Interview With Cosmetic Dentist and Non-Surgical Facial Aesthetician Dr Kaly Jaff: How she built a successful practice and her journey into the world of business.
Dr Kaly Jaff
Business: Cosmetic Dentist | Non-Surgical Facial Aesthetics | Anti-Ageing Treatments
What inspired you to be a dentist?
It’s difficult to truthfully say I was “inspired” by the career itself. I was more inspired by what it could give me, a life of stability and respect and ultimately, that’s what was “inspiring”. I was raised in a family of academics, both my parents are professors and I was always somewhat mature. I cant ever remember wanting to be a princess or a cowboy. I knew I wanted to be strong and successful like my mother and in order to do that, I needed a career that would support my dreams and that’s how I landed in dentistry. I’ve been very lucky in that I do really enjoy my job. It’s not just a job, it’s a career.
What made you venture into lecturing?
I’ve always wanted to go into teaching having been strongly influenced by my parent’s passion for their careers. In dentistry, teaching often comes in the research pathway which was something I really wasn’t interested in. I wasn’t keen on exploring a PhD or sitting in a lab for years in the chance that I may like the lecturing aspect when I got there. I actually accidentally landed in teaching when I started following my passion for facial aesthetics. Two friends of mine started their own Face academy and approached me to teach the courses. I was at the right place at the right time.
What inspired you to start a business of your own in aesthetics and what research did you do?
Facial aesthetics is an aspect of my job that I took too very quickly and honestly, it’s impossible to miss. It’s all around us. The Kardashians are not shy to advertise that they dabble in it and that’s all the exposure you’re really needing when you start out. I’m very close with my clients and I found I was getting a lot of enquiries regarding facial aesthetics before I had trained and I was forever referring to friends in the years above that I knew were providing it. My clients would say, “when are you going to do it?” and “I’d rather it was you, someone, I already know”. So at first, I was encouraged by my clients. They believed in me more than I believed in myself and that’s wonderful. As soon as I qualified, my base grew fast because I didn’t lose who I was. I was never manipulated by the money and business. I reminded myself that I did this for my clients and so they will always come first and be a priority. Ultimately that’s what will ensure I continue to succeed.
How did you come up with your idea or concept for the business?
The name “Aestheti-Kaly” genuinely came to me in a dream. I wanted to keep it simple, clear and light-hearted. A true representation of what I’m like and I think it suits perfectly.
What was your mission on the outset?
Honestly? I just want to make people feel their best. I do not want ANY of my clients to look “done”. I want their friends and family to ask “what’s their secret?” and for that secret to be me. It doesn’t seem like a very smart business mission or plan as to how are you expecting to build a client base when your main ethos is to be a secret? But you’d be surprised. Because I promised myself from the outset that this wasn’t about money for me and it was something I enjoy doing and want to provide, I found that I could be brutally honest.I wasn’t scared to turn away business. If I didn’t feel like a treatment was suitable despite my client asking for it, I would just refuse. Humans like honesty! It may not always be what they want to hear but a wise man once told me, “you will never get moaned at for being honest”. It’s true. With honesty came trust. With trust came great rapport. And with great rapport came business!!
What did you study at university/college and what was your high and low of your experience?
I studied Dentistry at the University of Glasgow and it was the best 5 years of my life! Many many high points, mostly from travelling with friends who I will undoubtedly have for the rest of my life. Low points being exam stress, treatment failing, high and unrealistic expectations of yourself at the beginning which you inevitably don’t meet and then you are hard on yourself. In general, it was amazing and I grew a lot throughout the degree. In hindsight, I would tell myself to relax, enjoy it, don’t be hard on yourself and don’t compare yourself to anyone. It’s YOUR journey and it should be different than the rest.
What services do you offer?
I offer only healthcare at my place of work. This is both functional (as a dentist) and aesthetic (as a facial aesthetics practitioner).
How do you advertise your business?
Most of my advertising is by word of mouth but I’m trying really hard to jump on with the digital age and I’ve set up social media sites on Instagram and Facebook.
To what do you owe your success to?
I owe my success first and foremostly to my mother. She taught me the importance of work ethic, self-belief and determination. I secondly owe my success to my clients for always encouraging me and supporting me throughout. It’s important to also believe in what you do and so I lastly, owe my success to myself. For staying true to my initial principle and moral. To keep it classy and not be wavered by money or profits.
