The Sciton Success With David Percival

Trish

Hello, listeners. It’s Trish Hammmond here from the Transforming Bodies podcast. And today I am joined by the delightful David Percival. Now we actually call him Percy and it really, really suits him. And Percy is actually the VP and the General Manager of Sciton International. Now, we’re going to talk a bit about the history today and what makes them the gold standard and the fact that they’ve got this great achievement that’s just happened. So welcome, Percy.

 

Percy

Thank you, Trish. I’m looking forward to our chat today.

 

Trish

Me too. This has been a long time in the planning, hasn’t it?

 

Percy

Absolutely. A lot better today than I know you were under the weather a little bit.

 

Trish

Oh, my God, I was just like, I thought I was gonna die last week. But hey, I didn’t I’m here. So tell us about Sciton? Like, how long has Sciton been around? How did it even start?

 

Percy

Yeah, that’s a great question. So we’re coming up on this is our 25th year in existence. So we’re a California based company but the roots of the company really go back to 1966. The founder is a guy by the name of Jim Hobart. He got into lasers, early in the mid 60s and founded a company called Coherent, they went on to become one of the biggest, not only medical, but industrial device companies in the space, we’re doing everything from aerospace to industrial lasers, and then in the 80s, got into the medical device space. In the aesthetic world that we live in, the aesthetic division of Coherent, went on to become a company called Sharp Land, and ESC which ultimately became luminous centre, that’s probably the name that many of the listeners will probably recognize. So the foundation of the company really goes back to the 60s and we’re excited because in 97, he started this company. And, you know, it was kind of a boutique little project after he left Coherent. And, you know, I think he set out with the intention of just having come from a publicly traded company of creating a company where he could focus on the quality and do some things that he just wasn’t able to do running a public company. And so a lot of the engineering team, and a lot of the kind of the folks that were instrumental in the medical aesthetic section of Coherent came over, and they’re a big part of Sciton. So the foundation of that company, it’s to physicists, so a lot of the decisions we make are really, truly based around science, independently owned company, we have no outside debt, no organic, external financing of any kind. So that really puts us in a unique situation, because we really don’t answer to anybody except ourselves. Right. And so, I think we make decisions a little bit differently than some of the other companies out there in the space just because we’ve built everything organically and we answer to ourselves, and the company is owned by the employees and that just gives us a very unique approach to decision making. And I think it kind of sets us apart because we’re not making decisions on what’s best always for the bottom line. I think a lot of times we start with, how can we make the best product, then we figure out what we’re going to charge for it. And sometimes that makes us at the high end at the premium end of the market space, but it’s really who we are. And you said gold standard and I think a lot of times, that term gets overused a lot of times, because I think everybody wants to claim one sec, like the gold standard. And when you really pick apart the devices and the quality of the things that go inside of them, it’s not just a catchy buzzword with us, we really truly feel like we have the history and the pedigree to stand behind that term. And we’d love to tell our customers out there and our prospects out there more about the company and why we feel that way.

 

Trish

Yeah, totally. And, so every machine, every Sciton machine is actually made in the US. Is that right?

 

Percy

It is yeah, so we’ve got a manufacturing facility in the heart of Palo Alto, California. If you know that area, geography wise, that’s in Silicon Valley. We’re Google and Facebook and Uber and so many of the social media like LinkedIn and so many of the social media companies that we see and use on a day to day basis are just you know, they’re our neighbours. We run our manufacturing facility right there in Palo Alto. So we’ve got hundreds or close to 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space. It’s a few miles from the owners and the founders homes and so it’s really interesting because they can pop in and routinely, I think a lot of CEOs and presidents or founders you see that I’m sitting in boardrooms, whereas in our situation, Sciton has their workshops so they’re, they’re popping down. And most of the time, you’ll find them in the lab working on developing technology, with their sleeves rolled up literally with their hands and devices, maybe diagnosing problems or working with the engineering team on new designs so it’s really an interesting approach. You know, a lot of a lot of companies, our space, outsource, OEM contract manufacturing, those are kind of buzzwords that you hear in business, which means essentially, they have a third party company, they’re making the device for them and labelling it with their name on it, or they’re buying and assembling components that are used and a majority of the other lasers out there, and just repackaged with a different name on it. And in our situation, the majority of the stuff we do, we design and build on our own. So it’s just a unique hand built kind of approach to manufacturing, which again, kind of sets us apart and again, that gold standard word that we talked about.

