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Wednesday, 20 September 2017



Susan Ma, the youngest-ever candidate to appear on The Apprentice, first demonstrated her business skills when she was still at school.

Her mother had a stall at Greenwich Market in South East London, selling hand and body scrub - and the ambitious Susan decided to follow in her footsteps. 

At the age of 15 she started to make her own beauty products, got her own stall in the market and spent her weekends selling to tourists and local shoppers. 

Susan managed to save enough to put herself through college and after university started up her own business, Tropic Skincare.

In 2011 she appeared in the seventh series of The Apprentice at the age of just 21. Although she didn’t win, Lord Sugar was clearly impressed and made a £200,000 investment in her natural skincare and cosmetics company, taking a 50% stake in the business.

Susan used the money to develop new products and to redesign the packaging. Together with Lord Sugar, she developed the direct selling model for her business, using “Ambassadors” (or, as the company calls them “Glambassadors”) to sell the products on commission.

According to the Tropic website, Ambassadors earn 25% - 35% commission on sales and can earn anything from £100 to £10,000 a month.

The products are vegan-friendly, free of parabens and preservatives and do not involve animal testing. They are colourful and beautifully packaged and look stunning in the bathroom.

Many of the products contain essential oils such bergamot, rosehip and tea tree oil. Aloe vera and shea butter are also used throughout the range.

Tropic's best-selling skincare product is Tamanu Healing Balm, based on a remedy used for centuries in the Polynesian islands. It is extremely effective in easing skin conditions such as eczema, acne and cold sores.

Other products include cleansers, vitamin toners and age-defying cream.

My tester really enjoyed using the range and said her skin looked smoother and blemish-free afterwards. She particularly liked the antibacterial bamboo face cloth and anti-ageing oil. 


Thursday, 10 August 2017



With more than three decades' experience in the hair and beauty industry, I've learned that it's not just technical expertise that counts - you also need to know how to put your clients at ease and make them feel special.

It's important to know how to talk to them; what to say and, perhaps more important, what not to say.

So many people are setting themselves up in the industry these days without any real training; apprenticeships are disappearing and customer care is increasingly a thing of the past. 

Some people seem to think that simply being friendly and chatty is enough to make clients comfortable, but really good customer care is so much more than that. 

My book, The Dos and Don'ts of Customer Care Made Simple, will guide you through the minefield of the service industry, giving you a much better understanding of how to treat your clients. And relaxed, happy clients will, of course, keep coming back. 


1 Ask your client what they do for a living
2 Do not ask if they are going on holiday
3 Never ask their relationship status    


1 Meet and greet with a smile without being intrusive
2 Explain in a professional manner how the service or treatment works
3 Answer any questions asked by the client about the service 

Why? It's simple - so many people dread going to salons, clinics and the like as they loath  these sort of intrusive personal questions. If they want to chat about personal things, they will introduce the topic themselves. Take your cue from the client; otherwise stay off personal topics.

And there are many far more subtle and professional ways of finding out what you think you  need to know. For example, if you explain a procedure to a client, they might ask if it is high maintenance, perhaps telling you that as they are, say, a nurse, they have a limited budget , or that they don't have much spare time to spend on a high maintenance style.

A client may tell you that she wants to look good because she's going on holiday, or she has a new partner, in which case, that's fine. But it's not your job to bring the subject up - or to follow up with unnecessary questions.
For several years I blow-dried the same client on a Tuesday morning. Apart from the usual pleasantries, we never really talked and she read her paper. 

One day she decided to have a facial before she had her hair done, so I made an appointment for her with the beautician. But my client was furious when she came to see me - and only stayed long enough in the salon to say: "If I wanted to discus my marital status, it would not be to a beautician!" Then she turned on her heel and walked out.

It became apparent that the beautician had asked her if she had a boyfriend or was she married - totally inappropriate, particularly with this client. 

Not only did the beautician lose a new client, I lost a long-standing client. Did the beautician need to know that information? No, she did not.

Contact Steven Smith 07969106222 

Monday, 3 July 2017

A Day at Vie Aesthetics one of the UK'S leading clinics .

A Day at Vie Aesthitics one of the UK's leading clinics 
with guest writer  Vicky Grammatikopoulou 

Welcome to Vie Aesthetics. in this short clip you can take  a look inside our Southend Clinic and meet aesthetic doctor to the stars Dr Ioannis Liakas and the team. 

