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Focus on Business: Yellowknife's YZF Cosmetics


Dr. Erin Hibbitts always wanted to be a doctor and says she doesn't remember a time when she didn't want to be a doctor.

She became a practicing family physician in Alberta but found a keen interest in cosmetic procedures.

Dr. Erin Hibbitts in one of her treatment rooms where she performs injections as well as laser hair removal, chemical peels and a plethora of other procedures. Brett McGarry / NNSL photo

“I suffered from pretty bad acne and ended up working with dermatologists and that might be what lead me to cosmetics, but I've always had an interested in the field,” said Hibbitts.

This interest lead her to opening YZF Cosmetics.

As a physician she had a lot of experience doing injection related procedures and enjoyed the work and the esthetician patient asked if she would be interested in performing them.

“One of my patients was an esthetician working at a local spa in Edmonton flying someone in to do cosmetic procedures,” said Hibbitts.

“I was invited to do some contract work and I was excited by the opportunity so I got training and started working there.”

It wasn't long before Hibbitts found herself doing more contact work and after two years she decided, with her husband Patrick, to open up her own clinic.

"My husband Patrick is in business so with his expertise, we started looking at some space and opened up our first 750 square foot clinic in Fort McMurray in 2015," said Hibbitts.

It wasn't long after that Patrick had the idea to expand out of Fort McMurray and found Yellowknife.

“It has very similar demographics to Fort Mac despite the smaller population,” she said. “I asked if there was another clinic there and there wasn't but what really got the ball rolling was that we were able to interview a worker at a clinic that closed in Yellowknife after just two months.”

With that information the couple opened their clinic in Yellowknife in 2018.

"Business has been great, but perhaps a little slower than we initially anticipated on the inject-able side of things but laser hair removal and facials have seen success,” she said.

"Now that word of mouth is building, things are picking up."

Hibbitts offers a wide range of cosmetic procedures are her clinic in the Centre Ice Plaza.

They offer laser hair removal, which uses lights to destroy hair follicles, radio-frequency anti-wrinkle procedures, chemical peels, hydro facials, mole removals and localized injections for fat or Botox among other things.

They also carry medical-grade lines of skin care, which have stricter regulations with Health Canada and are typically only sold by physicians.

Typically Hibbitts sells the procedures in sessions, some procedures requires more than others. She will also sell groups of series as packages.

YZF Cosmetics used there packages to their advantage earlier this year when another cosmetic spa, Merle Norman, closed its doors in Yellowknife abruptly and left customers in the dark with already purchased series.

YZF Cosmetics bought back those packages at 50 per cent value for similar services, such as hair removal.

“That was actually my husband's idea,” said Hibbitts.

“We just thought it really sucks when you're expecting to use a product and can't and it's another way to introduce people to the services we have.”

YZF Cosmetics has a full-time receptionist, a full-time laser technician and two registered nurses, plus herself. She and the nurses travel back an forth between Alberta and Yellowknife for the procedures.

As the business continues to do well, Hibbitts says the question of where to go next is where she and her husband diverges.

“He would love to go open more clinics where I am the kind of person who wants to get one thing done really well before moving on the the next,” she said.

“So I want to work on improving the clinic and offering more services like micro-blading tattoos before worrying about the next shop."

She said she and her husband have toyed with the idea of opening a shop in Whitehorse but in the meantime, their most immediate priority will be improving their website and improving their already established businesses.