Dr Leah Totton: Interview with Apprentice winner

Dr Leah with Sir Alan Sugar

Dr Leah with Sir Alan Sugar - Credit: Archant

Apprentice winner Dr Leah Totton has launched her own clinic in Loughton after winning the Apprentice

Dr Leah

Dr Leah - Credit: Archant

Who is Dr Leah Totton?

Before I went on the Apprentice in 2013, I was working as an A&E medical doctor and every Sunday I worked privately in aesthetics on Harley Street. This would involve treating patients with minor procedures including Dermal Fillers; this was something I was fascinated in.

I really started to take an interest in this field after my Mother’s friend had an unfortunate incident with Dermal Filler injections by a fairly unskilled practitioner in a beauty salon. As a result, she suffered physical deformities and it really shocked me to believe there was no regulation as a doctor.

I worked seven days a week and I really enjoyed it. Work is my passion and I enjoyed working for the NHS and the private sector. As a doctor, you spend seven years working for that qualification so you want to utilise it well.

What made you want to apply for the Apprentice?

My dream was to set a standard in the aesthetics industry and to create a brand that patients could really trust. It would involve honest and ethical consultations and for treatments to take place in a safe environment.

Most Read

However, setting up your own clinic is not cheap and I was a 25-year-old doctor who no one knew. There were various methods of raising funds and I could have gone down the route of crowd funding or using a bank, but this wouldn’t have paired me with a business mentor and you have to bear in mind I had no business experience!

This was when the Apprentice came up. I never thought I was going to win it or even get through the process. But Ibelieved the Apprentice was a fantastic opportunity and it has enabled me to obtain the funds to form the company, gain a business mentor and partner, Sir Alan Sugar, who has been very supportive of my business’ development too.

Why do you think you won such a prestigious title?

I really think I had a strong ethical skills and values, and I believed in what I was trying to achieve. I had great confidence in my ability to deliver the brand and I feel I demonstrated my vision well. With the Apprentice, it is very much first and foremost about the person and whether you are someone who delivers what you say you can. In a show like the Apprentice there is a lot of bravado and I don’t think I have any of that. I don’t think I spoke in the first six tasks! I don’t talk rubbish, I knew my vision and I knew my sector and I felt I could really deliver something really special here.

Since then, how has the show helped your vision?

It gave me a profile to shine a light on the cosmetic industry and raised awareness about the fact it is incompletely unregulated for health and safety.

2 ½ years down the line, Dr Leah has the foundations to create a fantastic cosmetics brand here. I believe we can be the best UK leaders in this industry. As a brand we are three things - excellence in treatments, excellent service and great accessibility.

Why do you think Dr Leah is so successful and how are you different to any other clinic?

I believe it is about having the latest standards in treatments and we are fortunate to have a very lucrative business partner in Alan Sugar who invests heavily in the latest equipment. This then enables us to offer the most up to date services and we have access to world exclusives in our fat busting treatments. In fact, we are the only clinic in the world to offer a 3D Bespoke Fat Busting treatment. We want to bring the very best to our clients, without having to travel too far or pay ridiculous amounts of money.

We also offer a free consultation to get an understanding of our client, as everyone’s body is different and we make each treatment bespoke to fit them. Remembering that not every size fits all means we create something that works individually for you.

You have recently launched your second Dr Leah Clinic in Loughton, can you tell us more and why here?

We are bringing Harley Street level standards to your high street for accessible price points. We really hope that our passion for excellence and innovation, as well as being so accessible, will set us apart from other cosmetics clinics. It saves people having to travels for hours on end in the middle of rush hour to try and get into Harley Street for a quality doctor or nurse for their treatment. They can just visit us in Loughton instead. Alan Sugar really championed Loughton as the second location for Dr Leah Clinic, as the area is close to his heart.

Has he had a treatment yet with you?

I wish he would and I offer treatments to him all the time - my door is always open. He is not a vain man or conscious about himself at all, but I keep telling him he needs to come and see me!

What treatments are popular at the moment?

For women thread lifts are hugely in demand and I was the number one doctor last year to perform the most procedures. Fat busting treatments are always very popular, especially as the summer season is approaching.

For men?

Anti wrinkle injections are increasingly popular among men alongside hyperhidrosis which is a medical treatment to prevent excess sweating. Hair transplant is another popular treatment since Wayne Rooney made it OK for the average man who is not happy with hair thinning. We also have the best hair transplant surgeon in the UK working with us as well.

What are must have summer treatments for 2016?

It has to be our brand new bespoke 3D Lipo. I feel so fortunate to be able to offer this, I am very lucky indeed. It is 100% perfect for the summer. The treatment targets tummy, thighs and arms, tightens the skin and reduces cellulite.

Who do your clients inspire to be?

It is really interesting what people think of beauty, it differs with both of my two clinics. Kim Kardashian is very popular, she is a very beautiful lady - mainly people ask for her cheek bone enhancements or something similar to Kate Moss’s. I find for clients in their late 30s to early 40s, Hedi Klum gets mentioned fairly frequently whilst Helen Mirren is popular for those in their late 50s.

Are aesthetics for everyone?

I am very much about the empowerment of women. I believe everyone should be honest about what treatments they have had because it puts less pressure on others to fulfil the need to look a particular way. Everyone is different, age at different rates and no one should be forced into anything.

What does the future hold for Dr Leah Clinics?

I am very ambitious, I always have been. I love what we are creating with the brand at the moment and I would have a Dr Leah in every city if I could. But for the minute my aim is to keep the standards high in Essex and concentrate on both clinics for now. However, we are in talks at the moment regarding where the third location will be.

Why do you like about West Essex?

I get a real sense of community compared to London; I just hope the local community get behind us. I think we are going to do well in West Essex.

Biggest highlight in your career?

It has to be becoming a doctor. I was very academic and won loads of prizes in Northern Ireland. I came top of my year for my medical degree and leaving with a distinction in medicine was and will always be my greatest achievement. After that, winning the Apprentice!