Carol Trow’s story is one of resilience. After graduating from Boston University with a BSN in Nursing and becoming a Registered Nurse and attending Brown University for graduate work, her career path was altered when circumstances lead to her being a single mother of two small children with little financial means.
For those of you who are old enough to remember, nursing in those days required one to work rotating shifts, two weeks 7 AM to 3 PM, then 3 PM to 11 PM and finally 11 PM to 7 AM. Being a single mother caring for her children made it impossible to continue working as an RN in hospitals so Carol made a decision to change careers and began a job as a marketing assistant at a local company allowing her to work close to home.
Being hard working, bright and entrepreneurial, Carol quickly climbed the corporate marketing world, eventually achieving the position of Director of Marketing for a Fortune 1,000 company. She became known for her expertise in professional services marketing for plastic surgeons, dermatologists, accounts and lawyers focusing on building practices through education and strategic partnerships initiatives.
After a twenty-five year career in a corporate setting, Carol had the opportunity to establish her own consulting firm specializing in working with the same clients she serviced as a corporate officer.
Soon after going out on her own, she was hired by a plastic surgeon to help him build his cosmetic practice and also introduce a new skin care line to the United States, founded by his former colleague Dr. Des Fernandes. This product line was Environ® Skin Care which at that time had a few sku’s and was in its infancy. The rest is history. Approaching thirty years, Environ® has grown to become one of the premier, results oriented medical skin care lines in the world.
As fate would have it, Carol always had a lifelong passion for skin care since her early childhood. Her experiences as a RN and leading marketing expertise could now be combined with her lifelong passion for skin health and skincare.
Carol Trow, President of DermaConcepts® is among those talented individuals who was able to turn their childhood passion into a successful business changing their own lives and impacting others’. Carol has always had an unabiding love for skincare since a teenager. She shortly after working with Environ® got an opportunity to become a distributor for Environ® Skin Care.
Her Environ® career began with responsibility for two states, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As expected, she excelled and, after time with the support of Val Carstens (Group Chairman) and Dr. Des Fernandes (Founder and Scientific Director) of Environ® Skin Care, Carol became the exclusive United States, Caribbean and Bermuda distributor for Environ®.
Carol was supported by her husband and CEO of DermaConcepts®, Rob Trow, who stepped in with his educational background, entrepreneurial experience, expertise, and business acumen and together the duo founded DermaConcepts® in 1996. With Carol and Rob at the helm, as Presidend and CEO respectively, DermaConcepts® has continually expanded its reach until becoming the exclusive United States distributor for Environ® Skin Care in 2013. Environ® is a state-of-the-art skincare and cosmetic device line that has consistently remained a generation ahead of others. The company sells exclusively in the US to medical spas, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, health and wellness centers, and medically affiliated practices.
Their company stands out as a leader in professional education and training through its diverse curriculum of programs on skin science, ingredients, formulations, merchandising, and professional treatment protocols.
Below is a recent interview where Carol shares the genesis of DermaConcepts®, how the company survived the global pandemic, and plans for the company to continue its success in the post-pandemic era.
Please brief our audience about DermaConcepts®, its mission, and the key aspects of its stronghold within the skincare solutions niche.
For over 25 years we have owned DermaConcepts®, the exclusive United States distributor for Environ® Skin Care, a state-of-the-art skincare line that has consistently remained a generation ahead of others. We sell exclusively to medical spas, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, health and wellness centers, and medically affiliated practices.
We pride ourselves on providing extraordinary education on skin science, ingredients, merchandising, and professional back bar treatment protocols that are optimal for pre-and post-skin procedures.
Environ® Skin Care retail offerings encompass a step-up system of increasing strengths of Vitamin A, C, and E, antioxidants, peptides, hyaluronic acid, growth factors, and AHA’s that ensure safe at-home treatments to meet everyone’s skin type, concern, and lifestyle.
As the distributor of Environ® Skin Care in the United States, we are proud to represent a line, backed by science, that can make a material, measurable difference in people’s lives. Our products and treatments help restore, protect, and maintain the healthy appearance of a client’s skin.
Tell us more about the products and solutions which make your company stand out from the competition?
In addition to selling a results-driven skincare line, we understand the critical importance of our distributorship in becoming strategic partners with our customers. DermaConcepts® offers industry-leading, exceptional professional training, development, and education for staff, patient education programs, marketing, and merchandising support, incentive programs for staff, and the creation of bespoke signature services. No practice is the same size and shape, and our team helps provide specific business insights, comprehensive in-person training, and personalization for each of our clients.
We focus on being excellent listeners. Our clients, educators, sales reps, and customer service team help us to remain focused on what our clients’ needs may be in the ever-evolving skincare industry. Our client retention rate is a whopping 98%. Once people bring Environ Skin Care into their practice, they become passionate ambassadors as they see the difference it makes in their patient’s skin and the practices’ success.
Carol, please brief us about your journey in the industry.