Watch top model/ actress Samantha Tomlin, actress/model Nicole Gibson, Model Agency owner/businesswoman Jana Forster, and Addiction Therapist   Michael Power have some of our advanced medical aesthetic treatments including our famous signature VIElift. At the Vie Aesthetics clinics in London Harley Street, Southend, Rayleigh Essex, and in Waiblingen Germany, you have access to the newest, advanced and cutting-edge non-surgical treatments available, whilst you can rest assured of being in the safe hands of an experienced specialist doctor.

To find out more visit our website:

It is no coincidence that most new clients come to us through patient referrals- with us you can be sure of the care and expertise of the team, especially if you value the continuity of care with the same doctor. When you enter our clinic, you are met by a welcoming and warm team in a stylish and relaxing atmosphere, making sure that your visit is a pleasant experience.

We know that information is key to making the right choices about your treatment and that is why we offer free, full and comprehensive consultations. Every client is special to us and we take the time to listen carefully to your needs, we offer advice, and together we explore all suitable options and combinations of procedures for you in order to create your own tailor-made and personalised treatment plan. At Vie Aesthetics we place great importance on aftercare and we offer all our clients a free follow-up appointment.

What do we offer?

At Vie Aesthetics you can find a wide range of both standard treatments like Injections for Lines and Wrinkles, Lip Fillers and Dermal Fillers, and the more advanced non-surgical medical aesthetic procedures for women and men of all ages like nose correction, eyelid lift, Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP) therapy, Silhouette Soft thread lift, PDOs, re-shaping of nose and face, liquid facelifts, mesotherapy, ultrasonic lipo-cavitation and Aqualyx slimming treatments. Medical treatments include treatment for sweating (hyperhidrosis), for migraines, removal of thread veins, tattoos, moles, scars, pigmentation and skin tags. we are strong

We are also unique in that we offer a complete system of natural, autologous and non-surgical treatments, our VIE NATURAL line to lift, rejuvenate, volumise, remodel, and restore the face and body. With Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) and Plasma Gel Bio-Fillers as well as Soft Surgery® we offer innovative and non-invasive solutions for all skin types with spectacular result.

Friday, 30 June 2017



DR IOANNIS LIAKAS, medical director of Vie Aesthetics is the name to be reckoned with in the field of aesthetics. His soft surgery and tailor-made treatments have clients lining up at his practices in Southend, London’s Harley Street and in Germany, where there is a three-month waiting list for his skills.

In search of a more natural look, people are increasingly opting for alternatives to traditional cosmetic surgery.

Soft surgery has none of the risks associated with the local or general anaesthetic required for traditional scalpel surgery. There is also minimal recovery time required - clients can have the treatment and immediately get on with their lives, even returning to work straight from the clinic.

When I arrive to meet Ioannis at his Harley Street clinic one wet afternoon, there’s a familiar-looking woman just leaving, in dark glasses and a headscarf. “Is that who I think it is?” I ask the doctor’s assistant. “We never tell!” she laughs.

Dr Ioannis, too, is the soul of discretion when I ask again about the identity of the celebrity, making no reply. Born in Greece, he has a soft, Mediterranean voice, and a calm, reassuring manner. He’s interested in listening to his clients and seems to understand exactly what they’re looking for.

Dr Ioannis Liakas with his team at Vie Aesthetics

In 1965 his family moved from Greece to Stuttgart in Germany. There, as a boy, he developed a love of medicine and science. While his friends wanted Action Man models for Christmas, he asked Santa for a microscope.

“I really realised when I watched the TV show, MASH, that I wanted to be a doctor and to help people,” he tells me.

He returned to Greece to study and, in 1990, graduated from Thessaloniki University. He went on to do his military service, which is compulsory in Greece, as a junior doctor. “It was a great education for me, and gave me my confidence as a doctor,” he says.

In the late 1990s he went to work in the accident and emergency department at a hospital in Kent. Although he spoke very good English, he had to hire a tutor to familiarise himself with the slang used for words such as “vomit” that are often bandied around by patients in A&E.

Dr Ioannis started to develop an interest in anti-ageing when he studied Gerontology at Kings College in London. An opportunity arose in 2005 when a friend who was working as an injector at leading cosmetic clinic had to leave before his contract ended and he was asked to step in. 

He worked with Botox and fillers to begin with but wanted to bring more to it, so decided to learn all about the craft of aesthetics. Along with a real thirst for knowledge, he brought his own unique style to the industry and in 2013, along with partner Vicky Grammatikopulo, opened his first clinic.

