Melanie Grant is known as Sydney's celebrity skin whisperer, thanks to her A-list clientele. But you'll never see her boasting or dropping names. Her clients - Lara Worthington, Phoebe Tonkin, Georgia Fowler and the likes - are happy to do that for her, such is her skin wizardry. Melanie may be quietly spoken, but her bespoke treatments have made a big impact on the local beauty industry - with two equally chic locations servicing the skin health needs of both Sydney and Melbourne. We sat down with the stylish beauty entrepreneur to talk business, clinical beauty and being her own boss...
Describe your title and role:
What inspired you to pursue your career in beauty and skin health?
I have always, always, always loved beauty. From a really young age, I suppose I was a little bit obsessed. Reading the beauty pages of glossy magazines, giving my mum and sister facials. As a child I loved to do facials on myself at home. I would experiment with ingredients I'd read in magazines; things like egg whites, honey and cucumbers. I’d also put lemon juice in my hair before going in the sun. I was probably about seven years old. I’ve always known this is what I want to do. I studied skin therapy as soon as I left school. I loved the ritual of the spa treatments, facials and massage. However as soon as I started using laser in 2002 I loved the results that were produced. I’ve completed many graduate courses and certificates in laser and light therapies and continue to study and learn. The great thing about my industry is that it’s constantly changing and evolving. I loved clinical results but really came to dislike the sterile, clinical environments and the constant pressure to up sell to procedures and injectables. The more my clinical experience grew - the more I saw value in bringing together the two disciplines of beauty and clinical to create something new and modern.
Tell us about your business:
I believe beauty is about being authentic and not manufactured, its about natural beauty. I started Melanie Grant as a place that was dedicated to the individual and to skin. I wanted somewhere that I would go to as a client, somewhere that specialised in just doing one thing really well. My philosophy is to combine innovation with my heritage in beauty, to bring a little art of beauty to the clinical world of skin improvement and give the best of both worlds. This is what I call clinical beauty.
How often do you travel between your Sydney and Melbourne locations?
Weeks are never typical, especially since Melbourne opened last year. My time investment is forever prioritised across my clients, my staff and my clinics. Work is six days a week, I’m equally between Melbourne and Sydney - so lots of interstate flights - and I’m in New York or Paris for work two or three times a year.
Tell us more about your bespoke and collaborative treatments.
This is really where the story began for the business. I deliberately started out with no set treatments. I avoided what you would call a classic treatment menu, the ones that have ‘Bridal Skin Care’ or ‘Signature Facial’. All I wanted when I started was to have a ‘Signature Look’ - glowing, healthy, radiant skin. That meant everyone got their very own treatment - bespoke and collaborative - because everyone had their own needs. Education has always been a fundamental part of what I do at Melanie Grant. So, as the business grew and our clients became more knowledgeable and aware of their own skin, the need for an à la carte menu grew. That’s Melanie Grant Skin Health - these are treatment formulas we’ve developed and proven across thousands of clients.
What is one thing most people aren't aware of when it comes to good skin?
After the age of 35, great skin is earned - it doesn’t come as naturally. It takes a holistic approach, so don’t rely on the occasional laser, light therapy or facials alone. It takes eating well, sleeping properly, having a great skincare regime and avoiding excessive sun exposure and stress, to name a few. Also Botox and filler does not make you look younger.
What has been the most memorable or rewarding moment in your career thus far?
Opening Melbourne was definitely a watershed moment. To take the foundations of the first clinic and expand on them in a place like Melbourne was very special. And as a project, it pushed me and tested me professionally and personally. As an on-going piece of work, my collaboration with Chanel is very rewarding. It’s a great experience to work with a company that balances such a grand vision with such an authentic and personal focus.
Would you say you have a mentor?
My clients are, hands down, my greatest source of inspiration and influence. I always think I have a lot to learn and the generosity of knowledge and experience from so many of my clients is humbling.
Describe a day at Melanie Grant Skin Health:
It’s always fun and never boring. My treatment days are dedicated to clients all day long and it has a real social aspect - which I love. Many of my clients I have been seeing for ages and have become good friends, so the days just fly. And no two days are ever alike, as every treatment is different and every day is different.
How would you describe your personal style?
Simple and classic. Lots of black and clean lines. Oh and daggy leggings on Sundays!
What excites and stimulates your creativity?
People, people, people. Beauty is such a vast and exciting world. When you understand your role in the big picture, you realise that the most exciting part of your job is actually the collaborations, sharing with people from other disciplines that make your work better. My place in beauty is skin and I’ve always aspired to work with people of a like mind.
What challenges have you experienced in owning your own business?
People. Developing and supporting the right people to represent your business is such a skill in its own right. This has to be the most important part of every business.
How do you balance family with professional life?
Work can be consuming. If I’m honest, starting my business was a very personal journey. It still is, and in my line of work, it always will be. But I don’t see family and professional life as being at opposite ends of a scale. For me family is the centre. It’s the reason for everything I do. I make the most of the time that I have with whatever I’m doing. Be it work or family, it’s about being present. Balance comes from knowing why you’re doing a thing, and appreciating your time in whatever that is.
What words do you live by?
In business, nothing comes easy. Success comes from hard work. And when it comes to skin I live by the adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Are there any upcoming goal posts for Melanie Grant Skin Health?
Yes, for sure! It definitely feels like we’re still at the beginning of a journey, and there is a lot to achieve. There is a universal nature to the business; the philosophy we follow, the connections we make with people, the services we provide.You can find Melanie on Instagram @melaniegrantskin