My World by Dr Louise Smyth- Founder of Kins Skin Clinic
IT WAS OUR PLEASURE THIS MONTH TO CONNECT WITH DR LOUISE SMYTH, FOUNDER OF KINS SKIN CLINIC, WIFE AND MOTHER OF THREE UNDER THREE! WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE HER CONTRIBUTE TO THIS MONTHS MY WORLD SERIES.
We launched this series to honour and introduce an inspiring group of mothers, entrepreneurs and friends of Mamas Hospital Bag. Each person featured is someone who motivates us with their shared values and determination to do what they love! We both had the pleasure of attending school with Louise. She has inspired us in her creation of Kins Skin Clinic and her endeavours to bring only evidence based skin care knowledge to her clients and her instagram community. In a world where we are bombarded with information, much of it false, Louise's factual and evidence based recommendations & treatments provide a welcome reassurance. We are inspired by her ability to juggle a successful business with being a Mum to 3 young children while having skin that we can only aspire to!
OUR CONVERSATION WITH LOUISE
Louise, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your family? I live in Kinsale with my husband and 3 children. I run Kins – a medical Skin clinic in Kinsale. Prior to this, I worked as a GP for 6 years before setting up Kins and working exclusively in cosmetic medicine. My eldest child was 2 years 9 months when the youngest was born in March of this year so I’m in the 3 under 3 club!
As a mum to 3 children can you tell us something that has surprised you about motherhood or yourself as a mother? I think the biggest thing that surprised me about having children- and very young children currently, is how different they all are and how much you can tell their temperament and personality from such a young age. A part of me naively thought that kids are ‘just kids’ but in reality, each child requires attention and ‘parenting’ in different ways for their age and personality type. So far my 3 are completely different!!!
Is there any advice passed down by your parents that you wish to pass onto your own kids? Don’t waste talents. If you are lucky enough to have strengths, be it in school, in sport, in creativity , in work ethic , in anything in life- embrace it. Appreciate how lucky you are to have that talent. Don’t have ‘the potential’ to do but never do, out of fear or laziness.
Having recently just had your third child have you any advice on items you see as essentials or which you may have overlooked for your hospital bag? Spare dark coloured towels. You could shower 10 times a day if you have an episiotomy! Snacks – sometimes you just don’t want to eat when the food trays arrive and they sometimes want to take them from your room before you’ve even eaten if you’re busy showering / breastfeeding etc or the food is gone cold by the time you get to it! Spare babygro sizes…..none of the ones I brought for my third child fit her as she was much bigger and longer than my first girl!! Also don’t forget a baby hat ( I did on my 2nd!!!!).
To be a successful mother I need to…Know my strengths and outsource my weaknesses! (The main outsourcing would be to my husband who is a primary school teacher and my childminder who are both incredibly patient and good with children).
Louise you are a terrific ambassador for your skincare clinic! Until a few years ago you were a practicing GP. Can you tell us about your path to starting Kins Skin Clinic and did you always want to work for yourself? I have been interested in skincare since I was a young teenager and was always obsessed with SPF and skin protection. I then always leaned towards learning about skin and loving skin consultations while working as a GP so I did a dermatology diploma. However, it still wasn’t exactly what I wanted as I was interested in the science and evidence based medicine behind ageing and collagen etc. The majority of what you would see as a GP was ‘pathological dermatology’ – so rashes, eczema, psoriasis etc.
It was while pregnant on my first child that I started training in aesthetic medicine, which is essentially the science behind ‘beauty’ and all of the treatment modalities to achieve healthy skin no matter the issue or age of the skin.
I never planned to actually leave general practice full time. I thought I would offer it in addition but I built up a client base very quickly. Once friends and family of clients see changes in their skin, it all just grows very naturally from word of mouth. I worked as both a GP and an aesthetic doctor for my second pregnancy but once I took maternity leave on my 3rd I left general practice permanently.
My life is extremely busy currently with 3 very young children including a baby. I had to return to work when she was 11 weeks old as the waiting list was just getting too long- but, it’s a good complaint to have. For life balance I chose to go back to work earlier than planned and work 3-4 mornings a week rather than face into 5 full days a week to deal with the backlog.
I never planned to work for myself but I absolutely love that part of my working life now. It's actually essential to functioning currently with 3 babies!