“I see aesthetics as rather like sculpting,” he explains. “My work does not suit a traditional mainstream clinic that wants everything to be a carbon copy. People are all different and you need to look at the face of an individual and prescribe maybe one or even three or four treatments to create the look they ultimately want.”

Dr Ioannis specialises in soft surgery and believes there is usually no need for a cosmetic face-lift or other treatments that can have severe side effects and a lengthy recovery time.
“I’m not saying that a face lift or traditional lipo isn’t good for some people. But soft surgery will for sure fend off the need to have such harsh treatments. It will refresh the face and may also stop someone needing a full-on cosmetic treatment.”

With the Classic Models ambassadors of the clinic

Soft surgery is a highly skilled procedure and should only be carried out by an experienced doctor. Dr Ioannis, as well as being an NHS consultant, is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, an honourary senior lecturer at Queen’s School of Medicine and an associate member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine.

He shows me some of the amazing results he has achieved on clients; in particular one man who was a mature student and on whom two hard years of studying had taken its toll. 

“He had the four treatment plan,” Dr Ioannis says, with all the enthusiasm of an artist unveiling his new creation. The results are truly impressive - the treatment included Plexr around the eyes, Botox and filler, a little fat-dispensing injection around the chin and Silhouette soft threads to lift the face.

Plexr is a great alternative to having an eye-job and Dr Ioannis has carried out thousands of treatments at his clinic. The Plexr machine gives the equivalent of a small lighting spark and as well as lifting the skin it gets rid out loose skin without having to cut, so it leaves no scars. Silhouette Soft creates a natural face-lift and over a period lifts and stimulates the collagen.

“They both give fantastic results that are natural looking and although you will need to have some recovery time with Plexr, as it leaves the skin looking red and scaly, this usually diminishes in seven days,” he says.

“With the threads though you can leave that day and go about your business. The results are immediate and only get better over the following few months.”

Out and about at a charity event with Vie Director Vicky Grammatikopoulou .

Dr Ioannis puts his success down to having a fantastic team, which brings a comfortable, family feel to the clinic. The client is encouraged to ask questions and share any concerns and is never made to feel stupid. 

The clinic is growing and Dr Ioannis has already brought another doctor on board, who is being trained in all the techniques. “It’s important to the brand that everyone is of the same high standard,” he says.

Of course, I can’t leave without letting Dr Ioannis take a look at my face. Even after the briefest of consultations, I can see exactly why clients are lining up for his skills.

Me meeting Dr Ioannis at his clinic in Harley Street

Pictures by David Kerr
and Vie Aesthetics  

Vie Aesthetics at Toni&Guy
Unit 23
The Royals 
Southend -on -Sea
01702 617 176
Mobile 07899673578

Monday, 10 April 2017



SKIP THE MORNING ORANGE JUICE and instead why not try the latest health craze Skinade to kick start your day.

The multi award winning natural peach and mangosteen flavoured drink aims to boost your body's natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid and claims to makes your skin feel and look better in just 30 days. 

We all know real beauty comes from within so I thought it would be worth giving it a try. 

Skinade tastes good and is best kept in the fridge, as it tastes better cold. It comes in two containers - a rather stylish plastic bottle ready to drink and plastic vials you simply mix with water. Being environmentally conscious, I would opt for the small vials, as it’s a lot of plastic to be disposing of if Skinade were to be a regular part of your daily routine. 

I’ve looked at numerous products over the years I’ve been writing about the aesthetic and beauty industry, and it’s my belief is that unless you’re injecting a product directly into the skin or sucking/ cutting something out, then they don’t make much of a long-term difference.

Many of these lotions and potions may only have a psychosomatic or short-term effect, and can be hugely expensive. They often contain similar ingredients to one of my favourite skin products, Baby Bottom Butter from Waitrose, which costs a fraction of the price of some of the leading creams.

Skinade contains pure Hydrolysed Marine Collagen Peptides, sourced from skin or fresh water fish, so it is unlikely to appeal to vegans or vegetarians. However, for someone like me, with high cholesterol, the  Omega3  and vitamin c  it contains may be what the doctor ordered.

Collagen peptides may also trigger the body’s own natural process of collagen by stimulating the proliferation of fibroblast. The effect is similar to the injection of mesotherapy treatments but is certainly a much easier and less painful way to trigger collagen. 

Clinical studies show that, taken over a 12-week period, Skinade improves skin hydration and smoothness and is also likely to boost cell turnover. It claims to reduce fine lines and prevent the formation of deep lines. 

