My background is a series of accidental events, with no pre-set plans but lots of opportunities that came along my way. I majored in finance, not for the love of finance, but because I had to choose a degree while in a situation of handicap. I had just emigrated from South America to Quebec at the age of 14, where I had to attend a special language school before incorporating into a normal school. This meant that I missed out on all the major science foundations and with weak language skills, a business degree was the only option left for me.
That degree led me to a career in investment banking that spanned 14 years. Upon becoming a mother for the second time, I left that field to take a break and pursue other interests. I trained to become an interior designer because I wanted to redo my own interiors, which then led to the creation of an interior design studio. It was a 1-woman show, so it was long hours but satisfying as one of my projects got shortlisted for an international award.
Then, a trip to Korea to help my children discover their 50%, I discovered the world of K-Beauty. This was 2017 when Korean skincare products were in another stratosphere compared to the US or EU brands. Terms like peptides, acids, ferments, lysates, liposomes were unheard of in the skincare circuits of EU back then. I was fascinated by this gap, so I started working for 5 Korean cosmeceutical brands to be introduced into EU. But my entrepreneurship bug bit again, so I left them after a year and decided to create an EU-based brand with a strong Korean cosmeceutical influence.
And 4 years of research later, Skin Diligent was launched in mid-2021.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
Our initial focus was to resolve premature ageing of the skin, mainly products for my own need! I wanted the efficacy of the delivery systems for active ingredients of the Korean cosmeceutical brands but also wanted clean & natural. Natural and efficacy were 2 different formulation focuses. I wanted the challenge of combining both.
Then, my daughter started to have acne and upon discovering the obsolescence of the medical prescriptions to treat acne, my focus changed. It was a bigger challenge than resolving premature ageing, but the medical options (very harsh, damaging & controversial) were not acceptable, and serious natural alternatives were non-existent. But luckily, science was on our side. The discoveries of the epigenetics and the microbiome were contributing so much more understanding of what acne was. There was an explosion of research papers in all aspects of human health.
How did you achieve awareness?
Awareness is another real challenge in the beauty industry where there are 3-4 new products created per day in France alone. We work with various means – social media, press, influencers, presence online and in bricks and mortars. But the real breakthrough came through word of mouth from people having tested the products and seeing the results.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
We were successful in raising our first round of funding via angels, including friends and family.
What are the key successes?
Quoted by ELLE magazine as the Next Generation of Natural Skincare.
We are stocked in about 50 pharmacies and at Nocibe.fr.
We had over 15 major press coverages for the launch of our hero product, the Vitamin C Serum-in-oil. This is massive for an unknown brand! The serum is very unique in many measures – the ingredients, texture and efficacy. It contains a rare form of vitamin C that is non-irritant, non-photosensitising and very effective at low dosages. The texture is pretty amazing too as it leaves no traces of oiliness or greasiness so a makeup can be applied on top. It also contains extracts of pomegranate, upcycled cacao, organic hemp seed oil, and moringa oil. The product helps with dehydrated skin, blemished-prone skin, premature ageing and it adds powerful antioxidants.
Our Acne-prone Skin kit which comprises 3 skincare products and 1 food supplement have an efficacy rate of 70% at 2-4 months use with no side effects and certified free of endocrine disruption. This compares with the harshest of prescription acne treatments, Roaccutane, which has 80% efficacy rate, requires 6 months of treatment and has some serious side effects.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Challenges are numerous! But we don’t shy away from our vision to provide multi-purpose products with highly technical formulas and yet 99% natural. It takes us years to launch a product because we must deal with continuous challenges – formulation, packaging, testing, etc. But we take our time to meet those challenges. There is no point in creating another skincare brand just like everyone else. You can say, we are slow-beauty.
What are your plans now/for the future?
Customers who have discovered our brand ask us to create other products to complete their routine. We are extremely grateful for this huge vote of confidence. As one customer told us, “How to trust another brand after Skin Diligent?”. It’s a tall order, but we don’t want to disappoint, so we continue to be as painfully diligent as ever. So for now, we are focusing on developing few other products that will complete a simple no-fuss skincare routine with all the hallmarks of Skin Diligent – multi-purpose, natural, high tech, clean, & sustainable.
In a couple of years, we are planning to enter the US market.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
It’s liberating and hugely satisfying. As a woman, there is no glass ceiling like in the corporate world. You have an idea, and it is entirely up to you to push for your own vision of things.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
When you feel like everything is going against you, don’t despair, days of success are just around the corner, you just can’t see them around the bend, but they are there.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
- My mother. An intelligent, passionate, compassionate, generous woman who taught me to believe in myself and not to be afraid to go forward.
- Confucius. The value of sacrifice, hard work and community.
- Some of my closest female friends. For allowing me to lean on them & for their big hearts.
- My daughter. For reminding me of my young self and reminding me that life is full of surprises and opportunities.
- The men in my life. For checks and balances.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
Skin Diligent (https://www.linkedin.com/company/skin-diligent/ )
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