Melanie Grant started a skin clinic in Sydney 12 years ago. Now, Nicole Kidman is a client.

If you're a girl who likes skincare, chances are you've heard of Melanie Grant. With a celebrity clientele base that includes Victoria Beckham, Rosie-Huntington Whiteley, Cate Blanchett, Georgia Fowler and Catherine McNeil (just to name a few), the clinic has reached global success.

But beyond the celebrities, renowned skincare expert and founder Melanie Grant has single-handedly managed to build success out of a very loyal international following of people who genuinely love her clinics.

So, where did it all begin?

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Video via Mamamia.

In a recent episode of Mamamia's Lady Startup Stories, host Elfy Scott sat down with Grant – who is also an official skincare expert for Chanel – to find out more.

And, yes, according to Elfy, her skin is just as flawless as you'd imagine.

When did Melanie Grant start?

Melanie's story starts 12 years ago when she opened her first clinic in Sydney. Since then, her business has expanded around the world, with practices popping up in Melbourne, LA, a residency in Paris and plans of expanding into the UK.

Yep. No big deal.


As Elfy shared on the podcast, Melanie's clinics are known for their advanced skincare treatments and cutting edge technologies – it's a brand that's very much at the forefront of the beauty game.

But what's interesting is how she first found her feet in the world of skincare, and the amount of time and thought Grant has invested into the details of her business.

"They're small, but they really add up, and she knows what people value," Elfy told listeners. 

"It's part of how she's forged these really long-lasting relationships with her clients– she saw a gap in the beauty market where she could not only provide results, but a deeply personalised and comfortable experience."


"Her success goes to show what can happen when you listen to your customers, when what they want genuinely comes first. And how putting their needs at the forefront of businesses can really pay off in the long-term."

For Grant, her prior experience working in the beauty space (she studied beauty therapy and worked in traditional spa clinics) undoubtedly paved the way for identifying what was missing.

On opening her clinic more than a decade ago, she shared, "At that stage, I'd already worked in my industry for more than 10 years, so I kind of had a really good idea of the type of space I wanted to create and my concept.

"However, I wouldn't say I had a really amazing strategy or business plan. And to be really honest, I think it was very risky.

"I found a space in Sydney's Double Bay, and that was my first studio. But it wasn't a plan that I ever saw myself expanding. It wasn't like I was going to then open in Melbourne and then Los Angeles and then London – that was never my plan," she shared.

"It was more about creating a space to fill a little a gap that was missing at that time. And everything from then has really evolved."

How is Melanie Grant different?

Grant's career in beauty started in 'beauty school', where she was trained in traditional spa rituals, before moving into aesthetics college and into plastic surgery practices.


"This is going back, like, 16 years ago," she told Elfy.

"I was working with plastic surgeons or dermatologists in their medispa settings, and things like laser weren't as available as they are now. It was really exciting for me, starting to work with those types of modalities where you could really see true changes and results within the skin."

The part that was missing? The personalised self-care experience.

"The more I worked in that realm, it very much revolved around upselling. Whether it be surgery or injectables or other things that didn't really align with my beliefs as a therapist or what I was trying to achieve," she said.

"The other part to it was that it was very clinical. You would go in for a laser [treatment] and then be sent out with an ice pack on your face to drive home, and be told to put the air con on in the car. There was no combination of the results but also the experience. And I think that's where I saw a gap."

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Upon opening her first studio, Grant said she offered the same kind of treatments as the medispas she used to work in – from Fraxel to lasers and micro-needling – but it was also about the ritual of spa treatments and creating a luxury environment for her clients.

"It was about doing a beautiful massage or a deeper cleanse, or having time with the client after those treatments, rather than just sending them out the door," she shared.


From linens that are made in Paris to luxury professional products and devices, treatments offered at Melanie Grant are top-notch and offer a truly elevated experience.

