PRIME talks to Charmaine Chow, Founder of Harley, about how the new technology platform can help practitioners boost skincare sales within minutes without practitioners having to stock inventory or handle delivery 

Tell us about Harley and how you came up with the concept?  

Harley is a technology platform that helps qualified practitioners sell skincare without holding inventory. We support surgeons, doctors, nurses and therapists alike. Harley also automates replenishment reminders to patients to drive repeat product sales. By providing a technology-enabled, premium and personalised experience for patients on behalf of practitioners, Harley encourages patient compliance which leads to better outcomes, increased patient loyalty, and ultimately practitioner success. Practitioners who work with Harley are able to increase revenue by thousands of pounds a month with zero capital investment. All it takes is a minute per patient. 

The concept for Harley was born out of my own inefficient experience of buying skincare. When lines started to appear on my face after all the late nights working in finance, I visited a dermatologist who put me on a regimen which required me to source products from several different places — in clinic, online, and from a pharmacy. I was often running out of products last minute and was too busy to keep on top of my regimen. My skin ultimately suffered despite my dermatologist’s expertise and well-researched recommendations.

Every touchpoint with the patient is tied to the practitioner, which deepens the patient-practitioner relationship beyond time spent in clinic.

I imagined a service that could deliver my dermatologist’s regimen in one box and let me know when I was about to run out so I could restock in time. I also wished I could continue having touchpoints with my dermatologist beyond my time in clinic. I started looking, but the service did not exist. So I began my mission of building it myself!

What is your career background and how has this helped Harley’s business? 

Before starting Harley, I worked in finance analysing and investing in companies across the consumer and healthcare space. One of my investments was in a chain of laser and skin clinics. I researched close to a hundred different chains worldwide for this project! This gave me a very deep insight into the workings of the industry and the problems that plagued practitioners.

I learned that best-in-class operators generate over a third of their annual revenue from product sales. Income from product sales is attractive from a business perspective because once a patient is using a particular product that works, they tend to buy more of the same, provided the restocking experience is easy. Which means that if practitioners can make it seamless for patients to restock through their practice, product sales can become a significant and recurring income stream, even when on holiday. Yet, very few practitioners achieve this outcome due to various barriers.

Practitioners are often deterred by the investment required to purchase product inventory. Some practitioners do not have sufficient room to display products in clinic. In addition, it takes significant capital and manpower to make the restocking experience seamless for patients. This often requires investing in an expensive online store and hiring a team to contact patients regularly and deliver products. 

These learnings as an investor in the industry, combined with my own experience as a consumer, is what shaped Harley to meet both the practitioner and patient’s exact needs today.

When did Harley launch and how does the business support clinics?

Harley began serving practitioners in Q1 this year and we officially launch at CCR 2019! Our tagline is ‘Powered by Knowledge not Hype’, which means we work with qualified skincare experts who have dedicated their careers to understanding the skin. 

We purchase stock from a wide range of brands on the practitioner’s behalf, which means practitioners no longer have to take inventory risk to sell products. We also store stock for practitioners, so there is no extra space required.  

All the practitioner needs to do is to spend one minute per patient assigning specific products to the patient on the Harley platform online. The patient will then receive a link that contains details of those specific products which they can purchase from their phone anytime. Our practitioners love this feature because patients can now take the time to decide what to buy without feeling pressured to do so in clinic.

Harley ships products directly to the patient in a personalised, eco-friendly box. Harley takes care of all the logistics such as shipping, packaging and payment processing.

Harley also has a proprietary algorithm that tracks when a patient is about to run out of products and automatically reminds the patient to restock through the practitioner in a tasteful manner. This increases patient compliance, which means better outcomes for the patient and more income for the practitioner. A virtuous cycle!

Every touchpoint with the patient is tied to the practitioner, which deepens patient-practitioner relationship beyond time spent in clinic. Our offering is also fully customisable to the practitioner’s preferences. If a practitioner wants to add a brochure into our delivery box, this is very much encouraged! If the practitioner wants to keep inventory in clinic and only use our automatic reminders service, this is possible too. Harley does everything with the consent of the practitioner. 

Do you have any encouraging data to share? 

Since launching in Q1 this year, Harley has had thousands of patient interactions on behalf of practitioners. 70% of patients who are sent a personalised regimen via Harley purchases a plan and each plan averages £200. Over 70% of patients who have bought a plan will repurchase in 2 months with an average spend of another £200. 

Based on real data, practitioners who work with Harley are able to increase revenue by thousands of pounds a month with zero investment. For now, there is no subscription fee or minimum requirements to use Harley. Harley simply charges a commission on sales.

What are your big ambitions for Harley? 

Harley is all about encouraging patient compliance, improving patient outcomes and helping practitioners generate a bigger and more recurring income stream from skincare product sales. We want to work with as many awesome qualified skincare experts as possible to do this! First in the UK and then internationally.

Can you tell us about any exciting future developments in the pipeline? 

One of our newer initiatives is to help practitioners host consultations online. Which means if a practitioner is working from home or travelling, the practitioner can still meet patients anytime, anywhere and therefore is able to recommend and sell skincare anytime, anywhere. We provide this online consultation hosting service for free to our practitioners.

There are more exciting plans on the horizon, so watch this space. 

How can people join the Harley community? 

Come by our booth (A22) at CCR! Or if you are a practitioner, please visit and leave us your clinic details!

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