Business Category Podcasts Reports
Contact My Account About
Click to Share

It's a Matter Of...Genuine Consideration

October 19, 2021 BeautyMatter
October 19, 2021

Brands with big ambitions to change the status quo, and a desire to do it the right way, require freedom and independence to think outside the current industry constructs to build new ones. Successful ones are led by dreamers who believe they can change the world and have the grit and determination to make it happen.

Noelly Michoux, CEO and Co-founder, 4.5.6 Skin, joins Kelly Kovack to discuss how she is building a vertically integrated brand, backed by science, to address the needs of melanin rich skin.

 

[beginning of recorded audio]

Noelly Michoux [00:00:12]: Hi, my name is Noelly Michoux. I am the Co-Founder and CEO of 4.5.6 Skin and to me, it’s a matter of genuine consideration.

Kelly Kovack [00:00:25]: If it doesn’t exist, build it. I’m Kelly Kovac, Founder of Beauty Matter. There’s no shortage of founding stories grounded in personal experience. Some of these brands begin and end with that narrative, while others dig deep and use the products they develop to create cultural change. Brands with big ambitions to change the status quo and a desire to do it the right way require freedom and independence to think outside the current industry constructs to build new ones. Successful ones are led by dreamers who believe they can change the world and have the grit and determination to make it happen. 

An unintentional entrepreneur, Noelly Michoux, CEO and Co-Founder of 4.5.6 Skin is a trailblazing pioneer in melanin skincare.

So Noelly, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you found your way into the beauty industry? Because you have such sort of an interesting background that led you even to university and then kind of on your path, but it also informs how you got here and what you do. So I think it’s important to go all the way back.

Noelly Michoux [00:01:43]: Oh yeah. Oh, we can go all the way back to Cameroon, which is where I was born. I was born in Cameroon, Central Africa, but I grew up in Normandy in France, a small town of five living souls. We probably had more cows than humans in that town. It was a very quiet place that often felt like time had stopped there. Not much diversity, of course, so that was definitely challenging. But in retrospective, I think it was a pretty good place to live in during my younger and my teenage years because there was just no opportunity to do something crazy. I always dreamt of the big cities, like Paris was a dream of mine, and that was three hours away. For my small town, that felt like a different world and I really wanted to experience that, so after my A-levels at almost 18, I went to Paris to attend University. I went to Rene Descartes University where I did a two-year diploma in business and marketing. And yeah, just doing a lot of student jobs to provide for myself and after that two-year diploma, I wanted to go to an even more vibrant city and so I moved to London for my Bachelor’s degree, also in business and marketing and always working to put myself through school and provide for myself. Pretty much after three years of balancing school and student jobs, I just wanted to work. I needed to make money – I think that was it, I needed to make money. And so after my Bachelor’s degree, I took a job in a head hunting firm in London called Quest and I joined their international team where I was basically sourcing candidates within retail and FNCG for clients in the UAE. And that was a great introduction to the corporate world in a very sales-y role. It teaches you a lot of resilience and the money was good, but anything else that followed in terms of my career was pretty much me adapting to life circumstances.

I had to go back to France for personal reasons; my mom was not well so I had to go back home, and I tried to find a job in recruitment because I was doing pretty well there. But I got rejected in all the firms, even if I had great experience and a great personality, as you can see, because I didn’t have a Master’s degree and this is something very important in the French system. So, vis-à-vis I ended up getting a job in an IT consultancy firm in Paris and this firm specialized in enterprise resource planning and they hired me – I still don’t know why ‘til this day – and they sent me through months of training at the SAP headquarters in Paris. I don’t know if you know SAP; they develop solutions that facilitate effective data processing and information for businesses and this is the world for engineers. But I was in a non-technical role but I was so shocked that they wanted to hire me because I knew nothing about the domain. It was in 2008 in a full-blown financial crisis. I supported myself, I needed a job. So I guess I must have found a way to convince them that I would learn really fast. And at the end of my training, they placed me at a pharmaceutical company as a project coordinator. And this company, they were moving their purchasing system from Cognos to SAP, and that’s how I got into that world. And even if tech and pharma combined were really not something that created excitement for me to go to work, it paid the bills – it paid really well. And it was also amazing to just learn how a powerful system could turn raw data into information that was crucial for decision-making.

