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Not all is Vanity - Entrepreneur Mag Nov 2009

Posted by Claudine Roura on Sun, Nov 22, 2009 @ 08:38 AM

Liposuction, VASER hi def, medical tourism PhilippinesLiposuction, VASER hi def, medical tourism Philippines

There's no doubt that beauty is big business, here and around the world. The magazine The Economist says it's currently a $ 160-billion-a-year industry worldwide,spanning every product and service from make-up, skin and hair care and fragrances to cosmetic surgery, health clubs and diet pills.

All this spending isn't done in in vain, as being good-looking "confers enormous genetic and social advantages," The Economist adds. Among others things, attractive people are deemed to be more intelligent and better in bed; surveys say the beautiful ones earn more and are more likely to marry. Charles Darwin, he of the evolutionary theory, underscored this when he wrote in his autobiography that the human species has a "universal passion for adorment," often involving "wonderfully great suffering."

Suffering or not, Filipinos pamper themselves as much as any other race, and are also adept at beautyfying others. so it was but natural that Pamela Santos and Dr. Claudine S. Roura capitalized on these realities to launch their own businesses just recently.

Lifestyle into Business

Despite a full-time job and a limited start-up capital, Santos has still managed to turn her lifestyle into a business, Spoil Me Nail and Body Studio- a "mobile spa" that offers nail and spa services right at a client's home or office.

Santos, along with her mom and sister, is a frequent customer of nail salons and spas.

"It is a regular bonding time for us," she says. "I used to try almost every new nail salon to see which one provided the best service. I also love having regular body massage and scrubs, Because of this, I though of having my own spa, and probably savings a lot from not having to go to other spas every week and spending a lot of money every visit."

She transformed this fondness for relaxation and beauty into profit by launching Spoil Me, which provides a complete spa experience at affordable prices since all materials needed are brought to a client's home-bed covers, towels, massage pillows, foot tubs, and aromatherapy scents.

Rates of spoil Me's services range from P 70 to P 1,200. They also pamper kids 12 years old and younger with their kiddie manicures and kiddie hand and foot spas. 

Service appointments can be booked either through a phone call or a text message. This is exactly the reason why Santos created this mobile spa in June 2009 instead of a regular day spa. she explains: "A mobile spa is deal for those who cannot run the spa business full time. It requires very little supervision. All you have to do is to have someone accept calls and dispatch the therapist to the clients."

Learning into Enterprise

While Santos deals with pampering the body, Dr. Roura is an expert in reshaping it. A dermatologist by training, her calling card now is advanced liposculpture-the most advanced form of liposuction, which Filipinos are already familiar with.

A dermatology and cosmetic surgery graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, Roura residency at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila. In 2005, she won a grant to study in the United States under the Dr. Walter de Groot Phlebology Fellowship of the American College of Phlebology, and later became a fellow of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

But when she turned from her studies in the Us, Roura still practiced in local hospitals, which she thought "was not a place for cosmetic patients; they're not sick." So she and two partners put up Contours Advanced Face and Body Sculpting Institute in November 2008 using, Roura says, "an eight-figure capital"- at the Paseo de Magallanes Complex in Makati City." I decided to put my studies to work,"she adds.

Building a Client Base

Building a pool of regular clients is one of the first problems Spoil Me mobile spa encountered. Santos explains: "Since we are a mobile spa, we highly depend on calls for bookings and service appointments. It was a struggle at first, and we really had to do varoius marketing efforts like regular texting of friends and relatives, distribution of flyers to residential and commercial ares, and placing of marketing ads in busy streets."

But with all these efforts, Spoil Me has slowly built a pool of more than 60 clients who regularly call in for service appointments. Within four months of operation, Santos and her brother RB. who co-owns the business, recovered their startup capital of P80,000.

Spoil Me's Primary expenses included initial stocks and materials, transportation costs, and the training and salary of therapist and technicians. Santos also put a premium on researching the offerings of other spas, which helped her decide which specific services she would eventually offer.

Santos is focused on growing Spoil Me's clientele in their service areas of Quezon City, parts of Manila, Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela. They are aiming to add more services like waxing, threading and other kinds of massage like hilot and ventosa. The siblings are also looking into opening a new branch next year, which would cater to the sourthern Metro Manila, particularly the Ortigas area in Pasig and the Cities of San Juan and Makati.

Contours, meanwhile, get 80 percent of its clients from abroad, taking full advantage of the Philippines' position as a top medical tourism of destination, Roura says," Mostly they are Americans, but we've had everything (every race) from black to white," she adds.

Although word of mouth helps lead local clients to her, Roura says she attracts clients mainly through the website, through which she offers five "medical holiday" packages complete with a stay at a five star hotel, a city tour or out of town trip, airport transfers and hotel to clinic transfers. The packages are inclusive of Roura's fees and that of her staff.