 

Trish

And you know what you’re spot on, because the thing is, apart from the fact that it’s manufactured, you’ve also it kind of cutting out the middleman as in, you don’t have to get someone else to wholesale it for you that sort of thing, you can actually go straight to the consumer, but also a sorry, not because of the business. But also, what I like about that, as well, is the fact that like you said, it’s virtually not made to order, but you make the exact devices that you want to do the exact thing that you guys want. So it’s like a reality, tailored to fit, if that makes any sense.

 

 

Percy

Yeah, I appreciate that’s a good way to put it for sure.

 

Trish

And tell me, so I’ve noticed, and one of the things I love is when someone gets a device, it comes in a wooden crate. I love that!

 

Percy

Another custom design box right there that you can build around the brand of the device. And we had to do that, because we’re shipping these things all over the world. You know, and especially nowadays, I mean, with all the logistical nightmares that we’ve all been through for the last couple of years. Now, it’s so important that the device arrives safely and we have seen some of the horror stories and heard some of the horror stories of things just getting dropped off of forklifts and crates and those kinds of things. And so we really took a lot of time to design it so that it would arrive at the customer’s facility, safe and sound the way that they ordered it.

 

Trish

Yep, yeah, no, I love that when I first saw it, I thought, Oh, wow, that’s something different, cuz I’ve never seen it before. And I’ve seen lots of devices being delivered to clinics, and whatnot. But when I saw it in the crate, I thought, oh, that’s the bomb. That’s really cool. And so tell me, one of the things you mentioned about the founders popping in is to live close by, and it’s a real family business. And it’s really funny, because just recently at the Sciton live was the first time I got to experience a Sciton event, but also the fact that you guys came, came down from overseas and all that, and it’s, it is a real family. And I think that kind of resonates from the top through to the bottom through to when you get a clinic. So it’s a very cohesive kind of family life, or how do you guys maintain that?

 

Percy

That is a million dollar question.

 

Trish

That’s the hardest question you’re gonna get today.

 

Percy

Is that the one okay, because so I tell you, we work really, really hard on it. It’s not easy and I think it starts at the top right, it starts with the founders, they started the company with that mindset and we’ve just built on it over the course of the last really probably 20 years, but the last 10 to 15 have really been it’s really been a focal point, the last seven, under our CEOs vision. I tell you, Aaron, has done a great job of building up the culture of the business. Today, actually, you asked, tactically, how do we do it? We have what’s called the Culture Task Force and these are, we all kind of believe that, as leaders. You know, that’s another thing we talked about, as leaders, there’s no, there’s no bosses, there’s no managers, everybody’s a leader in the organisation. And we talked about the Culture Task Force, and we feel like that our leaders, it’s their responsibility to be keepers of the culture, right. And so just today, we had 65 people, I think, who showed up for today’s call . We were talking more about empowering women in leadership roles and how to foster that in an organisation. But that’s just a small example of what we do, right? So you get leaders together with all ranks, and throughout the company, and all different types of positions, and we get together and we talk about the culture of the business, and we work really, really hard on it every day in our daily decision making. But in the majority of our meetings, we talk about empowering the future, right. So I think a lot of people in business leadership roles, they’re very protective of their title. And I think for us, we try to create opportunities for people to move up and advance within their company organically. So that’s leadership programs, there’s a ton of training that goes into that, and things that we do to foster that. So that we’re bringing up leaders within the organisation from the ground level, and really providing a roadmap for somebody that joins us to really make a career out of this investment of that in their time with Sciton in. I think we don’t take that for granted. You know, I mean, this has been the great resignation, we’ve seen, you’ve seen a lot of companies talk about employees leaving, and we just haven’t had the same level of turnover that I think other companies experienced, because we really work so hard on that cultural aspect of the business and that’s really what it comes down to.

 

Trish

Yeah, you know what, and it’s so funny, because it’s so true. It’s not like there’s never conflict. And it’s not like there’s never disagreements, but it’s good when you can just talk to each other and like, virtually hug it out and everyone works. Now, I think that’s the secret to the success of a business, because not everyone’s going to be happy all the time. But the fact that you’ve got that Culture Task Force, and the fact that everybody is like a leader in the company. And it’s true, they are the ones that need to be the keepers of the culture so I love that. So that was a really good answer, especially on this on the fly.

