045 – Mariya Nurislamova of Scentbird – That New Scent Thrill


Fragrance subscription service Scentbird offering a 30-day supply of designer fragrance monthly…

ScentbirdMariya Nurislamova, Co-Founder/CEO of Scentbird, joins Regina Gwynn and guest host Kelly Kovack (Beauty Matter – Episode 24) in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Why Scentbir d, and what’s the reason it needs to exist
  • A fragrance discovery platform that is digital
  • Disrupting the status quo of fragrance discovery, which is in person, sprayed in faceScentbird
  • The goal to bring fragrances digital
  • Helping people discover what they should be shopping for next
  • A monthly supply (about 120 sprays, allowing users to “date” fragrances before “marrying” them
  • Incredibly strong adoption and building a robust community
  • Smart Search, a visual recommender with multiple categories
  • Scentbird’s audience wants a portfolio of scents, not just one or twoScentbird
  • Scentbird went through two accelerator programs
  • Pitching the passion, and adapting to the investor audience, and having enough activity that you can get through the no’s for the yes’s
  • Raising investment rounds as a woman
  • And traditional Russian fare for snacktime
  • Data informed how the platform functions, a quarter of a million subscribers means a lot of data
  • Collecting a lot of crowd sourced data on each fragrance that is shared back to the community
  • Early user growth hacks, including influencer marketing
  • How Scentbird is like 30 tech companies all in house
  • What’s next for the company

044 – Sarah Akkari of Senteurs d’Orient – From Niche to Global Brand

Sarah Akkari

A luxury brand born out of a niche mom and pop business competing on a global stage in the new age of commerce with Senteurs d’Orient…

Sarah AkkariSarah Akkari, Owner/CEO of Senteurs d’Orient (handcrafted, hand-wrapped soap from the heart of traditional soap-making region) joins Karen Moon, Deanna Utroske, and Barbara Zinn Moore in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • How Akkari’s mother founded the company in Lebanon 17 years ago
  • The fragrance of soaps, inspired by bathing ritual of the Orient, cleanses the body and is soothing and relaxing the mind, with a high concentration of essential oils
  • How Akkari was always interested in beauty products, and particularly the fragrance and science side with formulations etc.
  • She started with L’Oreal, loved what her mother was doing but always had separate work lives, saw opportunities for niche brands telling their own stories, and the opportunity to tell the story outside of LebanonSarah Akkari
  • Confusion of what’s natural at a consumer level, what’s right and what kinds of expectations and standards to be set?
  • Why it is worth the product development effort to give the consumer what they are expecting, such as creating lather
  • How Akkari is launching buddy oils, hand wash, lotions
  • And instead of snacks – single use soap leaves
  • Taking a business from Lebanon and the US, the birth of the brand in the US, started with packaging design in Asian and Middle Eastern designs, fusing both cultures, deciding on a focus on PR to tell the story right and getting credibility
  • Telling the story of the benefits of the oils from an SEO standpoint or content and education?
  • The time and money involved in creating content
  • Story is complex so need content creation to tell it
  • The diversity of Lebanese food
  • What she loved about working at L’Oreal, and now with her own company following the process from beginning to finish, and the most exciting part is working with talented people, making sure they align with your vision, while giving them room for their vision and talent
  • Two places to go in Lebanon
  • Being surprised at the speed of the ecommerce business, and the overall size of the retail industry

043 – Kelle Jacob of Estee Lauder Company Ventures – Getting Personal


Efficiency, why slowing down can be good, how a former reality show contestant and Millennial leveraged a childhood fantasy, why entrepreneurship in college matters, and putting that to work in corporate America…

JacobKelle Jacob, Senior Manager, International Marketing  for ELC Ventures and for BECCA Cosmetics, joins Karen Moon, Deanna Utroske [Episode 14], and Barbara Zinn Moore [Episode 30] in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:Jacob

  • Jacobs’ career path
  • Working with innovative companies as the “cool kids of the block”, and how things are changing mixed with the opportunities of a legacy brand
  • Optimizing processes while being respectful to culture while allowing for efficiencies of scale
  • Influencers, and building a community around a brand
  • The impact of social media on brand marketing, and how most important thing is connection to consumer
  • Opening channels of communication with consumers i.e. via receipts, or package trackingJacob
  • Giving relevant content, not just having a bot that the consumer comes to, having a good development plan for technology, with a focus on personalization and interaction
  • Brands need to be personified
  • Instagram top of the list of social tools
  • Biohacking and DNA, voice and voice search
  • The reality show that Jacob was on, Shanghai, her morning ritual, waking up two hours earlier, meditating and dancing, and positivity