On a personal level, just being in a giant like Sanofi Aventis showed me just how quickly I would hit the glass ceiling because I didn’t have a Master’s degree. So I decided to go back to school at age 25 and so I did a Master’s degree in management. I still didn’t have any conviction, you know, of what I really wanted to do with myself. And because I had been working on the purchasing projects and there seemed to be a high demand for purchasing managers, and so that’s what I did, I did a Master’s in management and then a MSC in international purchasing management, and that’s how I joined Heineken, the brewer, as a buyer in Paris. I really liked that line of work. The corporate culture was better for my personality but that too did not last because after a year or so, I decided to move to New York City with my boyfriend, that’s my husband today, so that was a really great decision back then. And yeah, again I had to adapt, find a new job, and I joined a full-service e-commerce agency that managed the full funnel of French beauty brands in the Northern American market, and that’s how I found my way into the professional side of the beauty industry.

Kelly Kovack [00:07:11]: Well I think it’s very interesting and the reason I wanted you to sort of share your full history, I don’t think you realized it, but at the time, all of those foundational jobs have kind of built this skillset that has made you a really dynamic entrepreneur. I think especially for people just starting out in their careers, you’re always looking for what am I supposed to do with my life? But I think in those early days, I know for me, it was about what I didn’t want to do. I needed to figure that out first, before I could figure out what I wanted to do.

Noelly Michoux [00:07:47]: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. For me, it was about survival, like how do I survive? How do I pay my rent? How do I provide for myself? And that really drove most of my decisions. And how do I keep myself safe in the big city where I didn’t have family around? So that informed my decisions. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I just knew I could get more out of life, that I could do more. I’m the eldest in my family and I also just wanted to be a role model for my siblings and show that no matter your circumstances, with resilience and hard work, you can get to places in life. Your circumstances don’t have to inform the kind of result you get in life, so that was also a great motivator for me.

Kelly Kovack [00:08:35]: So I know that at this time that you were in New York and working in e-com there was kind of this – almost an awakening, right? So I know that you said for most of your life, you didn’t see yourself reflected in the beauty industry and you couldn’t find hair and face products that worked for you and you thought it was you and not the industry. Could you share a little bit about that experience? Because at the end of the day, that’s really where your path to launching 4.5.6 began.

Noelly Michoux [00:09:06]: Absolutely. Working in beauty and let alone becoming an entrepreneur was never something that I envisioned for myself. But even before joining the e-com beauty agency in New York, my experience with the industry was very personal and I had increasingly become a very frustrated customer. So I grew up in a small town like I told you, there was no diversity, and no beauty products for our hair, our skin. But it was fine in that setting because we just learned to do with whatever was available to us. It was okay, we were just using Shea butter that my mother would bring from Cameroon and whatever oil she would put together for us. It was fine because through those early younger teenage years, I had clear skin; my skin was okay. But when I moved to Paris and a lot of changes started happening with my skin, right, and even with my health. I became allergic to pollen first, for someone who grew up in the countryside, that was very unusual. I started having acne, which I’d never had before, and with that acne came the acne scars and the hyperpigmentation, and this is when I really started consuming face care products, right, because I needed help with my face. Because for the body parts, that’s just always been part of our culture. Our moms start putting creams on us when we’re babies and then we grow up with that ritual and you just extend whatever you use on your body to your face, and voila. But back then, I needed solutions for my acne and for the hyperpigmentation, and this is something that people don’t realize is that acne for darker skin is that acne itself, it sucks, right, it’s not very glamorous, but the aftermath of acne, which is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, lingers on longer and causes more pain than the acne itself. And so just the fact that I had to spend my hard-earned money on products that at best delivered zero results for me, and at worst, would actually make my skin hurt even more, it was confusing and upsetting to me. I went to Marion, to Sephora, and the pharmacy, and all the good places where you find beautiful products made by amazing brands. I was even tempted by skin bleaching products that you see in community shops because it seems that that was the only solution. Thank god for information. I got in time the information that those products would even harm my health, so I didn’t go there. But I got locked in a viscous cycle of consuming products that made my skin even more sensitive and I just ended up hiding everything, just hiding my skin under a ton of makeup. And makeup sort of became something that I needed to even be able to look at myself in a mirror. So that is just not a great feeling for a young person.

