Behind the brand: How The Clinic Room founder chanced upon cosmetic space
The stories you don't know about some of the world's best and little-known brands
“The way I see through the noise in business is reflecting back on where we came from,” says Mohammed Ibrahim, CEO and founder of The Clinic Room. “When you have poor, humble beginnings you have the constant desire to go above and beyond.”
Ibrahim runs what is billed as Britain’s fastest-growing non-surgical clinic, using state-of-the-art technology to create bespoke treatments. It has expanded from its Birmingham base to Leicester, Peterborough, Manchester — and even Istanbul — in over a year.
Ibrahim admits his move into the cosmetic space all happened by chance. Living on a council estate in Birmingham with six sisters, Ibrahim’s father passed away when he was 12. “All the pressure was on me to go to college, university and be a big success,” he says.
Ibrahim attended five different colleges but quickly dropped out. His first steps into the entrepreneurial world came as an 18-year-old when he started nightclub events. “What I didn’t realise was how much an events company teaches you about business,” the 30-year-old admits today. “As a one-man band and promoter you have to do everything. The biggest learning curve came from that company. I had to make the nights a success, make the 500 people who attended happy and get repeat business.”
Read More: Behind the brand: How Spacegoods is making mushrooms mainstream
Despite bringing in £60,000 a year, Ibrahim pivoted and launched one of the first influencer marketing agencies in the world, Panache Media, with clients such as Huda Beauty and Zoella. However, influencers were not yet widely recognised as an effective marketing tactic and as a result, businesses such as L’Oréal and ASOS (ASC.L) had yet to see the value.
Moving into e-commerce, he spent a few months building a cheap app in India but realised that he needed a CTO to keep the backend running. “I had no clue, I was always a consumer,” he says. The system crashed after six weeks. As he continued his search on LinkedIn, he started to rent out one of his three work spaces in Birmingham and met a woman needing an area for a cosmetic clinic.
He enquired what she did, which included treatment for dark under-eye circles. Ibrahim also suffered from “terrible, puffy eye bags", having previously tried home remedies and vitamins without success. She treated Ibrahim, it worked immediately and a deal was struck where his new tenant could work from his office space. Rahema Akhtar is co-founder and now The Clinic Room's medical director.
The pair worked on various formulas through 2018 — “guess work’, according to Ibrahim — and after six months Ibrahim noticed his eye bags had completely disappeared. He put the results up on Instagram, changed his account to the Clinic Room and he was immediately messaged by multiple clients. “All of a sudden we had a business,” he recalls. “We came up with a system whereby a protocol would work for almost everybody. In skin and cosmetics, what’s important is skin types and tones for different people.”
The risk Ibrahim has taken as a business came when it acquired its first cosmetics machine. “I was on my last credit card and purchased an £18,000 cosmetics machine which took us where we are today. I was in £150,000 debt at the time because of the app.”
It took three years for The Clinic Room to fully launch after trial and testing and, after one year, the business had a £1m turnover from its miracle eye programme.
“In the cosmetic world, there are a lot of things that are unregulated,” says Ibrahim. “Our focus has been on showing absolute results to make a clear difference between us and many other companies. We stand apart on Instagram by putting out amazing ‘before and after’ images which have led to clients from New York to Paris, all from our little place in Birmingham.”
Ibrahim stresses that his business is not all about beauty. He recalls going to interviews where having "dark circles" could leave a recruiter enquiring as to his tiredness or even some form of addiction. “What we are doing is important,” he says today. “Basic things like dark circles aren't about beauty, it’s about presentation.”
The biggest skill an entrepreneur has, adds Ibrahim, is problem solving. “Now I’m in the cosmetics space, I understand that if I’m with a client my behaviour towards this patient has to be of a certain demeanour rather than market the business,” he says.
“It all happened by chance. Things just kept coming my way and I kept solving the problem, while everything I learned in tech we applied to a now traditional business with a physical space.”
Read More: Behind the brand: Duppy Share Rum, the UK spirit on global rise
The Clinic Room uses ‘smart clinic’ tech such as radio frequency and ultrasound energy. “These treatments are so intelligent that we apply it to a client’s face,” explains Ibrahim, “it bypasses the skin leaving no harm or damage and it will treat the inner muscle layers.”
Last year, the UK government outlined its intention to introduce a licensing regime for non-surgical cosmetic procedures. “From a company’s perspective, it’s vital that regulation comes in as it will not only clear up the market it will also add a safety aspect,” admits Ibrahim.
The business is clearly forging an upward trajectory. It now offers surgical treatments like hair transplants, bariatric surgery (diabetes reversal), dental treatments and IVF alongside all its cosmetic surgery, expanding from a team of 15 to 60, including doctors, dentists, nurses, practitioners and therapists.
At the forefront are the life lessons garnered from his mother that Ibrahim applies to work and his personal life: that no problem is too big, and no stress is worth losing yourself over.
Watch: How much money do I need to buy a house?
Download the Yahoo Finance app, available for Apple and Android.