 

Percy

Well, when you think about it, like it comes from the heart, and I think at the end of the day, like when you have an organisation, it goes back to we talked about the beginning, when you have everybody in the company that feels like they’re an owner of the business, you will make decisions much differently. Right? I mean that’s something that we’re just privileged to be in that situation. I mean, again, it starts with the way that the company was founded. And the way that we give back to our employees, I mean, routinely is part of what keeps that culture. And it’s a serving gratitude type mindset, leaders that are self serving, don’t go far in this company, and they get weeded out pretty quickly.

 

Trish

Yeah, that’s so true. And you know what, you’re right, because there is a big turnover in this industry, especially in device companies and Sciton just doesn’t seem to have it. There’s no, like, it’s obvious, you don’t see that. You know, because Australia, like I only see, Australia and Australia is, of course, relatively you how long how long have we been in Australia?

 

Percy

Just yet five little over five years now? Yeah. Seems like yesterday, but it’s been five years now.

 

Trish

And it started with one person, then it went to two and now there’s five Sciton Australia on the ground. So it’s just like Sciton, they go places, which is exciting.

 

Percy

We, you know, we’ve been in Australia five years, I guess it’s so we’ve been there for longer than that, because we were working with a distributor partner there in the market.

 

Trish

Actually, yes.

 

Percy

Yeah. And I think that when we went direct, I mean, I think it’d have been easy to kind of just forget about where you came from. And I think, we try to protect that because the person that we are working with in the company we’re working with, they had a long 10 year plus history with us. And so we found a way to, to keep Arthur and his team involved on the service side. And it’s been great, because those customers that they bought 10-15 years ago, the person that they bought with is still involved in the organisation, right. So again, like we didn’t lose our distributor partner, but we gained another family member that is supporting the direct operation, they’re in a really helpful and unique way. But it’s really, it’s given us the flexibility now to just do more and invest in and work directly with individual clinics. And he said it started with one and we and we’ve grown it, and we still see just a ton of runway for us in that market. We’re very bullish on the opportunity there and we’re working with some great customers and some really high end key opinion leaders, and we just see nothing but continued success there. They’re all the indicators proven and shown that there’s going to be a market that’s always going to have a place inside the business Sciton.

 

Trish

Yep. Yep. And, you know, one of the things as well as I think, sometimes businesses become complacent in it’s like, oh, this is really cosy we’ll just won’t change anything because everything’s going great, blah, blah. But I love the fact that Sciton is actually committed to continuous improvement and the fact that they’re always wanting to better what is already something really good. And that’s quite admirable in today’s climate.

 

Percy

I mean, you can’t ever stop learning, right, and you can’t stop growing. So we’re just at the beginning phases of where we think we’ll go. I mean, now we’ve built the brand and now we’re working on building consumer brands. So that’s been a big focus, as we move forward into the next phase of Sciton in Australia and Sciton really globally is working on positioning our consumer brands and doing more to help drive awareness with brand specific activities, driving them into our patients, or into our providers, clinics, and really connecting the patients with the providers and so you’ll see as we move forward, that’s a bigger focus of where we go. You know, obviously, we’re in the device space, we have to continue to place units, but you’ll start to see a focus on striving, more utilisation for our practices and our providers as well.

 

Trish

Yep. You know, and it’s really funny, because I think that as a general consensus, I think around or less in Australia, I think people are generally asking for the procedure, not by the not by treatment, but by the actual name, like, say, for example, like, that I’m addicted to the HALO, and I’m going to have that for the rest of my life, every couple of years. Because, like, to me, it’s the best treatment that I’ve ever had. But so people are asking, I want to get a HALO or hey, you know, I want to have BBL. So people are actually asking for things by name. So I think that’s a really great strategy of being more not consumer focused, but kind of getting that out there a little bit more to the end consumer.

 

Percy

For sure, I mean, we’ve had some, we’ve been fortunate to have some really, kind of big placements, I’m not really at liberty to talk about all of them. But you can go and look on our social media profiles over the last couple of weeks and kind of see some of the names of household names that have been posting recently about the about their use of the treatment, right, and that’s all organic, this wasn’t stuff that we had to go out and kind of search for try to find brand ambassadors for these were organic folks that they’re on the same kind of routine that we’re all on right with taking care of their skin and kind of trying to have a kind of a regimen of good skin quality for the rest of their life. And part of that of that regimen includes the use of, like you said, HALO, MOXI, BBL, those are three flagship products that we routinely see popping up in the media with celebrities and influencers.

