with our marketing and growth strategy. If you’ve ever looked at a wagon wheel, a wagon wheel has a hub in the center. And then there is spokes that go out from the wagon wheel. We grow territories very carefully as Carol mentioned earlier.
So when we start a territory we have a rep and a trainer at this hub and then we try to only stay within two and a half hours in every direction from that hub so that we can provide a tremendous amount of attention. And that’s how we grow. We don’t add 20 reps immediately. We grow in this planned way and when we took over all the other distributors at the request of the matter of fact we have 2013 from 2013 to 2016 we doubled our sales. 2017 we were up 23%, 2018, 22% and we’re on the trend to do something similar this year. And it’s because of our team in the field they are as Carol said they are extraordinarily dedicated professionals who take great joy in seeing their clients be successful.
And they understand that there is more success their client have, the more successful they are personally and financially.
Carol Trow: The other thing that I just want to add Tim is that we teach our sales and training staff to listen to our customers’ needs, not to go in and talk only about our products. First we need to listen to what their needs are and then we are solution providers. And we teach them in turn to do this with their clients, to listen to the clients, listen to what their needs are, what their history is, what they find are their concerns and then to provide the proper products based on what both the client is saying and what the trained professional sees.
Tim Sawyer: Right, I’ll tell you what. It’s like sitting in my living room. First of all, I’m sitting in my living room but sitting in my living room with you guys and you’re like we could sit and talk all day. And it’s really genuinely refreshing because I know like I said a lot of the team members that you guys, you function with integrity, you absolutely are the only way. And to Rob’s point about the growth trajectory of the business, you can get away with something once or twice and make some claims that gets you down the road a little bit. But you’re not going to see that sustainable growth unless you’re doing as many things right as you possibly can, functioning with integrity, building a strong culture, growing a great team, compensating those people correctly.
And it’s always amazing to me Rob and Carol when I talk to the folks who work with you how much respect they have for the two of you. And when you’re at a show and you meet people who work for someone or who work with someone however you want to define it they don’t always have the most glowing commentary about the folks they work for which blows me away. But I can tell that you guys are doing this the right way. So as we wind down Rob and then also Carol what would be if you had in 30 seconds or a minute some advice for that company that practice that’s contemplating okay, what’s my next move in terms of a reach out product. What’s the advice that you would give to them in terms of that decision making process?
Rob: First is there is no such thing as one size fits all. So we don’t necessarily think someone should only carry one line. I know that sounds silly but there should be some diversity, some people like the fluff and buff product. Some people want a serious medical product that will produce results. But the most important thing is they need to get somebody who is interested in their success who brings added value. When you go with private label or some brands that don’t have a real commitment to their success and we’ll listen to them and partner with them from education, events, products, marketing, merchandizing support, incentive programs to their staff, don’t compete, the biggest trend is most skincare brands, they’re selling direct from their own website to their patients.
When you spend a lot of time and effort educating one of your patients on why they should use this product and then have to go on the internet and buy it through someone else is very disheartening. So you want this policy where they don’t have authorized online sales where they don’t have direct solicitation of patients, where they will create branding for your practice. And the other and I’m not trying to sound sort of me asserted about this but I would say most of the people who are entering into the cosmetics field through med spas or any cosmetic services to their practice don’t really understand the business and they need someone who understands the business. Carol?
Carol Trow: And I would say embraced organizations and brands of a strategic partners not only in thought but indeed. Basically, they should look for a good partner who really, really cares as much about them as the brand. And that they should be looking for a teammate. A teammate who listens, who is not just an order taker but someone who provides education and strategic partnership and finds ways to be distinctive and to follow the advice of that brand. And if the brand is providing that advice providing excellence in education and strategic partnership for their events for merchandizing for all of their needs. So they really have to find the true partner in the cosmetic [Indiscernible] [00:36:42].
Rob: The last thing I would add is look for a company and figure out how they treat their staff, because if they don’t treat their staff as the crown jewels of the company they’re certainly not going to treat their clients any better.
Tim Sawyer: I think that’s very prophetic and as I said as someone who is in the field all the time I culturally speaking you guys have nailed it and I give you all the credit in the world for that.