Do you have any employees/team members you have recruited? How did you recruit them? What do you look for in an employee if you have any?
The wonderful thing about this business is that it’s a one-man band. I find it quite difficult to ask people to do things for me that I know I can do for myself. Especially as a young female professional, nurses are usually the same age as myself. I work predominantly on my own but on busy clinics, I ask my nurse, Gail to help with the records and monetary side of things. I recruited her as we have a mutual respect for each other and I know that nothing I ask of her is ever too much and we’re also good friends so it feels good to then pay her. It’s a win-win situation.
What are the goals of your company?
The goal is always to keep it classy. Less is truly more in facial aesthetics. I refuse treatment almost as much as I agree to do it and that’s because I want to be known for my work and my work is nothing like what I see on MTV.
What is it you love about your business and what do you love most about being a dentist for the National Health Service?
I love that, for the most part, I make people happy. I get them out of pain, I give them their smile and in some cases, even their confidence back. What a wonderful thing to be able to do in the current climate that we’re in? It’s so nice to know that between the hours of being awake and falling asleep, I will make at least ONE positive effect on someone. Fix at least ONE problem. Make at least ONE person smile. The NHS exposes me to many people throughout all walks of life that I wouldn’t usually be exposed to within my usual social circles. It’s amazing to also converse and hear all their stories. It really puts everything into perspective.
What has been the biggest lesson?
The biggest lesson took me almost 5 years to learn. An entire degree worth of time!! And that’s that…you cannot do everything. You cannot fix everyone. You cannot be amazing ALL the time. I think in my line of work you tend to be the best or at least the top 10% throughout life. At school with grades and at university jobs, in sports etc. I always had straight A’s, always had top marks and so to graduate in the big bad world and learn that actually sometimes the tooth doesn’t come out. Sometimes the patient just doesn’t like you. Sometimes the filling breaks within 2 minutes of being in. Sometimes you get a parking ticket. Sometimes you say the wrong thing. Sometimes he won’t text back. Life is not always full marks but that doesn’t mean that you failed.
What made you choose this type of business you are in?
I wanted to be in healthcare because I’m a people person. I like to build relationships and rapport and help in some way. My mother always says I should’ve worked with orphans because all I want to do is help and nurture and what a better place than to be able to provide that under the NHS umbrella?
Does your company help the community or any charities?
The practice is really good for supporting the community and getting involved in charity bake sales. We supported our local rugby team and provided their mouth guards. I hope to run a 5K next year also on behalf of the practice and raise some money for a dental bases charity.
Have you ever turned down a client?
Many times!! If I believe the treatment does not stick to my ethos; is not in the best interest of the patient, has been heavily influenced by body dysmorphia/another issue which CANNOT be fixed by the treatment I will refuse. I think it’s such a shame what younger females are going through with the unrealistic ideals of beauty via social media and what we are exposed to via tv/magazines. A lot of younger clients come in with a picture and say “I want to look like this”. In these cases, I usually refuse. I want to make you feel like the best version of YOU. Not the best version of Kylie Jenner on you. I sleep much better at night knowing I’m not cloning the world one client at a time to all look the same as each other. Individuality is beautiful and I want my clients to embrace that.
If you have a piece of advice for someone starting a business, even a business similar to yours, what would you tell them?
I would say do not be scared. Roosevelt once said, “there is nothing to fear, but fear itself ”. All those things in your head are obstacles and hurdles YOU put there. Don’t blame the world. It will not get any easier to start. The longer you procrastinate, the bigger the hurdles you’ve convinced yourself are there, will be! I was so scared to start because of what I thought my fellow peers and “friends” would say. What if they think I’m being arrogant? What if they don’t agree with my ethos? What if they laugh? But what if it’s actually amazing?! What if they ask YOU for advice? What if they refer clients to YOU for your “expertise”? Do not focus on the negative. Whether you think you can do it or you think you can’t, you’re usually right. So believe that you can, you will and you will wish you started AGES ago.
What did you study in order to start your business?
Literally nothing. I faked it until I made it. Let me tell you, it’s not been an easy ride and I’m not done learning!!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this interview and it has inspired you to set your own goals for success in business as a woman. Let us know your thoughts below in the comment section.