From zapping hair away, minimising those dreaded wrinkles and crows feet, to giving expert advice on proper skin health management Lisa Callaghan and the staff at Laserderm in Claregalway work tirelessly to provide their customers with top-notch service, putting them at ease, so that they leave the clinic feeling wonderful.
Giving that personal touch is essential in this type of industry, according to proprietor Lisa Callaghan who explains that customers can often be very self-conscious about a particular complaint for which they are seeking advice and treatment. Since opening its doors in 2007 Laserderm, located at Cois Chlair Shopping Centre, has successfully managed to develop its client base, bringing down prices to suit the current cash-strapped times, while at the same time not sacrificing in any way the quality of the customer service provided.
“Some customers can often feel self-conscious about their particular problem and it can affect their wellbeing so it is important that the Laserderm staff try to make them feel at ease. After a few months we can really see the change in people, they’re like a new person. It is really very fulfilling for us to see that,” says Ms Callaghan
A runner-up in last year’s Entrepreneur of Year awards for customer service and currently placed in the top five salons for best Murad sales in Ireland, Laserderm offers a wide range of advanced skincare treatments including the popular laserderm hair removal, thread vein/broken capillary removal, cosmetic teeth whitening, microdermabrasion with oxygen, LED light therapy, treatment for acne/rosacea, as well as the gentle skin peel and intense wrinkle reducer peel.
Hair removal would be the most sought after treatment at Laserderm with 60 per cent of clients attending for laser and 40 per cent for skin treatments, however Ms Callaghan explains that there is a wide variety of treatments available and skin complaints that are treated by the experienced and dedicated staff. “We get lots of people with problematic skin and they don’t know where to start. The complaints include acne and rosacea. Rosacea causes redness and is very common in Irish skin because we are so fair. Laser therapy helps to diffuse the redness. For acne we have supplements that help to nourish from the inside. Topical creams are just not enough so we provide a programme for home care, acne kits, and a course of treatments such as peels or laser, depending on the person. Another common complaint is pigmentation, sun spots, and uneven skin tone. Everyone is looking for that flawless skin so laser, microdermabrasion, photo rejuvenation, or a combination of those would help with this. Our male clients would typically look for hair removal and treatment of acne and break outs.
“Other popular treatments include a gentle skin peel or an intensive wrinkle reducer peel. There would be a four week or six week course of those, we’re really very busy with those because they are priced very competitively, we’re offering €195 for six gentle or four of the intensive wrinkle reducer. Teeth whitening is also very popular and we’re very busy for the summer again. It’s very popular with brides between the months of March and May and it’s great value having been reduced from €299 to €199. Other highly sought after treatments are thread vein and photo rejuvenation, we’re probably one of the cheapest around at €130 a session. With regard to thread veins, we also ask clients back after two weeks for a check up to ensure that it is achieving results. A qualified doctor comes to the clinic by appointment to administer anti-wrinkle injections for crow’s feet and frown lines, and dermal fillers. I thought that with the recession this would be the first to go but it’s gone the opposite way. Our clients also really appreciate the payment plan we offer which breaks up the payments for many of the treatments so that they don’t have to pay for the whole course in one go. I started this because I didn’t want people to sacrifice their skin care, after all, it doesn’t matter how good your make up is if your skin is not healthy underneath.”
Although the treatments at Laserderm continue to grow in popularity a lot of importance is also placed on educating clients on proper skin health maintenance. “Everyone that comes in we try to educate them on home care and they come in to buy products too. We don’t push the quick fix, we set up a programme for people that can run for a year while they are getting their microdermabrasion or peel treatments. We set up a prescription for them for home care, the key products to maintain the good effects of the treatments. There is no point in coming in for the odd facial. We’d rather see someone paying €50 for a good moisturiser with SPF than once a year for a facial. Homecare routine and professional treatments is a priority for us. Our main thing is to teach people on skin health,” says Ms Callaghan.
It was while in America that Ms Callaghan first saw the benefits and effectiveness of specialised treatments so after training at the Boston Aesthetic school and gaining life and business experience the Cork native returned home to Ireland in 2006. At the time the specialised skincare industry had not really kicked off and seeing a niche in the market Ms Callaghan wasted no time in gaining the experience to open up her own clinic.
“When I was in America I did a lot of research into product lines and the various equipment and when I came back to Ireland I worked at the Advanced Laser Light in Cork for about three months before going on to manage the clinic in Limerick for six months. I finished up there in October 2007 and opened by own clinic in Claregalway a month later. It was a brave step and it all moved very quickly.
“Claregalway is an ideal location as the Cois Chlair Shopping Centre is on the N17 so it is very accessible not only from Galway city but also Mayo and Sligo, I get a lot of customers from there. Parking was one of the main requirements and it is a very discreet location, privacy is a huge thing for us. The location is working out really well, it covers a wider area. We’re getting lots of people from Mayo, from Galway city, Ballinasloe because of the motorway. It’s so accessible. Also because of the amount of traffic flow on the N17 we get a lot of people who are able to pop in after work as we stay open to 9pm every night except on Saturdays when we close at 6pm,” she said.
Starting a new business just before Christmas in 2007 would be a daunting task for most but Laserderm hit the ground running. “Christmas week came and we got good business, I was surprised in fact, people were just very curious. It really took off then from January onwards. I did my first big marketing stand at a wedding fair in Leisureland and I got a huge level of interest from that. Every month that followed it just got better and better, and in March I took on an extra staff member, Maria, to look after phone and reception. This was a huge sign for me that things were going well because I had initially thought I would be on my own for at least a year. Now there is myself, Maria, Tara, who is a senior therapist with experience in Dermalogica products and an expert on laser. Then there is Halyna who is a trained specialist on Applisonix, microdermabrasion, and peels. We recently started BareMinerals products and she would be very informed about that. Everyone has their speciality, their niche.
“When I opened first a lot of people did not know about laser whereas now there is much more awareness. People have become more curious about different treatments that are available. At first clients were nearly afraid of peels but now you can pick up a magazine and there is so much about laser and other skincare treatments. Word of mouth also helped us a lot in the beginning, and it is still very important today. We appreciate our clients, and now that the business and the volume of people we’re getting in has grown we can afford to offer lower prices but with the same top quality service. Laserderm is looking forward to growing more, and the future looks very promising,” says Ms Callaghan.
Always looking at ways to improving the business Laserderm has recently started to stock a new product range, Murad. This range has treatment products for specific complaints and is geared towards getting results. Laserderm is also running special promotions such as Eye Spy which offers a free 30 minute eye treatment worth €40 when you buy any eye cream in stock during the month of April. There are also special offers on hair removal, with underarms priced at €295 for seven sessions and bikini at just €395 for seven sessions, which can be paid in instalments through the Laserderm payment plan option. A recently launched loyalty card scheme also rewards customers for retail purchases, allowing saved points to be redeemed against facial treatments. The holder of a loyalty card can also receive 20 per cent off Dermalogica products until the end of this year.
For more information contact Laserderm at Unit 15, Cois Chlair Shopping Centre, Claregalway, on 091 739344 or log onto www.laserderm.ie or the Laserderm Facebook page.