 

Trish

Yep, yep. Yeah, just recently, I was watching Kim Kardashian having a treatment at a clinic and it’s just great to think, oh, wow, I can have that, it’s something that we all can actually wait for and the fact that someone who’s got all the money in the world will go and have it done. That says a lot as well, so I know what you mean, when it’s good when other people spruik how great treatment is. I love it.

 

Percy

You know, oh my God, that’s what I’m going for.

 

Trish

I’ve got it at the moment. And I love it, because it’s really funny, because I don’t know what it is. But I went out with my girlfriends last night and we went to a musical. And as soon as I rocked up, I haven’t seen them for I don’t know, a month or so. And they’re like, oh my god, what have you done? You know, your skin looks amazing. You know, you had Botox and I’m like, no, no, I just do a HALO treatment and it even just sounds a bit heavenly not is that a HALO treatment.

 

Percy

Find that one of the some of the feedback that I’m just interested in to get your opinion on it? Did you feel like you had to wear less makeup immediately after then, like you said, you’re about a month out? What’s your makeup for your kind of routine? Are you feeling like you’re seeing a little bit less?

 

Trish

One absolutely nothing on my skin, except for concealer under my eyes, just a bit of concealer. And because I’ve got really dark eyes, and eyeliner, and I’ll put a bit of blush straight on so I just don’t wear foundation which is really nice. So I’ve got it looks like I’ve got foundation on, but I haven’t so I guess. And for me, I love it because I don’t really like the feeling of having a lot of crap on my skin. I’m a bit of a hippie on the inside but I want to look good.

 

Percy

I’m telling my daughter the same thing I’ve got, I’m raising teenage daughters, and they’re all about putting on makeup. And I’m sitting here biting my tongue because I’m like, are they old enough? When is the appropriate age where they can start getting these HALO treatments or some of these other treatments? Because I know, because the feedback that you just said, this is stuff that I’ve heard from others, it’s like, look, they just the amount of makeup that they’re having to wear is diminished and I think for a lot of people, that’s super important. And I see it every day in my house because I see the bills and the amount of skincare products that come in on a daily weekly basis in my home. So yeah, that’s got to be a big thing for a lot of people out there.

 

Trish

Of course, of course, no, it’s so true. And so tell me, just recently Sciton was recognised as one of the fastest growing private companies on this year’s Inc 5000 list 2022. Can you tell us about that?

 

Percy

Sure. Yeah, that again, another organic little surprise, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to us because we know what we’re building, but it sure feels good when other people out there start to recognise it. We’ve always kind of felt like we were this little best secret is the kind of the phrase that a lot of us would use internally and we saw a lot of companies out there growing. These big clips and we just kept wondering like, Okay, well we seem to be doing all the right things when are we going to get they use kind of a sports analogy like you’re on the bench waiting for the opportunity are in the minor leagues waiting for the opportunity to get the call up and, and get in the game and it’s been great. I mean, we’re coming up on I think our 14th quarter of growth and it’s just like double digit, we’re outpacing the competition and it’s really exciting. And again, I don’t want to go into too much into Financials that will probably bore your listeners here, but we’re super excited because in the midst of all of the supply chain stuff that was going on, in the midst of the world kind of coming to a halt. You know, we’ve been really fortunate and we always were there’s a lot of companies out there that were focused on body. And that’s a big, big treatment that I think, obviously we’re looking at, and we want to try to be in that arena at some point. But we were always just really great at addressing skin and I think it was a little fortuitous, because you know, we talked about the Zoom boom, but you’re seeing yourself on these on these screens, in some cases on a 60 inch monitor, or some huge monitor, and you’re looking at all the imperfections that you can see because you’re blown up and magnified. And here we are, in an environment with social media and some of these other things where you have filters, and we kind of look at it, like we have the solution, we have the filters in the sense that you can go get a HALO, or you can go get a treatment and you really basically get a filter that you can live by and live with every single day. And so it’s a little bit fortuitous, maybe call it luck, I’m not really sure. But you know, that’s kind of what happened for us. I mean, we saw this, this big boom, and this big growth around people really wanting to invest in their skin quality. And the next thing, I mean, our providers were busy, and that equated to more system sales and it’s just been a really fun ride. And with some of the things we have in the pipeline to kind of back up that next phase, we’re really excited and bullish about where the company is going to go over the next couple of years.

