Passion to serve. This is what drives Steven Bhagwandass – the CEO of the Face and Body Clinic Ltd – who continues to serve his clients alongside his staff, as a laser therapist.
“I think if I am not in the hands-on, I just wouldn’t bother coming to work. This is what I enjoy…helping people, looking after people, that’s me.”
Almost 40 years ago, the clinic – a family business founded by his older sister, a model – which provides a range of services that seek to pamper both body and mind, opened to welcome its first clients at its flagship Cross Crossing Shopping Centre branch in San Fernando.
Having moved from that location a few years ago to the corner of Park and Todd Street (also in San Fernando), the decades dedicated to excellent service have paid off.
The clinic now boasts five branches across TT – San Fernando, Charlieville, St Augustine, the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Tobago and its newest, on Alexandra Street, St Clair.
Service is important
Despite having five locations and over 70 staff, Bhagwandass who has been the company’s CEO for 13 years, said he still considers his skin and body care franchise a small business and attributed the clinic’s longevity to how it serves its clients.
“Service is important. It is very easy to turn somebody off and they could take their business elsewhere.”
The clinic has an expansive range of services, including but not limited to programme and corrective facials, therapeutic body massages, eye and full body treatments, waxing, hair services, manicures and pedicures as well as body toning and firming. So clients are never short of options to meet their beauty and body care needs.
In addition, the clinic offers advanced laser technology for treatments such as the non-surgical laser facelift, and laser removal of hair, stretch marks, skin tags or warts, to name a few.
It has also been a local distributor for the high-end Germaine de Capuccini professional and retail skincare products imported from Spain, for over 20 years.
With prices starting from as low as $10, free consultations, access to state-of-the-art laser technology and Bhagwandass's desire to ensure clients get value for money, the CEO remained unbothered by his competitors who have popped up over the years, flooding the market with similar services.
Lisa Mohammed, a manager at the St Clair branch who has been with the clinic for 14 years, echoed Bhagwandass’s sentiments. What sets it apart from its competitors, in her view, is: “Our professionalism, the relationship that both Steven and the staff have with clients, as well as (the fact that) our prices are one of the lowest in TT.”
Laser treatments can be daunting for some customers, but Mohammed sought to alleviate any fears people may have about services such as the non-surgical laser facelift.
“We don’t use needles, there is no cutting, no blood – nothing like that."
Mohammed suggested women needing hair removal treatments because of hormonal imbalances because of conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) should opt for permanent laser hair removal.
“The laser targets four to five hair follicles at a time. A full-face procedure is ten-15 minutes, tops. We normally recommend six to eight sessions. Some people stop before that time because the hairs are so fine that you barely see them there.”
Kavita Mahabir, who is also part of the management team and works as an assistant laser therapist, said the results for laser treatments were better than waxing, because it is better to treat ingrown hairs.
Mahabir said laser treatments are also used to help reduce the appearance of dark marks and scars and are used to remove tattoos as well.
Diane Bharosa was diagnosed with PCOS and has been having laser hair removal treatments for her face at the clinic for over a year. In an interview with Newsday after her last session, done by Bhagwandass, Bharosa said so far, her experience has been comfortable.
Bharosa advised people to do their research to figure out the best treatment options for them.
Newsday toured the newest St Clair location and the facilities and advanced technology observed suggested investments upwards of about $250,000 were made at the branch. But Bhagwandass was coy about sharing the company’s annual profit margin, jokingly saying, “We will have to probably talk to our accountant.”
He did say, however, the business was doing “quite well.”
Without going into details, Bhagwandass said like every business, he experiences challenges, but to combat those challenges, he tries to motivate his staff.
One such challenge that no business owner anticipated was the covid19 pandemic. During that time, Bhagwandass said he did not let go any of his staff, but instead opted for a shift system so he could keep his entire team.
“We made it possible. At the end of it, some people did have to work less days.
Give, help, empower
Bhagwandass emphasised that his passion to serve people is what drives him.
“Helping people. I am very passionate about the people I serve."
Thirteeen years ago, he and his wife Pamela founded the Haven of Hope non-profit children’s home, which is licenced by the Children’s Authority.
“Presently we have 11 kids in the home. It is something my wife and I established, and it was our way of being able to give back. So even though we have two biological daughters, I do have 11 other kids.
“When we first started the home we had 17 children at one time.”
He laughingly recalled the principal calling his wife to let her know her 17 children were misbehaving, but for him and his wife, it is worth it.
“I think it is just a way for us to give, to help and empower.”
Bhagwandass said he looks forward to handing over the reins to his capable management team to carry on the clinic for the next 40 years so the business can continue to provide for the families of his 70 employees.
“I just want to live a very simple life. With my 70 employees, it’s not about me helping 70 women and men, but it is helping 70 families out there.”
“I want to take it easy. Next year is going to make it 30 years I have been really pushing operations.”
Bhagwandass said in the future he wants to facilitate training for people interested in working in the skin and body care industry.
“We did training in previous years, and it is something we will consider doing again in the future. So, I guess with our new St Clair facility and in south as well, we can actually create some classrooms again.
“We just want people to come and try us. We are here to serve.”