Dr. Apratim Goel in the CEO and Medical Director of a chain of laser and cosmetic clinics called Cutis Skin Studio ,Mumbai, India.
A strong feminist, an extremely passionate aesthetician and board certified dermatologist, Dr.Goel advises many established brands to put them on the road to profitability and is a true inspiration for many budding cosmetic dermatologists globally.
An author and voracious reader, she continually upgrades her knowledge to offer the best personal care advice to her customers. She always connect to her readers with her simple words and meaningful advices in her writes. Critically acclaimed for her articles that can be routinely be seen in numerous national and international magazines and newspapers.
She is also a known face for media and appears on various TV programmes. However she stays in touch with academics and regularly upgrades herself by travelling globally and involved in many conferences and global events. She is President of AFAASI and on editorial board of many journals and magazines.
Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
I belong to a small yet beautiful place in foothills of Himalayas Mussoorie where I went to school. I am told by my mother and my friends that I grew up as a very silent and shy kid. I did my MBBS from GMC, Government medical college, Bellary Karnataka in 1996. Then I did MD dermatology from KMC Manipal in 2001 followed by DNB. I worked in Delhi for 1 year and Mumbai for 2 years before starting my own clinic in 2004. Worked with L’Oreal as a consultant dermatologist for a couple of years with a few other corporate tie ups.
Fourteen years ago, I started my own state of art clinic “Cutis Skin Klinic” opposite Babulnath temple, South Mumbai.
Of course with the heavy investments, no knowledge of local language and being single, it was not easy to establish in Mumbai. Every step was a challenge. But I was determined to make it big. And so I did. Took loans, borrowed money from friends and family and worked 18-20 hours a day.
Today we have 2 state of art clinics with best technology in India under one roof and that makes all the pains worthwhile. Cutis holds the tagline high “Skin experts with a difference” We are different from all other skin clinics in the country as we don’t believe in just treating our patients but giving them an experience.
Who is your strength and inspiration?
My family. They have always supported me in whatever I do and my cutis team. But I would also add my failures as my biggest strengths. It is the fear to fail that kept me going in bad times.
What are the Current projects & initiatives you wish to promote?
Apart from running my laser clinics in Mumbai, I am also involved in training other physicians and dermatologists. I am a strong believer of education.
Having achieved so much in life, I believe in giving back to the society too. We treat all needy people around us free of charge and also treat the acid attach burn victims at our clinics totally free of charge. I don’t believe in any NGO or charitable organisation as I want to help the people directly.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Finances is a big challenge as the technology we use are very expensive. Since cheap chinese made machines are available for 1/10th prices , some laser centers can provide cheaper treatment and spoil the aesthetic market. However they are not only less effective but also are harmful to the patient. We get so many burn cases from cosmetic centres in our practice. Patients are not even aware what laser was used on them.
- Quality Challenge: This is what commonly happens with the franchisees and that is the biggest fear that I have in mind when I consider this option for expansion. Dilution of the quality of services is a big challenge in service industry.
- Staff Attrition: In this competitive business, it is very difficult to retain your trained and competent staff. The moment your staff is trained some other cheaper unqualified laser centre would offer them better salary and pick them up.
- Marketing: with so many centres coming up every day, it is difficult to reach the clients and public does not know whom should they trust. Marketing is obviously a very expensive tool and does not guarantee the authenticity. Anyone can claim anything in the advertisements.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
As I enter 2017, I could clear all debts and loans that I had acquired all these years. My clinics were awarded “ Best skin and hair clinic in Mumbai” 3 times in a row and this year I was also awarded in Global listing as “ 50 outstanding woman in Health care” and in 2015 as “ Best dermatologist in Mumbai” These are the achievements which make all the pain, tears, failures and hurts worthwhile.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
Oh I know that one. Definitely a chef or owning a chain of restaurants as I love cooking.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Growing up, it has been my dad as he never gives up. Now my biggest inspiration is my husband Ed Van Dam, who inspires me every minute. However my fear of failing is my inspiration too. Every time I fall down, the fear of failure gives me strength to get up and perform.
What does the future hold for you?
My crystal balls says that I will have a chain of clinics in India. I also will be soon starting one of the best training programmes in India for aesthetic training of doctors.