When I moved to the US, I thought my struggles were over. It is the United States of America, it’s the land of diversity, and yes, you have more brands, you see more Black people, more Brown people endorsing brands and you think yes, this is for me. But actually, it was not. And in my agency, I was managing a few brands and one of them was one of the only brands, back in the day, that was doing luxury makeup for darker skins, Black Up Cosmetics. I know it would be possible for anyone to imagine what it was like in a pre-Fenty world, but Black Up was one of the first products I used where I was like wow, I don’t look green, I don’t look gray, this actually looks good on my skin. And so managing that brand just brought a lot of conversations through the relationships that I built with makeup artists, my press contacts, and my bloggers and YouTubers and customers. That just made me realize that my struggle with beauty products and skincare was also experienced by not Black women only, but also women with melanin-rich skin at large. And the fact that this was happening in the US, a country where there is so much diversity and you see the communities of color having more power and bigger voices compared to what we have in Europe, it completely blew my mind. And I wanted to understand – I became obsessed with what is the link here? What is the link between women of color and lack of satisfaction with skincare? Because for makeup, the explanation was pretty clear. We didn’t have enough diversity with shade, the undertones were off. But for skincare, it was very confusing because you do grow up thinking that skin is skin, but that is not the case. I believed that until I started doing research and I stumbled upon scientific evidence that kind of cleared the confusion for me. I discovered about the Fitzpatrick Scale which classified human beings, six phototypes with specific reference to the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. So phototypes one, two, and three, these are people that have low melanin levels, they sunburn easily, white skin. Then we have phototype four, five, six, that have medium-to-high levels of melanin in their skin and they tan easily. And these phototypes have a set of different dermatology principles. I also learned that the melanin was only the visible difference in the skin, that there were also structural and functional differences specific to skin phototype four, five, and six. The skin’s architecture is different; there are nuances there. You see that the skin are also prone to trans-intradermal water loss, so that impacts how you actually hydrate your skin. And when you know that skin dryness can be the origin of so many skin issues, it’s so important to pay attention to this fundamental aspect of skin health. And then I learned that skin shading plays higher for skin phototypes four, five, and six, which combine to dryness, causes dullness, what we call ashy skin. There’s a real explanation – a real physiological explanation behind this. These are not some words that we’re making up within the community; that’s great to know. It was relieving for me to know. 

And one thing that really created that “aha” moment for me was going through the hyperpigmentation that was one of my bigger problems, you learn that the melanocytes, I don’t know if you ever heard of this – the melanocytes, those are the cells that produce the melanin pigment and they are very powerful and super reactive for skin phototypes four, five, and six. That’s normal because they do have to produce all of this melanin that’s giving us this glorious skin. But melanin also plays a protective role for the skin. So that means that any aggression to the skin, anything your skin interprets as an aggression, is going to trigger the melanocyte to produce excess melanin to protect the traumatized area. And that’s why darker skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation. Again, this is an important piece of information to factor into how we create products because you understand that if you’re using something that is too strong, that will backfire, okay, and cause more hyperpigmentation. And if you use something that is not well-balanced that doesn’t factor in how complex melanogenesis is and how there are many pathways to melanin and having that single type pigmentation ingredient in a formula, it just won’t produce results. And that was it, that was my explanation with my hyperpigmentation: I just hadn’t found something that took into account how my skin was set-up.

