Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Kim Tran and her husband and mentor, Quan Le, know that while you can use numbers to show results, true business success comes from the quality of your relationships, they tell Emily Brayshaw.

Kim Tran: I met Quan when I was 17. He came to me with skin issues and, after four months of weekly treatments, we went on our first date. He was actually my first boyfriend. Our relationship has been crucial for my personal and professional growth. For 10 years, he’s been there for me whenever I’ve needed someone to talk to. I don’t have to tackle the hard issues alone. He’s an incredible person.

Quan Le: Kim and I met in the beauty salon where she worked. She took a large chunk of my money and I thought, rather than spending money each time I saw her, I’d get the courtship happening right away. I’d ask her to be my wife and get free treatments for life. The relationship I have with Kim is everything I could ask for. We have romance as a husband and wife, and we’re business partners, too.

Kim Tran and Quan Le at work.

Crunching the numbers

Kim: I was a young girl of 19 when I started my business. I had no clients, and I wondered who would trust me to treat their skin. I could have just seen it as a huge life lesson and closed the business, but Quan helped me to prove to people that I am confident in what I do.

He took out a loan and we bought a skin-analysis machine, which scans the client’s skin and shows them the results of their treatment in numerical values. I built a money-back guarantee marketing campaign around that and it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.

Quan is a shrewd businessman. I saw business grow by 50 per cent each year in the first three years and 20 to 30 per cent each year after that. The business had its nine-year anniversary in February and we are still confident in what we do.

Quan always sees the business side of a situation, but he’s great at home, too. He helps out by doing the cooking and washing when I work long hours. We are a great team.

Quan: It was hard in the beginning. We started with no clients and Kim was very young, so we had to think of a way to prove that Kim’s treatments worked. That’s where the skin-analysis machine came in. The clients got a numerical readout to prove how much their skin had improved. That is how we built our client base.

Our next challenge was to employ more staff to do the treatments so Kim could look after the business side of things. In the short term, we didn’t make as much money, but we created a system that would allow for growth.

I was working in Vietnam for two years and Kim was able to come and visit me every few weeks because things ran very efficiently even when she was away. That’s how we created our work-life balance.

Building the family

Kim: We invest a lot in our staff and treat them like family. We get to know each employee on a personal level and find out what motivates them. We have people who have been with us since the beginning and we’ve seen their families grow. Our clients pick up on the warm energy of our team and it’s nice for them to see the same faces over the years. I truly believe it’s a better investment to keep the same people.

Quan: I’ve seen how crucial the boss/worker relationship is from both sides of the fence, so we get to know our staff on a personal level and treat them as we want to be treated ourselves. Our employees know that if we are successful, we can look after them well. Kim has built a team that is second to none by proving we care about them and the business.  

Telstra young Australian Business Woman of the Year

Kim Tran started La Belle Peau skincare clinic in North Perth in 2007, and in 2015 she was named Telstra Young Australian Business Woman of the Year.

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Nominate one today for the Telstra Business Womens Awards.

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