As featured in Spa + Clinic Magazine
Australia’s skincare distribution powerhouse, Advanced Cosmeceuticals Skin Group (ACSG) has had a year of changes. We speak to the team about the company’s future.
Shaunte Mears-Watkins, CEO ACSG
Congratulations on your new role as CEO of ACSG, Shaunte, can you tell us a bit about your professional background and what attracted you to working at ACSG? I’ve spent my entire career building consumer businesses, especially those with roots in health and wellness. Among the many lessons I’ve learned over the years, I’ve seen time and again that the most enduring relationships that people have with products are not just built on functional benefits, but also emotional and social ones. When you find the right match, just you know it. My own skincare journey has not always been easy. In my teenage years, I struggled with acne and hyperpigmentation, and it really impacted my confidence. It took me well into my twenties to find the right skin therapist that I trusted, and a routine that I felt that I could consistently follow. Once all of those things began to change, so did my skin and the way that I saw myself. Joining AC Skin Group allows me to help others discover the right support for their individual needs.
In your own words, what sets ACSG apart from other skincare distributors in Australia? What makes us different is the deep understanding and partnership that we have with clinics in Australia, coupled with the calibre of brands we work with. Clinics are our core, and we invest in understanding their unique position and any impediments they have to growth. But our relationship with clinics could not be nearly as successful if they couldn’t have complete trust in the brands that we represent. At every touch point, the brands within our portfolio, our representatives, educators and marketers must stay at the top of their game. We listen, we adjust, and we act. The industry is dynamic and we must be as well.
What is your vision for ACSG? The foundations of the ACSG are truly solid, thanks to the dedication and passion of Catherine and Daniel. As we move into 2024 and beyond, ACSG will specialise in bringing industry driving innovation, education, and brands to Australia & New Zealand. At the heart of what we do will always be people; that connection to clinics, to customers and to the founders of our brands is what I believe will set us apart as we move forward.
Daniel Dickson, Board Member ACSG
Daniel, you have worked as DMK MG (MD) for over 20 years now and have been an integral part in the acquisition of DMK by ACSG. What makes ACSG a great fit for DMK? I feel that DMK and the brands within the AC Skin Group do have synergies as they often attend to different concerns within the beauty industry. DMK has always been paramedical skin revision concept that requires a large amount of dedication and training for passionate skin therapists who want to make a difference to their client’s skin concerns. ACSG have such a wonderful distribution of clinics and ones that I know would do well with the DMK concept. Like everything though, not every brand is for everybody so having a suite of products that allows the clinics to choose puts them in a position where they can diversify their business and deal with one company.
You are on the board for ACSG, what are some of the decisions the board discusses, and how important is it to keep clinics and clients in mind? In my mind the clinics are always number one because without a solidly supported clinic whereby they receive the education, marketing support and business assistance, the clients would not receive the desired outcome that the brand intends. The decisions on the board that we make are more around the strategic decision for the brands, and every brand is on its own journey, so it is definitely not a cookie cutter approach. Sometimes various brands require more attention and that is where the energy will flow, but for most of the time, the board is there to ensure that the strategic direction and support is given to the business to set it up for the greater success. There is also new initiatives or innovation that ACSG can bring to the market, and this is often initiated at the boardroom, and they will be executed and delivered by the team.
What are you most excited about that is coming in 2024 for ACSG and/or DMK? In any acquisition, it takes time to settle in and for the brands to work in synergy, however as I think as we come through what has been a few challenging years, we are hoping there won’t be any business interruptions, and people wanting to find themselves back into the workspace. DMK and all the brands of ACSG will enjoy a year of greater normality and right now I know that people are looking for value for money and results. Both of these are not always possible to achieve as results often require an amount of dedication and time and an investment to ensuring they get the desired outcome. DMK is very much a results orientated business and there is no way to cut corners on delivering results that are crippling peoples’ confidence. Everyone desires to wear the best skin they can, and we know if they do make a dedication to DMK, it will deliver the results.
Catherine Biedermann, Board Member ACSG
Catherine, ACSG has gone through some changes recently, can you tell us about some of the strategic decisions you made for this incredible company you founded almost 18 years ago? Over the last 18 years, my incredible team has helped build AC to become one of Australia‘s biggest distributors for advanced skincare and aesthetic equipment. I have been fortunate to have a very loyal team with many long term staff members and a very loyal clientele. This made it possible to show strong growth year on year. From my previous business experiences I knew, there was a time when my business knowledge couldn’t support the continuing growth any longer. I was open to consider take over offers from companies that were skilled in growing AC further.
What does Shaunte bring to the table as CEO of ACSG? Shaunte has the experience of leading and further growing a business to become a corporate business. Shaunte also understands the initial challenges a takeover can create for employees and customers. Our industry includes small to large businesses with different needs and expectations They all need to be acknowledged and met, as much as possible. The larger the business grows, the harder this becomes.
You are now a board member for ACSG, how will you be working with Shaunte? I am very aware, the future growth of AC will lead to many organisational changes. There will be changes that will benefit the clinics and also changes that may be a challenge for some clinics. I see my role in discussing these changes, pointing out possible hurdles but mainly supporting Shaunte in her role. It is Shaunte who‘s now leading AC and my main role is to support Shaunte in her role.