INWARD INVESTMENT - CACI
The Horowhenua Company caught up with Jamie Stout the owner of the latest Caci clinic in Levin, to hear about her journey from opening a pop-up clinic late last year in 2022 before outfitting an old $2 shop site on the main street of Levin.
Jamie spoke candidly to us about the last 8 months of opening her new business and the challenges and triumphs it’s had in the few short months of being open. A Registered Nurse for 18 years, she was completely new to owning her own business and the learnings and support she got from Caci enabled her business to be successful right from opening the doors. We caught up with her just before she was about to go to Melbourne, which incidentally was her first weekend off since opening her new business.
Jamie, tell me about your background ?
“I graduated as a registered nurse at 21 years old which I went into straight from College. My Dad said if you're leaving school, you better go do something, so I studied Nursing. My first job was working at the Masonic Village in Levin. Not long after, I became their Charge Nurse, in charge of the rehabilitation unit which I did for eight years. Then I left to have a baby and when I was ready to join the workforce again I started working for Plunket. After five years, I became the Clinical Leader for Plunket and I stayed with them for 10 years.”
“I finished there last year in September 2022 because we had purchased the local Caci clinic franchise. So what I love now is that I am working directly with my customers, and I always had an interest in aesthetics, it’s my passion”.
Why did you buy into a National Franchise?
Last year we started looking at opportunities, as my husband who works in the Police Force was looking at exiting, so we thought let's have a look at options that are out there. I had been a customer of Caci for 5 years in Palmerston North and I loved it. I ended up at an online open evening, as they were looking to opening a Caci in Levin. We applied for the franchise at the time, then next minute we are opening a pop-up clinic”.
“I wouldn't have been able to start this on my own as a new business, with a franchise there is all the support and training. We are born and bred local people and we paid for our fitout, Caci Levin is a locally owned and operated business”.
“We'd like to be at the forefront so it’s always going to be constant development as this is a big organisation and I've got access to their trainings. They also have a purpose built Academy too to support staff development”. “I’ve got a clinical team of experts above me too, doctors who support me. At Caci what we offer is a premium service and our memberships take our customers on a journey to great results and feeling confident in their skin”.
“We opened the pop-up here because we were looking for a premises to become the clinic so we needed time to do due diligence and get our business underway. Caci Support Office had standards that we needed to adhere to. We actually looked at this site where we are now located and thought it was too big, as it was probably bigger than we thought we needed”.
“However it made sense as between Palmerston North and Kāpiti there is little available and fit for purpose. The site needed consented work, so at that point Caci said to do a pop up because then you can get trading while your premises is getting renovated It was actually quite a good idea and so we started the process.”
“ Shaun was taking leave from the Police and so he did the clinic fitout. When you start building something there's so many roadblocks. We thought there is no coming back now as we worked on a wide range of issues such as how do we get water from one end of the building to the other, etc. We did find working with Council was great”.
Tell me about your business journey to date?
“Once we opened our pop-up clinic next to Steeds Pharmacy, it just exploded ! There's a lot of work that went on months before the opening. I was still working at Plunket until I finished on the Thursday and I opened the pop up on the following Tuesday!”.
“I have a business performance manager through my franchisor and her support has been incredible. I have always held leadership positions and I just love that with this business I was still able to build and grow a great team. There are four of us here at the moment, two Skin Therapists, my receptionist and me working as the Cosmetic Nurse and Treatment Advisor”.
“To be honest, as I was born and bred in Levin I really believed I knew most people that lived here. I thought that initially that my customers would largely be my friends and family that supported me in the early days but that just hasn’t been the case. From the minute I opened up the doors, it’s been new customers because they know the success of the Caci name. I have had to open late nights and Saturdays to keep up with demand”.
“My customers come in and say ‘my sister or my mum comes and she loves it’ we really do focus on customer service and getting great results, our logo on the wall says we're for you and we mean it”.
“Last month I took all my staff to the Caci two day conference in Auckland. We never knew until we got there what a big event it would be. The company had opportunities for professional development as well as holding the launch for our new injectable treatment; Profhilo”.
“The last night of the conference was the Caci Awards Night. There were over 500 people attending and Hilary Barry was the emcee. There were big screens everywhere and we (being so new to the game, having only been open just over 6 months) thought this is ‘so boujee’. Being so new we were interested in seeing the awards categories so that we could make some goals for the following year”.
“We were watching the screens then next minute the screen has our name on it! We ended up winning 3 awards that night”.
We didn’t expect to be starting a business on such a high. We were awarded:
Runner Up New Clinic of the Year – Caci Levin
Gold Clinic Excellence - Recognition for overall clinic excellence
Bronze Registered Nurse of the Year – Jamie Stout
“It was such a highlight considering that I have a new business. I don't think I had ever even looked at the accounting programme Xero in my life ! There were nights where I was crying saying I can’t do this and then I got an amazing book keeper and accountant, so that’s changed my life!”
What would you say to a business looking to relocate or open in the Horowhenua?
“Focus on service – if you offer gold standard, people will come”.
“I have had so much growth and even though we're in these reported tough economic times, I don't believe it will last as long as we originally thought”.
“Some people have moved here for the lifestyle and work, or they live here but work out of town because it's become a more economical place to live. A lot of customers want to support and shop local”.
“There is a lot of support from other businesses too. When I had my clinic opening I had other beauty businesses come along to give support to me and now we refer to each other”.
It really has been such a great experience.
So what happened to Shaun?
“Well, after doing all the clinic fitout, he did end up leaving the Police to start a job in the Building Industry so we both ended up having a lot of positive changes”.