I mean, there are dozens of nuances between the skin that are just not factored into the R&D process, into the testing process. When you test formulas today, everything is based on white skin whether you’re talking about the legal testing, the batch test is based on white skin. Brands, they are conducting their efficacy tests only on white skin. And so that was some of the evidence that I kind of batted around, and when you realize that the vast majority of skincare brands have this same process, that actually explains the ongoing dissatisfaction with skincare products. Our industry is very much focused on anti-aging, which is the main issue for photoype one, two, and three, because they have less elastin and less collagen, so this skin may age a lot faster. But another difference with skin phototypes four, five, and six is that they have a lot of elastin, a lot of collagen. And again, when we hear these sayings in the communities, “black don’t crack” etcetera, there’s a scientific backing to that because their skin has more collagen, more elastin, and so anti-aging is not their main concern regardless of what the industry is trying to make us believe So that was really the foundation. That scientific evidence was what made me realize okay, this is not about me or all these women not being able to find the right products. The right products are not out there. There are still huge inequities when it comes to access to skin health in the dermatology world, access to skincare. And so that’s why we started 4.5.6. And we started wanting to create a strong brand. We wanted to put the physiology of darker skin at the center of everything we do and perform R&D on testing based on the physiology of this skin and create yes, high-performance, but also with the highest resiliency because that is so important to tackle dryness, excess sebum production, dullness, hyperpigmentation as they uniquely manifest on these skin phototypes, but also to strengthen the skin barrier and make the skin more resilient and healthy. And that’s what we’ve been doing for the past years. Yeah.

Kelly Kovack [00:20:07]: Well, I think it’s very interesting because what you have just described is essentially two years of doing extensive research and development before bringing 4.5.6 to market. And so many start-ups today in sort of the beauty eco-system are focused on speed-to-market. But you really made an investment in getting to the root cause. A lot of brands are built into “I couldn’t find a product that worked for me” and then they kind of go from there. You sort of went backwards and found out, well, why? And substantiated what you were feeling by science. And you have a very defined brand positioning in developing products for melanin-rich skin that are specifically the skin types four, five, six on the Fitzpatrick Scale, which you mentioned. But you also made an investment in vertically integrating your business, which is expensive, but I know you felt that it was important to have a vertically integrated business with R&D and manufacturing capabilities because most start-up brands just work with a third party to bring their vision to life. Can you share why this was sort of integral and kind of the business you had in mind?

Noelly Michoux [00:21:30]: Absolutely. So, to the first part of the question about why we decided to spend so much time in R&D and not just go to market based on marketing, just branding, obviously our industry is very marketing-driven, right? That’s just how things are. And this explains why the market is saturated today with brands that tell different stories. But at formulation level, it’s pretty much the same thing, right? Take those bottles, turn them around, look at the ingredients, not much difference there. You have big conglomerates that use pretty much similar formulas for the many different brands. Then you have brands that buy white label formulation to big labs, you know, they tweak it for one or two ingredients, go to market. And you have very few – there are some brands out there, but they are the minority, that are actually creating formulas that serve the human skin and not just the financial bottom line. 

And with 4.5.6, we just had no choices. We had no choices. It had to be done the right way. We had to go do it based on what we understood of the physio, pathological mechanism of melanin-rich skin. And we took a look at the nuances in this skin and we had to create a new playbook and formulation principles that are actually aligned with this skin. I’ll take just one example, when we talk about trans-intradermal water loss and that the skin architecture is different, so hydration needs to be addressed differently. So we realized okay, what does that mean? That means we need formulas that are actually correctly vectorized to take those nutrients that we are going to put into the formula deeper into the skin because the skin is a little bit different. So then we realized, so how do we do that with the way the industry uses water today? So the standard of our industry is the you use the demineralized water, or tap water; that’s the standard today. And water makes up for 80% of your formula, right, and so you are making 80% of your formula with dead water that your skin is not responsive to. So we’re like, okay, that is not going to work for our skin because we really need hydration to get there. So we made the decision to do something different because water has such amazing properties for the skin. So we ruled that out, decided to use vitalized water as the base of our formula because vitalized water is such a fantastic ingredient: it hydrates the skin, it helps carry the nutrients to the cells, detoxifies the skin, just makes the whole formula powerful. So these are the kinds of decisions that we were making to make sure we were adapting the formula to our communities and not to the industry standards. Same thing with hyperpigmentation. It is really, really challenging to go through such a level of R&D, but we – and you can’t get inspired. You can’t say, hey, they’re doing it really well so I’m going to get inspired by them and do it better. There’s just no one. Who is going there? Really no one. 

