Inspiration is the fuel for creative minds that often happens unexpectedly, opening us up to new possibilities that transcend our ordinary experiences. BeautyMatter created the NEXT Awards to recognize and celebrate our community's thinkers, makers, and doers whose work raises the bar, inspires others, and defines the future.
The 2022 NEXT Visionary Winners
Person of the Year – Anisa Telwar Kaicker, Founder and CEO of Anisa
Changemaker of the Year – Nyakio Grieco, Founder of Relevant: Your Skin Seen and Co-Founder of Thirteen Lune
Entrepreneur of the Year – Akash Mehta, CEO and Founder of Fable & Mane
Innovator of the Year – Dr. Robb Akridge, Founder and CEO of Opulus Beauty Labs
These industry leaders helped BeautyMatter Founder and CEO Kelly Kovack and Co-Founder and President John Cafarelli determine the finalists. Meet the individuals unafraid of challenging the status quo, changing the playbook, and making beauty matter in the process—the 2023 NEXT Visionary Finalists.
FINALISTS: CHANGEMAKER OF THE YEAR
More than simply doing good, these people embody change, driven by empathy for others and a desire to make the world a better place. Having the intention of doing something good is a common desire among leaders and entrepreneurs, but change only happens when intentions are translated into action. And a true changemaker identifies a problem or opportunity to tackle, decides to do something about it, and only stops once they make a difference.
Ari Bloom is the co-founder and CEO of A-Frame Brands, a Los Angeles–based celebrity brand incubator that is flipping the script on how consumers and brand leaders typically approach talent-led brands. A-Frame focuses on serving historically overlooked groups, starting with people of color, who are also responsible for 11% of total beauty spending—bringing a more racially equitable brand landscape closer to reality. With over 20 years of experience in the retail industry, Ari has played an integral part in the birth of brands, the launching of new business units, and turning around distressed companies. The consummate “Dot Connector,” Ari has a strong reputation for simply making things happen, quickly and efficiently. Ari has a powerful viewpoint on how talent can humanize a need, and how the right distribution can drive access in today's multichannel world of retail.
Laura Geller is a veteran makeup artist and founded her namesake beauty brand 26 years ago. She is known for her wearable looks and magnetic personality—two talents that made her a resounding success on-air at QVC. Recently, she has taken a stance on ageism in the beauty industry by spotlighting women over 40 as the backbone of society and celebrating them. Laura Geller Beauty has boldly decided to exclusively feature women over 40 in advertising, social media, and on LauraGeller.com. In 2022, the brand created and observed the first-ever National Mature Women's Day, a nationally recognized holiday to honor women over 40, started by Geller herself.
Carly Stein-Kremer founded Beekeepers Naturals in 2017, disrupting the healthcare industry by leveraging the ancient ingredient propolis in groundbreaking formats to provide clean, effective alternatives to traditional medicine.Carly is committed to working exclusively with sustainable, small-scale apiaries, partnering with leading bee research institutions, and prioritizing pesticide-free health and wellness products. She works tirelessly to raise awareness and create a better environment for our world’s most important pollinators—the bees. Pioneering a new way of beekeeping, building a supply chain around the health of the bees. Beekeeper’s Naturals uses special frames to encourage bees to create more propolis, royal jelly, and honey so a surplus can be safely harvested without harming the bees, and the hive has what it needs to keep growing.
Edwin Neill is the CEO of the Neill Corporation and is responsible for the overall strategy and business of Neill, including Aveda Arts and Sciences Institutes. He has also served as the Chairman of the Louisiana State Board of Cosmetology since 2016. Differentiating clientele by straight or textured hair has resulted in segregation in salons. Recognizing that stylists' training in the classroom was one of the major causes of this practice, Neill quickly went into action, making foundational changes to the curriculum at Aveda Arts and Sciences Institutes. He also introduced and passed a bill to include a textured hair section of the cosmetology test necessary for receiving a certificate of cosmetology in Louisiana, making it the first state to mandate textured hair knowledge for all incoming cosmetologists.
Pritika Swarup is a renowned international model, Global Ambassador for Operation Smile, and founder and CEO of the beauty and wellness brand wellness brand Prakti. When she moved to New York at the age of 17, she was the only Indian model in the market—the evident lack of inclusivity and true representation of global beauty shocked her. Pritika was told that there wasn’t necessarily a space for her in the industry because she was too “ethnic.” In that moment, she knew she had an opportunity and responsibility to change the narrative, becoming a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusivity. She has been actively pioneering the Ayurvedic movement in the beauty industry through her brand, which fuses cultural richness and spirituality with contemporary energies and technologies to bring Indian beauty to the forefront of the industry and directly into the hands of women everywhere.
