Believe it or not, Ultraceuticals largest international sales are to Russia. In February I set off for a week in Moscow. I had been invited to give two presentations at Moscow's main annual cosmetic medical conference, "Kosmetik International". Also, our Russian distributor's Brand Manager, Julia Chernitskaya, had organised for me to speak to groups of Russian doctors who stock Ultraceuticals and to give training sessions for her staff.
I flew with Etihad airlines as they have the only one stop flight from Sydney to Moscow without an overnight stay. After the 22 hour flight I landed at Moscow's busiest airport, Domodedovo. I was a little anxious as I had read on the plane that a on 24 January a suicide bomber had killed 35 and injured 130 people there. My arrival, thankfully, was uneventful. A driver, who spoke no English, had been organised to take me on the 45 minute trip to my hotel, the century old National Hotel, which was situated about 100m from the Kremlin.
I had seen online that average temperatures in Moscow in February were -9 degree Celsius. I was lucky on my visit that, although one day the temperature was down at -14 degrees, on a few days there was a mini heatwave and the temperature rose just above zero degrees. Back home, Sydney was also experiencing a heatwave with temperatures hitting 41.5. I can't decide which is worse!
My hosts were very congenial and invited me out for dinner on four of my seven nights. I experienced a variety of Russian cuisines including that from the Caucasus. A favourite Caucasian dish on the menu was fried heart, kidneys, potatoes and lamb testicles. I had eaten borsch beetroot soup and skulled shots of horseradish vodka, a good way to clear the sinuses. However, I chose a less adventurous option - straight stewed lamb and vegetables for my Caucasian culinary experience.
Many beauty salons in Russia have doctors on staff to provide cosmetic medical treatments. One reason for this is that doctors' salaries are very low in the state health system and there are only limited avenues available for private practice, cosmetic medicine being the main one. Our distributor has been very successful with Ultraceuticals, advising us that we are the number one cosmeceutical brand in medically staffed beauty salons in Russia.
My presentations at the Kosmetik conference on peels and vitamin C were very well received. I conducted two four hour question and answer sessions at our distributor's offices for over forty doctors, some from cities far away from Moscow. I also visited several Ultraceuticals salons and medical practices, which were very impressively fitted out. Our distributor was very pleased with our new product development program and promotional plans. They foresee substantial future sales increases and no doubt I will be back. However, next time it will be in a warmer month when I will be able to take a picturesque river journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow as part of the trip.