Dear Patients and LovelySkin Customers,
At year’s end, I pause to reflect on my team's accomplishments this year as well as the incredible support from patients, customers and family, and our amazingly dedicated staff. Growth was a key element this year as we continued to add new staff members, patients and customers for the store and website. The growth prompted internal changes that made our website and mobile experience better and more intuitive, as well as changes that were more visible, such as the new boxes and the addition of new products and staff to assist you.
We continue to expand customer service and have added more staff during the peak season to support your needs.
Thirty new lines were added, including several hair care lines this year. Adding new lines may seem like a simple task, but what isn't obvious is how personal this is. We have very different standards and expectations for the products we carry and if there are any issues with a product, we expect the company to assist our customers. Many times, I get involved if there are ongoing issues with a product or a particular lot of products. We are highly unusual in this respect, but it allows us to offer the kind of customer service you have come to expect and the experience I want to offer to each of you.
Just recently, we introduced the LovelySkin LUXE Microdermabrasion Polish with Triple Sphere Technology. As with most of our new products, this one took 18 months from the 'idea' to the reality. Our product development process is demanding and unique. It requires hours of intense work from our staff, but ultimately, it makes for a product that is superb the first time, with the right look, feel and results. I hope you like this, and all our new products, as much as we do!
We continued to enhance the mobile and desktop experience at LovelySkin.com and have completely changed our search tools on the site to make the offerings easier to find and more effective. Our web development team did a phenomenal job in bringing this out!
The new boxes you see on many of your orders were completely redesigned this year. We highlighted the use of recyclable materials in the construction of the box and are especially pleased that the packing peanuts we use are starch, not plastic, so they dissolve in water and are not contributing to pollution or landfill issues. The redesign strengthened the boxes to allow for less damage en route to you.
Video continued to be a huge focus of our team. We added more staff to the video department to allow for more videos designed to assist you. We also continued to expand our videos that are just for fun, and hope you enjoy these. Here is our list of the top videos this year.
Recognition as a Bizrate Platinum Circle of Excellence website (6th year in a row) and Google Trusted Store was appreciated. We also found out that we are one of the top 15 Health and Beauty Cosmetic Web Retailers in the world (Internet Retailer data), a wonderful accomplishment! Being in the company of L'Oreal, Estee Lauder and Birchbox among others is nice and it couldn't have happened without your incredible support.
There were also many noteworthy happenings during the year.
For the past two years we have worked on a system (ERP) that organizes our warehouse and leads to better efficiency with our orders and fewer issues. We implemented it fully as of May and it has not only led to quicker fulfillment but clearly has helped our staff to do a better job. It wasn't exactly painless to implement and many of you may have seen slight hiccups along the way or experienced a temporary slowdown, but we appreciate your patience while we perfected it.
With over 200,000 Facebook fans and hundreds of thousands of other users of LovelySkin, our reach around the world and involvement in the industry continues to grow while we continue our family orientation even as we grow, which is really important to us. We have fun at work, and our team enjoys what they do, every day of the year. Without that, we wouldn't continue to have our high level of customer satisfaction, and we don't intend to change that any time in the future!
We have always resisted becoming a 'corporate' website - instead, we relish our personal involvement with our users as a family-owned business. Two of our competitors were swallowed up by foreign corporate entities this year, while we continue to enjoy being your 'family' source for skin care, resisting the offers to become part of a larger, stock market-based company or a company that is located thousands of miles from the United States. Our Omaha-based, Midwestern values-oriented customer service is a distinction we hope never goes out of style. One other value that we have is that of helping others, something that our entire team did this year when we worked to help out at the local Humane Society, a local charity shelter, and many other places. Please see the video here that details just some of the work our folks did.
The invention that my son Daniel and I introduced four years ago, FixMySkin Healing Balm with 1% Hydrocortisone, continues to be very popular! It is now sold in over 190 dermatology offices across the world, Walmart.com, Amazon and of course, on LovelySkin.com. Additionally, it continues to get great reviews and offers a low-cost method of improving skin conditions such as eczema, dry lips and cracked fingers in a simple delivery system. It makes us so very happy to know that we are helping people who may not have ready access to a dermatologist for their skin care needs.
The medical side of the business has continued to grow, while we have added several new procedures this year, including the popular CoolMini chin treatment. Additionally, we recently completed two trials on new competitors of Botox and one on a filler for the mouth area as well as several new product trials on hand creams and dark spot creams. Presently, we are in the midst of a trial of a completely new medication for psoriasis. The innovation that continues in our field is truly remarkable. I am fortunate to be in a specialty, dermatology, that is filled with outstanding individuals who help to advance science, while making products and procedures safer and more effective.
This was the eighth year for our Cosmetic Surgery Forum conference in Las Vegas which I founded to train young and established dermatologists on new techniques in dermatology and cosmetic surgery. Over 400 attendees were present this year, and I personally sponsored 75 residents (now a total of 650 since inception) in dermatology, ophthalmology and plastic surgery so they could learn and be a credit to the profession I love and respect.
The LovelySkin retail store has continued to be successful in its 6th full year, and was once again voted the Best Beauty Supply Store in Omaha this year. Competing against powerful and well-known brands was a huge challenge, but we succeeded! Additionally, our website, LovelySkin.com, was once again voted one of the top three websites in Omaha, which was rewarding for our entire staff!
Our spas, LovelySkin Spa in the clinic and LovelySkin Spa Express in the retail store, were honored as one of the top three spas in Omaha – for the fourth year in a row! Both spas are seeing large increases in services performed and customer satisfaction, which is a source of pride for all of us.
I was fortunate and honored to be voted one of the Top 100 doctors in the country (as voted by my peers) as well as receiving Best Dermatologist and Best Cosmetic Surgeon awards for Omaha this year. Thank you to all of you who voted.
On a personal note, my son, Daniel, is now a second year medical student. The amount of knowledge he is learning is daunting and the preparation he is getting is superb. Nancy, my wife, is continuing to work very hard behind the scenes in the practice and website and brings so much wisdom (aka 'common sense') to me. Our daughter, Claire, is a programmer working for a website startup company in San Francisco and enjoying the experience out there. Our sweet pug dog, Emmy, made an incredible second video appearance on the website in our Halloween video in a reprise of her scary role! At 14 and a half years, she is one of our senior staffers and remains the most loved member of the LovelySkin family. My parents, June and Bernie, continue to be a source of strength and my inspiration for how to live a good life. They have been married for over 64 years and still help out in so many ways, including proofreading and other varied tasks. They are a blessing to all of us.
I wish you and your families success and happiness in the year to come. My staff and I deeply appreciate your loyalty over the years and hope to always live up to your expectations by providing you with the best patient care and customer service.
Thank you for an amazing year.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Joel Schlessinger MD, FAAD, FAACS
Board-certified Dermatologist and Cosmetic Surgeon
Chief Editor, Cosmetic Surgery, Practical Dermatology Magazine