It says a lot about Moshe Ben-Shlomo, who launched Vancouver-based DermaSpark at the outset of the 2008 recession, when many companies were running for cover.
He knew it would be tough from the get-go but he didn’t let anything stop him as he quietly turned DermaSpark into one of Canada’s leading spa distribution companies.
Moshe is not someone who gives up easily. He was used to hard work and loved what he was doing.
“I was on the phone with prospects from seven in the morning to nine at night.”
He would have talked longer, he says, but at nine o’clock, he had no one he could talk business with. “Looking back at it now, it was crazy…against all odds.”
It also speaks to his belief in the power of love and what it can do. For Moshe, that meant loving his customers as well as the products he was selling, and doing what’s right for them. It’s what kept him going, day after day.
He had immigrated to Canada a decade earlier and found work at two companies almost immediately. Despite his success, he wanted to be in business for himself. It mattered a lot to him. And nothing was going to stop him, including all the detours and bumps along the way. His wife, who owned and operated a coffee shop in Vancouver, was able to help during the lean times.
He had one employee when he started the company – Katie Riatta, who did training for him. She is still with him.
Core values are very important to him. “It’s something you carry with you wherever you go. There is no past when it comes to our core values. Dignity is something that you can’t compromise. And there are no buts. It’s something you keep and that stays with you all your life.”
It plays a major role in his business dealings, as does his belief in one of his favourite sayings: What goes around, comes around.
“Whatever you give to the universe, you get back 10 times. If you give with true meaning in your dealings and love to others, and are willing to help and assist others, you’ll be rewarded, even if you don’t know the person you’re helping.”
Moshe measures his success by the success of his customers. “We can only be successful if our customers are successful. If we have a customer who bought a machine from us that doesn’t bring in new business for their spa, we feel it’s our failure.”
Moshe is tall, with a strong presence, and has a ready smile for everyone. He likes to drive around and drop in unannounced at spas in various parts of the country. One of those visits still lingers.
“The spa manager didn’t know who I was. When I introduced myself, she gave me a big hug and told me: DermaSpark built my business. I bought an Oxygenator from you when I started, and look at me today. I have three esthecians working for me. The Oxygenator built my business.”
Seeing his customers succeed is a major priority for him. “We’ve helped to change the lives of many people as a result of talking to customers every day.”
It also comes from doing a lot of listening. He and his team listen carefully to find out what stage the spa owner is in their business, and do their best to match the technologies that will help them take their business to the next level.
He referred to one spa owner who wanted to buy one of DermaSpark’s most expensive machines which was not suitable for that spa owner’s business. Instead, DermaSpark recommended a different, less expensive machine that would meet their needs better.
“It’s also part of our professional approach in our dealings with the spa business. We’re also consultants, recommending what would work best for them. Not what’s best for us.”
He likes to make points by citing old sayings like: If you want to get rid of a person, just buy something from them and you’ll never see them again.
It’s what makes DermaSpark stand out, he says, noting that DermaSpark keeps in contact with its customers on an on-going basis and supports them over the long term.
His approach also reflects the way he decides what to offer spas. “It’s very simple. I listen to my customers, to what they want and what they’re missing. Then I look to find the technologies to provide the treatments they’re looking for.”
It doesn’t end there. Before he offers any new piece of equipment to his customers, Moshe tests the equipment’s technology. He also looks at a number of competing technologies and chooses the one that provides what he needs.
“First and foremost, we make sure it delivers the results we’re looking for.”
Price is not a criterion. Moshe believes his customers will pay for high quality and for equipment that produces good results. It’s one of the reasons, he believes, why his customers keep going back.
“Every company will tell you they provide the best service and the best customer support. We truly care about our customers and they feel it. We go beyond what other companies do. That not only includes clinical and technical support but also a marketing program designed to drive clients to their spas.”
Moshe cited one of DreamSpark’s latest offerings – OxyGeneo. It has a special website for OxyGeneo as well as for other DreamSpark’s products like Derma Stamp and Maximus.
“We invest a lot of money to publicize these websites, which has one main purpose – to drive clients to our customers. When our customers get business from our websites, it pleases us very much.”
In addition to the websites, DermaSpark also invests a lot of money on social media to make sure it does – “thousands of dollars very month to support our customers. If I didn’t believe our equipment wasn’t the best and valuable to our customers, there is not even the slightest chance we would sell it.”
In addition, if there is any doubt about any of its products, he tests them in-house for a full month. If his team feels any machine fails to live up to expectations, he will reject it outright.
“If it’s not best in its line, we won’t carry it.”
That is not always easy today. Keeping up with changes in the industry has never been more challenging. A case in point is what happened at the previous shows. You could count on one hand the number of new technologies that emerged at these shows, he said.
“That’s changing. We’re now not only seeing changes to these technologies but the growing emergence of protocols. Hard to say how long this trend will continue. Everything you see today could be gone by tomorrow. The pace of change is getting faster and faster.”
Change is also a factor in DreamSpark’s’ selection of new machines. “When you get a machine from us, it’s an investment that will continue to bring in business for the long term. It’s the difference between buying and investing.”
Is entering the business today easier or harder than when he launched DermaSpark?
“My advice has been, and always would be, to think always about your customer. Think about the best value you can provide and the rest will come. Don’t think about your business but your customer’s business. Once you make them successful, you’re going to be successful.
“There is no way you can be successful without your customers being successful.”