The man with the magic machine
In 2004, Nelson Philippe became the youngest driver to ever start an IndyCar race. At the tender age of just 20 years old, Philippe even set a record as the youngest ever winner in the Champ Car World Series. Unfortunately for Nelson his career came to an abrupt stop in 2009 when he was injured as a result of catastrophic racing accident. Undergoing Endermologie therapy to recover from his injuries, it was then that Nelson decided to get involved in LPG Systems, the company his grandfather Louis Paul Guitay founded in order to help people have access to this unique technique.
Today, Nelson Philippe is the Chief Executive Officer of LPG France – a company that boasts the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Frederic Bousquets, and Cristiano Ronaldo amongst their famous clientele. Visiting Dubai earlier this year in order to oversee LPG’s expansion into the Middle Eastern market, Esquire sat down with Philippe to discuss LPG and the impact it has had on the male-grooming market.
Male grooming is obviously on the rise all over the globe, how do you think companies like LPG are making looking after yourself be seen as more socially acceptable?
"For one, what makes our technique so unique is that it's a hundred percent natural. And well, as far as the male population goes I’m a man myself and I personally do LPG treatments on both my face and on my body. I don’t do them for what you’d typically deem as “beauty” reasons however. I do it more for relaxation. I’ll generally do it after my workouts to prevent DOMS [Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness] – which is that heavy feeling you get in your legs after you’ve been for a long run. I use it like that, but I think it is becoming more acceptable now for men to undergo grooming treatments and to feel okay about doing. In fact, I’d say it’s especially acceptable with LPG because it's a mechanical technique and anything mechanical, like cars, have already got that manly association.
So what exactly is LPG?
"We’re a natural alternative somewhere in between the extremes cosmetics and plastic surgery. Don’t get me wrong, cosmetics and products like that are great but they have a plateau in terms of the result you can actually get. On the other hand, you've got plastic surgery, botox, fillers, and all that sort of stuff. Which is just very aggressive and I think there’s a reason that a lot of people are against that. I think it’s quite hypocritical of society that we’re all wanting to go organic and drive electric cars and be chemical-free yet we’re more than happy to inject our face with such dangerous toxins.
How would you describe your treatments?
"It's a bit like a deep tissue massage. You get this detox feeling almost immediately after the treatment. It also works on the lymphatic system to an extent so as soon as you finish the treatment you will kind of have to go pee. But that's a good thing! That's just your body eliminating the toxins that you have in there. We're not just trying to treat a beauty problem or an imperfection. We're treating the body as a whole and that really is what makes the difference with us compared to every other technique on the market."
How is it applied exactly? Can the customer do it themselves?
"No, it has to be done with a trained therapist. That doesn’t make it exclusive though. We have some therapists that come from beauty colleges, some that are physiotherapists, massage therapists, and even a few who are personal trainers that have a machine in their house and are treating their clients before or after their workouts"
So you can train someone fairly easily to implement LPG?
"Yes, they can easily be trained. However, like anything it's important to develop experience. It's important to have a knowledge of the body and an understanding of how it works because, before anything else, it is a medical treatment and that's why we have so much credibility in the market. We don't just do beauty, we actually treat important medical problems from scars and burns to diseases like lymphedema.”
You mentioned cosmetic surgery earlier, what are your thoughts on going to such extremes to achieve a certain look?
"To be perfectly frank with you, we believe that the body has so much potential to rejuvenate itself naturally that we really don’t see the point. We don't understand why you would actively inject toxins inside your body when most of the time all we talk about is how we can detox or destress. Now I understand some people may have different opinions regarding that, and that's perfectly fine - we are not trying to go against plastic surgery. Nothing like that at all. We are just very firm in our message of natural beauty and strongly believe that women and men are more beautiful when they are natural, that’s all. In reality, there's no such thing as a quick fix. For example, if you're a guy and you want to have six pack abs - what are you going to do? You’re going to work your ass off at the gym and you’re going to have to eat well to achieve this look. But part of the satisfaction comes from this experience. Cosmetic surgery is just a temporary solution to what could end up being a permanent problem.
The general public’s perception towards male grooming has changed over the last couple of years, do you see that this more positive attitude will continue to be a trend?
"I don’t think it’s ever going to stop and I honestly think there's going to be an even bigger boom. It’s the same way that you now have barber shops and fitness centres and juice bars opening up everywhere. Everyone wants to look good, it's part of our society these days. And it’s not just the woman who want to look fresh anymore.”
In terms of the business side of things, what kind of marketing techniques do you think have worked particularly well for you?
"Well we’re 100% family-owned which is great. So it's been an organically grown company since day one. As far as the marketing techniques go I think that there’s been a growing trend recently that people aren’t buying products anymore: they’re buying a cause or a reason to believe. As such, we’re not trying to sell products – we're just trying to tell stories. The customer today is also very informed, I mean they have the power of the internet at their fingertips. There’s so much more transparency nowadays and customers like to know that they’re working with honest brands. That's why I stress the family values. Our wish is to educate people for the good of the human race. To educate that, if you do want to look good: don't damage your skin. Don't damage your body. Because there are other less extreme techniques out there."
Are there any side effects?
“None whatsoever. Our technique is so natural that it actually has the same effect as a manual massage. The only side effect is beauty! That's always our little inside joke at LPG. We say that what we provide is health but that it also comes with the side effect of more beautiful skin.”