We’re branching out this year at Skincare.net and learning more about disruptive companies in the skin care and anti aging industry. From time to time we’ll have exclusive interviews with CEO’s and marketing minds behind various firms in a rare chance for our readers to get a look inside how things work in our always evolving space.
Today I spent some time on the phone with Skin Pro International founder Tim Schmidt.
Founded in 2009, the company is one of the rare organizations that sells direct to consumers via their website and Amazon.com Storefronts. Best known for manufacturing the uber popular Elite Serum, the company makes around forty skin care products, mostly geared to help people look younger. In our phone interview, I was fortunate enough to get a look inside how Skin Pro was built, as well as get a glimpse at what’s in store for this company in the year 2017.
Interview With Skin Pro Founder Tim Schmidt
First off, I’ll lead in that I know Tim through various marketing circles. He’s developed a series of web-focused companies dating back to 2002, mostly in the health and wellness space. He routinely speaks about branding, public relations, online marketing, and product creation at various marketing events. He’s also a regular exhibitor, speaker, and participant at numerous trade shows and conferences, which makes him easy to locate but a hard man to get significant time with.
Brandon: Tim, thanks for making time for me today. How are things going for you in this New Year?
Tim: I always have time for the fine folks at Skin Care Media Group. You do such a great job at keeping people informed as to what’s going on in the anti aging space. Life is great, we’re all very excited for 2017 and have we have a lot of new initiatives that will be rolled out this year that we feel will make our customers very happy.
Brandon: Can you share any information with us on what your plans are for Skin Pro in 2017?
Tim: Certainly. We have done some re-branding on the corporate side of things, and will be unveiling an entirely new website for SkinPro.com. With this being our corporate umbrella, we felt it was time to up our game and present a public fact that was more friendly with the media, as well as conveyed to potential customers that we are now entering our 8th year of selling online, making us a dinosaur in the process. Not many brands that do 99% of their business online make it this long, it’s certainly a tough space with it’s ups and downs, but we like to credit our customer service team as well as laboratory for making such game changing products.
Brandon: You’ve certainly made a name for yourself in the space, and it’s impressive how long you’ve been making great products. Do you have anything new you are rolling out this year other than the website?
Tim: We’ve decided to finally reveal our signature line of products, which will be under the “Skin Pro” label. We felt that making products under this name was our logical next move, but we wanted them to be the absolute best products we manufacture, as well as have some different types of products that other companies aren’t even thinking of yet.
Brandon: Very cool. What sorts of products are you making under the Skin Pro label? I’m curious, since you said they aren’t the standard types that you sell now.
Tim: We led off with a neck firming cream. It features Argireline, Matrixyl 3000, Marine Collagen, Retinol, and Squalane. The neck cream has always been a product we’ve enjoyed selling, because it really works wonders to conceal one’s true age. Most people really start taking care of their face, only to entirely omit taking any action on their neck. the neck area is a dead giveaway as to someone’s true age. I’ve been guilty of not applying enough sun block on my neck and upper chest area while playing golf and have had that awful red tan line to match my perfectly bronzed face. It’s not a good look.
In addition to the neck product, We’ve also developed a product that we call the bio-placenta facial serum. It’s an anti aging product that will make people totally forget about buying wrinkle creams. This serum has been through many tests with our trusty network of beauty diva’s, and it’s getting rave reviews. We’re really anxious to get that on the market, it’s THAT good of a product. We’re also doing a vitamin c serum, because there are so many benefits of using vitamin c. There are other products in the pipeline, but those are at the forefront of our product launches.
Brandon: Wow, sounds like you have been very busy in the laboratory.
Tim: It’s a business where a dedication to R & D is paramount.
Brandon: What has been your most successful product? Is it still your top product?
Tim: Elite Serum Rx is the flagship product of Skin Pro and has been our top seller since day one. I credit this to always improving on it. We’ve re-packaged it twice and have upgraded the formula along the way as well. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. That product has been my “baby” for a while and it’s been a very fun ride.
Brandon: Who are the key influencers that SkinPro would dream of attracting to the brand?
Tim: This answer could change from product to product. For example, our new Miami Nights Eye Cream is geared toward the active young professional. There is a huge hole in the skin care market for twenty and thirty somethings who still stay out late while having to look their best at work every day. Miami Nights is a Haloxyl peptide rich cream that helps people look sharp even after a late night. Hence, the name – Miami Nights. For that product, as much as it pains me to say it, Justin Bieber would be a perfect spokesperson for the product. We are very active in sending out products to bloggers of all types and have had a lot of success in gaining traction from the “Mom bloggers” as well as bloggers who talk about beauty, and we really enjoy it when someone we just met gives us an honest opinion and shares that with their audience. It’s worth mentioning that I personally work with those bloggers and that they can email me if they are looking to participate. Tim @ Skin Pro.com is the best way to reach me.
