From an Uzbekistan kitchen to nationwide US Ulta shelves, the story behind The Better Skin Co. founder Natalya Rachkova’s “magic” cream is inspiring. Derived from natural ingredients native to Uzbekistan, skincare enthusiast Rachkova made lotion for friends and family simply because she loved doing it (and they loved using it). And while preparing both herself and her small family for a life-changing move to Seattle in pursuit of the American dream, Rachkova made sure her secret recipe was tucked carefully away in her suitcase.
“In the spirit of new and never-ending possibilities, Natalya quickly revived her aesthetician practice and once again began making this ‘magic’ cream in her kitchen,” reads the brand’s website. But this time, the kitchen was thousands of miles away in the US, and her hard work and friendship with beauty industry insider Murphy D. Bishop, II, catapulted her magic potion from secrecy into the public eye and cosmetics market.
BeautyMatter had the opportunity to learn more about Natalya’s journey and revolutionary cream. Read on for our Q&A:
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. YOU LEFT NURSING TO WORK AS A FULL-TIME MEDICAL AESTHETICIAN. WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH SKIN HEALTH?
During my nursing program I was studying anatomy and physiology, and my first impression of skin was fascinating and mesmerizing. I learned that our skin is the biggest and most complex organ in our bodies, which serves as the border between the human body and the outside world, it protects the body temperature and is involved in hundreds of processes. I was very impressed by the way the skin works and its healing processes. I also wanted to figure out how proper skincare can help to preserve my youth for a long time.
IN 2004 YOU EMIGRATED FROM THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN TO SEATTLE, WA. WHAT WAS THE BEAUTY DREAM THAT YOU CARRIED WITH YOU FROM UZBEKISTAN TO THE USA?
Seeing that I saw major success in Uzbekistan with my magic recipe, my original dream was to bring the formula to help people to protect and preserve the beauty of their skin.
YOUR MIRAKLE CREAM IS DERIVED FROM A 27-YEAR-OLD SECRET RECIPE THAT YOU FORMULATED IN YOUR KITCHEN. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE A CREAM DERIVED FROM ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS?
It is very important to be aware of what we are putting onto our skin. Because the skin is vulnerable to absorbing external chemicals, I wanted to create a recipe using natural ingredients that would serve to benefit the entire body, not only the skin.
SNOWBALLING OFF THE ABOVE QUESTION, ARE SOME OF THE NATURAL INGREDIENTS FOUND IN THE CREAM NATIVE TO UZBEKISTAN? WERE THERE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO HELPED INSPIRE THE CREATION?
Seabuckthorn, aloe vera, and cocoa butter are ingredients that are widely used for natural remedies in Uzbekistan although they are not exclusive to Uzbekistan. I was inspired by my grandmother, who was a natural healer and taught me to use only natural ingredients. She always used to say, “If you want to put something on your body or eat it, it has to be natural.”
HOW DID YOU COMMERCIALIZE THE CREAM FROM A HOME RECIPE TO ONE THAT COULD BE PRODUCED AT SCALE? DID YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES TO THE FORMULA TO TAKE THIS STEP?
We took the base of all-natural ingredients and boosted them with peptides, hyaluronic acid, and wonderlight—a French plant-based active known to lighten dark spots. We increased the shelf life using preservatives derived from plants.
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU DECIDE TO EVOLVE A HOME-BASED BUSINESS INTO ONE OF NATIONAL PROMINENCE? HOW DID YOU FUND THIS EXPANSION?
Three years ago my family had Murphy (my business partner) over for dinner and he happened to see the cream cooling down in the kitchen as I was making it earlier that day. After trying some he was asking me about it nonstop, and after dinner he wanted to turn it into a business. At first I didn’t take him seriously, but he was very confident that this was the product the industry has been missing out on for years. Murphy and I pooled our savings and funded the business.
YOU STARTED WITH ONE PRODUCT—MIRAKLE CREAM—AND NOW HAVE THREE MORE. HOW DID THE OTHERS EVOLVE?
I am a practicing master aesthetician and my customers constantly request new products. We gather all the requests and then we use our social media to ask our fans what they want. We then determine which product to launch. It’s more about what our customers request versus us creating product just because we want to fill a shelf.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE DNA OF THE BRAND AND HOW THIS TRANSLATES TO THE PRODUCT PACKAGING.
I wanted to stay true to my origins from where I got the original inspiration for the cream. We added a traditional Uzbek fabric pattern to the jar. We strive to be affordable and effective while using clean formulas. We put our money into the formula and we minimize packaging when possible.
THE BETTER SKIN CO. COLLECTION WILL BE AVAILABLE IN ULTA STORES NATIONWIDE BEGINNING SPRING 2018—CONGRATS! WHAT HAS BEEN THE BRAND’S DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY THAT LED YOU TO LAUNCH IN ULTA NATIONWIDE?
Yes! We are very excited because it’s been a lot of hard work and sleepless nights that have brought us to this point. It feels great to have achieved something I thought was only possible in my dreams. Murphy created a distribution plan and Ulta was at the top of the list. We both love the stores and the store teams. The relaxed atmosphere combined with their mix of products seemed like a natural fit. Murphy’s confidence and belief in the product is what helped secure Ulta and I’m very thankful to be working alongside him.
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT THAT INTERESTED ULTA IN LAUNCHING IT NATIONWIDE? AND WHAT IS YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY GOING TO BE TO SUPPORT THIS LAUNCH?
Our product has a great social following along with pages and pages of good reviews (if you Google Mirakle Cream). Ulta was interested because our focus is to slowly put out great products and let the buzz grow. Ulta knows that we will fire up our passionate customers and spread the word to drive them into stores. For the launch we are doing a social push, large-scale influencer campaign, traditional press push, in-store gift during the launch period and a solid round of advertising in the Ulta magazine.
AND FINALLY, WHAT IS NEXT FOR BETTER SKIN CO.?
The Better Skin Co. has an exciting influencer collaboration that will be announced later in the year as well as a few new products (such as our Amaze Balm) that are certain to become fan favorites. We are currently continuing our Canada expansion while launching ASOS in London along with additional ongoing international distribution.
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