But we were lucky enough to be the laureates of the Cosmet’up Program in France. This is a program created by the French Government and the big players in the industry to kind of foster innovation in the beauty industry. So we won that program in 2018, which then allows us to get an incubation with the LVMH Research Center. So, completely separate from their main labs – just clarifying that. We had a full lab for a really good price, we had full equipment access to anything that we needed, and that was really a privileged situation to be in. When you call the suppliers and you say, “I’m calling you from the LVMH Research Center,” they’re like, what do you need? We’ll give. If you call and say, “This is Noelly calling you,” they’re like, who are you? Girl, bye. Anyways, that was really, really important for us to have that and that also created confidence with early investors and that’s how we were able to raise an initial $700,000, which we used to finalize the R&D, the testing, to legally certify our formulas. And then we built our own R&D facility as well and then we bought the raw materials, packaging, printers, and labels. We had to make some tough decisions during COVID, but at the end of the day, those made us even more integrated and we pretty much built everything in-house and we went to market selling only through our website. And today we ship in Europe, the U.S., Canada, and internationally, and that’s great. And the reason that we decided to build that lab is it’s hard and it’s expensive to go to an established manufacturer and say, “Look, I have really low MoQs because I’m small, I’m just starting out, but I’m going to need you to follow my production guidelines. We’re going to change your whole order system because we need to use our vitalized water, so just turn that off, that water use for all of the other players that make you more money, and use our vitalized water. Also, we customize our formula, so I’m going to need you to produce our cold blends and then produce our customization complexes and actives, and then I want you to set up that space to make our formulas to order.” Just imagine that conversation. Any manufacturer would be like, get out of here. And it would have taken us so much more time and it would have been so, so much more expensive for us to do that. And also, when you want to challenge the status quo, it’s impossible to do it under people that serve the status quo, right? And if you want to maintain a level of innovation and the level of quality that we wanted for our communities, we just had to be independent at the R&D level. And I’m so lucky to have a co-founder who is not only a cosmeticist, a dermacosmetic expert, she’s a genius formulator. But she also has tons of experience running a small lab and the production unit so we could leverage her experience. So this doesn’t come out of nowhere. We have so much innovation for the community; for face, for body, for hair, for beauty inside out. And if you want to bring that innovation to the community, it’s important for us to have full ownership of the R&D process, so that’s why we went in that direction.

Kelly Kovack [00:28:24]: At BeautyMatter, we’re committed to leveraging the platform we’ve built and the community we’ve nurtured to help make change happen. Our first impact partner is The Eco Soap Bank, a global humanitarian non-profit that’s saving lives by rescuing, recycling, and redistributing soap to communities that otherwise lack essential hygiene. Eco Soap Bank is quite literally changing the world one recycled bar of soap at a time. As an industry, we can help them empower women and fight preventable disease. It’s time to get involved. Learn more about partnership opportunities and the global impact a bar of soap can have by visiting EcoSoapBank.org.

I want to talk about sort of the community and diversity because Fenty was really the first brand to break through with an inclusive range of complexion products. And the past year has really called the beauty industry to task on diversity and inclusion, which was long overdue, and it’s led to color brands exchanging shade ranges. But based on your research, it feels like inclusive shade ranges don’t really address the root problem because beyond a simple shade, a Fitzpatrick one versus a Fitzpatrick six have different complexions and they also have different needs from skincare. So while you may address the complexion piece of the equation, the formulation doesn’t work. It almost feels like window-dressing a problem. Am I understanding it correctly?

Noelly Michoux [00:30:11]: I’m laughing because you just said the word window-dressing because yeah, that is actually what’s been happening. But to move toward the right direction, you know, we’ve seen a change in makeup. There are different considerations between makeup and skincare really because what I’ve seen with the industry, it’s the industry saying, okay, there’s a problem with shade and so we’re going to make them shades deeper and deeper and deeper. But yet again, we’re not looking at the problem from the roots. And for me, in makeup, the base and root of the problem is again the base of the formula – the base of your makeup formula is white. So if we’re keeping that white base and just adding deeper pigment into it, then there’s going to be a problem with undertones, and that’s where I feel like the innovation, when it comes to makeup, still needs to happen. It doesn’t matter if you add 40, 70, 100 shades; if the base is not right, then it’s not going to come off right, especially for people that have really dark skin like myself. 