I was a registered nurse with an unbridled interest in skincare and makeup since I was a teenager. After some life-changing situations, I became director of marketing at a Fortune 1,000 company and eventually formed my own consulting firm geared toward practice development for physicians, accountants, and lawyers.
This work led me to a South African plastic surgeon that was a colleague of Des Fernandes, M.D., the founder of Environ® Skin Care. The company wanted to start a presence in the United States, and I became a distributor for two states. Rob, my husband, joined me at this point after selling his company. I believed that with his educational, entrepreneurial, and business background, we would make a great team. Plus, I did not have to pay him!
Together, we became successful and were awarded another 23 states and eventually the exclusive rights to the entire United States, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. We found we enjoyed working together, each with separate responsibilities, but a common set of values, ethics, and philosophy. To this day, we still love working together.
What is your opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the global derma products market, and what challenges did you face during the initial phase of the pandemic?
As an organization that serves a hands-on, in-person industry, many of our practices have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. For those practices that were able to resume business earlier, depending on the state mandates, they were able to recover sooner.
We found that those practices that adapted quickly to contactless business, utilizing a plethora of specially designed at-home protocols based on virtual skin analysis and consultations, fared better. Some practices provided skin consultations over the phone or online platform and increased their retail product sales. Many established a shipping method from their homes or in some cases had a curbside pickup for at-home products, drop-shipped to homes or delivered product locally to their clients.
We knew that we would need to institute some swift solutions to help our clients. Our director of education shifted training to virtual and e-learning plus implemented a robust program of complimentary online education, marketing consultations, virtual skin analysis tools, and consultation training, with enhanced e-communication to our clients. The response was tremendous, and we were gratified to see so many skincare professionals took advantage of the expanded educational offerings during the pandemic.
DermaConcepts® has always offered a drop ship program for our clients for their patients, however, we expanded this service, instituted a strong robust on line training program on virtual skin consultations which alleviated practices having to stock products, while closed, and ensuring that the practices received full credit for their patients’ orders. We offered frequent special incentives to the end-user and the practices.
For 2020, DermaConcepts® offered a variety of expanded product specials from anti-aging regimens and advanced product home treatment kits, many with our groundbreaking cosmetic instruments for specific skin concerns to keep the stockist equipped to help patients maintain their healthy-looking skin at home and help the practices’ revenue. We focused on fulfilling special requests. If at all humanly possible, the answer was always ‘yes’.
During the months of this pandemic, we found that many stockists have invested their time in developing their business website. DermaConcepts® does not allow stockists to openly sell online without a consultation to ensure everyone received the right product for their skin’s needs, however, we provided our official Environ® Skin Care brand assets to help stockists bring the brand presence to their sites. We created a DermaConcepts/Environ® Skin Care website template, so those who were interested could get a turn-key website solution to add to their sites and go live almost immediately.
With continuous development in technologies such as AI, how have you inculcated such technologies into business to enhance your dermatological healthcare products and solutions vertical?
We have partnered with Skin Science Authority to offer a state-of-the-art online real-time skin consultation system, virtual consultations, one on one personal professional development and training, and new offerings of at-home treatment instruments.
As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the derma healthcare niche?
With over 30 years in the industry, we can attest that providing industry-leading top-quality education, learning materials, articles, and programs is an amazingly effective way to enhance staff development, practice ROI, patient visits, and retention.
Our investment in rewarding and retaining a dynamic team of trainers, educators, sales professionals, and customer support staff is one of the most valuable things we have done and is equally vital to your own practice. We also built our company around incredibly talented, passionate, and smart sales consultants that are fervent about skin science and your success, personally and professionally.
Today, business owners prefer to consume engaging, educational content as opposed to a hard sell message. We believe that DermaConcepts® has achieved integrity by doing just this. We have been committed to creating a library of non-branded industry educational resources covering skin science, practice development, ingredients, and technology to help separate fact from fiction.
We have co-authored over 100 articles and have a book on the horizon that is now with the publisher. Between our company training, both in-person and virtual, webinars, blogs, and articles, social media and IG live events, webcasts with medical skin publications, speaking engagements with medical skincare association conferences and trade shows, and company newsletters, we are educating physicians, estheticians, and skin professionals each day.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021?
We are excited to announce that Environ® Skin Care has several retail and professional back bar releases in 2021. The products incorporate cutting-edge ingredients and non-invasive cosmetic technology for improving the look of lines and facial volume for a visibly rejuvenated and youthful appearance. Our goals is to continue to add sales and educational team members and are working with search firms to fill new positions needed as a result of our continued growth.
Our team will return to provide live training, in-person exhibiting at many regional and national trade shows which include the Maui Derm 2021 Live, NASNPRO, the AmSpa Medical Spa Show, The Aesthetic Meeting, AmSpa Boot Camps, New England Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, Inc, and the Aesthetic Everything Beauty Show to name a few.
We have also recently implemented a powerful lead-nurturing campaign software that will efficiently provide prospects with relevant company and educational information while tracking them and preparing our sales team with qualified, interested parties.