042 – Tina Hedges of LOLI Beauty – Food Glorious Beauty


Organic, zero waste beauty brand…

LOLITina Hedges, Founder/CEO of LOLI Beauty (beauty brand using only organic, raw, fair-trade, non-GMO ingredients) joins Karen Moon and guest hosts Deanna Utroske [Cosmetics Design – Episode 14] and Stephanie Cartin (CEO/Cofounder of social media and influencer marketing agency SocialFly) in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:LOLI

  • Tina Hedges discusses a superfood and organic approach to customizing
  • LOLI as the first organic zero waste beauty brand, stirring up beauty to make a change
  • The aim to be ethical, effective, and empowering as a DIY consumer experience
  • Company genesis and how Hedges self-financed the company based on a belief of how much blending women want to do at home
  • How women immediately flocked to purchase a surprise 3 month subscription, paid up front, looked at it as a revolution, but had no idea what they were getting, and hedges didn’t know what she was sending until a week before she did
  • Need flawless and easy solutions for consumers
  • Consumers don’t need to spend 20 min to customize product
  • LOLI offers multi tasking bases, then blend between 3 and 7 ingredients into the bases for hair, skin and face
  • How Hedges knew the MVP wasn’t the final version because she personally hand picked and packed and blended each order
  • How the company was initially essentially paid to focus-group, with a zero cap spend and no customer acquisition cost
  • Partnerships with Urban Outfitters and Adidas, such as pop-up blending bars
  • Hedges shares how the metrics have been incredible
  • Immersive experiential, taking women back and getting them involved in the process and ritual of beauty that has meaning and resonance
  • Pop up strategies and successes, and an average basket price $116
  • A powerful beauty solution
  • Food grade glass containers which can be reused for food, as a true environmentally friendly approach to packagingLOLI
  • Most beauty products are 80-95% water, and LOLI’s products don’t use water
  • How LOLI was the first to use a completely “compostable in 180 days” bags that come from food
  • Products are made in free world economies, use a tech platform to please the supply chain
  • LOLI is positioning to be creating a movement to stir things up and do them differentlyLOLI
  • How LOLI isa food company reinventing beauty, not a beauty company using foods
  • Hedges sees LOLI as encouraging consuming beauty in a fresh and rapid manner, which translates to the type of sizing and packaging
  • Transparency is a mantra for LOLI, including showing on labels how much of each ingredient is in the product
  • Hedges shares how LOLI is sourcing every ingredient themselves from farms, fair trade coops, etc.
  • Up-cycling from food, such as plums for the plum elixir more effective than chemicals but all natural, and how LOLI doesn’t change fragrances
  • A truly fitting snack time, taking three ingredients and making them into cookies
  • Why Coconut oil should not be used on faces and why
  • Mass customization with the bases
  • The balance of giving customers the bases and letting them explore
  • Looking at the essentials that can do many things and provide solutions, but don’t need 30 products
  • How LOLI designed the packaging themselves, and was inspired by walking aisles in gourmet food stores that wasn’t custom
  • The first time a bag like that was ever made, creating a category with new materials
  • Scaling a brand like this – or being flexible with what nature provides, as part of brand ethos
  • Building successful startups prior, discrimination on age and gender, despite being in Grand Central Tech Accelerator
  • Hedges was not allowing a “no” to determine her future
  • Her life outside of work
  • Responses from consumers, delightful customer experiences and partnerships, and how every interaction with the brand must feel personable and special

041 – Sindhya Valloppillil of SkinGenie – The Beauty of DNA


Skincare advisor that analyzes your DNA and lifestyle with artificial intelligence, and the journey of founding a startup…

