In an interview with G20, Dr. Chytra Anand- Celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist, Founder of Kosmoderma Clinics and Chief Formulator at Skin Q – Indian Skincare Brand talks about her vision to create an ethical skin & hair care clinic chain to offer safe, effective and affordable treatments options to Indians with world class facilities. Excerpts:
Q. An entrepreneur, a mentor, a guide, a facilitator a world renowned celebrity cosmetic dermatologist & founder of The Chain Kosmoderma Clinics. With abundance of awards & felicitations share your incredible journey with us please?
A. This is one story I want to share: I remember coming from London, writing a business plan, going to a bank for loan for the initial equipments and set up. In 2005/2006 Women entrepreneurs were few, and banks would not fund unless father or husband co-signed as guarantor and invested etc. This was a big issue. I wanted to do it on my own. I found out that the chief manager of SBI in Bangalore was a lady and went to meet with her armed with my business plan, credentials etc. without an appointment. I spoke to the security and managed to convince him to let me meet with her.
To her credit, Mrs Ali was an ardent supporter of female entrepreneurship. She gave me 10 mins to present and I laid out my vision, plans etc. she called the loan dept and asked why they rejected. The reason was, they needed a male to co-sign/ It was policy. So Mrs Ali advised them to look though my application again on merit. And somehow the loan got sanctioned. With my dad having to guarantee…. but he did not have to invest. Like this there are numerous incidences, where it would have been easy to give up… but I never gave up. And here we are today.
Q. Your affectionately known as the Dr Fix it/Beauty Doc by your patient who travel from all over., Which are the most popular treatments that patients ask to have done?
A. Across the world, I am regarded as an expert in Indian Faces and skin of colour… I deal with Facial Glamorisation and skin & hair issues related to Indian skin / skin of colour. My patient are for non-surgical facial enhancements and for clear skin and health hair.
I mainly work with Botox, Fillers, Threads, Lasers and stem cell therapy, plus internal skin and hair health programs. These days I work on complex cases that have been resistant to therapies and come to me as last resort. At Kosmoderma Clinics we do end to end, from non-surgical to surgical including hair transplant.
Q. Your dream your journey has been so stellar of coming to India & opening so many centre’s. Post 2006, how did the dream get realized?
A. I was always clear that my return to India was to start my own business and work for myself. Initially I was unsure and used to travel between London and Bangalore. In 2006 I started with one clinic in Bangalore, quickly the word spread and the practise was full, so I started a second centre in 2008 and there was no looking back.
I had a vision to create an ethical skin & hair care clinic chain to offer safe, effective and affordable treatments options to Indians with world class facilities. And that is what it is today. Kosmoderma Clinics are considered to be the top ethical clinical chain for skin & hair with high integrity. We are 7 clinics and expanding now through the franchise route.
As a Cosmetic Dermatologist: When people across the country started flying into Bangalore to consult with me and have procedures with me for their facial glamorisation including Bollywood stars. Leading industrialists and persons sending their jets to pick me up to take me to work on their faces. This was an affirmation from my patients. In 2009 I added a skincare line to Kosmoderma and today there are more than 50 skin & hair solutions formulated by me. As part of this journey, I realised the need for proper training in aesthetic or cosmetic dermatology in India for doctors was lacking and started the training academy in 2010.
By 2012 the waitlist for training at my academy was a 1-year wait. This was an affirmation from my colleagues/peers.
I love to teach and share, and due to this, I became a KOL ( Key opinion leader ) for numerous pharma companies and a Master Trainer for the leading companies in India. At Kosmoderma Clinics we test all tech and products in house before launching them to our patients. This made us the testing centre in India for launch of new tech from international companies. We wrote the protocols for Indian skin for many of the lasers in the Indian Market today.
My lectures and training sessions lead me to travel across the world sharing my knowledge training and teaching doctors in USA, Europe, Asia incl China etc….
I would travel 7 – 10 days a month pre Covid for trainings and lectures. This was an amazing experience in itself.
Post Covid, it’s now virtual. As an entrepreneur: I would say in 2017, I realised that it was time to hand over day to day ops to my team and start work on the future. I was beginning to feel stuck/stagnated. It took me till 2020 to find the right person to take over from me. Today I work on the future for Kosmoderma, not the current. This is important for an entrepreneur as we need to be free to envision growth. This has also given me the space ad time to pivot into my new start-up, Skin Q. India’s first dermatologist formulated skin health brand for Indian Skin / Skin of Colour offering an end to end personalised skin and hair health solution.
Q. Share & impart with us some advise for budding entrepreneurs as you have been at the helm & are the recipients of many awards indeed?
A. My fave sayings are:
Be the Best you can be. Don’t compare yourself, just do your best. Nothing is impossible, just mathematically improbable. Dream Big, Make a Plan and work towards it. Define every step so that you can benchmark yourself.
– Hard work is a given. Anything you start needs 5 years of your undiluted attention to make it successful, so fully commit to it.
– Always work with the best and get work experience of at least 3 – 5 years before starting on your own.
– Find yourself a mentor
– Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Till you ask, it’s a 50:50
For me: My experience has taught me these points:
– Be Forward-looking with a positive attitude
– Have a Calm demeanour, with ability to work and adapt in pressure situations
– Develop a Love for learning new skills, this helps me constantly update myself and stay relevant
– I am always happy to help anyone, never compare myself to others. I define my path and my metrics, and this is a key asset to me.
Q. How have you as a doc/entrepreneur been able to adjust adapt maintain & grow in the Covid World we live in?
When Covid was taking over the world, my friends and colleagues in China, way ahead in Feb adv me that it was an unknown…
In fact we shut our clinic 1 week ahead of the country lockdown as we wanted to set protocols and gear up for safety of our staff and patients. During this time, the country went into a lockdown.
All our projections, plans were in disarray,, there was no predictive model or hand book on how to proceed. I spoke to colleagues across the world to understand the situation. Made key decisions to cut back non critical spends, cut back on expansion plans, maximise output with existing infra. We constantly spoke with our employees to keep them abreast and same for our patients.
Within 2 weeks of the lockdown, we had made a handbook for our staff, guidelines, arrangements for the safety gears etc and slowly staggered back to work step wise. We know this is here till 2023 with us and so worked to shift our business model. Put in newer channels of revenue and went wider with our scope of work. This has made us agile and light….and in a way sped us up. In spite of Covid, we have signed up franchises for Kosmoderma, which is a testament to the brand that I have built over the years.
At the same time, during lockdown, I got active on Instagram during Covid 2020 due to the time on my hands. Till then, I oversaw it but had an agency handle it a day today.
As I understood it better, I realised this was a way for me to share my knowledge, learnings and skills with people en masse. I have been very fortunate in my life to have the exposure that I have had, and to share this makes me happy.
When I started making my content, I saw the engagement rise, and feedback was very positive. This encouraged me to get involved full time. Today I plan the content bucket, organise it from posts to stories to reels to IGTV myself. I enjoy this very much; it’s a creative outlet. I also can leverage my vast network across the world of leading global aesthetic doctors to bring them on IGTV live, for my followers to ask questions. Access to most of these doctors would be next to impossible otherwise. This has led to me gain over a 1,00,000 followers on Instagram. My approach is truth, honesty and education. It’s me sharing one part of me with my followers.