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 Clinic of the Month | DermaNuva

Clinic of the Month | DermaNuva

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to interview one of my longest standing clients, the amazing owners of DermaNuva Skin, Laser & Health Clinic out in Olds, Alberta, Dr. Johann and Retha van der Vyver. The timis was just perfect, as not only have we been working with them for nearly nine years, it’s also their 10 year anniversary this month! What an amazing milestone. Read on to see why they are such rock stars and what it takes to still be standing in this industry at the 10 year mark. (And hey, if you’ve got time, tune into the full video at the bottom of this blog.)

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Rene: Take yourself back to the very beginning… What were things like for you and your business 10 years ago? Before Dermaviduals?

Dr. Johann: I don’t know how many people that start a new business really know what they’re going to do or if they are up to it. We had the dream. We had the idea–I had it in my head.

But you know, there are challenges that come with it. The management of people, process, products–I think we had no idea what was waiting for us. So it was literally day to day, a bit of a scramble. But, you know, we had been in this town and community for 16 years. We had good relationships. These things in the background, that you can only look back and see, but those were very helpful. We wouldn’t have known then what to do to prepare ourselves for the future. And I think that’s part of business, you jump in, you swim, and then you figure out what tools you need, and you know what it will take and, and that’s what happened with us.

Retha: It’s very different to be a family physician, and to your own business.

Rene: What drew you in the skin direction as a family physician? Why skin? What intrigued you?

Dr. Johann: Two things. One is the ease. The nice thing about this skin is it’s in front of your eyes and with a good history and with really good patient feedback it will bring you closer to your desired results. You don’t need to wait for a bunch of results.

And second… The skin is an amazing organ. We know it’s the biggest one. But it’s also, I think, the most complicated one on the other hand. And if you work with the skin, you’re not relying always on all those prescription medications. I think there is a safety in the topical things that we use more than systemic medications. So from a physician point of view, those were all things that I think kept me interested and eventually made me make the changeover from family medicine into skin.

Rene: Yes, and it’s been really interesting to watch that transition for you. So I want to come to my next question. Do you remember the moment that you decided to switch things up and bring Dermaviduals into your business? What was that one thing that made you decide?

Retha: Yeah. I remember it really well. I remember when you (René) came to our clinic to teach us how to do dermal needling? And it was through you that we heard about the Pastiche Method of Advanced Skin Analysis andFlorence. We just started valuing you and your opinion and your advice so much. When we started getting involved with Dermaviduals, and you told us about it, then it was a no brainer, we just followed because we follow you with everything.

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Rene: Haha! That can be dangerous sometimes. I do want to preface that it was also a journey for you guys. I remember when you brought Dermaviduals in, and you obviously saw the value of the customization and the clean formulation, you still had to build the knowledge of the product line, and then learn about how to match the anatomy and physiology and the cosmetic chemistry together. It’s a process, like anything in life.

Retha: Yeah, it was a transition from conventional skincare. I always tell clients that Dermaviduals is like medicine, except it doesn’t have “the nasties”, and it totally matches the skin. The fact you know, if we want to eat, we consider eating nutritious food. So whatever we put on our skin, we want to put on something that’s really going to work with the skin. Once you learn about Corneotherapy, there’s no turning back. It’s on a different level. And we had two different product lines, but Dermaviduals just had such results that word of mouth started and it just grew. We haven’t seen anything like that before. We have various pictures of clients where after three years using the product, they look younger than when they started.

Rene: Happy clients, for sure. It’s like one of those things: once you see it, you can’t unsee it and once you know it, you can’t unknow it. Okay, so on that note, let me ask you, what has the impact been on your business since making the decision to bring in Dermaviduals?

Dr. Johann: Once people are happy (and I think we have a lot of happy people), they stay loyal clients of the clinic. So you adjust their formulation for their custom blend, if anything changes in their life, their work, their hormone profile, whatever it might be, we can make those changes. But once we have them in our business funnel, we can adjust and work with them and just make sure that we keep them happy. It’s predictable.

One thing about Dermaviduals is, like medicine, there is that unique customization down to the milligram. How many skincare products can you say do this, where you can exactly measure and know what you do is precise?

I love that part. That’s where science and beauty meet. That’s an old cliche, but I think it has no better meaning than in the case of Dermaviduals.

Rene: I think that is the mic drop–we could cut the interview here. I won’t but, oh my gosh. Ok next up, what has the biggest impact been of bringing in Dermaviduals? What are the top outcomes that you’ve seen for your, for your business, for your staff, and for your clients or patients in your case?

Dr. Johann: It’s the fact that you are very patient focused. With Dermaviduals and the Pastiche method you can really give a new custom product. And it involves everybody in our clinic, so that feedback that the client gives you, our skilled therapist that works closely with retail and we have a laser technician as well and a couple of nurses. Everybody knows Dermaviduals and what we do, and I think everybody is looking for the effect of it. It’s very client focused. We’re not just merely having retail products on the shelves that we sell to people.

