Experiments are nothing new for chemists. For 2011 PRC Chemist of the Year, Fred Reyes, the shift from skin care products to services was one big experiment. Known already as the founder of a skin care company, Fred Reyes wanted to push the envelope in skincare to another level: by providing high-end dermatological services at affordable prices. In 1997, he was already successful in utilizing an extremely expensive but also extremely effective whitening active ingredient priced at Php 1 million per kilo in his award-winning natural skincare line. Not scrimping on costs in the ingredients he use made his cosmetics successful with a huge following.
He thought that maybe this formula might work in another industry. So on June 19, 2004, he put up the first SkinStation in far away SM Fairview. It was hard to imagine being successful in a mall surrounded then by “talahib” in the middle of nowhere. But to convince the mall operator that this untested concept would work, he had to be successful. SkinStation Fairview didn’t cut back on the facials and diamond peels. And they charged only a fraction of the price of dermatologists. People started to take notice of the new skin center. And soon the number of cubicles couldn’t handle the number of clients. The experiment seems to be working.
By August 8, 2005 another center was put up, this time in the busy Central Business District of Makati. SkinStation Bel-Air was constructed on the ground floor of the company’s head office to be a refuge for stressed out Urban Sophisticates. The affordability of the services soon caught the attention of people in the area that the cubicles were already fully booked four months in advance. However this also caught the attention of dermatologists who were used to charging very high for their services, especially for diamond peels – the rage of that year. They complained that the company was destroying their market pricing. In the end, Fred’s strong resolve that skin services should not be a luxury but a part of a daily regimen kept the industry from raising prices.
SkinStation embarked on expansion soon after. In 2007, SkinStation Robinsons Ermita Branch was constructed. In 2008, SkinStation opened three branches with Timog Branch opening in January 5. The other two branches were outside Metro Manila. SkinStation in SM Marilao opened it’s doors to clients in Bulacan, north of the metropolis, followed by a SkinStation in the south, in Tagaytay City, one of the popular vacation destinations of Manila urbanites.
With the growing number of SkinStation branches, Fred decided to establish the My Sanctuary Wellness Center, Inc. in November 2009 with SkinStation under its wing.
2011 saw the opening of SkinStation in Festival Supermall Alabang and in SM Mall of Asia. In 2012, SkinStation’s 9th branch found house in another SM’s prime location in SM City North EDSA. The company continued expansion in 2012 with its Shopwise Cubao branch and its first branch in the Visayas area located at SM City Cebu. In 2013, SkinStation took over former franchisees in Greenhills and Binondo and upgraded their line of skin services. At present, My Sanctuary Wellness Center Inc. has 17 SkinStation branches, serving a growing client following.
Chemists need to reformulate to improve their products. In 2010, SkinStation reformulated it’s brand image and thrust. A breakthrough in permanent laser hair reduction, the painless diode laser with super hair removal technology, was introduced to the market. Dermatologists and other skin clinics were charging an arm and leg for the treatment to quickly recoup their investments in the expensive laser equipments. Those who couldn’t afford had to make do with the pain of monthly waxing or the painful pulses of the obsolete Intense Pulse Light (which isn’t really a laser). Rather than join the bandwagon, SkinStation made this technology even more accessible by offering the treatment in all its branches with a much reasonable price that can rival even that of waxing.
A reformulation of the product line also happened in 2010. Skin Station started offering professional-grade skincare products under the DERMAX brand. Being a chemist, Fred’s natural strength was in formulating products. But being restricted only to natural was no longer enough. To create concoctions that would be unrivalled in terms of effectivity, he had to embrace the newest application of science in skincare products – Nanotechnology. This would ensure that the actives would actually pass through the skin to enhance efficacy. If the anti-aging or whitening active doesn’t penetrate deep into the skin, then clients are just throwing away money.
SkinStation is the only skin care center that is also a center for innovation in terms of making its own products. With a strong sense of excellence paired with practicality, the DERMAX Professional product line produced by SkinStation is at par, if not even better than its higher priced foreign competitors. What started as an experiment has evolved into an effective formulation that is SkinStation. But the experiment is still ongoing and you can surely expect more developments in the coming years.