Despite the clouds obscuring Jakarta that afternoon, Hanny Pirss, CEO and founder of H Clinic, smiled brightly enough to rival the sun, as she welcomed Independent Observer to her offices. “Hallo, how are you?” she said, looking chic in her monochrome blouse, trouser, and hijab ensemble.
Hanny has known how to take care of her looks from her youth. “I have been taking care of myself at beauty clinics from the moment I began to earn my own money. Naturally, I didn’t stop when I get married. Being a businessman, my husband found it amusing that I would keep on spending so much money on beauty care every month. He used to tell me, ‘Why not set up your own beauty care business, so you can have some income while keeping yourself youthful and pretty?’. That is precisely what I did,” she explained.
Taking on the challenge leveled by Abdhy Pirsawan Azis, her entrepreneurial spouse, Hanny opened “H Clinic” in 2011, on Jalan Hang Lekir, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. She confessed that she was a complete newbie in business at the time: “My husband really started everything for me. Not only did he challenge me, he introduced me to a number of doctors relevant to beauty care, and taught me the basics of business,” she said. “He even provided the capital for it. He told me, “Here’s some capital for you, can you actually make ROI?” And I did reach a breakeven point, and returned his investment within a year. My husband was surprised, but he was happy with my achievement. But you know, business ‒ it’s been ups and downs since that day.”
When H Clinic first opened its doors for business, only one doctor was in attendance. Now, a decade later, 7 more have joined the practice. “That one general practitioner for aesthetics is now joined by several specialists: dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and more,” Hanny said. “I used to be a service worker before I started my business. Therefore, I prioritized service to customers. Other clinics may sell their services based on a promo system, but as for me, good relations with my patients is first. So I usually talk to them initially, establish a friendly relationship, and end up becoming like a family member to them. Business for me is not about getting as much profit as possible ‒ it’s about creating as wide a circle of friendships as possible.”
This is also precisely the reason H Clinic does not open any branches: “With branches around, the personal touch to the patients will fade away. I prefer not to lose this sense of the personal, so I don’t open any branches. But if my friends want to open up their own clinics with the help of my expertise, I’m more than happy to share what I know. There is no such thing as “competition” for me,” Hanny said. “At the same time, I am fully aware that the biggest challenge in the beauty industry is the fact that all clients are shoppers. Some are loyal out of satisfaction, others are afraid of possible consequences to their bodies if they change doctors, some are promo hounds, others zealously follow the latest developments in specific machines and treatments. Not all patients are loyal: some just want to follow the latest trends,” she laughed.
Hanny tried out all treatments offered at H Clinic before putting them on the list, whether skin peeling or operations or injections. “I’ve had operations from top to bottom ‒ eyelid operations, nose jobs, Botox injections, liposuction. I know how it feels to be under the surgeon’s scalpel, I know the risks and safety levels, and I can explain them to my clients and allow them to make informed choices,” she said. “I also take various courses to improve my knowledge and my business. I took professional accounting courses, professional tax courses, and even a 3-month long training in medical aesthetics. I am aware that it’s mostly beauty doctors and nurses who take part in the latter, but I’m not doing it for hands-on practice. I know the code of ethics and laws, after all. But I can make my doctors’ job easier by taking this training, because I can explain what the procedure is about to the patient, before they come in to visit my doctors.”
H Clinic has survived for a decade thanks to its commitment to quality. “New clinics tend to rely on promos because they need to get money to finish paying the instalments on their equipment. Older clinics no longer chase targets to pay down debt, so they can focus more on the quality of their treatment. Patients should be smarter now: don’t go to a clinic just because it seems to be cheaper. H Clinic is not that expensive either. We are no longer pressed with the need to win back our capital; we can now peacefully concentrate on our original intent of helping everyone become beautiful. We never cheat our patients: what they pay for, that’s what they get. Everybody can do the treatment. Everybody can become beautiful. I think that beauty should be available for the lower classes as well as the upper,” Hanny said. “The only promotional ‘tricks’ that we do are education and word of mouth. Within our 10 years of practice, most patients are referred by their friends. It’s really all about maintaining closeness ‒ and I preciously maintain my relations with my clients.”
H Clinic provides a wide range of beauty treatments. However, the three best sellers are plastic surgery, especially rhinoplasty; acne and skin spotting treatments; and sexual health, especially vaginal discharge and erectile dysfunction treatments. “A lot of people suffer from communicable venereal diseases in Jakarta. Some of them get it because of sexual promiscuity, others caught HIV because of unsafe injection needle use among many users. Believe it or not, most of our patients are men who come from outside Java for erectile dysfunction treatment. Before the pandemic, our patients were 70% males and 30% females,” she said.
Hanny proudly declared that H Clinic is a pioneer of modern erectile dysfunction treatment in Jakarta. “We are the first to use these German machines for such treatment in Jakarta. It went a long way from its home country: from Aceh to Papua before finally arriving here,” she said. “This treatment takes 6 sessions, each session costing IDR 5 million.”
Like every other business, the clinic has been strongly hit by the pandemic. “Our income suffered a drop of 60%,” Hanny said. “The only thing keeping our Clinic surviving during this hard time is the power of prayer. It is what I turn to when I realize that I have many employees whose lives depend on me. I did not fire any of them; I put them into shifts instead. I believe that we can survive, and I keep on telling myself that I believe we can go through these hard times with a smile. My biggest piece of luck? My husband and family are absolutely supportive of me. That’s what makes me strong.”
To end the day’s talk, Hanny shared with us her life motto of becoming a person who is useful for everyone around her. “In business, turning a profit is a must. But more importantly, we need to make sure that we get our profit in a way that Allah ridho, divinely approves of. So it’s fine to have a small financial profit as long as you can be sure that we gain a lot of ridho,” she said. (des)