And the Pastiche skin analysis is the biggest thing that we promote very actively. That is what makes us stand out.

And if I can add one more, I think our staff is very proud that we have such a lot of science and education. So we are not trying to sell stuff to people, we are trying to educate people.

Rene: What were the surprises that came up that you did not expect in your 10 years of business by bringing in Dermaviduals, or working with Dermal Systems, or the general world of entrepreneurship? 

Dr. Johann: Although I had done a diploma in dermatology, and Pastiche before then dermaviduals. When I compared notes between dermatology, I was impressed with the science behind Pastiche and Dermaviduals. For me it was a steep learning curve. You learn a lot in dermatology, but the nitty gritty took awhile to get into. And then verbalizing to clients took awhile as well. That’s why I keep a diagram on my wall. And if I didn’t get that knowledge from Pastiche and Dermaviduals, I think we would’ve been hanging out to dry.

Rene: Was there one thing as an entrepreneur you wish you knew before?

Retha: I wish I learned about the Skin-Centric Business Formula 10 years ago. It helped us look at the numbers and to know what we want to see in the numbers. Just starting a business, we were just swimming and not really knowing where we wanted to swim, what we wanted to do, we’re always striving to have the latest knowledge and the best education, the best product that we could get. But we never brought the education side and the business side together.

Rene: So, okay, so if you have somebody thinking about starting a business, in the medical esthetics field, if they are thinking about Dermaviduals on, they’re sitting on the fence about making the decision and bringing their idea to life or even deciding what they want to have in the clinic and so forth. What is the one piece of advice that you guys can give somebody starting out or setting up the things?

Dr. Johann: Get yourself educated properly. I don’t think Dermaviduals will work for you if you go straight there. It’s great for people that have a base understanding of skin. Then when you are ready for Pastiche, do it sooner rather than later. Do it when you’re young!

And again, what I mentioned about numbers. I think you’ve got to be very aware of breaking things down so that you have literally a spreadsheet of costing and numbers and inventory. You’ve got to keep track of things from day one. You need some business and accounting knowledge. You cannot build a business without it.

Rene: Okay, so getting personal. If you could talk to yourself 10 years ago, what would be the advice you would give yourself as you think of opening a business and choosing all the components to make it run? Would it be: don’t do it?

Dr. Johann: We didn’t know what we were getting into, but if you have the tools and the desire to do it, I think one can build any business. Human relations is probably the biggest piece of the puzzle. As you go, you develop a sense for who are the right people. We’ve got a great team, but it took almost eight years to build this team. And have you heard the saying: slow to hire and quick to fire right? For us, I don’t like the principle. I have seen that anyone can grow with the right attitude, the right input and the right tools in hand.

At the end of the day, a team becomes bigger than it’s parts. It has an effect on the people that they serve. And of course, then you have this effect on your community. And I think that DNA that develops comes from the business owners.

Rene: What is the thing that you think you do that every business owner should do to balance life and stay grounded?

Retha: I think that is a huge challenge. Because if you own a business, you do have the tendency to never stop. I’ve had a friend who told me about somebody who had cancer and when she was recovering her husband made her promise: carry on with your life like normal, but at 6pm you need to stop. That’s been something that we’ve been trying to do. Because we work together all day as partners, in the evenings we need to be husband and wife. So for me that time that we can really switch off and connect with one another is so important. We don’t do it enough. But we are striving and trying.

Dr. Johann: If you have somebody that you can bounce your ideas with, that’s what keeps you thinking, keeps you in reality, keeps in focus. So I would encourage every business owner to find that person. It might be your closest assistant, they might not be on your level, they might not have complete ownership, but somebody that you can be totally open and bounce ideas from that allow you in my case, not to say stupid things, or make big mistakes. And I am very thankful that my wife is that one because there is no more transparency than you have like in this situation.

Rene: What does DermaNuva look like 10 years from now?

Retha: I’m very bold, I believe in big growth. This year COVID hit but we’re growing. So in that sense, we’re taking more and more control over how we do things. And I believe in 10 years this is going to be a business to reckon with.

Rene: I think you already are so I completely see that. A natural. Yes, yes. 100% 100% You guys are so amazing.

Dr. Johann: I probably only want to work for another nine years. So in exactly 10 years from now, if you have another doctor that’s interested in taking over the clinic, give him my number. Okay?

You can connect with Dr. Johann & Retha on social media here at Instagram, Facebook or by email at admin@dermanuva.comwith any questions.

Congratulations again on your 10 years in business and here’s to the continued success of you and your team!

Interested in becoming a dermaviduals® partner clinic like DermaNuva?? Reach out to us by email at

Watch the full video here: