We meet Tania Azzouz Akl, founder of Medica and inspirational female leader who has made Dubai her home.
Photographer – Miguel Veterano at Capital D Studio

You have lived and grown up in Paris, the ‘temple of beauty industry’ as they call it… surely it made a defining impact on your outlook towards life?
Yes it did needless to say. In Paris, beauty and fashion are simple and “timeless”. It’s all about being simple and elegant. In French we say “simplicité beauté” meaning simplicity is more beautiful, so I’m definitely simple in my approach toward life, in my day to day look and I definitely praise natural beauty.

Tell us about your experiences in Montreal and why is it that you chose International Business & Marketing as your major in studies.
I chose those majors I enjoyed them and these subjects helped me in my start-ups, however I keep learning whether in finance, marketing, leadership or anything else that will help my business grow.

What has been the driving force behind your career?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My father and his family have always established their own businesses so it was just a natural path.

Tell us about your journey and the necessary steps you had to take to make Medica what it is today.
There was not just one challenge but many. At the beginning the challenges were finding the right people to work with. It is difficult to find talented people who are willing to work in starts-up, that’s why the founders usually end up doing so much themselves in the early years of a business. Then the chaos that comes with fast growth. Today it’s all about differentiating ourselves from competition and staying on top.

What is the vision of Medica Group?
Medica is all about making people look better. Our vision is to be the first choice for aesthetic practitioner seeking superior and reliable beauty solutions, after sales service and overall peace of mind.

The global medical aesthetic industry, despite the recent dynamic times, has only grown vertically – with a 200% increase in service revenues generated by minimally invasive cosmetic procedures such as botulinum toxin and dermal fillers. The market share for service revenues from these procedures increased from 30% in 2000 to about 50% in past two years. To what do we owe this exponential growth – and how do you monitor and tap into this lucrative market?
There are many factors involved in this growth. We all want to look better and younger. Having aesthetic treatments is not taboo anymore. The new technologies in this field have improved, are minimally invasive and more affordable to everyone.
Social media indirectly enhanced the growth: everyone is more exposed and people want to look better in the pictures they post, on their selfies… We stay up-to-date with the latest technologies in the aesthetic field so we can always provide the best tour customers.

Wrinkle relaxing agents & wrinkle fillers are temporary agents nearing maturity which are still very popular in US & EU markets. Asia on the other hand is known to prefer more permanent solutions such as ‘Artefill’ – would you be able to tell us which one to prefer and why?
Of course I will go with non-permanent fillers. First of all beauty changes, our face changes and we don’t want to be stuck with a permanent fillers that we cannot change. Moreover permanent fillers have many long terms side effect that requires surgery to be treated. We highly discourage permanent fillers.

Another growth market is Body Shaping – tell us about some of your brands dealing with this.
Body shaping is growing big internationally. Vela is one of the most effective treatment for body shaping and cellulite treatment. It is FDA approved for circumferential reduction (meaning loss in inches). We are also introducing Ultrashape to treat localised fat. Used in combination those two technologies gives amazing results.

Can you briefly discuss the intensive effort and strict monitoring your brands are subjected to before they become available to the public for ‘safe’ and ‘healthy’ use.
It starts from our suppliers: most products that we pick are FDA approved; meaning they went through lengthy safety and efficacy tests. Secondly the products have to be registered locally in the Ministry of Health. Last but not least training: all our customers whether it’s a doctor or therapist are fully trained by us. Some products can be used only by doctors and we ensure that this is done. We mainly follow the guidelines of the health authorities for this. All clinics go through regular and intensive check by health authorities to ensure products are not misused.

D-Journal is an art and lifestyle magazine – created to always reflect simple things and simple people in the most aesthetic manner. The work you do seems so similar – tell us about your view/take on real beauty and how it is incorporated in every decision you make inyour business.
Yes I agree, my views are similar to your magazine’s which is simplicity. I praise natural beauty. It’s important not to alter your look and just to be simple. This helps us pick the right technologies and to carry a consistent message whether it’s for our team, our customers or end users.

What would you advice to young women wanting to start their own businesses?
I need pages to answer this questions but I would say perseverance, hard work and thinking outside the box.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I want to remain in the beauty business working with even better technologies to launch to make people look, feel better and more confident.

Since your early years as well as now as a businesswoman, you must have travelled extensively – you have lived in a few cities too; is Dubai the final destination and what keeps you rooted here?
Yes Dubai is my final destination. This city gave me everything I wanted and hoped for: security, an amazing career, a company that grew beyond my expectations, a comfortable lifestyle and a lot of opportunities. Why would I change?