What is the part of building a business you love best? I love all things ‘Aesthetics’ - I really enjoyed planning out the clinic space and the branding for Kins. When I was pacing with my second colicky refluxy child at 3am trying to soothe him, I would literally be dreaming about the permanent clinic space. I have a vision for how it will look and the feeling people will get when they walk into it and that end goal is what drives me to keep working hard every day. I want my clients to have a complete spa like escape when they come to see me. Most of my clients are busy either with work or being at home with kids , or often both! They deserve to look after themselves and their skin in a beautiful ‘zen’ surrounding- and I deserve to work in that place too!
Can you give advice to anyone who wants to start their own business? Tips on how you got started, anything you think was essential to getting off the ground? I think one of best pieces of advice I was given was – ‘Don’t quit your day job’! Although you can be very busy while first starting a business, that doesn’t mean that you will actually be making a profit. For me it was very important not to be under financial pressure in my own life with a mortgage, car loan etc. I kept working as a GP so that I could build up my skin clinic essentially ‘risk free’ from a financial point. There was a lot of evening and weekend work required from an administration point of view but it was worth it to not be stressed about debt and to constantly reinvest any money made back into the business.
The other piece of advice that luckily came naturally to me is – ‘adapt or die’! I changed the way my business worked and what I had planned about 5 times over the last year due to covid, pregnancies, Brexit etc. It didn’t bother me as the end goal is still the same. You need to know when to let an idea go if it's not working, even if you have put a lot of time and effort into it.
There is a lot of pressure on businesses to stay active on social media. What’s your relationship with SM? Mine is a funny relationship as I wasn’t even on Instagram before I started this business and I had deleted my facebook account years before. Up to recently, I haven’t posted anything on Instagram in over 4 months which I’m sure means I’m stuck in an Instagram graveyard where new businesses go to die! But it genuinely is so difficult to keep it up while also running a clinic and having 3 children. The aim of the Kins Instagram account is completely to educate people on results driven skincare and procedures so it’s not the same as casual chats. I always need to make sure what I’m saying is evidence based and factual which just takes that little bit extra brain usage when you are surviving on 3 hrs sleep! At the same time social media is unbelievable for business growth, it’s like word of mouth on speed so you have to take the good with the bad!
What’s next for Kins Skin Clinic and do you have any skin care advice for pregnant and post-natal ladies? The next year is going to be extremely busy. The focus will be on providing the highest quality service for my clients and to continue educating on results driven products and procedures.
My advice for pregnant women is to maintain and prevent damage in their skin. You can’t use much of the very intense active ingredients (like retinol) during pregnancy so it's best to stick to a regime that doesn’t irritate your skin and protects it. Pregnancy can cause changes in your skin that you are not used to managing- for some it causes dryness, for others their skin is more oily causing break outs, for others it causes new pigmentation and some lucky folk get that pregnancy glow that makes them look amazing! The products used during pregnancy would then be targeted at treating or preventing any of theses issues but with pregnancy safe ingredients .
Post partum, many ingredients are safe again- even if breastfeeding. I would still ease in slowly though. I personally started an intense regime including medical grade retinol 2 weeks post partum while having mastitis…… I would not recommend it. Give yourself time to recover from the labour and when you feel ready you can decide how and what your goals are with your skin. I do advise to be proactive about the eye area while dealing with the endless sleepless nights. If you are in your early 20’s having babies then you are still producing good levels of collagen and often the wrinkles disappear when you start sleeping again. However, the reality is many women are having their babies later in life and the lack of sleep can be unforgiving after a certain age.
Who or what inspires you? From a work point of view my parents inspire me as it's only now as a business owner myself like them that I can appreciate how much they prioritised their ‘parenting and guidance’ of us while also working consistently hard in their business- and still do. The drive to always research every single detail within my business comes from my father who borders on the obsessive when it comes to perfecting a business idea.
This is going to sound insanely cringe but from a family point of view, my husband inspires me. I genuinely learn from him daily; how to be more patient with the kids, how to be more empathetic, how to see things from their view point. It is him who tells me what we need to worry about and what we don’t when it comes to the kids. He always puts their interests before his own. He would literally give them his last rolo when mine would be half way in my mouth…!!!
My definition of success is….a really good work life balance with my family and Kins. Oh and my dream clinic space…….