Brandon: Very cool. I’m sure your email box will be full by the time this is published.
Tim: I’d welcome that and will personally respond to all emails.
Brandon: Are all of your products successes? Have you had any failures?
Tim: I wish I could say yes, but we’re human. We’ve launched a few products that just didn’t click with consumers. I mean, we’ve sold out of every product we’ve mass produced, don’t get me wrong, but some don’t add up to daily sales and positive reviews, and we’ve had to cut bait. For example, we had a diet pill with anti aging properties that actually sold very well but due to some ingredients being “too cutting edge” we had to stop producing it. So that was a failure on our part for not thinking forward. We sold that intellectual property and moved on. We also had a moisturizer that was cold activated. We sought a patent for the product and the whole nine yards. While it was my favorite product to work on and bring to market, we were unable to secure the patent and lost steam. Perhaps one day we’ll try again.
Brandon: Do you plan on branching out of the US? I keep hearing about the Korean skin care craze. Do you have plans for the Asian market?
Tim: Absolutely. We have fulfillment outside the USA, in fact. It’s very important for us to continue to build relationships in new markets. Asia is a great market, and of course we’re exploring options there.
Brandon: What are your thoughts on retail? Do you want to continue with strictly online sales or do you have plans to get in to major retailers like Sephora and GNC?
Tim: I live by the motto of “stick to what you know.” As an e-commerce marketer, that’s been my focus since inception. Would I like to be in retail outlets? I think that’s a loaded question and an obvious “yes.” However, I’d probably seek a strategic partner to handle that side of the business or better yet, sell the business to someone who has that channel in mind. We tested retail in boutique beauty outlets and spa’s last year, and got a great reception with our retail display, so we know it’s a natural progression.
Brandon: So is that your exit strategy?
Tim: If I was to entertain an exit, it would definitely be with a company that had a plan to grow the business – and getting product placement in retail would be very rewarding for someone who has the ability to crack that nut.
Brandon: I see that you have all of your products on Amazon. Is this an important sales channel for SkinPro? Is eBay still relevant?
Tim: It’s not important – it’s a MUST. You can’t be online and not sell on Amazon in some capacity. eBay is relevant, but not a huge focus for us.
Brandon: How important is sharp packaging? I ask this because I see that your flagship Elite Serum Rx now comes in a new box that really exceeds all expectations.
Tim: It’s a must in the luxury market. People want the product to work first and foremost, but they also want to feel like they bought something they can show off. We’ve made the decision to up our game in the packaging department because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Brandon: How do you see the vitamin c trend playing out? Is it slowing down?
Tim: It’s definitely slowing down. Many of the mass media outlets front run demand for ingredients, and it’s been trending down for a while since it’s peak in 2012. It’s still a perennial best seller, but the market became saturated with people using subpar formulas with very little vitamin c in their products. We’ve always stayed a step ahead by using 22% vitamin c in our DelfogoRx serum. Consumers should always pay close attention to ingredient labels and ask questions. If a product is priced cheap, there is a reason – there simply isn’t a desirable amount of the active ingredient inside the formula.
Brandon: Do you have plans to launch more devices like your Bellapulse for instance? Or do expect to stick with just topical skin treatments?
Tim: Devices are very solid products, and we’ll never close the door on them. Bellapulse is a great product at a great price, but the next market we are looking into is post-treatment creams and serums. There is no doubt that people are doing treatments like coolsculpting, kybella, and others, but there aren’t many products out there designed to help patients post-treatment. We’re working closely with Med Spa’s to design products that fill that void.
Brandon: We’ll look forward to hearing more about that as time progresses, that sounds like a neat market to enter. I cant thank you enough for your time today. Would you mind keeping in touch and coming back to announce product launches? We’re very grateful for your time.
Tim: I’d be honored. In fact, I’d like to do some giveaways and provide some coupon codes that will be exclusive to your readers. Let’s definitely stay in touch and make that happen!
Brandon: We are definitely on board with that! Anyone reading, please join our email list so you don’t miss out on that great offer. Tim, thanks again – we’ll circle back with you later this year.