When Dr Jenni Henderson envisaged opening her own beautiful, doctor-led clinic in the heart of the picturesque Northamptonshire countryside, she hadn’t figured she’d be doing so in the middle of a global pandemic. Situated in Blisworth, The Dr Jenni Clinic is a private GP and aesthetic clinic, which brings together medical, aesthetic and beauty services in a spa-like environment designed to offer clients a 360-degree health and wellness experience.
Dr Jenni qualified as a medical doctor in 2008 with degrees in both medicine and biomedical sciences. After gaining experience in A&E, paediatrics, ENT, oncology, surgery, neurology and dermatology, she became a GP and had a fulfilling and successful career within the NHS, spanning 18 years. However, opening her own clinic had been a long-held dream. She wanted to be able to offer patients more than she could through the NHS and to create a space in which to help people get to the root cause of their health concerns as well as to live better and feel good about themselves.
“As a really empathic GP it has always been my desire to help people achieve optimal wellness and vitality,” she explains. “I was seeing patients with a lot of things that the NHS couldn’t help with, things that if treated could help improve their confidence and mood, and that’s when I started investigating how I could help,” she says.
“Initially, I started looking into medicalgrade skincare and skin peels to help people with acne specifically, which is still one of my favourite things to treat, but then that quickly evolved into realising that there were lots of women who were 40-plus and feeling that they were losing their confidence and not getting noticed by society quite so much. They didn’t feel good about themselves and it wasn’t depression, it was something that could quite easily be sorted. I spoke to a couple of colleagues already in the aesthetics industry and they said, ‘jump on in, it’s fab’, so I did.”
Initially, Dr Jenni started practicing aesthetics alongside her GP role, but the business took off quite quickly and she made the decision to cut back her NHS hours before eventually deciding to leave altogether and take the plunge to open her own clinic. That was in early 2020.
“Because I still wanted to pursue the private GP side of things, I knew I needed my own clinic rather than renting space out of someone else’s”, she says. “I found the site, handed in my notice for the NHS on March 1, 2020, worked my three-month notice period and found myself in the middle of a lockdown in a global pandemic trying to bring this place from an empty shell into a gorgeous, luxury five-star medical clinic.”
While some may have been phased by this unprecedented and unpredictable turn of events right at the start of their business journey, Dr Jenni prides herself on her resilience and having a positive mindset that allows her to see it as a learning experience. “Launching The Dr Jenni Clinic during lockdown wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but we did it. With the support, encouragement and lovely smiling faces of our clients we have come so far in such a short time”, Dr Jenni says.
“I’m really resilient and if something doesn’t work out, my mindset is very much to immediately think about which avenues I can take to keep things going and offer the best service along the way to our clients. The aesthetics side of the business is currently shut but we’ve still got the private GP side, so I’m offering covid testing and now the vaccines are rolling out… we’ve never been worried about the business. Again, this is where the importance of mindset comes in – I’ve worked a lot on my own personal development,” she says.
“I’m really resilient and if something doesn’t work out, my mindset is very much to immediately think about which avenues I can take to keep things going”
WORLD OF WELLNESS
One of the philosophies that was pivotal to Dr Jenni’s plans for the clinic was being able to offer patients a more personalised approach to their aesthetic treatments, one that tied in with their overall wellbeing. “We are all wonderfully and beautifully unique and at The Dr Jenni Clinic we embrace this fact, treating everyone with a personalised, functional, whole-person approach, rather than the limited, one-size-fits-all style that many of us may have become used to”, she says.
The concept has gone down well with the clinic’s main demographic of women in their 40s and 50s. “I live in lovely, leafy South Northamptonshire where lots of people are really invested in looking after themselves, so it’s a great place to have set up,” says Dr Jenni.
From the peaceful garden complete with old wishing well, visible from the cosy waiting area, to the spa-level relaxing ambience, exposed brickwork and wooden beams inside, Dr Jenni wanted the clinic to feel welcoming and relaxing and for the building to be part of the experience.
“I wanted it to feel like a home from home; a really relaxing space that gave that luxury feel so that people left feeling physically more relaxed than when they came in and have fantastic experience from start to finish, not just during their treatment, she explains.
