Manis Cosmetic Consulting donates 100 percent of proceeds from digital launch to Ontario hospitals
As hospitals struggled with an influx in COVID-19 related patients, Toronto’s Manis Cosmetic Consulting decided to do something bold.
Helen Manis, the medical spa owner and a Registered Practical Nurse with nearly 20 years of experience in medical aesthetics and skincare, committed to donating 100 percent of profits from product purchases in April towards funding hospital supplies in Ontario.
But the initiative wasn’t just bold for its scope, it required Manis to completely rethink some of the ways she had been doing business including launching an online store. The majority of Manis Cosmetic Consulting’s income is driven by the non-invasive injectable and laser therapies it offers and that seemed like the trajectory of the business until the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“We were very much affected by COVID because we can't work on patients,” says Manis. Any products the business was selling were usually purchased by clients after their appointments.
“That's the way the practice worked… (the product side) was a part of our business that was lacking.”
Being a nurse by trade, Manis didn’t know where to begin when it came to launching an online shop so it just hadn’t been on her radar. But the shutdown changed her mind. She realized she had a lot of products with active ingredients that had a limited shelf life and wouldn’t last if the shutdown dragged on past a certain point. That’s when it clicked – why not use the revenue from the launch of the online store to support other nurses and frontline workers?
Around that time, Manis heard about Digital Main Street, a program that combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario and the Ontario BIA Association to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities. She connected virtually with a Digital Service Squad member to put the pieces together and set up an online store. She also received a $500 grant through the program.
“We launched a (social media) campaign,” says Manis. “My primary goal is to give back to society in a way that I can as a nurse.” All proceeds from the product sales were put towards personal protective equipment (PPE). “That right away engaged our patients who thought, okay, you know what? Now I can order products online and this is going to charity,” says Manis. “I had patients not even purchase products, just say, you know what, send me three $500 gift certificates toward services.”
With funds raised, Manis Cosmetic Consulting was able to donate 1,000 masks. “I mean, a lot of people who have money can donate billions but for us, for a small business, that equated to almost $5,000 in sales the first month.”
The whole exercise of getting the online store led to a shift in Manis’ perspective about the brand’s digital presence and the role it will play in her business going forward. “Even people that didn’t know about the COVID campaign that we had, just by looking for their product online, came straight to our store,” says Manis. “So I actually have new people that I never had before coming to pick up products – that's crazy. I mean it's not crazy, I guess it's the way it works.”
By Andrew Seale
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
This case study was completed during a prior expansion of DMS in partnership with the Province of Ontario and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In June 2020, a $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19.