I’m lucky in that my skin is pretty good so over the first week of taking Skinade I didn’t notice any difference. But around the third week I noticed that my skin felt less dry at the end of the day – and I seemed to have a little more spring in my step after taking it.

It’s a refreshing drink and a nice way to start the day. It soon became part of my morning routine and I’d happily take it instead of my morning juice. 

It is important to remember with all these vitamins and drinks to talk to your doctor before starting. Results will vary and you should not expect miracles. It’s also well worth getting your blood tested to find out what vitamins you’re lacking – you can get it done privately for what you’d spend on an expensive cream and would probably get more out of it.  

Steven Smith


Saturday, 11 February 2017



One of the most controversial documentaries of the year has to be Louis Theroux’s  Drinking to Oblivion

Shown on the BBC in May, it followed the lives of four different people in south London, all of whom drink to excess. Louis meets them at the Kings College Hospital emergency ward, and then follows their lives.

The stories they tell are harrowing, not only for them but for their loved ones too. Their chances of becoming one of life’s statistics – a fatality – are high. 

One of the most distressing scenes is when Louis meets Peiter, a South African man prone to terrifying panic attacks. He has begun drinking again on the eve of  the death of his father. 
His loyal partner, Mariana, has spent years dealing with the consequences of his addiction. She is beside herself and wants to leave – but she loves him too much.
Peiter, 6ft 4  tall and strongly-built, is reduced to a bumbling child, full of remorse; it is hard to watch his pain.

Later, Louis meets with the couple, who now live in an apartment in Tooting, and they tell him that Peiter is doing well. He is taking medication and is now able to have the odd beer. Life is good, they say.
Sadly, that is the point at which we leave them. But it left many unanswered questions. For me, I always thought being addict meant that you were an addict for life. In other words, if you had one drop of alcohol, you were back to square one. And, what about AA’s motto, “one day at a time?”

Personally, I’ve never been the greatest fan of the self-help groups, although I know that they work for many. But I wanted to know more about Peiter's unusual recovery.

When I catch up with Peiter at a London hotel, he is the perfect picture of health and vitality. For the successful businessman, drinking was not a problem to begin with, he was just a social drinker. But slowly it began to creep up on him.
For a long time he was in denial about his problem, thinking he still had it under control, even though his wife tried to tell him otherwise. 

Although meetings helped a bit, they were not for him. Even a stint in rehab failed to work and he soon slipped back into his old habits.
His partner Mariana read about the Sinclair method and, after a particularly bad period, he decided to try it.
Proponents of the Sinclair method say it gives alcoholics the freedom to continue drinking while their cravings for alcohol slowly fade.

In many cases it also allows people to cut down on their consumption to the point where they can remain a social drinker if they choose to do so. In fact, this particular  treatment option is so effective that 78% of alcoholics who undergo it give up drinking altogether, or have managed to reduce their drinking to safe levels. 
Peiter tells me he was in such a bad place at the time that he was willing to try anything when he arrived at Wimpole Aesthetics to see the renowned Doctor Joshua Berkowitz, who is a great believer in the Sinclair method.

So what is the Sinclair method? It utilises a drug, Naltrexone, which is normally prescribed to reduce the cravings for alcohol or heroin. Taken orally, it requires the patient to continue drinking. 
The recommended dosage is 50mg, to be taken about an hour before consuming alcohol. Dr Josh also prescribes various detox drips, vitamins and NAD+ enzymes to help strengthen the immune system.

Taken whenever the patient is planning to consume alcohol, the treatment slowly reduces the cravings for drink – without any withdrawal symptoms.
The reason that this method is seen as an effective treatment for alcoholism is because it blocks the body's release of endorphins to the brain. When a person who may develop into an alcoholic first drinks, they tend to release more endorphins than the average person. 

Drink becomes associated with pleasure - as their consumption increases, their tolerance grows and they need more alcohol to create those pleasurable feelings. The end result is addiction.
For Peiter, it has been a life-saver. "I played around with it to begin with and almost thought it was not going to work,” he admits. He had a few drinks to kick off with and even attempted to go on a bender but he found he couldn’t. “Eventually I just didn’t fancy a drink,” he says. 

For Peiter and his partner, it’s such a relief to know they can go out to dinner like other couples and enjoy their social life without the awful consequences of alcohol addiction. 
Peiter has his life back under control now, but he still keeps a pendant with a pill inserted inside it, in case of emergency.