JuE Wong is the CEO and Executive Board Member of Olaplex, with a robust track record of scaling emerging brands such as Murad Inc., NV Perricone MD Ltd., ZO Skin Health by Dr. Obagi, Astral Health and Beauty, and StriVectin, while globalizing established brands that include Cargill Inc., PepsiCo, and Dial Corp. A proven global senior executive with experience and exposure in four continents and seven countries, JuE is considered as one of the "go-to" progressive executives in driving intrinsic change to increase portfolio value in omnichannel, international, and DX/ Disruption. JuE extends her time to the Committee of 200. As Director of the committee, she compiled a comprehensive list of qualified women that can serve on boards, which she uses to reach out to companies when board seats become available. Under JuE’s guidance, Olaplex has been a leading advocate of DE&I initiatives. The company’s board is 80% female and has 17% ethnic diversity, excluding JuE and other executive board members.
FINALISTS: ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
The beauty industry has never lacked successful entrepreneurs. Many multinational businesses in the beauty ecosystem were built by passionate founders who put in long hours, made sacrifices, and took risks to scale their nascent ideas into scalable businesses. The consumer's seemingly insatiable desire for newness has created a flywheel for founders with big ambitions. Starting a business is relatively easy, but it is the ambitious, charismatic founders who instill excitement about their ideas, build a culture that attracts talent, and possess business acumen that creates demand that breaks through.
Jasmina Aganovic, as the CEO of Arcaea, leverages the power of expressive biology to create a new wave of beauty products that provide consumers with innovative and sustainably sourced ingredients. Before launching Arcaea, she was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Gingko Bioworks, and the President of Mother Dirt, a skin microbiome brand that developed the first live probiotic and biome-friendly products for the skin.
In founding Arcaea, Jasmina drives the unique perspective of integrating biology into product design and development to impact the beauty industry positively by providing an alternative to the ingredients extracted from petrochemicals, plants, and animals that have shaped the beauty supply chain for the last 200 years. She believes innovation at a large scale will be necessary to solve growing sustainability issues while also facilitating broader definitions of beauty and new product experiences. In practical terms, Jasmina’s advocacy for biology-centric technologies has the potential to replace large-scale, energy-intensive harvesting methods, reducing environmental strain and enhancing sustainability for ingredient development.
Her work has consequently ushered in a new era of creativity, sustainability, and safety in the beauty industry, underpinning an enhanced relationship between humans, their self-expression, and the natural world.
Amy Errett founded Madison Reed in 2013 with over 30 years of business and operating expertise as a four-time entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and social-mission visionary. She understood that for years, women had to choose between traditional boxed color or hours and hundreds of dollars in the salon, and set out to forever change the industry that lacked innovation for decades. Madison Reed has grown from a direct-to-consumer brand to an expansive omnichannel powerhouse with strong direct-to-consumer sales, 87 physical Hair Color Bar locations, and wholesale partnerships with retailers like Ulta Beauty, select Ulta Beauty at Target locations, and Amazon. The poster child of an omnichannel brand, Madison Reed serves customers how and where they want to be served.
Errett believes that a good business comes from treating all team members, both hourly and salaried, well in terms of compensation and benefits, and also that people have a basic right to healthcare. Deeply rooted in this belief, Madison Reed covers 100% of team members' healthcare benefits, and Madison Reed stylists can make up to 3x more than the industry average.
Today, in addition to being the founder + CEO of Madison Reed, Amy is also a Venture Partner at True Ventures, focusing on investments in direct-to-consumer start-ups.
Enrico Frezza, founder and CEO of Peace Out Skincare, knows how it feels to be insecure about skin imperfection, having struggled with acne, hyperpigmentation, and everything in between. His frustration became the catalyst for developing a technology that treated the root cause of breakouts, not just the symptoms. Inspired by hydrocolloid dressing and after a ton of research and trials, the first Peace Out Acne Healing Dot prototype was born. Over six years, Enrico has built a team of 28 people driving Peace Out to becoming the number-one Acne Brand at Sephora, launching globally and expanding this year into Europe.
He guided the company through the pandemic coming out more successful, setting the company up for a $20 million private equity investment. Frezza remains a hands-on leader working with his team at every level to ensure he is fully aware of the business, the health of his team, and the company.
Giving Back: As an LGBTQIA+ founder, Frezza's philanthrophy and Peace Out’s corporate charity efforts, including The Trevor Project and earth and sea charities Plant One Tree and SeaLegacy, are essential to a dedication to making a difference.
Éva Goicochea is the founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Maude. In 2015, she converged her passion for healthcare and brand to begin developing Maude, a modern sexual wellness company built to challenge a legacy industry and serve the customer through quality, simplicity, and inclusivity. As a David to the Goliath, Eva pushed forward after hundreds of investor rejections, advertising restrictions, and the general stigma of the category to raise $13 million in five funding rounds and establish a global footprint in 33 countries, breaking into retailers that have never carried the category, like Sephora.