But just going back to Fenty, right, I think it’s very important to give credit where credit is due. Fenty Beauty, she completely changed the industry, right? She did. You can attribute the success of Fenty to Rhianna being such a beloved international star with a huge following or the backing of LVMH and Sephora, because that’s where these are her partners. But this is more than just a celebrity brand. And for someone who experienced the beauty industry before Fenty, it was different back then. It was outdated Eurocentric beauty ideas to a complete lack of representation included in campaigns, the exclusion of anyone who was not part of the standard, you just didn’t belong. And Fenty, she didn’t just address that, she completely blew the conversation open and she helped, you know, push the change in the right direction. And to anyone, because the brands were saying, well we’re not making anything for darker skin tones because it’s not profitable, we call it the Fenty proof. When you do a thing the right way and you give them the right push, it works, and that’s the Fenty proof. 

And now we are moving beyond that because there is awareness around the problem now. And you can’t fix the problem if there’s no general consensus that there is a problem. Other smaller founders with less visibility, they have been trying to do this for years, right, Fenty was not the first. But she was able to bring much more visibility to it because of who the founder is. And that paved the way to projects that are going to bring a new generation of products, a new generation of innovation that not only represents people of color in terms of the marketing, because I think I feel like that’s where we’ve been, the solution has been put the brand black tag on it, and you’re good to go. That was before, now we’re going to the next stage where we want to do more than just marketing; we want solutions that stem from physiology, the differences, the nuances in the skin, in the undertone, and we want to see cultural representation, so it’s going deeper. And what’s really needed for this new generation of innovators is just the support; it’s the support of the whole value chain; it’s equal access to the support of the whole value chain from R&D to funding. There is no brand out there that became a significant international brand if they didn’t receive rounds and rounds and rounds of funding, you know? So that’s what this new generation of founders needs, we need media representation, we also need the support to come from the communities that we’re trying to serve themselves. So I feel like this is where we’re going and it’s very encouraging.

Kelly Kovack [00:34:13]: You know, sometimes, and it’s the same thing with sustainability, it’s very easy – it’s much easier to start a brand with the foundation of sort of being inclusive and diverse and have purpose in terms of sustainability or a social mandate. It’s much more difficult to move these bigger brands and I think that’s why we’ve seen – marketing is easier to change first, right? But once you get into the supply chain, it’s complicated. So my question to you is, to truly, truly, truly service the needs of diverse consumers in a meaningful way, what do brands need to do beyond allowing people to see themselves in their brand and in their marketing? But that’s on the surface level; we’re still in the products business, the products need to deliver.

Noelly Michoux [00:35:10]: I think my position with that has changed a little bit just being on the production development side of things and seeing the efforts that you actually have to put into making a product, into making it customized, even within your own segment that you’re trying to serve. And I’m trying to envision that kind of change implemented on the value chain of a mastodon. And so that has led me to thinking maybe these huge, huge brands, they just do not have the capability to adapt to human nuances; maybe that’s not their job. Maybe their job today is to support that innovation and make sure they are fostering it, to make sure that it is coming up, because these are huge conglomerates that have wars and the financial bottom line is very, very important. And people are so far away from that – the skin if we’re talking about skincare and makeup, the actual human beings using the product, they are so, so far away from where the decisions are being made today. So I am not convinced that these huge brands have the capacity today to operate that 360 change that is demanded on them today because you have layers and layers of bureaucracy, the admin, the decision process takes forever, and an R&D cycle with one of these huge, huge companies can take three-to-five years. Can you imagine how long we’re going to have to wait before expecting these brands to be implementing this change that we want right now? It’s going to take forever. To be honest with you, I’m not convinced that this is their job, but I do believe that there is a way for them to kind of recognize and be aware that in the way they have participated in the way our industry is today, and they are aware that a change needs to happen and they are willing to support that change that would then be implemented by the people that need it the most.

