Q+A with Beautystat Cosmetics Founder Ron Robinson

What drove you to start your own brand? Have you always been an entrepreneur?

I started as a cosmetic chemist for the Clinique division of the Estée Lauder Companies back in the early ’90s. BeautyStat originally was a popular beauty blog and social media agency I launched 10 years ago. During that time, I became the go-to cosmetic chemist for journalists and beauty editors who were looking for expertise on ingredients for stories they were working on. One frequently asked question was “Why is vitamin C unstable?” Everyone knows vitamin C is a great ingredient for skin, but it’s notoriously unstable. That means it oxidizes, turns brown or orange and is rendered inactive. This got me thinking—what if we could stabilize pure vitamin C? That would be the holy grail of beauty. After five years and three patents, we found a way to stabilize pure vitamin C in a formula with a great texture. The last step was to put our formula through an independent clinical to confirm that our product did, indeed, deliver results. When the results came back, I was floored. Testing confirmed that our formula delivered significant improvement in lines, wrinkles, firming and tightening the skin, evening out skin tone and hyperpigmentation, as well as diminishing the look of pores. Given these stellar results, I had no choice (I was compelled) but to launch the beauty brand, BeautyStat Cosmetics, and bring our BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal C Skin Refiner to consumers.

What’s your favorite product in the line?

The Universal C Skin Refiner is one of my favorites because it was our first. It closes a big need gap in the market, and it delivers unparalleled results. And personally, it has made my skin so much smoother and more even—I can’t live without it.

What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before going to sleep?

I’m an early riser. The first thing I do is have a cup of coffee while I simply think about three things that I’m thankful for, as well as picking one thing that I’m really looking forward to doing that day. I do this for about 15 to 20 minutes before I turn on my phone to check email. These moments are precious as they center me and get me focused on the big strategic picture before I start checking email, which usually puts me in a tactical and reactionary mode. At night, I shut off all devices 30 to 60 minutes before bed, and I do some reading.  It’s a great way to wind down, so that it’s easier to fall asleep.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I work out every day for two hours. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. And I follow a keto diet, and I fast intermittently. All of this helps keep me mentally sharp and physically fit. Don’t worry—I’m not always strict and regimented, as I do enjoy a nice glass of wine every now and then.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting his/her own business?

Test your brand/product concept to make sure that it’s filling a market need before quitting your day job. I see too many entrepreneurs who think they have a great idea, but don’t get enough objective feedback to confirm it’s viable and scalable.

Q+A with Beneath Your Skin Founder Dana Jackson

What drove you to start your own brand? Have you always been an entrepreneur?

After being diagnosed with lupus and lupus nephritis, I wanted to repair the damage done to my skin and hair in a way that was non-toxic and not going to challenge my immune system further. I began crafting products to help my condition. Eventually I wanted to share them, as well as my story, with others going through the same thing. I haven’t always been an entrepreneur; I ran other people’s businesses, though, and knew it was preparing me to do it for myself one day.

What’s your favorite product in the line?

This is really hard as they’re all my babies, and I have different phases where I use one more than the other. If I had to choose, I’d pick Heal Whipped Skin Soufflé. It’s the product that started it all. I formulated Heal in my kitchen in 2012 to combat the dark purple stretch marks I got after gaining 100 pounds in water weight from lupus and the extremely dry skin I had from chemotherapy. It worked like nothing else I’d tried, and it truly has a cult following.

What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up?

I’m currently on an extensive supplement regimen, so the first thing I do when I wake up is drink warm water with apple cider vinegar and collagen.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’ve always wanted to experience living abroad, and my ideal life would include me living in a few other countries for a while. First up is Bali.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting his/her own business?

Start with one product. Work out all the kinks in packaging, formulation and branding with one SKU.

Q+A with Biophile Co-Founder Grace Fooden

What drove you to start your own brand? Have you always been an entrepreneur?

I started the brand with my business partner, Alison Cutlan, after meeting her through a mutual friend and hearing about the way she was approaching skincare. Soon after Alison and I met, I went to her lab, which was a combination of science and creativity. That’s where I had that “aha moment” and realized this was a brand that needed to be in the marketplace. I come from the fashion industry where I considered myself an “entrepreneur,” which means I led and developed new divisions within large corporations.

What’s your favorite product in the line?

It’s hard to choose my favorite product of the three in our line. It’s like choosing a favorite child. But if I must, I’d say our Bio-Shroom Rejuvenating Serum. This is truly skin food. I love the texture and how one drop is all I need to cover my face and neck.

What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before going to sleep?

The first thing I do every morning is the same thing I do every night: I let my two dogs, Zsa Zsa and Pierre, out in the backyard.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I think people who know me as a businesswoman would be surprised to know that I have a BFA from Parsons School of Design.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting his/her own business?

It’s never too late.

Q+A with KNC Beauty Founder Kristen Noel Crawley

What drove you to start your own brand? Have you always been an entrepreneur?

I was lucky enough to visit Tokyo on a beauty trip with my longtime partner, Dior. While sightseeing, I stumbled across Don Quijote, which—if you know—is practically the Target of Japan. Perusing the endless aisles of skincare and cosmetics, I discovered classic Japanese lip masks, which are a major trend over there. The packaging and graphics were so inspiring and represented the culture beautifully. I really just fell in love with the look of the product and wanted to create something unique around it. I would never have imagined that I was going to develop an entire skincare line from that experience, but here we are!

What’s your favorite product in the line?

Not only are my KNC Beauty Retinol Infused Eye Masks unlike anything else on the market, they’re super effective and insanely cute.

What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before going to sleep?

It’s the same thing for me morning and night—I always start and end my day with prayer. It’s what keeps me going when the sun’s up, and the only way I can ensure a good night’s sleep.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I hand-test all KNC Beauty products myself and among my close friends to make sure I'm developing products that really work. I literally use my products every day because they provide legitimate and immediate results.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting his/her own business?

Stay strong! It’s so cliché, but seriously—don’t back down. Know your worth, and be confident in your vision when you walk in the room. The industry has become so much more inclusive over the years, and it’s important to know that you have a space in it with your own unique perspective on beauty.