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20 To Know

By: Karen A. Newman, Jeff Falk, Leslie Benson
Posted: January 7, 2009, from the January 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 7

In the 1980s, Zein Obagi, MD, challenged the norms of traditional skin care by introducing the American Academy of Dermatology to his perspective of skin health via cosmetic dermatology, rather than pathology alone. After putting his name on a line of professional skin care products, he began educating women about ingredients and product usage. Zo Skin Health, his new OTC brand launched in August 2008, sets out to prove, among other things, that moisturizers aren’t necessary when skin cells are functioning properly. “The 11-item product line uses the highest OTC concentration of retinol—10 to 25 times higher than what is commonly found in department store skin care lines,” Obagi says. “In Ossential Radical Night Repair, for example, the time-released, super-charged retinol attaches to cells where the body converts it to retinoic acid that increases collagen production in the dermis. High concentrations and a continuous supply of retinol are the best way to keep skin vital, healthy and youthful.”

Sold online, at select Nordstrom stores and at The Studio at Fred Segal, Zo Skin Health addresses the antiaging concerns of the prestige consumer. “People want healthy skin, which I define as smooth; tolerant; even-toned; firm and tight, and free of disease,” Obagi says. “Zo Skin Health products deliver the needed punch by awakening skin cells and restoring their vitality and ability to regenerate and renew themselves.”

In his career, Obagi has trained more than 7,000 dermatologists in the U.S. and many more in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He also developed the blue peel, a method that allows physicians to control the depth of a skin peel, and is the author of Obagi Skin Health Restoration and Rejuvenation, 1999.

“I don’t think of myself as a business leader,” he concludes. “I’m not focused on the business as much as I am the products, the technology and the science behind them.”

Alisa Marie Beyer, Founder and Creative Director, The Benchmarking Company

Called a “serial entrepreneur,” Alisa Marie Beyer’s enterprising nature has proven a boon to the industry as a whole. After building three successful companies, she resolved to bring her built-from-scratch expertise to the beauty industry and launched The Benchmarking Company in 2006. The endeavor involves interviewing thousands of women annually—52,000 women were surveyed in 2008—to discover what they are doing, thinking, feeling and buying, and what they want from their beauty brands. This information is then translated so that companies understand what it takes to gain customer attention, achieve brand loyalty and build a beauty business that works. The focus groups, surveys, lectures, branding boot camps and published reports continue to be game-changing reporting that has an impact beyond the company’s own clients, and the fact that her professional career has centered on women—built on a foundation of dedication to and investment in women and business—translates into a insight difficult to rival.

Tim Schaeffer, Founder, Depth Body LLC

Tim Schaeffer LEFT his work as a marine biologist to create natural personal care products, but he didn’t leave the sea very far behind. He launched Depth, a body care line including body wash, hand soap, hair care and shave cream, in early 2008, to share his love of marine botanicals and their therapeutic benefits. He says response has been enthusiastic, adding “We believe consumers appreciate Depth’s balance of design, performance and value.” A portion of every sale supports Camp SEA Lab, a nonprofit camp aimed at bringing a love and respect of the sea to underserved children.

Judges in the 2008 Fragranced Product Awards named Depth and Schaeffer Marketer of the Year citing use of eco-sensitive packaging and ingredients, corporate responsibility, and the amazing scents made from essential oils and isolates.

The line is 70% organic and all products contain 100% natural aroma blends. Further, they comply with the Whole Foods Premium Body Care standard. They are packaged in bottles shaped like the blade of Pacific Ocean Giant Kelp that are made from recycled and recyclable materials and printed with silk-screened labels to reduce waste.