In the airy, open plan reception and waiting area through to the six treatment rooms, each piece of furniture, comfy throw, plush cushion and calming plant has been sourced and placed to create an experience far from that of a traditional medical or clinical space, while ensuring patients always feel in safe hands. “In normal times, our clients will be able to take a comfy seat, pour themselves a drink, chat to the team, charge their phone and make themselves at home”, Dr Jenni explains, adding: “They can take the time they need, they will never be rushed.”
ON THE MENU
The clinic’s spa-like feel is also reflected in one of its other USPs – the fact that it offers services such as massage and nail treatments alongside the other “beauty” treatments more traditionally associated with aesthetics, such as anti-ageing facials and laser hair removal.
“I don’t know many clinics that have the private GP, medical aesthetics and beauty elements all together. It is quite special in that way,” Dr Jenni says. “The clinic offers a unique client experience for people to have their physical, mental and emotional health concerns and general wellbeing looked after, all under one roof.
“People want a whole experience of wellness, and a massage is wellness just as much as your injectables make you feel better about yourself. I have learned how to give a really good facial massage and cleanse the face beautifully from my beauty therapist and she’s learned lots of things from me. It works harmoniously and it’s great to have a lovely team where we’re all thinking of that one person and how we can help them the most from all angles. There doesn’t need to be that divide,” she says.
On the aesthetics side, treatments on offer include medical skin peels, Hydrafacial, thread vein removal, cryotherapy and Ultherapy, along with a medical weight-control programme. Dr Jenni chose to work with Alumier MD for her skincare alongside companies including Merz Aesthetics (Belotero, Bocouture and Ultherapy), Allergan (Botox, CoolSculpting), Skinpen and Sunekos. She is a particular fan of her Ultherapy machine, commenting: “The results I’m getting from Ultherapy treatments have really impressed my clients; they can start to see the nonsurgical lifting results as early as a few weeks after their treatment, and several months down the line they are seeing very visible results, without the downtime of plastic surgery.”
Despite being relatively new to the sector, Dr Jenni was the first aesthetic doctor in the country to offer cryotherapy treatment with the non-surgical Hydrozid device for reducing and eliminating abnormal skin growths and pigmentation. She is now going to be the first to get the CoolSculpting Elite upgrade. “Regardless of the disruption and uncertainty of covid, I am always looking for the latest advancements in medical aesthetics and investment in world-class devices”, she says. “CoolSculpting Elite has a more powerful chiller which is able to deliver reliable cooling consistency across dual applicators, enabling the clinic to carry out twice the number of treatments in the same amount of time as the original CoolSculpting. I have been interested in introducing CoolSculpting for some time, and I know the team at Allergan thinks my clinic is perfect to be the first venue in the UK to receive it.”
In terms of the private GP services, Dr Jenni’s main interests are in hormones, gut health and mental health, and she believes these perfectly complement the aesthetics side of the business. “It’s all tied in”, she says. “What I love is that I am doing wellness on both the inside and out; not just targeting facial ageing but looking overall at womens’ hormones and improving their energy levels, their libido, their mood, that brain fog that they start to get.
“One of my focus areas is menopause. The NHS has limited resources for women who are going through perimenopause and menopause. Oestrogen is your anti-ageing hormone, so aesthetically women will benefit from having more oestrogen. It’s all holistic health and wellness – they are much more closely linked than separate services allow for.”
It is this diversity that Dr Jenni believes has helped the clinic have a successful first year, despite launching during one of the most turbulent years in our history. Creating her own brand and presence on social media has helped and has saved her shelling out lots of money on marketing. “I have never wanted to pay for ‘likes’ or anything like that because if you have a genuine following it will keep on growing and you’ll get people coming back,” she says. “So, I did a lot of grafting on that in the early days, a huge amount.”
What she does invest in is a communications manager, “because there’s no way you can run a big clinic like this and do everything else as well.” She tries to keep the clinic’s digital presence as personal as possible though, acknowledging that in naming the clinic after herself, clients will want to get to know the woman behind the syringe. “I have a great team around me who are always helping – we post on social media every single day. But it’s The Dr Jenni Clinic; [clients] want to see me, they want to see what I’m up to. You can’t pay somebody else to show that, it has to be consistent, and I can’t just show up when I have time, I have to make time,” she says.
Dr Jenni is putting her positive mindset to work and holding out hope that in 2021, she and her team will eventually be able to celebrate the space, their patients and the success they’ve already achieved by finally being able to host the opening party they never got to throw.