CACI turns 30 this month. What’s your proudest achievement in that time?
“I think the fact that we’ve managed to make a global brand from scratch. CACI’s now in 100 countries and we supply around 10,000 systems overseas and around 6,000 in the UK.
“But in terms of standout moments, when we treated Princess Diana that really put us on the map and created global news coverage. Also, when we won the Daily Mail Anti-Ageing Best Treatment, which was only in 2019, so that’s 28 years after we launched and shows how popular we still are.
“We had a letter just yesterday from a doctor who had been treating a lady that suffered a brain injury, which caused some paralysis of the face. She’d been having CACI treatments and the doctor couldn’t believe the difference and said it needed further study. That elevates it above just a beauty treatment – the fact it’s changing people’s lives – so I feel proud of that.”
What are the biggest challenges you, and the beauty industry, have faced in these 30 years?
“The past two years have been the most challenging; the pandemic coupled with Brexit was like a perfect storm. The constant stop-start of lockdowns then restrictions on treatments has been a strain for everyone.
“When beauty salons couldn’t do facial treatments, we came up with the idea of an Electro Mask so the client would wear a mask and still have a treatment and a lot of our salons were very grateful for that. When salons closed, we offered a drop-ship service so they could continue to supply retail to clients, and we dedicated a lot of time to putting all our training online, so there were lots of adaptations.
“For us as a company, export became pretty nightmarish with Brexit. We’ve had to appoint a responsible person for supplying Europe, which has meant changing all our packaging, doing completely new CSR reports, and uploading to the European cosmetic portal for all of our products. Then you’ve got increased costs of shipping, and delays in getting components and raw materials. There have been other challenges, like the 2008 recession, but not on the same level of the past two years.”
What’s the secret to longevity in a market where there are constantly new brands?
“First and foremost, to stand the test of time, you’ve got to have something that works. Lots of products in our industry, unfortunately, make a lot promises and don’t necessarily deliver. You can always sell something once but if it doesn’t work you’ll be found out.
“Not a month has gone past in those 30 years where we haven’t had some form of media coverage too, so I think keeping us constantly in the public eye has maintained that demand. Also, we’ve never become complacent; we keep our ear to the ground to be responsive to what the market is asking for. There’s a balance between that and jumping at every single trend that pops up – the secret is being able to recognise something that might be bit faddish and something that is going to last the test of time.
“Also, a lot of equipment companies sell a machine and then they’re on to the next machine but we try to develop attachments for existing machines so that we can still supply our existing salon accounts with new treatments – without them having to go out and buy new a machine.”
Looking to the future, what are your plans and goals for the coming year?
“In terms of NPD, we’re working on a few new attachments for the machines and some new ancillary products, both for use with the machines and retailing to clients. “We’re focusing on treatments for acne and other skin conditions. We’re also looking at treatments that target the under-chin area. We want to make our machines more versatile – so not just about anti-ageing or lifting but also targeting people that have acne and blemishes and perhaps attracting a slightly younger audience. We do already have some acne programmes but we know that with these additions we can improve on the results were already achieving.
“The decision to target the under-chin area was also from our research into areas people are concerned about. Particularly doing Zoom calls and seeing their face on screen so much, people want to try and work on the under-chin area. We’re really looking at developing more targeted treatment applications so that the machine becomes more versatile – you can adapt it to the needs of each person.
“We’ve got new distributors signing in Switzerland, Turkey and Iran, and I’m also talking to somebody from Australia, then within the next two years we want to go direct to market in the US, opening our own offices there. We’re going through FDA compliance now, and that’s the big plan.”
As a tech-based beauty brand, what are your predictions for tech trends in beauty?
“Technology is becoming more targeted so that machines, including our own, can be specifically adapted for individual needs rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Having said that, I think legislation is going to tighten so that machines that are invasive or that produce high-intensity electromagnetic radiation will become the domain of a medical practitioner. I’m saying that specifically with the EU Medical Devices Regulation in mind as this covers treatments for a non-medical purpose.
“Once that comes into force, certain machines that are being sold to beauticians right now won’t be allowed anymore, so salon owners need to exercise caution. The MHRA have published details of what constitutes a medical device so that’s the first thing to look at, then it’s also really important to research the company you are buying from.”
What challenges are facing the market in 2022?
“Coming out of this series of lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a challenge in trying to restore confidence.
Here we are, saying “buy our machines”, but salons are understandably nervous to invest at the moment so we’ve put together two schemes that minimise that risk.
“We’re offering a kickstarter scheme where we supply the system, train the team, and they don’t pay anything for six months so that gives them a fantastic opportunity to generate revenue and demand before they part with any money. On our Skin Breeze system, we’re offering “try before you buy”, so you can rent the system for six months and if it doesn’t work for you, you give it back. If you decide you want to purchase the system, we deduct that six months’ rental from the price so it’s a way to test the market.”