"Specifically, if the patient is a first timer to the procedure and to the Philippines, we can house and hotel them and arrange for pickup, all at contracted rates," Roura says.

Showing her Web savvy, Roura says she maintains the website and personally answers every e-mail sent to her. She is also learning SEO (search engine optimization) to help make her site come out on top of Google searches, and admits the Internet is still the most cost-effective way of getting the word out about her business.

August was a "ghost month" for Contours as it coincided with the summer vacation of Americans and Europeans, but Roura says business went well from January to June."Even in July we were doing good." she adds, nothing that cosmetic businesses usually pick up during the "ber" months and peak from February to March.

Bright Futures 

Overall,business has gone well enough that Roura says she has brought out one of her partners, also a doctor, and now owns 70 percent of Contours. A silent partner holds the remaining  30 percent, she adds.

Both Santos and Roura believe their businesses can only grow further with the beauty industry booming in the country and around the world. Roura says:"The hardest part of a business is making it run. We (in the beauty indusrty) work in a very price-sensitive market. On my part, compared to "regular" lipo, Vaser liposculpture is more expensive, but there's no denying this is a very lucrative business."

Santos, meanwhile, has faith in her coun trymen. She explains: "Filipinos are known to be patronizers of beauty and wellness businesses, because we love to treat and pamper ourselves after a day or week of hard work and stress. It is also our simple way of rewarding and spoiling ourselves, as well as a bonding moment for most couples, friends or families." By Michelle Cortes-Luciano and Jimbo Owen B. Gulle.


 While there are scores of liposuction clinics around the country and doctors who can perform the procedure, Dr. Claudine Rourais proud to say she is the only cosmetic surgeon in the country to date who specializes in Vaser high-definition liposculpture, using a special ultrasound machine and a method developed by famed Colombian plastic surgeon Dr. Alfredo Hoyos.

Like "regular" liposculpture removes fat from a patient's body, but the surgeon also "re-sculpts" the overlying skin above the area where the fats was removed. This improves the defintion of the muscles underneath the skin and fat and makes it appear that more fat was removed than was actually extracted, which is usually less than 10 pounds (five kilos), says Roura.

Liposculpture is deal for peolpe who are already physically fit but want greater definition of their muscles, in contrast to regular liposuction that aims to trim away fat to make a patient slimmer. Roura says the procedure "can change the perception about liposuction and  should be viewed as an adjucnt to a fitness program, and not as a failure to treatment."


Location has played a big part in Contours' success, says Dr. Claudine Roura.

Before setting up shop, Roura says prospective clients would shy away from seeing her when they learned she practiced froma clinic at a hospital in Las Pinas City, which they deemed was too far south of Manila. But getting a location in Makati her clinic occupies 200 sq m at a building inside the Paseo de Magallanes commercial center, which is near EDSA and South Superhighway and thus accessible solved that problem.

In the future, Roura says she would like to expand Contours to locations in Pasig, Quezon City and upscale Alabang. But she has tempered these thoughts for the meantime owing to the hands-on nature of her work.

Contours Advanced Face and Body Sculpting Institute;

2F South Park Plaza Paseo de Magallanes Commercial Center, Makati City

(02) 556-4878; (02) 489-8526; 09151163911

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Up close and personal with Contours Institute

Posted by Claudine Roura on Thu, Nov 19, 2009 @ 07:58 AM

Cosmetic surgery. VASER liposuction, Medical tourism Philippines

Dr. Claudine S. Roura is obviously what she preaches. She sports a svelte and to-die-for figure for a woman of a certain age. Well, she looks "contoured."

In her calling card, Roura is labelled as a Dermatologic Cosmetic Surgery, Certified Vaser Hi-Def LipoSurgeon, Phlebology.

What's important to us of course is that she's certified. Her education, training and expertise are put to good use in Contours Advanced Face and Body Sculpting Institute.

Roura owns Contours and is mighty proud of it. She defies the usual celebrity-endorser strategy and believes in the power of word-of-mouth endorsement and internet's massive reach.

Her clientele includes foreigners and well-to-do people who want to look "perfectly contoured." In this one-on-one interview, Roura reveals her plans and visions for the budding aesthetic center.

20 Questions for Dr. Roura

1.What to you is beautiful

Beautiful is not just physical beauty, it should also reflect your innerself, your intelect.

2. When does beauty start? Is it having a good skin?

For physical beauty, it stars with good skin, then the body figure, then the legs.

3. In this age, does the concept of "natural beauty"still exist?

 Yes, it still does, some are still into the era of I had a diet, I exercised, some are still into denying some procedures done on themselves.

