Panelists weigh in on the issues impacting the efforts of spas in their pursuit of top talent and the things they can do to retain their expertise
Avoid the use of counterfeit and fraudulent product in order to maintain the integrity of the industry
The production of counterfeit and fraudulent goods has been a scourge of many brands and purveyors of those brands all over the world for a number of years now. The market for these goods, a black one, devalues the authentic versions of the phony knockoffs that are peddled within it, often impacting the client to one extreme or another. And, it’s not a problem that has avoided the spa industry. According to Moshe Ben-Shlomo, founder and CEO of DermaSpark Products Inc., it’s a problem that poses more consequences than some people might first imagine.
“First and foremost, the most dramatic impacts of fraudulent product is felt by the consumer,” he asserts. “In the best-case scenario, the customer will not get the results that she paid top dollar for. In the worst and more common scenario, the customer receives skin damage from their treatment. And, there’s also a tremendous impact on the reputation of companies like ours and the reputations of clinics using this equipment. If a customer either doesn’t receive the desired results from their treatment or suffers ill effects, they will let all of their friends know about it. So the damage that’s caused by these fraudulent devices and pieces of equipment is both commercial as well as reputational.”
Recognizing the need to do something in order to protect the safety of the public and the reputations of those within the industry that are working with legitimate equipment, Ben-Shlomo and his company, DermaSpark—which represents manufacturing companies all over the world—are helping to lead the charge in eradicating, or at least reducing, the use of these counterfeit machines. The exclusive Canadian distributor of the OxyGeneo 3-in-1 Super Facial, DermaSpark recently won an important federal court decision against a Newmarket, Ontario, spa that was using a dangerous counterfeit version of the OxyGeneo machine. And, Ben-Shlomo suggests that it’s only the beginning.
“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to completely eliminate these counterfeit products from the market,” he says. “But we’re going to continue to fight to remove as many of them as possible. The safety of the public is at stake. It’s not like a counterfeit sneaker or handbag, which can obviously cause reputational damage to the brands in question, but not posing anywhere near the same level of harm to the end user.”
Ben-Shlomo goes on to explain that the OxyGeneo 3-in-1 Super Facial, which is a microneedling cosmetic device, is by no means the only type of equipment being counterfeited. He says that laser equipment for hair removal is also being replicated by fraudsters. And, what complicates the matter even more is that the counterfeit devices and machines are being sold online from overseas companies for fractions of the prices of the authentic equipment. The worst part, however, acknowledges Ben-Shlomo, is that many within the industry have been aware of these counterfeit devices. And, those who purchased them must surely have known what they were going to be using. However, he warns that the return on their ill-advised investment in fake product could certainly come back to bite them one day.
“Spa owners must be extremely mindful of the results that the equipment they’re using is producing,” he says. “”After all, it’s their reputation on the line as well. But some of these machines, which cost $25,000 to buy, are available online for $500. So some spa owners will try to save that money by purchasing a counterfeit device. If they do, however, knowingly or unknowingly, and a customer sues them as a result of damage caused by the machines, their insurance company will never stand behind them. In a case like this, if the product being used is not licensed by Health Canada, then the clinic is essentially not insured and the business is then in jeopardy of being shut down by local health authorities.”
What’s being done?
Although it’s possible that some spa owners have unwittingly purchased counterfeit devices, it seems relatively clear that those who have purchased them have done so with the knowledge that the product is not authentic. Despite this, however, Ben-Shlomo suggests that the entire industry needs to be made aware of the problem through education. In addition, DermaSpark has taken it upon itself to include on its website a list of all of the clinics in Canada using the legitimate OxyGeneo 3-in-1 Super Facial device. By doing so, and through public engagement, the company has now been able to identify other clinics using counterfeit equipment. And, for spa owners out there who want to verify that the equipment they’ve purchased is legitimate, Ben-Shlomo advises that they go to www.health-products.canada.ca/mdall-limh where they can confirm the authenticity of their product using the active licence search, which will reveal the device name, the company that produces it, as well as the licence number. It’s exactly the type of awareness that Ben-Shlomo and DermaSpark are trying to initiate in order to lessen the viability of the illegal product market.
“I’d like to see Health Canada put some stricter practices in place to stop the flow of illegal goods. And, I’d obviously like to see fewer spa owners purchasing these counterfeit devices. If the entire industry becomes actively involved, consumer pressure around the use of these devices continues to increase, and companies like ourselves fight for the removal of them from clinics across the country, my hope is that one day the popularity and use of fraudulent equipment will fade away significantly, removing health risks and elevating the quality and consistency of services and treatments provided by Canadian spas.”