 

Trish

Amazing. And do you reckon before we go, do you reckon you can just run through whereabouts in the world Sciton is? Like, because I know that Japan, there’s Australia, there’s New Zealand, we’re, we’re I mean, can pretty much buy a Sciton anywhere in the world. Is that right? But where is it? Where do you actually have Sciton like, I guess, branches? Would that be the right thing to call them? Or?

 

Percy

Sure, sure. So we’re direct, and obviously the US that’s our biggest market and then obviously, with our next expansion was into Canada, and then Japan, Australia, recently launched two years ago in the UK, this year we’ve launched into France. So we’re looking at other markets. I mean, that part of our strategic plan for the future is focusing on new market opportunities and expansion in our international business and we see that as a huge upside opportunity for us. And as we look and put together plans, it’s always a big discussion point on where we are going to go next and we don’t have to be everywhere, we want to focus on countries where we feel like our products are going to have a nice fit, and we don’t have to be everywhere so we’re gonna take our time. And again, we do it all organically, right? So there’s not just a rush to try to go out and be everywhere, just to say we’re in all these countries and see a bunch of top line growth that really doesn’t do anything for the business, again, we answer to ourselves, right. And so I’ll look at a market where I see opportunity, and the right team of people in the right investment, and people because I really believe that when I look back at it, what we did right in Australia, and where we made mistakes and other markets that we’ve launched into or attempted to launch into over the last 15 years that I’ve been with the company a lot of times it’s centred around the people in the team that you put together, right, and so you can have the greatest product in the world, you can have what you think is the best story, but if you can’t put together the right team to go out and execute it, then it’s all for naught. And you know, that’s really I’m opportunistic, about finding the right people and it’s not necessarily, it doesn’t always have to be the right market. Because I feel like skin to skin and we can make people’s skin great and that’s a problem that exists all over the world. So I’m looking for the right people to partner with and the right teams to build and that’s how I get excited about a market. You can look at the big countries and come up with a list of where the top GDP countries are, where the biggest skincare companies are. And of course, those are the ones that are the easiest to pick out. But the hardest part is finding the right people.

 

 

Trish

Yep. You know what, you’re so right. Even if you can, because it’s really important to fight because you can train people, but you can’t train an attitude so it’s just so important. And it’s great that you actually employ the person rather than for the knowledge, of course, they’re going to need the knowledge as well. No, but you can teach that knowledge, so I love that it’s all about the person really, and how they feel.

 

Percy

I’ll steal this from a good friend of mine that taught me a lot. He says, you hire the smile, train the skill.

 

Trish

Yeah. So good. I’m gonna put that on my social media today, you hire the smile and train the skill.

 

Percy

And then you can teach people that if they’re willing to have a good attitude, you can teach them to do things, but you can’t teach them to have a positive attitude that starts with the decision you make every day getting out of bed, like what? What side of the what side of this? Are you going to be on? Are you going to go out and attempt to do something great? Are you going to, you’re battling that, that’s your first kind of thought of the day is what’s today going to be like? Yeah. And that’s, fundamentally, it’s kind of a deep approach. You said you were a little bit holistic and hippie at heart. So we can go, we can go down that path, because I totally believe in that stuff and the people that have the right attitude, or just those are the people I try to surround myself with every day.

 

Trish

Yeah, totally. And we all know that my beautiful skin is because of yoga and drinking lots of water. And that’s the image that I want to give. So I’m more than happy to go and have as many treatments. What do you do? Oh, you know, nothing. I love it. What am I going to say? Thank you so much for taking the time today because I know it’s a ridiculous hour over there and in the US and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today. So I can actually share with everyone the excitement and joy around Sciton because I love Sciton and I just love the devices. I love the company, love the treatment, love the family, love the whole lot. So it’s really a privilege for me to talk to you today. So I really, really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

 

Percy

Thanks, Trish.

 

Trish

Lovely. And listeners. Look, if you do want to have a Sciton track and find out anything else on Sciton you can just go to our social media, which is @sciton_ausnz or @sciton_inc. You can drop us a DM and I’ll forward it on so yeah, anything you need to know. Just give us a call. Thanks so much for joining us today. Merci.

Percy

Thank you. Good day. Cheers.

 

For more Sciton information you can visit the website here. Feel free to slide DMs @sciton_ausnz or @sciton_inc.

 

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