SkinGenieSindhya Valloppillil, Co-Founder and CEO of SkinGenie, joins Karen Moon and guest host Deanna Utroske [Cosmetics Design – Episode 14] in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • How companies make unsubstantiated claims
  • Valloppillil shares how Skin Genie personalizes products using AI to create a product to address a person’s unique genetic traits
  • DNA testing with blood, saliva, or cheek swab tests
  • Most people don’t know how to effectively read ingredient listsSkinGenie
  • SkinGenie is a tool to help buy the right products
  • The app does work for customers without the DNA component, using lifestyle questions, but is not as powerful.
  • With DNA, a seamless login for 23andMe, the customer can click on the “My Products” section of SkinGenie app and rank products 0-10, plus ratings
  • How SkinGenie was started by two scientists, including a genomics expert, built the algorithm together, used clinical studies that look at mutli-genetic variants for analysisSkinGenie
  • How most competitors only use a single trait for analysis, but Skin Genie’s approach offers more convincing and robust science
  • Skin Genie’s direct to consumer app and the enterprise services platform (brands, retailers spas, media companies)
  • A snack of Kati Rolls (Indian Street food) for snacks,
  • Valloppillil’s career journey working on a global brand image team, then working on an innovation team, then Neutrogena, then a larger company that which was run like a startup, leading product and marketing, then the company was acquired by P & G
  • The first men’s grooming brand to go online and went global
  • Starting a company named Helix, which was a difficult time, competing against men for fundraising, and how it is about who your know, not about traction
  • How a parental suggestion for therapy re-motivated Valloppillil
  • When writing an article about fundraising and women led to being banned by Business Insider and doors opening, then she went from snarky to journalistic style
  • An amazing story about The Art of Shave and acquisitions and a brand family and competitive brands – and the same company being bought back twice
  • And the most emotional moment on the show to date

040 – Celebrity Makeup Artist Elena George – Enhancing Natural Beauty

Elena George

Building a 30+ year career from hair to makeup with artists including Robin Roberts, Mariah Carey, Salt-N-Pepa, Aretha Franklin, and more…

Elena GeorgeSix-time Emmy Award Winning Celebrity Makeup Artist Elena George (makeup artist for Robin Roberts on Good Morning America) joins guest host Abby Wallach [Episode 25] in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • George shares how she always wanted to do hair, and when a kid the girls always had new hairstyles thanks to her, her mother nurtured that talent and drive, and convinced her to go to beauty school after high school, then she went to college, and was the campus hair person and made good money on campus
  • How she turned her college career into her first business
  • How a friend’s invite to do hair on a music video for Pepa of Salt-N-Pepa changed her life and created the next level of her careerElena George
  • Pivoting from loving hair to doing makeup, the issue with discontent and complaining, how makeup was like painting, and how it all changed because of one incident
  • Watching other artists recreate the whole face, was magical, like maestro
  • Being with Salt and Pepa for thirty years, and branching out more such as Vivica Fox, Aretha Franklin, Vanessa Williams, and more
  • George shares how there are easier ways to manage hair with more products now, and the same in makeup, and how that has impacted the use of salons
  • How makeup needs have leveled out with the introduction of HD
  • How George prefers to do makeup as naturally as possible and as close to how you normally look like with a few enhancements
  • The industry now wants to put a mask onElena George
  • Using social media for sharing expert advice because so many people ask for it
  • Evolving and not looking the same for years and years
  • The sacrifices of being on the road and on tour (such as with Mariah Carey), and how those people touring with you become another family
  • Acting like a producer, and with Mariah you have to know the lighting, so why she has her own lighting a person to stay in sync with how she always looks, consistently
  • How having her talent spotted resulted in an ongoing gig for George with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America
  • So many beautiful celebrities are not confident in their beauty, and how the makeup artist ends up being a confidence builder
  • And, how George thinks of God as an agent

039 – Marcia Kilgore of Beauty Pie – Like a Kid in a Beauty Store

Beauty Pie

Beauty subscription service with world’s best luxury skincare and makeup at straight-off-the-production line prices…

Marcia Kilgore, Founder of Beauty Pie (a beauty membership program) joins host Julie Fredrickson and guest host Annie McRoskey (‎Social Media & Marketing Coordinator for Trendalytics) on location at NRF Big Show 2018. MouthMedia Network is powered by Sennheiser. Sponsored by Kabbage.

