Dr Emma Cunningham one of Irelands leading Aesthetic practicioners and is our next Woman of Vision at Business Island
She combines non-surgical techniques with a bespoke skincare regime and nutritional advice.Their suite of treatments is designed to blend perfectly and specifically realise each and every one of their clients’ aesthetic dreams.Having qualified as a dental surgeon from King’s College London, Dr Emma began her career in London, enhancing her skills with postgraduate studies in both cosmetic and implant dentistry.The experience ignited a passion for a holistic approach to aesthetic medicine, which she now applies in her own clinic, Dr Emma Advanced Aesthetics. We caught up with the busy Mom to chat about her
Tell us about you, and your business ?
I am 36, mum of 3, qualified in dentistry – then branched into aesthetics because I wanted to offer a more holistic approach to my business, Dr Emma Clinics. We now have 3 clinics opened in Slieve Donard, Newry and Dublin.My business is Dr.Emma Clinic, shortly, it’s going to be an umbrella brand. Incorporating aesthetics and skincare, alongside dentistry and then a private GP and a weight-management clinic and in the new year we have plans to have a surgical aspect including vasectomies, implants and a women’s menopause clinic, so It’s an umbrella brand that encompasses basically all things healthcare really. From a young age I knew exactly what life I wanted. I knew I always wanted to make a change. Obviously how I was going to bring that about, I didn’t know but once I delved into dentistry and then got more involved I guess with the running of businesses, where I was doing associating work in London, you know, I saw how dentistry is also a business. But for me I had such a massive pull on the customer service aspect. I guess every day, I’d say probably more now, I enjoy the business side of things and do want to develop as a brand a so I’d like to think that down the line I do have plans for other things when it comes to it, but we’ll see how that goes!
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Well, I was a dentist so that was, I knew I wanted to own my own practice and again I loved, I really loved art and being really artistic in design and interior designing things and then I felt ‘how could I incorporate my interest in that into my medical training. So, I went down the route of aesthetics because I felt that, although you can transform somebody’s smile and it’s so, so impactful – you know, if you don’t do the face as a whole, then I guess the results can be much better.As I got more involved and I developed the business – more and more opportunities have arisen. I’m fortunate, that my husband is a GP and has the ability to offer services in my clinic and as I said opportunities are arising every day which is fantastic and I’m finding ways and means to develop and modify the business as it happens.
What do you love most about having your own business?
For me it’s that I have creative control so I absolutely love the creative side, even social media, marketing and then just how I also have control of the patient journey. Basically, that lies with me and I get to make those decisions and that’s what I love about that and that’s what I felt stifled when I worked as part of other people’s businesses and unfortunately I had no part in that.
What challenges have you faced being a woman in business?
All my challenges have unfortunately been a result of being a woman. I had you know, one experience that as a result of a maternity where I wasn’t welcomed back to the practice, which was a male dominated practice really and that hit hard.
And then following that, another story which unfortunately is quite a sad story but I guess now it has given me the strength to keep doing what I am doing , but I was involved in another practice just as an associate, which was run by a female and, unfortunately this female unfortunately felt the need to try and pick apart me as a person and it ultimately in 6 month’s time (the short time that I was 6 months there) I became a shell of a person. I was also pregnant with my second child, so my self-esteem took a massive hit and at that point I had sort of. I said to my husband ‘I’m not going to work anymore I’m done’. And in ways when I look back now, I do definitely think it had such an impact on me that I wouldn’t leave the house in fear of bumping into this woman. I couldn’t look at my phone because I was scared that there’d be another email from her and it really, really ruined me at that point in my life, but I guess now when I look back, it has given me somewhat an insane resilience that you know, things will happen but it’s how you bounce back from them. So, it was a learning curve that taught me how not to treat people, and that as somebody who is in a position of power you should mentor people coming on behind you. You should never under any circumstances try to pull someone apart because you feel, perhaps, that they’re a threat. think together we are stronger and as women we should support each-other but unfortunately that didn’t happen at that time in my career.