In preparation for the Beauty & Money conference in New York, Benedict H. Auld, CEO and Founder of Lapidarius, caught up with Rachel Roff, founder of Urban Skin Rx.
What is the unique value proposition your brand or product brings to the category?
We specialize in the needs of ethnic, melanin-rich skin. It’s mostly an untouched category space, and I feel strongly that we are the pioneer. I’m a med-spa owner and medical esthetician of long standing, and a lot of my research and findings have been transferred over to my skincare line. That expertise makes us trustworthy to our client base whom we care about deeply.
How did you do it?
When I started my med-spa in 2006, I carried a lot of lines and, through a lot of treatments and retail sales, I learned what formulas and actives worked for melanin-rich skin and which didn’t. Initially, I just wanted to further my med-spa brand, I wasn’t really thinking on a broad scale, yet. So I started with some custom formulations, and some white-label products, too. And our following grew, and demand really took off. I now devote most of my time to the skincare line but the medi-spa is very much a success.
Urban Rx now has sales in the millions, we are adding three major chains as customers in the next several months, and we have very high hopes for 2018 and 2019. We’re excited.
What is the most important thing an investor should know about your brand?
That I am not willing to compromise my formulas, in terms of diluting active ingredient percentages, to save money. We started as a prestige brand with a higher cost of goods, and it’s been our strategy to take the product more toward masstige, but without jeopardizing the efficacy of the line. I’m open to suggestions on making cost improvements—but the reason why we’re doing so well is that our products really, really work. I can’t put that at risk. We are working toward a healthy COGS while keeping quality as a constant.
What would your ideal investor look like?
Somebody who doesn’t try to water down my formulas or the culture of my company, or play it overly safe and be something for everybody. And somebody who can help me with recruiting and staffing, and also marketing. We do very well with marketing today, but we don’t yet have the funds to say yes to things that we think will really move the needle in terms of customer acquisition. We feel most comfortable with a private equity investor at this point.
Who is the muse for your brand? That is, who is the consumer target that you are creating your products for?
We’ve been concentrating on the millennial, busy woman. Twenties and thirties—and who wants to feel good about herself. Most women who are unhappy with their skin will spend against making it better. We’ve been recruiting for a CMO recently and I am excited to take more initiative with a 40+ demographic who we want to serve as well as we serve under 40s.
What is your vision for the brand? Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
I would like at least one out of two women to have heard of my brand, that falls within our demographic. And internationally: there’s so much opportunity for my brand there, it’s unlimited. And we’re in the middle of a strategy of becoming a masstige brand while protecting our prestige formulas and packaging—and there is lots of room for us globally.
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