In this episode:

  • Kilgore’s background as a three time beauty entrepreneur and one time footwear entrepreneur
  • The origin of the name and concept of Beauty Pie, and offering of original products, and as a buyer’s club for beauty addicts
  • Neuroplasticity, epigenetics
  • How Kilgore is directly involved with the formulating of the skin products
  • The secret is most cosmetics from perhaps fifteen factories, and most brands are not making their own products
  • The beauty industry is about selling a dream, and as well that women wont be smart enough to know the markups – but of course women are smart enough
  • How inexpensive great products can be to make, and why beauty editors might be bamboozled
  • Buying beauty products should be fun and why that matters
  • How and why Kilgore and Beauty Pie started with color cosmetics and moved to skin care, and the genesis of an idea with “what would the Netflix of cosmetics be like?”
  • The way beauty Pie started with makeup and how it came from playful copywriting
  • Why the Beauty Pie business model works
  • The value of Hyaluronic Acid that holds 1,000 times its weight in water
  • Are new ingredients better or are we reinventing just because of desire?
  • How Kilgore is balancing accessibility without all the marketing team, and writing her own marketing and social media copy for the brand

038 – Virginia Bonofiglio of FIT – An Education in Beauty

Virginia Bonofiglio

Learning a changing beauty industry with Virginia Bonofiglio …

Virginia BonofiglioVirginia Bonofiglio, Assistant Professor and Associate Chairperson of the Department, Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), joins Karen Moon and Abby Wallach [Episode 25]  in the MouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • How Bonofiglio entered the beauty industry by accident like many people, working for a Swiss fragrance company because she spoke French, helping as a technician who could understand the French perfumer
  • Bonofligio reflects on that time as a very experimental time, built on small innovative companies
  • How she learned about the sense of smell, and how we can define what we smell, the memories it brings to mind, emotions, and how it is based on organic chemistry
  • How the fragrance industry is one of the most regulated industries, and how some things are no longer in use such as nitro musks, and materials from animals
  • The challenge is how you make things smell great utilizing mostly all the new potential ingredients and technology
  • How the fragrance engineering began with the Egyptians, with a fragrance smoke meant to speak with gods, gain confidence with people
  • Middle top and bottom based on evaporation rate and what hits the nose first, and how companies can now create fragrances that are more linear in nature
  • The fragrance process begins with the brief, consisting of cost structure, where the company want to sell it, what it should smell like — the perfumer reads it and works with people in the company to get a feel of what client wants, potentially taking years while perfumers no longer have luxury of time
  • Living with a scented life, and how Bonofiglio is seeing in the classroom the desire to be authentic, real and individualistic
  • What Madelaines (cookies) have to do with Proust and the fragrance industry
  • Challenging but exciting industry disruption in product development, new materials, with traditional materials being eliminated
  • How traditional marketing is over, the digital world rules
  • The consumer lives in a mobile world, and the role of influencers with enormous followings in the beauty industry
  • The consumer wants to know how and why and when products works, so beauty companies need to be more transparent
  • Students need to understand speed to market, social media, and how to be visualizing products like fragrances
  • Sustainability and social corporate responsibility is paramount in current education
  • Educating companies, and how FIT is trying to be one step ahead of them
  • Bio-hacking, and personalization of skin care and fragrance products
  • How skin is the body’s largest organ, and we need to take care of it because it takes care of the rest of the body
  • The need to look at psychographics far more than demographics
  • Everyone looks at heritage products
  • Bonofiglio’s most scentful memory, and how the most popular scent was patchouli oil with a woody musky smell, how she found a plant at the farmer’s market, grew it in the window, now has full grown bush in house that brings her back in the 60’s
  • Reverse mentorship, and one of her takeaways from students that shaped thinking was learning to text
  • The beauty industry’s understanding and addressing the needs of diversity the way it has

037 – Janet Gurwitch of Castanea Partners – Winning at Beauty, Business and Baseball

