The recent win of Dr Leah Totton on The Apprentice has caused uproar in the cosmetic enhancement industry. She's inexperienced, commercially minded, and unprepared for the exacting standards of professional cosmetic treatments, media pundits say. But what if all of that is, actually, a good thing?
sk:n clinics blogged to voice their opposition on Dr Leah's approach to the aesthetic industry the day after her reality TV win. Stating that "having only recently become medically qualified, sk:n clinics wish to express their concern that Dr Leah has very little experience in the aesthetics industry," the nationwide chain are worried about patients in her hands.
The Week reported that former chairman of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Nigel Mercer told the Daily Mail that Dr Leah, "...may have done a few weeks' training in aesthetic medicine, but that is simply not enough."
The Independent ran an article slamming the BBC, suggesting that surgeons think her business proposal will trivialize plastic surgery. They report that: "her foray into cosmetic procedures would be bad for an industry already suffering from lax regulation."
And that is just it. For years the cosmetic treatment industry has been subject to too many unregulated procedures from cowboy cut-price clinics that give the rest of us a bad name. But I don't think Dr Leah is going to be one of those cowboys.
Or, at least, I hope not.
With her £250,000 cash injection from Lord Sugar, Dr Leah plans to establish high-street clinics that offer anti-ageing skin treatments, including chemical peels and dermal fillers, where, The Telegraph reports, she hopes to raise the standards of the beauty industry with her medical credentials.
With such a massively high profile, and already so many naysayers and critics, Dr Leah and Lord Sugar will certainly have to ensure that their service is tip-top. I recently wrote about my enthusiasm for the Keogh Report, an exciting development in cosmetics.
NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh recommended to the government that, amongst other things, dermal fillers should be made prescription, and tighter regulations must be adhered to by cosmetic treatment providers.
With Lord Sugar's media presence and business savvy, I'm hard pushed to imagine that, if anything, Dr Leah's clinics won't actually go even further than that. Instead of providing cheap treatments that endanger patient safety, this is actually an opportunity for Dr Leah to raise the bar of average standard within the cosmetic treatment industry to prove her haters wrong.
If Dr Leah wants, as reported, to add up to eight clinic locations to her portfolio over the next five years, eventually selling an empire for about £8million, she'll need a service that stands the test of time. Best business sense suggests that this would mean hiring only the most credible doctors, making sure all correct legislation is in place, and leading by customer service example when it comes to safety.
All eyes will be on the duo, so margin for error is non-existent. Dr Leah has already gone on record to say "It saddened me and worried me to see that people were having these procedures done by people who were not, in my opinion, adequately trained. There is a real need for medical influence in this environment." The intent is there.
Science writer Vivienne Parry, who sat in on the Keogh review, has said, "It worries me that people will see the show and think that it's very easy to set up a dermal filler business."
But perhaps it will be quite the opposite. Maybe the example set by Dr Leah will actually help the reputation of clinics who work hard to provide outstanding training, service, and facilities, and truly separate the wheat from the chaff- the great clinics from the dodgy salons.
"I see it as medicalising the dark side..." she has said.
If Lord Sugar is half the businessman The Apprentice would have us believe he is, Dr Leah's Botox empire can only go one way: to the top. And it will take the rest of us good guys with it.
More on plastic surgery from HuffPost US: