Thrive Global posted "Dr. Purvisha Patel: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a CEO at Visha Skincare", which features Dr. Purvisha Patel's tips on success, the best advice received, and challenges overcome on her journey in creating Visha Skincare.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Purvisha Patel.
Dr. Patel was born in London and raised in Wales, United Kingdom. She attended the University of Virginia for undergraduate and medical school and completed her dermatology training at The University of Tennessee. Dr. Patel continued her training to complete her cosmetic and surgical fellowship at The University of Louisville.
A board-certified dermatologist, MOHS and cosmetic surgeon, and the owner of Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Associates in Memphis, Tennessee and Olive Branch Mississippi, Dr. Patel noticed a need for simple, safe, multi-use skincare products that delivered results in preventing early signs of aging as well as the aging process itself to be made available to the general public.
To the delight of her patients, friends, family and the general public, Dr. Patel combined her dermatological expertise with her love of science and created Visha Skincare, a brand of skincare lines that can be used to treat multiple skin issues and are cost-effective and suitable for both women and men of all skin types.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Dr. Patel. Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Dermatology was an easy choice for me when choosing a career path. The skin is the largest organ of the body, I was able to diagnose and treat internal diseases from external manifestations. I could also treat all ages, and my treatment results worked and were visibly noticeable to the patients and to myself. Working in my private practice dermatology clinic, I noticed that healthcare was changing, the prices of my creams and medications, were no longer getting covered for a reasonable price for my patients, many of which would be using specific products for the rest of their lives for chronic conditions. There was also no safe, effective alternative on the market. For example, I quickly became the skin of color expert in the Mid South and noted that the only effective skin agent to lighten discolorations was hydroquinone, a chemical that is both prescription, and over the counter, but toxic. Taking my knowledge of active ingredients, it was easy for me to get a chemist involved with Visha Labs, and formulate skincare that is paraben-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free, hydroquinone-free, cruelty-free and for all skin types and genders. Illuminotex was patented as a safe skin brightener. Testing in my clinics was accessible and welcomed by my eager patients- and Visha Skincare was born. CEO of both my practice and Visha Skincare has been a natural path in my journey.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?
When I first started Visha Skincare, I thought that because my patients were using the products and sales were mostly word of mouth, that would be all that the skincare line needed to be a global success. This of course was naive of me, and humbling to see that there are so many beauty brands in the market, none like Visha Skincare, but the brand needed to differentiate itself from the beauty industry. I needed marketing and PR help that would stay true to my safe yet clinical beauty brand. Finding the right company to help with brand messaging and sharing results was important, I was not enough to shout the message from the rooftops. The beauty industry is saturated and fickle, with new products daily, many false promises and smoke and mirror products/messages. Differentiating VIsha Skincare through Beauty Awards and Innovation Awards is important so show why this brand is superior.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
Results. With a safe, yet clinically active brand we were not an overnight success. I was always frustrated that every time there was a special or sale, the same people were buying the products. Why were there no huge spikes in sales? But this showed product loyalty- the products were working, and we had loyal customers. The formulations and clinical science still contribute to our continued success. Results do matter.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO?” Please share a story or example for each.
- Lead by example — for the people in the company and your colleagues around you. It is important to keep your standards high and ethical. There are many ways to buy influencers and celebrities for product endorsements, but Visha Skincare is based on results. Many times I am offered for a celebrity to endorse a product, and I always ask if they will use it first, as I know they will accept the payment. I believe in an honest endorsement and a real #vishafan.
- Ask the experts. I am a dermatologist, an expert in skin. I rely on my team of PR, social media, marketing and sales experts for their input to grow the brand and make it successful.
- Do your homework. I did not have any knowledge of sales analytics and online sales when I started this company. I relied on companies to make search words for the brand and saw that sales were not what I wanted. It took a few hours of looking at the search words and ad words list for me to see that the company I was using, had no working knowledge of my brand and the words did not align. I had spent thousands of dollars, at that point, as the spend had been with the wrong words, and not linked correctly. Make sure you can read the reports you are given, they can be manipulated, and knowing how to pull your own reports and looking deeper is important.
- Make sure everyone on your team is aligned: Make sure that everyone — even the outsourced companies have a working knowledge of our company, the mission statement and goals. For example, sales must talk to media, must talk to digital, must talk to marketing, must talk to me. I have weekly meetings with each faction of Visha Skincare and make sure that everyone is aware of the messaging for the month and the immediate goals at hand. Long term goals are of course…world domination.
- Budget. The saying “you must spend money to make money” is true. But I have learned, mostly the hard way, that not all growth efforts need to have a spend. Many times we give products to events, and boxes, to find that the ROI is not there. Good salespeople will sell you too with dreams of more success and sales…beware not everything that sparkles is gold
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out?”
Have your goals in mind. Have a timeline for which you want your company to achieve them. Have a budget that you are willing to spend and stick to it. Burning the midnight oil, from my experience comes from last-minute ventures and decisions. Having a definite plan and not changing course will keep the company in an upward trajectory and you can rest assured, and not “burn out.”
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Being a busy successful female, also an Asian female is not something that was encouraged growing up, being a doctor and getting married was. My mother who was chronically ill lived with me until she passed away, and saw my passion for Visha Skincare while I was trying to also build my dermatology practice. She encouraged me every day to move the needle, she used the products in testing R&D and was with me when people would stop us at the grocery store tearfully happy that the products had changed their lives. She helped with the children and household so I could concentrate on the practice and Visha Skincare. I would not have been able to succeed without her support and encouragement.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
I am an all or none personality and throw myself 100% into my practice when there, my family when with them, and Visha Skincare when in meetings. I also try to take care of my health and wellbeing 100%. There are only so many hours in the day, however, and I am working on evening out the ratios of my life to concentrate on each aspect the same.
What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?
Visha Skincare. I formulated, tested and patented a non-hydroquinone skin lightening agent Illumenotix. Visha Skincare effectively, safely and affordably changes skin.
If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
Take a deep breath before you do anything important, and perform your action on the exhale. This not a novel concept and is used by athletes for centuries. The expansion of the diaphragm lowers your blood pressure and anxiety. The oxygen goes to your organs and brain…only good things can happen with this mindfulness. Even when washing your face!