BEHIND the handsome white façade of a Regency building on the edge of Derby city centre lies one of the region’s best-kept secrets.
An understated black sign outside the grand front door in this quiet street provides the only clue to the life-changing surprises within.
Yet the building, in Derby’s Vernon Street, contains a secret that has in fact permeated thousands of miles since it was acquired by the owners of the Neo Elegance clinic last year.
Now, the business counts celebrities and some of the world’s wealthiest women among its clients – as well as a growing number of more local women (and men) who are ‘in the know’.
Neo Elegance was founded in Derby in 2014, when it focused primarily on designing and manufacturing beauty products and devices that would turn the outdated industry on its head.
Launched by Kenyan-born chef Shakila Adamz and her daughters Farrah Mohamed and Fiz Hussein, the trio felt the beauty industry was offering poor-quality and overly expensive treatments that were, at best, only short-term fixes for customers who were dissatisfied with their appearance.
So they set out on a mission to change that.
They left Derby for a few years to set up a clinic in London’s exclusive Mayfair district. Meanwhile, they tirelessly travelled the world - to places like Dubai, Turkey, Italy, Hong Kong and the US – collecting information on the very best beauty treatments available. Their plan was to improve on the best-of-the-best and bring what they’d learned back to the UK.
The family is now back in Derby, where its clinic in Vernon Street promises age-defying rejuvenation the likes of which simply do not exist for miles around. And the beauty of what Neo Elegance offers to its clientele is that it can all be achieved without a single scalpel in sight. They estimate that their natural, non-surgical treatments will typically knock around 10 years off a client’s appearance.
Shakila said: “The truth of the matter is that the UK is so far behind places like Hong Kong, and even Germany and France, in terms of the beauty market.
“Here, we see too much aesthetic work on the face, such as fillers and face-lifts, because women, particularly, are looking for a quick fix all the time. But you can usually tell if someone has had treatments like this.
“What we offer is something that looks far more natural. We effectively achieve the same results. It will take longer, but it will also last longer – and often cost a fraction of the price.”
The money aspect is nevertheless not necessarily something that concerns the clinic’s 15-or-so regular clients that make special journeys from far-flung places like Hong Kong, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the US, purely to be treated by Neo Elegance.
Given that these extremely wealthy and well-connected clients mostly have second (or third, or fourth…) homes within a stone’s throw of London’s exclusive Harley Street, and whose home nations boast some of the best beauty clinics in the world, it is perhaps testament to the expertise and service provided by Shakila and her daughters.
Fiz, the company’s skin specialist, who has qualifications in Clinical Aesthetics, Advanced Skin Science and is an accredited trainer in beauty treatments, said: “The mistake made by many beauty therapists and brands that sell products in high street stores, is that it is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ scenario.
“Everyone’s skin is different. It reacts differently to different products. An individual’s skin also changes between the seasons of the year. So what we do at Neo Elegance is to focus on education.
“We educate people about their own skin, we provide bespoke treatments specifically for each individual, and advise tailored regimes for home skin care between treatments at the clinic.
“The unfortunate truth in the UK is that people are not nearly as well-educated about their skin from an early age as they are elsewhere in the world. In other countries, people begin skin care far earlier in life, and so see much better results when they are older. Here in the UK, it’s often too late – which is why some women take quite drastic and invasive measures to regain their youth.”
Fiz, who was one of the stars of the ITV reality series Spa Wars five years ago, works alongside sister Farrah and mum Shakila to continually formulate new natural lotions and serums to offer customers. All products they sell are their own creations. The family also uses its vast global knowledge and expertise to design and manufacture its own technological devices at its factory and warehouse in Alfreton.
The company’s ground-breaking, portable and cordless LED face mask, which featured on the Spa Wars TV show, is now in its third-generation design. Users wear the mask, which has an in-built pair of ‘sun glasses’ within a Darth Vader-style face covering, and select the coloured light setting that is most suitable for their skin condition – whether that be blemishes, fatigue or lines. With Christmas around the corner, the company is expecting a surge in orders for its £199.00 Triwave LED mask.
Neo Elegance has also just launched its advanced NeoDermisX fractional radiofrequency appliance, a portable device that combines radiofrequency with micro needles that can help treat conditions like scarring, acne and wrinkles.
And the company has also perfected its mechanical toning machines, which helps to break down fatty deposits beneath the skin, in all parts of the body – something that the family says often sparks the interest of the small number of men that use the clinic.
“This machine replicates the equivalent of around 19,000 sit-ups in half an hour,” said Farrah. “Like everything else we do, it’s a take on the natural process of how our skin and body behaves.
“But we also have an individual responsibility to care for our own bodies too, which is why we are so keen to educate our clients and provide the right products and advice for them to use and employ at home. The clinic is an important starting point, but it doesn’t end there.”
Inside Number 9, Vernon Street, is a staircase that leads up to, currently, two treatment floors. The room that greets all clients initially is the waiting room, which makes you feel like you’ve entered a different continent. Plush peacock-blue sofas and chairs are complemented by an elegant glass chandelier and gold wall panelling, surrounded by samples of the company’s wide range of products, resplendent in their distinctive black and gold packaging.
The rest of the clinic, from the Medi Spa that offers things like reflexology, Indian head massages and “facials for the foot” (not pedicures!), to the VIP relaxation room, follow the same opulent theme, complete with gold teapots, light piano music and Versace wallpaper.
Shakila said: “We’ve visited thousands of clinics across the world, and most of them are too clinical. Their stark white walls and white clothing can make people quite anxious, like visiting a hospital.
“The décor we have at Neo Elegance makes our clients far more comfortable. It helps them relax and offers a haven of tranquillity, which is particularly important for some of our wealthy overseas clients.”
Neo Elegance will even close the clinic entirely to all other clients when some of its very special guests turn up. Having flown in, via London, from maybe Qatar to East Midlands Airport, these VIP clients are given exclusive, out-of-sight, private parking and have sole use of Fiz and her team of five beauty therapists.
The family is hoping to expand its services further at the Vernon Street clinic by creating a Moroccan-style hammam on the ground floor of the building, where the Neo Elegance administration offices currently reside. If the plans go ahead, the hammam, based on the relaxing spa treatments enjoyed in Moroccan bathing culture, will bring yet another taste of the world’s continents to Derby.
“It’s fantastic to be back offering high quality treatments in our hometown of Derby,” said Shakila. “We started building a jigsaw several years ago, now all the pieces are just falling into place.
“We would love to see more people from Derby and Derbyshire find out what we have to offer – Harley Street style expertise and discretion, with the luxury of Dubai, but at a price that Derby people can afford. And if we can also take 10 years off your age, that’s no bad thing, is it?”
For further information, visit www.neoeleganceskinclinic.co.uk.