Janet Gurwitch

Building a successful beauty brand (or any brand)…

Janet GurwitchJanet Gurwitch, Operating Partner of Castanea Partners (a Boston-based middle-market, consumer-focused private equity firm), joins Karen Moon and Regina Gwynn in New York at the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Gurwitch reveals some strategies in successful brand building and investing – one must “drink the Kool-Aid”, look for differentiated product, get along with the entrepreneurs, and believe together in the ability to build a large global business
  • How Gurwitch has never had brands not successful, but has of course had periods when they not successful, usually logistics issues, an inability to get the product out
  • Success stories of, and Gurwitch’s involvement with, Tatcha, Dollar Shave Club, DrybarJanet Gurwitch
  • How Castanea is helping brands get access to logistic resources, and how they bring a lot along with money
  • How the changes in the landscape of the beauty industry are changing how Castanea chooses to invest
  • Understanding a brand, each with a distinctive voice and brand DNA, new ideas, the importance of brands having a point of difference that resonates with a great products, and are well marketed (with a great illustration of the story of Drybar)
  • The stories of Dollar Shave Club (with a matching subscription with product), and First Aid Beauty (opening price point at Sephora to fill a white space)
  • Making the Laura Mercier brand a success, the story in building that brand
  • Gurwitch’s dream to be first woman CEO of Neiman Marcus, and making it to EVP and then leaving to pursue her own brand
  • Meeting Bobbi Brown, and how Gurwitch couldn’t get over how beauty industry was changing, so she tossed aside a wonderful corporate life , found Laura Mercier, licensed her name, and built a brand around the flawless face, great foundations, techniques, primers, and the moment of the ask for Mercier to lend her name on a brand Gurwitch owned
  • The importance of being willing to find the right group of people, and take risks
  • Why Gurwitch accepted Neiman Marcus group to invest in her company, how it impacted the sales
  • How Gurwitch undervalued packaging and learned later the major importance and impact of the right packaging
  • Young companies vs. small companies
  • What has made beauty more accessible
  • Being from the South
  • Winning the World Series with the Houston Astros (as a member of the Board), and going from being the worst team in baseball to winning the World Series, as a great example of rebuilding a brand

036 – Julie Mathers of Flora and Fauna – Green, Kind, and Selling Life

Flora and Fauna

Eco-friendly and vegan products from Australia…

Flora and FaunaJulie Mathers, Founder and CEO of Flora and Fauna, Australia’s largest cruelty free & vegan shop with exclusive eco friendly products, joins Pavan Bahl, Marc Raco, and guest host and Kelly Stickel (CEO of Remodista) at Shoptalk Europe in Copenhagen. Powered by Sennheiser.

Mathers reveals how her company offers all natural and vegan products, from skin care to fashion, and how essentially they “sell life”, Flora and Fauna’s 3.5k SKUs with many brands, and its private label brand Green and Kind

In this episode:

Flora and Fauna

  • Flora and Fauna is vegan and cruelty free, with a goal to change the way people shop
  • Vegan and cruelty free can be polarizing Flora and Fauna is subtle about it, so it is important to get customers in the door before focusing on that.
  • Brands are turning more and more to eco-friendly, how is affecting them, not being able to produce enough products as soon as consumers are educated, and how a full generation is thinking about this
  • Requirements to be a brand on Flora and Fauna – vegan products, cruelty free down to fiber levels
  • Considering packaging supplies
  • Is Flora and Fauna in a position as a thought leader, and could they offer certifications
  • Flora and FaunaFlora and Fauna’s business is from 80% Australians and New Zealanders, which for them is big market, due to marketing efforts
  • A huge move—consumers can now request less packaging, as something that makes social and financial sense to the company
  • Handwritten notes as part of entire relationship with consumer base
  • How the warehouse is hub of the business, meetings are in the warehouse which is the touchpoint of the business, the warehouse is light and bright, located in the outback with beautiful view (plus, a chocolate tasting, and having fun)Flora and Fauna
  • How the handwritten notes started, people are wanting to receive a box of delight, and Mathers wanted deliveries to be memorable
  • International growth is future of the company, a priority for 2018, and focusing on English speaking countries
  • Flora and Fauna has signed up with delivery provider who can deliver pretty much next day, even overseas, and how Flora and Fauna wants to partner with same customer service rigor as them
  • Rising above the noise of companies in the same space
  • People are not searching for products as much as problem
  • The role of social media in marketing, and targeted micro-influencers
  • An ecofriendly Wheel of Grid Destiny spins for Off the Grid Questions, covering the inspiration for being social conscious in the world, how Mathers turned vegetarian at 16 years old, when she was building solar cookers in Spain, being surrounded by and rescuing animals, and selfless and mindful superpowers. Plus, an invite to share thoughts on focusing on positive change…