Carol Trow: Thank you Tim.
Tim Sawyer: And so what’s coming up next for you guys. I know like I said you’ve got Candez will be out in Los Angeles this weekend. Do you guys have any shows coming up? Are you writing a book Rob? What’s going on?
Carol Trow: We have about 20 trade shows that will be and they’re mostly medical trade shows that we will be part of. We always have some new products on the horizon so those will be introduced over the next probably I’d say six to 12 months. And we’re always looking at new devices, new technology, things that will enhance our effectiveness of our products. [Overlapping conversation]
Tim Sawyer: I got to get people to work gold rollers for the neck. I keep saying I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.
Rob: We have something better for them then.
Tim Sawyer: It’s always telling me Tim, she grabs my little turkey gobbler and say, Tim you got to get one of those rollers buddy. [Multiple Speakers]
Rob: Tim, we’re coming out, we’ve just test marketed a new device that we’ve been working on for five years. Our first order, it took us five years to develop it and have someone build it properly. Our first order of 25 units was sold out in the first week. So the next order is coming in, it’s a tri-modality device that combines [Indiscernible] [00:39:00] in microwave current in third generation pico-current. We also have been selected [indiscernible] [00:39:08] exclusive US distributor of GlycoAla which is an extraordinarily efficacious product. And on the Environ front we have three or four new products coming out in 2020 that will be a generation ahead of existing products. We just revised our eye gel with a unique hyaluronic acid that holds twice as much moisture as any of the hyaluronic acid in the world. So there is always good stuff coming.
Tim Sawyer: Well, let me ask you if someone who is listening to the podcast would like to connect with you guys, what’s the website and I don’t know if it’s Carol or Rob do you have an email address if someone wanted to reach out through the question?
Carol Trow: Sure. Well, first of all, the website is www.dermaconcepts.com. And I can give you our email addresses it’s firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. And we look forward to speaking to whoever would like to call we’re always so interested in talking to other colleagues around the country.
Tim Sawyer: Well, I’ll tell you what –.
Rob: Everyone has their cellphones. Customers can call us directly. And as far as I know we’re as involved if not more involved with any owners of a company in the day-to-day business. Carol’s cellphone is 617-694-4402 and mine is 617-694-4401.
Tim Sawyer: Those are Boston numbers, aren’t they?
Rob: They are.
Carol Trow: They are because our offices are in Massachusetts, the warehousing office and we do have a training center in Delray Beach, Florida as well.
Tim Sawyer: Good for you guys. Well, first of all, once again thank you so much for taking the time to come on and spend some time with us today. I know our listeners are going to love it. You guys are amazing. You’re the culture that you’ve created speaks for itself and like I said, you know you can tell from an outside observers standpoint and that’s a function of integrity and a function of who you guys are as humans. Most importantly and Rob in our interactions I appreciate who you are as a human. And hopefully Carol, you and I can meet each other out on the road soon.
Carol Trow: I look forward to it Tim.
Tim Sawyer: I’ve been home for a long time. It’s almost been two weeks realistically, and I head out this weekend and I’ll be straight out to, I’ll actually be at AmSpa – American Med Spa Association in Orlando this weekend, so I’m not sure who you guys will have it that but we’ll be spending some time together in doing a panel with one of the DermaConcepts, the Environ reps and I look forward to that. And so I wish you all the best of luck, both of you the best of the luck in the back half of the last quarter of 2019 and into 2020.
And I look forward to getting to know you better. So I want to thank you for joining us today guys. DermaConcepts.com, Environ they’ve got the greatest people in the world. We encourage you to reach out to them and as always we want to thank Crystal Clear for putting this on crystalcleardm.com. Thank you very much Rob and Carol and I wish you guys safe travel in the future. I appreciate it.
Carol Trow: Thank you Tim.
Moderator: Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of True To Form brought to you by DermaConcepts, the exclusive distributor of Environ skincare. To learn more about this week’s podcast sponsor visit dermaconcepts.com. And to learn more about your podcast provider Crystal Clear, visit crystalcleardm.com. Be sure to subscribe to the show on all of your favorite music ads including iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and tune into stay up-to-date with the newest episodes. Thank you for listening.
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