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Meet Dr Ellen Moila, owner of Polokwane’s first female and black-owned aesthetic clinic

Dr Ellen Moila. Picture: Supplied

Dr Ellen Moila. Picture: Supplied

Published Nov 17, 2021


For centuries, men and women have been seeking a magical potion to keep the natural effects of the ageing process at bay.

Their desire is to maintain or freeze a period when they were at their most youthful-looking.

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Modern beauty standards have become more and more “unrealistic” due to social media therefore people are taking more extreme measures.

While plastic surgery would be the most extreme and has had a bad wrap with so many botched jobs and the glaringly obvious, extreme and desperate attempts so many celebrities have taken to turn back the clock.

Aesthetic beauty treatments like Botox and fillers have, however, given youth-seekers a far less invasive and far more accessible option.

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This has brought about a great demand for such treatments.

Dr Ellen Moila noticed that demand and decided to create a space to provide people with the treatments they so desire.

Dr Moila, the owner of Orchid Aesthetic Clinic, is a qualified medical practitioner with over 15 years of experience as a medical doctor who, on top of having her MBCHB and MBA degrees, did a Diploma in Aesthetic Medical with the college of American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine to well-equip herself with the necessary knowledge to start her business.

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The Orchid Clinic. Picture: Supplied

We spoke to the doctor and businesswoman, who is the first black woman to open an aesthetic clinic in Polokwane, and asked her about the successes and challenges of her new venture.

Tell us, what led you to open your clinic?

I discovered that a lot of Polokwane women and men seeking aesthetic and anti-ageing treatments had to deal with the long commute to Gauteng for treatments.

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The standard of living is already too high. Financially maintaining a household is already a challenge that leaves little to no money for other personal things. So, the Limpopo aesthetic market sacrificed the little money left for these treatments. Adding travelling costs to access these treatments was not going to be sustainable in the long run. I knew it was time to step in and save them money and time, offer them the convenience they so need.

What has been or continues to be your greatest challenge thus far?

One of the biggest challenges of running an aesthetic clinic is the financial implication. Aesthetic treatments are generally pricey, and it is also costly for the clinic to bring in those treatments/products. Due to financial constraints, we are unable to bring in some of the treatments that potential clients demand, and as a result, we lose the business to other clinics in other provinces that can offer those treatments.

The Orchid Clinic. Picture: Supplied

Why, in your opinion, has the demand for aesthetic treatments increased so rapidly?

The sudden growing demand can be attributed to the fact that people prefer minimal or non-invasive procedures as compared to surgical procedures, which may come with some risks and longer downtime. The fact that everyone wants to shed off a few years from their actual age without having to go under the knife makes the demand even higher.

When did you notice that more and more people were going for treatments?

About nine years ago, I noticed the growing trends in aesthetic treatments, mostly from social media and some tv shows.

Is there still a stigma attached to getting treatment?

There are still societal stigmas associated with aesthetic treatments, especially from African cultures and male clients who believe that these treatments can deform people or pose serious side effects.

What is the most popular treatment?

Most women, especially younger women, book for skin rejuvenation treatments like chemical peels and facials. The older women book for non-surgical facelifts like botox and dermal fillers to treat wrinkles and ageing skin/loss of volume on their faces.

What inspires you most about the work you are doing?

Confidence is being restored. Most people come to the clinic because they have lost confidence either due to weight gain, ageing skin, or a particular problem. Treating their condition successfully and seeing them confident again to socialise, live their normal lives again inspires me to do more.

How has Covid impacted the industry?

Covid-19 impacted the aesthetic industry in a lot of ways. We saw a decline in sales because most people were not going anywhere and didn’t see the need to look good. Job losses also had people prioritising their immediate needs and doing away with things they can live without. If further forced us to be innovative. We opened an online store and introduced virtual consultations to sustain the business.

What sets your clinic apart from the rest?

Being one of the first aesthetic clinics in the Limpopo province has given us a greater advantage. We offer our clients unique services and products and make sure that every visit to the clinic becomes an experience. The clinic is operated by a medical doctor with many years of experience and a team of skin experts who provide services to the best of their abilities and ensure clients’ safety.