Career

Caci founder Jackie Smith shares her favourite moments in the iconic beauty brand's 25 year history

The Caci team has reason to celebrate this year, with the franchise marking 25 years in the skin and appearance industry. Here, Caci founder Jackie Smith shares her favourite moments.

You celebrate 25 years in business this year. What do you remember about opening your first clinic?
We opened our first clinic in Newmarket, Auckland in 1994 with an idea, a small amount of savings, and it grew from there. I'm proud of the fact that we didn't overthink it – we just jumped in the deep end and got going. Laser hair removal was revolutionary at the time and we were one of the first in the world to offer this treatment. Being such an early adopter gave us a huge edge. From the beginning, we've focused on delivering treatments from the customer's perspective.
What was your inspiration for the business?
As a nurse, I've always been a people person, and a bit of a problem solver. Living in the UK in the early '90s I also worked in the IT industry, which instilled in me a passion for customer service, and building systems and ways of delivering outcomes. It was actually when my husband David and I were looking at returning to New Zealand from the UK that we landed upon a new business opportunity that we thought could make a difference in people's lives. We packed up, moved home and Caci was born! Over the past 25 years we've helped many women build their confidence but the one constant has been our passion for great skin. We believe great skin should be simple, accessible and achievable.
How have you evolved?
As an organisation we've always had an eye on the horizon. The technology and treatment advancements in the skincare market are constant, so we put a lot of resources into evaluating all that is available and sorting out the wheat from the chaff in order to keep it simple for our customers. One of our core skills is our ability to understand the fit and effectiveness of treatments. We also understand that technology is only one part of the equation for achieving great skin, the other part being how that is translated into a service that delivers what our customers want. With more than 50 clinics throughout New Zealand, we're the leaders in the industry, and we look forward to extending our offering to even more customers all over New Zealand and around the world.
What have been some of the biggest highlights?
There are lots of great memories, many to do with people and customers. In the very early days as a treatment provider myself, it was a real privilege to contribute to boosting someone's confidence, not just by way of the results achieved, but by being a friendly face. Seeing the team all pull together to do extraordinary work is immensely rewarding, and I'm also proud that David and I have built a family business where we get to work together. Business can be all-consuming, especially as a start-up, and we got to do it side by side. Both of our children now work within the company too, which is really special to me. From a business sense, we've been at the forefront of the industry for over two decades and it's meaningful to know we have always offered treatments that people really benefit from.
How integral have your team members been to Caci's success?
All success starts with a team and Caci would not be the iconic brand that it is today without the team committed to its success. That includes a network of over 50 clinics and 350 team members, including franchisees, registered nurses, beauty therapists, treatment coordinators, clinic managers and supporting roles. At Caci we are especially passionate about providing opportunities for women in business, and one of the best parts of my job is being in a position to influence people's careers.
What do your customers tend to have in common?
While our customers come from all walks of life and age groups, most are everyday women aged 35 years or over, managing families, careers and busy lives. They also have a wide range of skin concerns that they frequently feel shy about, believing that they are alone in their experience. Many struggle to identify why their concern is important to them. It's different for everyone but ultimately, we're all looking for the same thing – a little skin confidence. That might mean saying goodbye to the acne scarring that you've battled with since school, or just leaving the house with no makeup. People often ask me what we mean by 'skin confidence'. It's the feeling you get when you have healthy, happy skin and you don't even have to think about it.
Why do you think your customers come back?
Skin confidence can be truly life changing. We're not here to judge whether your skin concern is good or bad or big or small. We just want to help.
What are you most proud of in Caci's 25 years?
I love the people part of Caci and that we make a difference to the lives of our customers. It's easy to label what we do as superficial or trivial, but this is far from true. It's about so much more than the treatments – it's about helping our customers feel more confident and live their best lives. I'm really proud of the team at Caci for delivering on that. It's been an amazing 25-year journey so far, and we're just getting started.