By  on September 7, 2007

With Botox and Restylane becoming mainstream, there's a growing crop of clinic-specialty store hybrids that aim to lure those who've gone under the needle — and those who want to — by incorporating professional skin care into their everyday routine.

Calidora Skin Clinic, based in Seattle, is an example of one such concept that's making minimally invasive cosmetic treatments as easy as shopping by placing locations in lifestyle centers and upscale retailing districts. The end of this year and the beginning of next, Calidora is jumping from the state of Washington, where it has four locations, to Southern California, with units opening in Manhattan Beach, Glendale and Marina Del Rey.

"The experience you have in a doctor's office is often not really a great experience. You have to wait a long time. It might be in an inconvenient part of town," said Colette Courtion, who spent 10 years in corporate positions at Starbucks before launching Calidora. "I brought from my experience how you develop something that is unique and compelling for the customer."

To fund its expansion, Calidora recently received a $4 million cash infusion, slightly over half of which came from Fluke Venture Partners, which counts Starbucks, Sur La Table and RedHook Ale Brewery among the brands in its portfolio, and the rest from existing investors. Calidora had previously raised around $4 million, primarily from angel investors associated with Starbucks, including chairman Howard Schultz.

The money is also going toward molding an atmosphere in sync with what the target demographic prefers. Created by Courtion with assistance from Karreman & Assoc. Architecture and interior designer Julia Brunzell, Calidora has a Greek island-inspired sky blue and white color scheme and rounded walls, and contains a reception area, a waiting room framed by a billowy white curtain and four to six treatment rooms. The footprint of Calidora (the name is derived from the Greek words for beauty and gift) ranges from 1,500 to 2,000 square feet.

Calidora's modern design won over Caruso Affiliated, owner of the new Glendale and Marina Del Rey lifestyle centers that Calidora will enter next year. Todd Russell, Caruso's senior vice president of leasing and marketing, explained the company was initially concerned that professional skin care clinics were best suited to medical settings. "The concept has evolved so greatly, and it has been more accepted," he said. "The consumer is much more comfortable walking into the Calidora environment because it has a contemporary sensibility."

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