Kelly Kovack [00:37:29]: Do you feel like – I think that anytime you’re trying to make a big kind of paradigm shift, and that’s really what we’re talking about, it kind of comes in phases because you can’t go from zero to 100. So I sort of feel like the marketing piece and being inclusive is the starting point. But I wonder, right now brands are trying to be everything to everyone, which never really works. And so what you’re doing, maybe the future is there are brands that specifically and deeply serve a segment of consumers and they do it well. And those brands aren’t pushed to be inclusive because you don’t have to be everything to everyone, you need to service your consumers well. And so I kind of feel like there is this push-and-pull happening of if you just focus on a niche, you’re sometimes told you’re not being inclusive.

Noelly Michoux [00:38:30]: Yeah, well, I guess the inclusivity term itself definitely needs to be questioned because they’ll also, you know, how that is being portrayed in the industry today and the whole confusion between representation and inclusivity, those are different things. And I completely agree with you, I just don’t see how a brand can be everything to everybody. That doesn’t work because at the end of the day, if you really look at the process, if you really look at who’s being targeted, it’s always a very unique segment in the population and everyone else is just really being targeted for marketing. So there is a huge challenge – there are big challenges coming brands’ way because customers are becoming so smart and so aware now and they will be asking those questions, like I am buying from you, you are selling to me, but how are you really for me? Are you representing my individuality the way I wanted it to be portrayed in this society? Are you supporting me? Are you sustainable? What are you putting in your ingredient? Prove to me that when you say you are for me, you are really for me. And I think it’s going to be a bigger and bigger struggle for brands to spread on everyone like that. And being specialists, having one lane where one line, one segment of the population, where you know this is what I do and I do it well and I serve the customer well, it’s probably where we need to be moving because we’ve lived under the era where we had six brands basically having this top-to-bottom approach to product: this is what I produce, it’s for everyone. It’s not working. It hasn’t worked, otherwise we wouldn’t have all of these intubated brands coming out of nowhere and being so successful in getting market shares from these big guys. So yeah, I guess inclusivity tomorrow is something we probably need to question and is going to become about how do you best serve a segment of the population based on who you are, based on who they are, based on your expertise, and just based on the value that you can genuinely create for them.

Kelly Kovack [00:40:46]: Noelly, I am so excited to have you as an entrepreneur in this industry because I think what you’re building is really important and you’re so thoughtful about it. And also open and honest to have kind of what are complicated conversations, so thank you for that. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, I can’t wait to share this podcast with everyone, and we are excited to watch your path. You’re just getting started, so please, please, please keep us in the loop.

Noelly Michoux [00:41:18]: Yeah, we will definitely. Thank you so much for having me, Kelly.

Kelly Kovack [00:41:23]: Thank you, Noelly.

For Noelly, it’s a matter of genuine consideration. She’s on a mission to redefine the beauty industry from the ground up, addressing the root cause of a system that’s really been set out for white skin. She’s building a vertically integrated brand backed by science to address the needs of melanin-rich skin. Noelly dreams of a world where everyone is represented in beauty, not only in the marketing of it, but systematically throughout the R&D and manufacturing of the products we develop. For her, real inclusion requires focusing on the specific needs of melanin-rich skin. Her brand is not for everyone, and that’s okay with her. So in the end, it’s a matter of genuine consideration, and that’s what matters. I’m Kelly Kovac, see you next time.

Noelly Michoux [00:42:21]: Hi, my name is Noelly Michoux and for me, it’s a matter of genuine consideration that the nuances in our beauty, our skin, our hair, our culture, our languages, the way we love, we pray, to be considered as adding value and flavor to our world.

Kelly Kovack [00:42:42]: It’s A Matter Of is a production of BeautyMatter LLC. You can find more content and insights on www.BeautyMatter.com and follow us on social media @BeautyMatterOfficial.

[END OF RECORDED AUDIO]



×

2 Article(s) Remaining

Subscribe today for full access