Going international

OCT 2010

A Gold Coast company that offers a range of integrated health and beauty services attributes the four-fold expansion of its premises to the recent boost in domestic and international tourism.

Esteem Day Spa combines traditional non-medical beauty services with surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures under one business model.

The company has achieved 25 per cent revenue growth since opening the doors to its new Marina Mirage premises in mid-July.

At around 900sqm, the new site makes Esteem the up-market shopping centre’s largest tenant.

CEO Maria Gambaro says the drive market and interstate domestic tourists remain the most significant clientele, but the largest growth area is in international visits.

“A lot of clients are local and domestically we go as far as Perth,” she says.

“But we’re bringing people over from Singapore and all over South East Asia. We’re going back to Singapore next month and to New Zealand to bring tourists back to the Gold Coast; not just the women but also their husbands.”

Gambaro acquired the business from Esteem founder and cosmetic surgeon Terrence Scamp in 2003.

As part of the push for international clients she has sent Esteem representatives to cosmetic surgery and health conferences throughout Asia and the United States.

Having partnerships established with Palazzo Versace, the Sheraton Mirage and numerous small tourism operators, the marketing campaign has been as much about promoting the Gold Coast.

“Seven years ago when I started this journey, no one really understood what the Gold Coast was all about, people were saying ‘I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, I want to see Melbourne and Sydney or even the Great Barrier Reef’,” explains Gambaro.

“Now when I go overseas people know, ‘oh you’re from the Gold Coast’. I am happy to say I am in the most beautiful part of the world; the ultimate destination. If you go overseas they all want to know us.

We’re trying to promote the perfect destination that works. It’s alright saying that’s what we want, but making it work is another story.”

Esteem has been working on a media familiarisation program with Gold Coast Tourism in an attempt to generate publicity on a national and international level.

A key part of Gambaro’s vision is breaking the stigma around the Gold Coast’s relationship with cosmetic surgery, proclaiming ‘we aren’t about the ‘blonde bimbo’ image’.

“It’s very important for us to break that association and it’s been a long-term dream of mine to re-educate people. We’re travelling the world to re-educate that this is the ultimate destination, the place to be for a holiday,” she says.

“It’s amazing that all you need to do is listen to the consumer, listen to what they want and what makes them feel good, I like to implement that and that’s what I do.”

Gambaro says Esteem is Australia’s first integrated cosmetic surgery, beauty spa and retail company.

“It is a new concept. What we’re doing here has never been done before. It was all in my head I knew what I wanted and I knew that everyone has the right to feel good about themselves, so why not do it all under one roof,” she says.

“I don’t believe I think like a typical business person and I prefer to be the driver of the company, taking a backseat if you like. There is no-one else in Australia like us, with all these services under one roof. We’re really driving a holistic approach to this industry.”

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