Talking to… LORRAINE HILL |

7 mins


The winner of PB’s Skin Clinic of the Year 2022 award tells Ellen Cummings about her passion for transforming skin, how she maintains a happy team and why aesthetics regulation is a must

The popularity of advanced skin treatments continues to rise as clients demand greater efficacy in shorter timespans. One clinic that’s successfully meeting this demand is Hampton Clinic, founded by Dr Lorraine Hill.

Hill started out as a GP but increasingly moved over to aesthetics as both client interest and her own passion grew. She explains, “I was a GP in the NHS for about 20 years, then I got a bit disillusioned with general practice and started doing Botox on the side. I enjoyed that very quickly, so I went on and did other courses in fillers. Within a year of starting aesthetics, I bought myself a Cool Sculpting machine, which was more for myself than anybody else, but that made my new business take off completely. I was so busy with those treatments that I had to give up general practice. I did both side-by-side for a couple of years to keep the money coming in and get me established in the aesthetics world but as soon as I was busy enough, I gave up general practice.”

Hill carrying out a treatment in her clinic

Fortunately, this transition linked to a lifelong interest of Hill’s. “I’ve always loved practical procedures,” she says. “When I first qualified as a doctor, I wanted to be a surgeon – I loved anything to do with a scalpel and sewing somebody up! Unfortunately, I found that it wasn’t practical to be a surgeon and have a family, which was also important to me. Within general practice, I used to do all the procedures and minor surgery, so lots of gynaecology coil fitting and implants, as well as dermatology like taking out moles and lumps.”

“I didn’t realise aesthetics was what I was interested in, I just sort of fell into it – but I fell into a profession that actually met many of the things I loved doing, and it’s a career which matches my strengths.”

" People are going much more FOR THE NATUR AL LOOK , but I still think that’s ‘ANTI-AGEING’. People say ‘grow old gracefully’, but I think IT’S VERY GR ACEFUL to take away all those DARK SHADOWS and SUNKEN HOLLOWS "

The new Hampton Clinic in Knowle

Hill opened her first clinic in 2014 in the grounds of the Hampton Manor hotel, a 19th century country manor in the village of Hampton-in-Arden. Her goal has always been to help clients be the best version of themselves, as she explains, “We like to restore people’s natural looks and wellbeing. We talk about going on a journey of restoration, which is looking at how people are ageing and how we can reverse just a few of those signs of ageing so that it keeps everything looking natural. We don’t want to change who they are or how they look, we’re just bringing back a little bit more youthfulness.

“We call the clinic the hidden gem of aesthetics because it’s literally in the woods. We’ve done incredibly well to grow as fast as we did, bearing in mind no one knows we’re there. Discretion is our USP with that site.” Hill’s success with this clinic later enabled her to open a second on the high street in nearby Knowle. “We get a lot more custom coming our way because people are walking past and seeing that we’re there,” she comments.

One of the keys to the clinic’s success is its team. “We’ve got a fabulous team here who meet all of the needs of the clinic,” says Hill. It seems that clinic meets all of the team’s needs too, as Hill hasn’t needed to recruit any new staff for years. With retention being an issue for many clinics, spas and salons, there are a few factors which Hill believes helps keep her team so loyal.

Team effort

“We’ve got two beautiful clinics. The original is set in the grounds of my family’s hotel, which is a 45-acre estate in the woodlands, so it’s a relaxing environment. We arrange our appointments so that they’re not back-to-back and the team aren’t rushed off their feet, and they also have really long appointments so that it’s not stressful.”

Playing to therapists’ individual strengths and creating a supportive environment is also important, as Hill explains, “We’re really positive and encouraging with training; we do regular appraisals to identify what their strengths are and what they want to do. I’m always saying, ‘If you find a course you want to do, I’m happy to pay for it’.

“My door is always open. If they’ve ever got a problem with a client, they know I’m there to help them, so it’s very supportive. We also have a commission structure, which is something we’ve started recently and I’m hoping that’s going to be a good motivator.”

Tracking the trends

Having offered body-contouring treatments for a long time, Hill says she is not seeing a rise in that area. “I think the market has been saturated with machines – Iused to be one of the only Cool Sculpting providers in the Midlands but there’s probably 20 of us now. So, the number of treatments could certainly be rising, but for me as a practitioner they’ve plateaued, although they’re still good and steady,” she says. However, Hill is seeing a rise in combination treatments such as radiofrequency microneedling. “We’re doing more energy treatments to the face, like Morpheus8,” she adds.

Alongside this is the increasing popularity of fillers. She explains, “I’m seeing an exponential rise in injectables, but we’ve moved away from the unnatural look; I can tell that just from going to events. When I first started in this industry 10 years ago, I went to conferences and was horrified by all of these weird-looking people, but you don’t tend to see that now. I still don’t think Love Island is a great advert for the industry. I think it puts people off because they can look quite artificial and ridiculous, but people are moving away from the overfilled look.”

Where does Hill believe aesthetics fits in with the criticism of the term “anti-ageing” which has appeared in the industry? “Yes, a lot of people are going much more for the natural look, but I still think that’s ‘anti-ageing’,” Hill says. “The whole point of it is anti-ageing. People say ‘grow old gracefully’, but I think it’s very graceful to take away all those dark shadows and sunken hollows, and we feel so much better.”

A treatment room at Hampton Clinic

Regulating the industry

A hot topic in the aesthetics side of the beauty industry is the proposed licensing scheme for non-surgical procedures. The scope and details haven’t been confirmed, although a consultation is expected to begin in the next few months.

“For non-medics, [licensing] is a good idea – certainly, for people who are not regulated by a professional body,” says Hill. “Everybody should be accountable and have some form of structure to their training. So, if we’re not going to move towards making these treatments medical only, then yes, we should have some sort of licensing. I don’t think it’s necessary for medics who already have a regulatory body where we’re doing appraisals and we’re accountable.”

There is also a proposed plan for the premises providing cosmetic treatments to require licences, but this idea has been met with less enthusiasm by many in the industry. Hill agrees, saying, “We are Save Face-registered, and they assess the practice and tell you if you’re a safe practice and you’ve got all the protocols in place. There is some element of regulation there. I’m not CQC-registered at the moment, but we’re looking towards that. So, if I’m CQC-registered I don’t want to have to get any other registration because that’s enough hoops to jump through already.”

Continuing success

Hill’s passion for transforming skin and creating a positive clinic environment helped the Hampton Clinic win Skin Clinic of the Year award at the Professional Beauty Awards 2022 in July. “It’s been a good year for us, and it was the real icing on the cake to be awarded Skin Clinic of the Year,” she says. Hill believes that winning the award has helped attract more clients to the clinic.

“People often visit and say, ‘I looked you up and you’ve got loads of awards,’ so there’s no doubt that awards bring more people in,” she explains. “We’ve got our awards in the window of our high street branch, so it looks great. It definitely increases your kudos to the public, and that’s what a lot of potential clients look for. They don’t know how to differentiate between a good clinic and a bad clinic, so the only way they can do that is by seeing if it’s award-winning. It’s a great accolade to have.”

Hill with her Professional Beauty Award for Skin Clinic of the Year 2022
This article appears in December 2022

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This article appears in...
December 2022
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