4. Is it a "sin" to be ugly in these times of laser and advances in beauty treatment? 

Perhaps its not a "sin" but it  would be your "fault." hahaha

5. How is Contours different from other aesthetic clinics?

We are not a major artista endorser. No fancy gimmicks. We deal more with real clients who want real results. we never promise anything that we cannot deliver.

6. What's the expertise of Contours? What's on your menu?

We specialize in an advanced form of Liposuction which is VASER-lipo and VASER High Definifition Liposculpture. We are the first and only cosmetic surgery center certified to perform VASER Hi-Definition Liposculpture in the Philippines. We also have the regular menu of services for face and body enhancement.

7. What's your take on aging?

Everyone ages, it a natural consequence of time. Its how you grow old and take care of your self that matters.

8. Should women be afraid to grow old?

It's inevitable, so no need to fear, there are things that can be done to delay signs of aging.

9. Do you advise women in their 30's to go under the knife if they already notice "imperfections" in their body?

I dont suggest anything to them unless, they come to me for advice. They should consider some procedures on things  that bother them most and not based on what I see.

10. On male vanity, are there more men seeking treatments now?

Yes, very true

11. What are the most common treatments men look for?

 their six packs.

12. Do you tell your patients if their expectations in a particular treatment they would undergo is realistic or not?

Yes, i never promise the moon, the stars above. I tell them what they want is realistic or not. I never promise anything I cannot deliver.

13. When should plastic surgery stop for those who are addicted to it?

It should stop with the doctor when he thinks the patient just had too much already and more procedures will deform patients.

14. What's the most requested cosmetic treatment?

In my prcatice, its liposuction

15. Do you have clients who requested for a particular nose of celebrity they like?


16. Whose celebrity has the most requested "body part?"


17. Do you plan to establish a name in the market like Belo or do you want to be low-profile but be the frontrunner in the beauty business?

I want to be known as a true doctor giving true results, not just gimmicks and endorsements. Low profile is better.

18. Tell us about your staff and medical personnel

Staff well trained. Medical personnel is actually just me the surgeon and 3 other anesthesiologists. All diplomates in their respective field and underwent the proper training.

19. Any plans for expansion?

Yes, probably next year, may have some branches for skin care and slimming in malls.. surgery will still be at Contours Magallanes

20. What is the future of beauty business in the Philippines?

Big business that is why a lot are into it. as of now, we are targeting medical and beauty tourism to help our economy.

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A Journey into One's Body - Body LipoSculpture

Posted by Claudine Roura on Mon, Nov 16, 2009 @ 07:53 AM

Liposuction, VASER lipo, Manila Philippines The idea of body sculpting is now gaining popularity with the inception of Contours, an advanced face-and-body sculpting institute. though it is one of the youngest players in the beauty market, turning a year old in November, Contours is not just your typical cosmetic-surgery clinic. Contours prides itself in being the pioneer in Vaser liposelection in the country, and is the first and only surgery clinic certified to perform Vaser High-Definition Liposculpture. The clinic specializes in Advanced Body Sculpture (through Vaserlipo and Vaser Hi-Def), Breakthrough Vein Therapy, and Precision Skin Care and overall aesthetics.

"Vaser treatments are as revolutionary as they are effective, making patients experience quick recovery, with fantastic and smoother results," stresses the slim and affable cosmetic surgeon and dermatologist Dr. Claudine Roura, who is at the helm of the company's operation. Contours is conveniently located at the Paseo de Magallanes commercial center. It carries top-of-the-line equipment and facilities for that ultimate experience in beauty treatments.

There is a special room dedicated for each treatment: operating, recovery, slimming, facial, derma treatment and a conference room for visitors and guests. Dr. Roura also created an online shop called, which carries dermatological products specially designed to improve skin quality and formulated to suit individual needs. She is also undergoing Department of Tourism accreditation for the Medical Tourism program. It's a Beauty Holiday unlike no other with packages for Vaser lipo, breast augmentation, faced-lift, tummy tuck and Vaser Hi-Def.

The institute uses both surgical and nonsurgical methods. Treatments that are also in great demand include Advanced Rhinoplasty (goretex)  and Vaser lipograft to buttocks. The clinic always works towards improving the quality of its procedures because its goal is achieving "zero morbidity" of operations being done in the institute. This is why Contours has the best-trained personnel.

"Setting up the institute is easy, especially if you have the capital; the hardest part is making it run," enthuses Roura, who is a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, and completed her residency training in dermatology at the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center. She finally opened this clinic after a short stint at Las Pinas Hospital. Before venturing into this business, it was foremost in her mind that they should be "unique" far from the ordinary services being provided by other competitors. she's now capitalizing on the niche market-with very defined clientele comprising mostly of foreigners from all over the world and overseas Filipino workers (balikbayan).  What works for her best maximizing the institute's web site (and search engine optimization-visit, where she gets inquiries and possible clients for the clinic."Eighty percent to 90 percent of our client sre web-based," she says. It may come as a surprise but treatments and procedures here are affordable, effective and safe.