This year Eva makes her curatorial debut with a Museum of Sex Miami exhibit that surveys the cultural and societal impact of restriction on the design, marketing, and distribution of sexual health products from the 1920s until today. Modern Sex: 100 Years of Design and Decency pioneers a one-of-a-kind exhibition featuring over 500 artifacts, historical media, and medical objects.
Giving Back: She is actively on the Board of Advisors for Oyster Sunday and dedicates her time to helping other founders as a mentor, including: Techstars NYC Mentor, Tower 28’s Clean Beauty Summer School Mentor, and Founders’ Weekend.
Ju Rhyu has worked for some of the world’s biggest brands such as Kraft Foods, American Express, and Samsung, launching new products, executing multichannel marketing campaigns, and creating best-in-class consumer experiences. Rhyu leveraged her corporate experiences and launched Hero, a brand focused on reimagining acne care, in 2017 with just one hero product, Mighty Patch, as a test on Amazon. Six years later, Hero is now a holistic acne solutions brand with over 20 award-winning products, sold in 14,000 retail doors with over 30 national wholesale partners, and was recently acquired by Church & Dwight for $630 million. Her leadership has led Hero to where it is today with a box of Mighty Patch being sold every two seconds, the brand’s acquisition, and most importantly, the empowering community Hero has formed with Ju at the forefront.
Suveen Sahib is the co-founder and CEO of K18 Biomimetic Hairscience, a biotech company that produces high-performance, clinically proven haircare powered by biotech and genomics research. A champion of innovation and a leader in the global biosciences space, Suveen, fueled by his passion for “less is more,” saw an opportunity to bring new technology to an industry rooted in decades of outdated cosmetic chemistry. Working with top bioscientists who spent 10 years mapping and testing the entire protein expression of the keratin genome—unlocking a deeper understanding of hair—the K18 Peptide was born.
K18 molecular repair launched during the pandemic, quickly gaining icon status as the #1 haircare brand on social media and buzz from the pro community and at-home users alike, growing to a global community in 100+ countries in its first 18 months—and becoming a best-selling haircare brand at Sephora.
Giving Back: The Future Now Initiative invests in giving back to the communities they care about by partnering with organizations that embody K18’s commitment to innovation and radical care: Project Q, Professional Beauty Association, GenSpace, Styles 4 Kidz, and Black Voters Matter.
Sandra Velasquez is the founder and CEO of Nopalera, a culture-forward luxury bath and body care brand based on the nopal (prickly pear) cactus, that disrupts the historically Eurocentric beauty industry by speaking directly to the overlooked Latina clean beauty customer.
Velasquez launched Nopalera in the middle of the pandemic from her Brooklyn apartment with no outside funding or savings, while working three jobs as a single mother at 44. As a student at Formula Botanica, Sandra made the Nopalera products herself for the first year, attracting retailers like Nordstrom, Credo Beauty, Free People, and over 400 independent retailers nationwide. In 2022 she raised $2.7 million in seed funding.
Giving Back: It is Sandra’s mission to break down barriers, provide access, and inspire others to live boldly. She writes The Entrepreneur Newsletter, sharing resources, advice, and lessons from her journey building a 7-figure brand.
FINALISTS: INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
The beauty industry thrives on what’s now, what’s new, and what’s next, and innovation and disruption are concepts that get thrown around a lot. Inspiration is the springboard for creativity that leads to disrupting convention with radically new ideas, and real innovators disrupt by employing long-term thinking and imagining the impossible. They don’t peddle in quick fixes and gimmicks.
Nobel Laureate Sir Fraser Stoddart, following his dream to “solve a big problem,” put all his effort into venturing off the beaten path and taking the risk of doing something that no one had done before. In the study of molecular motion, he found his unbeaten path that fueled his creative imagination and potential, which laid the foundation for the research that would ultimately award him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016.
Sir Fraser’s innovation led to the founding of the science-backed skincare brand Noble Panacea in 2019, a brand that empowers authenticity in nature, beauty, and truth through scientific ingenuity. His groundbreaking discovery, the OSMV (Organic Super Molecular Vessel), is built on the concept of carrying out chemistry beyond the molecule. A single OSMV is shaped like a cubic octagon, and is 10,000x smaller than a skin cell. The OSMV technology encapsulates and protects active ingredients to release them directly into skin cells in a programmed sequence, improving formula potency.
At Northwestern, Sir Fraser continues his innovation and passion by overseeing the Stoddart Research Group, one of the world's top five chemistry research groups, as well as continuing his passion for mentorship. He has mentored over 500 students from over 50 countries throughout his career.
Lucy Goff, inspired by her own experience, founded LYMA to provide consumers the advantage of products based on proven science and breakthrough technology. For Lucy, the importance of efficacy and evidence-based results trump the desire to keep up with industry trends. She is willing to take the time necessary to go where other brands have not to create disruptive innovations within the health and wellness spaces.
