Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Judy Cheung-Wood, founder of SkinB5.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea
Conventional acne products are either ineffective or come with serious side-effects. SkinB5 on the other hand, is specifically formulated to naturally treat a wide range of skin conditions relating to acne from the inside out. This includes teen and adult acne, occasional breakouts, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, oily skin, enlarged pores and scarring.
Unlike other acne products around the world, SkinB5 fills a wide gap in the acne treatment category, where 90% of the worldwide population suffer from acne at some point in their life. By 2025, the global acne market is expected to reach $7.5 billion.
Our range applies an effective, holistic approach, using an easy to follow inside-out product system, and is comprised of premium quality nutritional supplements and topical skincare products, all made in Australia.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
Initially, we raised seed money from angel investors to launch our first product. Then, we actively developed and grew our dermatology and professional channels to build our credibility and trust within the market.
From day 1, we developed export markets, rather than the conventional thinking of waiting for the home market to mature, leveraging overseas customers’ love of Australian products (particularly health supplements).
We developed online marketing (including social media) and sales to reach young customers, helping refer customers to purchase instore, and as a low-cost way to test and build presence in new markets. Online sales are also part of our risk management strategy.
We rank customer service, communications and relationships as a top priority for inhouse activity, to strengthen trust of the SkinB5 brand through goodwill and word of mouth. We actively build genuine online reviews and testimonials which modern customers trust much more than advertisements.
Most recently, we’ve expanded our product line, balancing low margin products with the introduction of higher margin products. In addition to that, we have engaged retail experts to develop high level pricing and margin analysis tools to improve our pricing strategy and profitability. This has allowed for us to reinvest more into marketing for further growth.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
We offer a completely new treatment method that works, while meeting modern customers’ preference to use holistic and natural treatment options to treat acne. Our continuous product innovation and changes keep our product offering relevant to evolving customer habits, maintaining a fresh and photogenic brand, which is important to our younger customers who love to photograph and share their skincare habits on social media.
We have kept our business structure lightweight and agile so that we can change and adapt much faster than large corporations. This has been essential with fast-changing customer expectations and skincare trends.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
On the business side, it is how to fund our rapid growth. On the consumer side, it is how to clearly communicate our innovative treatment methodology and shift conventional thinking that tells them to treat acne topically.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Hire staff for strong cultural and value alignment, where looking after our customers and doing the right thing by them is our highest priority. This has helped us build a truly passionate, dedicated and customer centric team which in turn help us attract amazing goodwill and loyalty from our customers.
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