As the medical aesthetic market slowly rebounds, L Catterton-backed medspa Ideal Image plans to aggressively expand its geographical presence to scoop up market share.
L Catterton acquired the 18-year-old company in 2015 when the private equity firm bought multi-brand Steiner Leisure company. Ideal Image has been on a path of brand transformation for the last three years, where it has expanded its service offerings, lowered prices and is now leaning into market expansion. It currently has 150 locations across the U.S., with concentrations in Texas, Florida and Colorado. It plans to add 15 locations in 13 new markets in 2021 such as San Diego, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago and Washington D.C.
“The aesthetics industry grows at 12% to 15% a year, so we can expect to continue to expand our footprint to meet that demand,” said David Prokupek, Ideal Image CEO. He said that Ideal Image grew by double digits between 2018 and 2020. Topline revenue in the second half of 2020 grew by approximately 15% each month, based on year-over-year comparisons.
Ideal Image is also focused on scooping up market share by undercutting prices in addition to growing sales. It debuted a new annual membership for $250 per year on February 11. One membership feature includes an $8.90 price per unit of Botox, which can typically cost between $9 and $12 per unit, according to multiple industry sources. Prokupek said that approximately 40% of existing customers are opting into the membership so far.
“We see significant opportunity in a variety of markets due in part to our accessibility and affordability,” said Michael Casey, Ideal Image chief development officer. “Ideal Image will be able to reach consumers in varying demographic and income brackets in large cities as well as mid-size and smaller markets.”
Between mid-March and mid-June 2020, an estimated 4.43 million cosmetic procedures did not occur in the U.S. as a result of Covid-19, according to a Sept. 2020 study published in the journal Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Furthermore, Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance surveyed 1,360 aesthetic practitioners between March 22 and March 24, 2020, and found they experienced an average 86% reduction in revenue.
Boston Consulting Group noted that smaller medical aesthetics offices and medspas face challenges in rebounding their business, despite unabated consumer interest. With the backing of L Catterton, Ideal Image has both the financial cushion to wait out any recovery, but also scoop up markets where other medspas have closed.
“One option may be to merge with or acquire other fast-growing firms to generate scale,” the BCG report stated. “PE’s funding muscle could help many small industry innovators stay afloat and then rapidly achieve size and scale.”
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ideal Image has adopted tele-aesthetic services to offer free consultations with advisors online. This allowed Ideal Image to widen its operating hours from 9 AM to 6 PM to now 9 AM to 9 PM in all U.S. timezones; it is open seven days per week. Other aesthetic providers, such as Ject and Ever/Body, also branched into virtual consultations amid the pandemic to stay afloat.
“Our ability to spend on marketing, invest in our tele-aesthetics platform, be open seven days a week 9 AM to 9 PM and use our size to lower prices by 20% to 30% are helping us grow faster while others are struggling,” said Prokupek.