Unlike any other at-home skin treatment, LYMA Laser works to unlock mitochondria, providing the cells with more energy, known as bio-stimulation, restoring their ability to create collagen and elastin, renewing skin in the process. LYMA has uniquely re-engineered and miniaturized this hospital-grade technology for home use. The LYMA Laser incorporates patented lens technology, enabling it to diffuse tiny micro-dots of invisible light 25,000 times over a large surface. Unlike LED technology, the LYMA Laser penetrates the skin with up to 100x more bio-stimulating power.
She has expanded the brand into a supplement made up of 10 ingredients, all dosed at the optimum level recommended by the research, as well as a skincare range powered by Genolytic technology.
Susan Goldsberry is a renowned cosmetic chemist and successful entrepreneur who has been at the forefront of product development innovation for over four decades. She has collaborated with private brands and cosmetic conglomerates and is the mastermind behind some of the industry’s most successful products. It’s hard to walk the aisles of any beauty retailer globally and not be surrounded by her work.
Susan’s entrepreneurial endeavors began in 2007 with the founding of Benchmark Cosmetic Laboratories. Under her leadership, Benchmark became the preeminent global resource in the industry for technologically advanced and highly marketable product formulas. Among the many groundbreaking products that revolutionized the industry were a 100+ SPF sunscreen, high-hold hair styling clays, and imperfection-blurring skincare technology. In 2019, she successfully merged Benchmark with KDC/One.
In 2021, Susan founded Project Chemistry, a brand incubator where, as CEO, she leads the creation of a portfolio of clean beauty brands, starting first with her passion project in the feminine wellness segment, Ina Labs, which she co-founded with leading OB/GYN Beri Ridgeway. The brand launched in 2022 with a mission to improve women’s lives with innovative intimate care products and to help women build confidence and connection through education and community.
Candace Mitchell Harris founded Myavana in 2012, leveraging 17 years of experience in computer science to develop AI haircare technology that analyzes the variables of hair strands and hair products to produce personalized haircare plans that support healthy hair and hair growth. She is a pioneer within a space that is overwhelmingly homogenous and non-inclusive, carving out solutions for BIPOC women, a group often ignored.
With over 2 billion hair strands analyzed through Myavana labs, the brand holds the world’s largest database of textured hair types and hair strand analysis and is trusted by some of the biggest brands in the world, including Sephora, Unilever, and Amazon. It is the largest database specifically collecting information on this hair type with the potential to easily help inform how brands and salons create more inclusive and efficacious product formulas and services.
Liz Whitman is a beauty industry insider with experience as an accomplished corporate executive, serial entrepreneur, and early-stage investor. After 15+ years retailing “potent” clinical skincare products, Whitman had her "Aha!" moment while President of The Red Door by Elizabeth Arden, where estheticians optimize precious active ingredients by mixing skincare fresh, in the moment. This led her to question: How effective can premixed retail products be? She is the founder and CEO of Exponent Beauty, the first self-activated skincare brand launched in mid-2022.
Exponent’s patented innovation in both formulation form factor and packaging system was honed over three years of R&D, starting with lab testing to confirm the magnitude of the degradation problem in skincare, to convincing beauty industry insiders with over 150 years of collective experience to take a leap of faith and "think outside the jar" with her to invent a solution. The Exponent Self-Activated Skincare system is designed to keep things simple for consumers, precisely dosing antioxidant powders and a hyaluronic acid hydrator, creating the optimal concentration needed.
As a Certified B Corporation, Exponent is proud to use the power of business to build a more inclusive, sustainable economy.
Ming Zhao co-founded Proven Skincare in 2017, taking on the one-size-fits-all skincare industry by pioneering personalized skincare products that adapt as you move through life. Proven utilizes its proprietary Skin Genome Project, reported to be the largest beauty database on earth, created by co-founder Dr. Amy Yuan. It's grown in sophistication and size and now analyzes the effectiveness of over 20,000 skincare ingredients, information about over 100,000 unique skincare products, 20 million testimonials from real people, research from 4,000 scientific publications, and water hardness, humidity levels, and UV indexes from geographies all across the globe. Through the Skin Genome Project analysis, consumers take the Skin Genome Quiz on Proven’s website, which gathers inputs based on 47 factors spanning four key categories: environment, lifestyle, skin concerns, and skin goals.
Since Proven’s inception, Ming has been able to bring personalized skincare to the world, becoming the first personalized skincare brand to Sephora and being granted a patent that protects Proven’s use of personalization in skincare. Leveraging the tech stack, funding and infrastructure, Noteworthy a personalized fragrance company, became the first sister brand to emerge from Proven.
Join us on October 26, 2023, at the BeautyMatter NEXT Summit: The Future of Beauty in Los Angeles, CA. Find out more here.
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