"People will say, 'Oh, well, I can get a laser down the road for X amount of money' – and this is a really big issue in Australia, where people are importing really cheap laser devices, and they're not certified, they're not calibrated properly, they don't have the company on site or proper training. Half the time, they're not paying insurance as well.

"So there's all of these things that I think, as a consumer, you wouldn't know the difference. But these are things that are necessary, in my opinion. There's all of those things that you don't see as well – I would call touch points – and it does contribute to the experience.

"As consumers, I think we're becoming more and more discerning. Clients are really clever, and they have high expectations. So all of those little things make a big difference."

Why did Melanie Grant get into beauty?

So, why beauty?

"I think I was attracted to beauty overall," Grant told Elfy. "I definitely knew I wanted to do [it], probably from the age of 11 or 12, and going into beauty I liked the idea of eyebrows and lashes and nails and all of those things – but I think with skin, you know, you can create real change and I think it definitely can improve someone's confidence."

Grant also shared that she was burned in a house fire when she was a baby, and that growing up she "definitely had insecurities with my own scarring. Maybe that's what triggered the interest."


She continued, "I think skin can create a challenge in that someone might come in with acne or congestion, or someone else might have pigmentation, and you can really create bespoke treatment plans and see that real change, which is quite exciting and really satisfying."

It is not only about the physical change within someone's skin, but also that person's confidence, she said.

"It sounds really cliché, but it's a very rewarding part of the job."

How did Melanie Grant get so big?

If there's one thing you'll notice about Melanie Grant, it's the marketing. It's noticeably... different to the things you see other skin clinics and beauty clinics doing.

While influencer marketing and the use of social media has blown up over the years, Grant said the crux of her business lies within focusing on this bespoke personal experiences and using the authenticity of word-of-mouth.

For Grant, it's not about focusing on bringing in as many clients as possible; rather, it's about authenticity.

When people walk out the door of her clinics, Grant wants to ensure that they're going to recommend her business to somebody else, and that person is really going to trust what they're saying.

"Word of mouth is better than any paid advertising, I really believe that. I think it's just really important to always make sure that you're looking after the client in front of you.


"I always go back to durability, and really having your niche and focusing on what you're doing and do it well. I definitely think with personal services, things like skincare or hair, we always recommend. If you find a great hairdresser, you'll tell five friends."

Throughout her career, Grant has tended to the faces of celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, Cate Blanchett, Courtney Cox and Sofia Richie.

So, you could say using the authenticity of word-of-mouth is a method that's kind of working for her.


"But it was a slow build," she told us. "It wasn't that we opened, and we had full books for weeks and weeks ahead. It was really having to prove ourselves."

After opening her second studio in Melbourne, Grant's national expansion grew on an international scale.

As she shared on the podcast, she was visiting Paris with Chanel nine years ago, when she found herself giving models facials from her hotel room.


"It was actually an Australian model that was messaging me and saying, 'Oh my goodness, you're here for facials, I need to come and see you'. And I was like, 'I don't have anywhere to treat from!' So I gave her treatment on my bed.

"It was actually Catherine McNeil, and she said, 'Oh, can you treat so and so?' So I think I treated like three or four girls that trip on my bed. And that's where the idea came from to start a residency in Paris. Because everyone comes from all over the world to one place for Fashion Week, and everyone wants a skin treatment."

What does a normal day look like for Melanie Grant?

If you're just as curious as us, you might be wondering what a normal day in the life of Melanie Grant looks like.

Is she in treatment rooms? Tackling business? Flying in between clinics?

As Melanie shared, it's a little bit of everything. 

"It could either be that I'm in studio training and seeing clients. Being in London, I have a private studio on my home as well. So in London, that's where I treat, or I could go to Sydney or Melbourne or LA and could be treating clients. And that's probably my favourite.

"Otherwise, it's working with other brands on product development or working on my own product development or managing my business. But my favourite place is definitely in a treatment room with clients."

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Feature image: Instagram/@melaniegrant