The Lady doctor is an expert in her chosen field. Roura is a board-certified dermatologist and is a fellow of the Philippine Dermatological Society and the Philippine Academy of Cutaneous Surgery. she continously extends her education in all aspects of dermatological and cosmetic surgery-both here and abroad.

Locally her training included a cosmetic-surgery preceptorship under distinguished cosmetic surgeon Dr. Raul Guanzon, fellow of the Philippine Society for Cosmetic Surgery. She also underwent further training in dermatologic surgery under preceptorship training program of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery with Dr. Sorin Eremia in Riverside, California, in July 2003.

Having a keen interest in phlebology, Roura was awarded the 2005 Walter de Groot Phlebology Fellowship. She finished her fellowship under renowned dermatologic surgeon and phlebologist Dr. Robert Weiss at the Maryland Laser, Skin, and Vein Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, in October 2005.

She regularly attends workshops and trainings given by different well-known cosmetic and plastic surgeons around the world, such as Dr. Guillermo Blugerman of Argentina; Dr. Pierre Fournier of France, dubbled as the "Father of Liposuction Surgery." She is an active member of different dermatological  and cosmetic surgical societies, including International Society for dermatologic Surgery and the American College of Phlebology.

A more sculpted, well-toned body

What is this Vaser High-Definition Liposculpture (Vaser Hi-Def) all about?

As explained by Roura, It is an advanced contouring technique, and is performed with ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty technology (Liposelection, Vaser). Many healthy, fit people complain that they go to the gym, but they have trouble achieving the muscle definition they desire. A web site on Vaser further explains that Vaser Hi-Def selectively remove small deposits of fat surrounding muscle groups in order to enhance the visibility of the natural contours. Vaser Hi-Def was developed to create an athletic look in both men and women. It is not only for extremely fit peolpe, but also for those normal bodies that desire to look their best-ever.

While the goal of a regular liposuction procedure is just to trim away fat to make a petient slimmer, Vaser Hi-def demands a surgeon to go one step further by going into places prevoiusly off limits to liposuction, and sculpting the body in such a way never before achieved by conventional liposuction.

Since high-definition liposculpture is designed to be a sculpting procedure rather than a debulking technique, the appropriate candidate is the person who has good muscle tone without excessive amounts of fat or lax skin. Vaser Hi-def is most effective for those who are already physically fit, and seek to add an even greater, more chiseled and sculpted look to their efforts. The procedure can change the perception about liposuction and should be viewed as an "enchancement to their current form, and not a replacement for a fitness routine," stresses Roura, who is the first dermsurgeon trained and certified to perform this procedure in the country. She was personally trained by Dr. Alfredo Hoyos, the Father of Vaser Hi-Definition Liposculpture in Borgota, Colombia, in March 2008 under the course conducted by the Advanced Body Sculpting Institute, Lone Tree, Colorado, USA.

Nevertheless, the success of the procedure depends on the well-trained hands and artful eye of the surgeon. It is the surgeon's appreciation for the relationship between superficial anatomy and physical appearance that enables this procedure to achieve the desired results. The success of Vaser Hi-Def is just as reliant on its technology as it on the practitioner using it.

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VASER Hi def Celebrates First Year in Philippines

Posted by Claudine Roura on Fri, Nov 13, 2009 @ 07:40 AM

VASER liposuction, cosmetic surgery, Manila Philippines

Recently,Contours celebrated its first anniversary, Colleagues, friends, staff and business partners welcomed this milestone with a thanksgiving mass followed by a simple get together.

Contour's Cosmetic Surgeon and Dermatologist Dr. Claudine S. Roura says the center's forte lies in the areas of slimming and body contouring, using both surgical and non-surgical methods.

Contours is the premiere VASER center in the country offering High Definition Liposculpture, a cutting-edge procedure that eclipses traditional cosmeetic surgery procedures.  Contours is the only center in the Philippines that has this procedure and is certified to perform it.

The equipment at Contours are all top-of-the-line.  Unique to Contours is the SilkPeel Dermal Infusion (SDI), a non-invasive exfoliation process combined with dermal infusion to deliver skin-specific solutions.  Complementing SDI is the Theraderm Skin Care system which combines effective therapy and the science of Dermatology into skin care.

Contours does not rely on the usual celebrity-endorser strategy and believes in the power of word-of-mouth endorsement and internet's massive reach.

Roura is the first and only cosmetic surgeon certified to perform VASER High Definition Liposculpture in the Philippines.  She was personally trained by Dr. john Millard of Colorado, USA and Dr. Alfredo Hoyos of Colombia, the "Father of VASER High Definition Liposculpturing"

She is an active member of different dermatological and cosmetic surgical societies, including International Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the American College of Phlebology.

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