Find out what it really takes to make it in the beauty business

Amy Bowie is shaking up the beauty industry with treatments unique to South Africa


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This article forms part of the Youth Month 2015 series in which SME South Africa, throughout the month of June, will highlight the work of young entrepreneurs and innovators who are shaping SA's future.

Amy Bowie, founder of medical aesthetic treatment clinic, Pulse Dermatology & Laser in Cape Town, found a niche in the local beauty industry by offering treatments and products, most of which are unique to South Africa.

This 26-year-old really knows her stuff and enjoys what she does. She spent six years in the United Kingdom (UK), training and working alongside world-renowned dermatologists and plastic surgeons.  And she worked with famous clients such as Kate Moss.

In 10 years time, she would like to have three clinics across South Africa, a television show and a book on Aesthetics. 

These are her top strategies to stand out in a competitive industry. 

1. Don’t import an international success to SA without doing your homework. The South African cosmetic market is different to the UK. Plastic surgery is common overseas and often the first choice amongst consumers. But South Africans are different. In my Cape Town clinic, patients are more cautious and look for non-surgical alternatives.

2. Become famous for customer service. I always treat my patients as if I were in their shoes. I make a point of really listening to them and what they need.

 3. Be confident and sincere. You don’t have to stand back if you happen to be a young person in business – just be yourself.  Be knowledgeable and confident as this makes it easier for clients to trust you.  

4. Don’t be a jack of all trades. Steer away from diluting your offering and rather focus on an aspect of your business you can execute well. For example, I decided to focus on skin and body aesthetic treatments and not diversify into nails and massage.

Put a face to your brand 

Bowie makes use of a wide variety of marketing methods and platforms to reach different audiences. If your business is still unknown to the market, or perhaps needs a re-introduction to consumers, you have to do everything you can to become visible. 

● I invite journalists for trial treatments and in exchange they write reviews and articles about my product or service.  
● I set up exhibition stalls at events and in shopping centres. This is a good way to interact with potential clients directly and give treatment advice.  

Don’t blend in – stand out

● Get all the experience you can if you are new to business. I was like a sponge soaking up knowledge in various workplaces.
● Always stay true to your idea. Your individuality sets you apart from your competitors so don’t follow the masses.

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