We recently caught up with Trish Hammond, founder of award-winning website PlasticSurgeryHub.com, for a chat about her thoughts on the Clinical Aesthetics industry. She talked everything from how her journey in the field began to where she sees the industry moving in the future!
Why did you develop Plasticsurgeryhub.com?
About 5 years ago I had breast reduction surgery. I really struggled to get over the surgery and, in my time of recuperating, I was going online and trying to find some general information about the procedure. I found that every website I went to was owned by a doctor but I was not interested in what a doctor had to say about it. I wanted to hear from a person who wasn’t a professional; someone who had been through the process themselves. I wasn’t into open forums and didn’t want to be ‘out there’, I just wanted information. I realised that there was a need in the market for something that would help people – and that’s why I started PSH.
Can you run us through your own personal career path? How did you get to where you are today?
I commenced my career straight after high school in 1980 in the public service industry where I started as a typist in the typing pool (yes, very 80’s!). As a public servant for 20 years I loved the corporate life and had positions like Private Secretary to a Minister, Court Reporter, and Webmaster (or Webmistress as they called me) for the Department of Transport in SA. Being a lover of aesthetics, I studied Beauty Therapy part-time while working.
Although I never worked in the industry, I was always the girlfriend that painted nails, applied makeup, obsessed about skin care and loved fashion. I worked part-time as a Beauty Consultant for several beauty companies, including Nutri-Metics, and Finelle (from the US).
After my daughter was born in 1991 I moved to consulting in sales and marketing which is another of my passions. I’ve sold everything from crystal, to jewellery, to real estate, to printer cartridges. I’ve always loved helping people to be the best they can be. With my entrepreneurial spirit combined with desire to help others, I now spend my days at PSH talking to people daily, writing, sharing stories, laughing, crying, and basically helping people on their journey (or adventure!) to feel better about themselves.
What has been the most significant shift that you’ve seen in the clinical aesthetics industry over the past ten years?
The clinical aesthetics industry over the past ten years has really come into its own. Whilst it used to be more of a niche market for women with more money, a higher social status or those frequently in the public eye, it is now more accepted in all levels of society. It’s more accepted as part of a normal beauty routine.
The technological advancements within the industry are really exciting as well – the quality and capabilities of lasers, injectables and our knowledge of how they should be applied is completely different to how it was ten years ago – and it’s changing all the time. It really is an industry of continuous improvement. It’s a lot safer and more researched and competitive, so the industry has really had to step it up when it comes to being user friendly.
What recent industry developments are you most excited about?
The introduction of tighter regulations for the industry is the thing I’m probably most excited about. I think there were too many horror stories coming out of “back yard” clinics. I think the industry is finally getting the attention it deserved in order to make it safer for consumers to know the procedure and product, along with ensuring the practitioner has met certain standards.
I am also excited by the latest technologies we are seeing come onto the market. The different lasers, injectables, fat freezing – all these techniques are having some wonderful results for different people and it means that consumers have more options for their different concerns and beauty goals. Oh, and my latest research project, PRP and stem cell research. I just LOVE the potential of things to come.
Where do you see the clinical aesthetics industry moving, in terms of career prospects for clinics aestheticians and technicians?
We are already starting to see a real boost in the clinical aesthetics industry in terms of it being a real career path. More training facilities are emerging, some better and more established than others such as the Australian College of Health and Wellness. It’s definitely a fast growing industry and smart choice for any woman (or man!) looking for a long term career in a continually evolving environment.
As non-invasive procedures and technologies become more and more popular and are being offered, not only as an essential and expected part of most beauty/spa clinics but as part of cosmetic and plastic surgeons’ clinics too, career prospects are excellent!
The future is promising for beauty therapists looking to upgrade their skills and get on board with the whole laser/injectables etc. treatments, as well as plastic surgeons looking to offer complementary non-surgical treatments and procedures in their surgeries. Not to mention the practitioners and clinicians specialising in clinical aesthetics and opening their clinics dedicated purely to these procedures. The industry is experiencing a real boom.
How important is the industry, and what role do you think it plays, in regards to its contribution to body image in today’s ‘body image’ obsessed culture? How important do you feel the relationship is between aestheticians and education in body image issues such as body dysmorphia?
This is quite a tricky issue. As individuals, we seem to be more critical of ourselves and the way we look than others (at least that’s what I’m like!). I think basically we all want to look good and we live in a society where putting yourself out there for all to see is part and parcel of everyday life. Social media is obviously a huge player in this. We need to remember that to look good is to allow ourselves to be the best person we can be.
I think sometimes people want to look like someone else, or have too much of an escapist attitude. They want perfection, or to look like someone else – to have another’s eyes or lips – the list can go on and on. As someone in the industry I hope to encourage others to understand that being the best person you can be means loving who you are. We all have the little things we don’t like about ourselves.
The thing is, in today’s world we can fix most things if they bother us enough, or if it’s a big enough issue. If that means you want to have a breast reduction then have a breast reduction. If that means getting rid of those love handles, then do it. We all wish we had a few less wrinkles as we get older and if you want to have laser then great! But for me it’s always about us consumers having a realistic expectation about what you can and can’t achieve and being the best person YOU can be, for yourself.
Oh, and definitely knowing when enough is enough – it’s a fine line! I think, and hope, that all practitioners are able to manage people’s expectations in keeping it real. Promises of perfection doesn’t help anyone!
What do you think the industry needs in the future?
That’s a hard question. I think it’s an ever evolving industry and still a reasonably new one, so it’s still being figured out along the way. I am pleased about the focus on regulations and making the industry safer for consumers, both with regards to the quality of the technologies, and the training our practitioners and clinicians.
Do you think there remains a stigma around cosmetic and aesthetic procedures and, if so, how do you think this stigma can be broken down?
I think the stigma is definitely in the process of being broken down. More and more people are undergoing procedures involving laser, injectables and the like. We are seeing them being offered in regular beauty salons and spas all over the country. They are right beside the menu for massages and the facials. More and more people are having these procedures done, even if they don’t tell anyone.
Most of us know at least one person who has had something done. I think in another five years it will be unusual to know someone who hasn’t had something done as part of their beauty journey. I always like to say to people who judge others by their choices: “don’t judge – you haven’t walked in their shoes”. We all have different reasons for different choices, and I’m a real advocate for a ‘your body your choice’ mentality. Look good, feel good.
To find out more about Trish and her work, head to PlasticSurgeryHub.com.