We were recently joined by Liz Edlich, founder of Radical Skincare, for a live web chat. Liz set up the anti-aging beauty line with her sister Rachelin 2011 and has since grown it into a global business, with products in selective perfumeries around the world such as Harrods and Space NK in the UK, Barneys in New York and Le Printemps in France.
Check out her top tips on running a beauty company - covering everything from PR to cultural marketing - below, or click here to visit the original web chat and check out Liz's skincare tips.
What made you finally jump ship and set up your own business - did you have a moment of realisation?
The moment I decided to do this was when I saw gravity was real and my sister had chronic rosacea. That was our personal driver to create the very best and effective skincare and we are so pleased that others are seeing fantastic results and sharing our Radical journey.
I am interested to know how you got started in the beauty industry - why beauty?
I invested in a company that created 100s of beauty brands, the management team failed and I had to step in and turn it around. It was a baptism by fire but I got the bug!
Is there any particular reason why you chose to create an anti-ageing skincare range?
Yes my reflection in the mirror and my sisters rosacea were all the motivation we needed. We knew we had access to all the best scientists, and I said to myself if I can solve mine and my friends' skincare challenges then why wouldn't I? Then when it worked so well given my commitment to making a difference, how could I not bring it to you!
It's key to pursue something that 'lights you up' - that's the secret sauce that gets you the success you look for
Copyright and marketing
I am in the process of creating quite an innovative product, but as I don't have the budget to launch in a big way, I am concerned the big boys will simply copy my product before I have established the brand properly. Obviously patents are too expensive. How can I overcome this and get the product known before competitors copy the idea?
Seed it with the who's who and PR is your best bet. First to market is best defense and depending on the cost of your product, a direct response campaign is very clever.
Can you give any advice on PR coverage?
Magazines need to appeal to the entire nation, they probably just do not know about you yet. Credible celebrities always get PR traction.
Working with family
What it's like working with your sister? I'd love to go into business with my siblings but I figure we'd argue the whole time...
My sis is my best friend and we have complimentary skills and a lot of respect. So it is a unique situation . Being in biz with family, it can go really well but I have heard it can go really not so well. Use your instincts.
Your background working with your father in a burns unit sounds very interesting. Was he an important inspiration to you and your sister and what did you guys learn during your time there?
I grew up accompanying my Dad on multiple occasions to the Burn Unit at the University of Virginia Hospital and I rode with the Rescue Squad. It taught me a sense of relativity and when your father is an icon in medicine and 50% of his accomplishments he achieved from his wheelchair, that is Radical and that is an inspiration. If he was able to do that, it made me believe I too could do anything and most importantly it needed to make a difference. That's why Radical is more than skin deep, check out our Radical Living page on the site radicalskincare.com and you will see some incredible stories we are filming and sharing to help inspire people worldwide to make a difference too.
Don't take in and give time or validate things that don't support you
What's it like running an international business - how do you go about getting a presence in Dubai. France etc.? Is it really as simple as having a great product and pitching it?
I owe it all to my Radical Team, that are also all investors in my company. From the CEO of Clarins for 35 years, who heads my R& D, to the Ex CEO of Estee Lauder, ex head of Dior Russia... I have the best of the best in each country that are able to leverage off of their many years in the markets.
Running an International business is tough, between travel, jet lag, time zone difference, it is challenging, but rewarding. Additionally there are cultural differences for marketing.
I was wondering about cultural marketing - do you reply on your investors for guidance on that? Are there any big differences between the way you market in say, the US and Russia?
Yes every market has its preferred approach, however the bottom line is that people worldwide look for honesty, potency, performance and Radical results. That is what we deliver so it makes my job easier no matter what country I am in.
Sexism and mentoring
You are a true inspiration for all women out there wanted to run successful businesses! How does one go about approaching you for any work career opportunities or mentorship?
What are you interested in doing? What is your passion? Because its key to pursue something that "lights you up" thats the secret sauce that gets you the success you look for. This is a Radical mission, its global. I am one woman and my interest is that its not about me its about us and making a difference. My email is [email protected] if you would like to speak further.
I've just seen from your introduction that you used to work in venture capitalism. Have you ever come across sexism in your (very high-flying) career and if so, how have you overcome it? Do you think it's perhaps more of an issue in the UK than the US?
Sexism knows no boundaries and does not live in one particular country. When I was applying to be a stockbroker in the US it was back in the day when there were very few women but as my Dad would say - No is not a word he doesn't know how to spell it, he refuses to accept its in the dictionary - and every no is one step closer to a yes. Read our Radical Living stories on our site and be sure its all about rising above, using humour and knowing sexist or dismissive comments are not true. They arise from ignorance, insecurity and poor training. Thank them for sharing and move on with your mission, ultimately you will prevail. In general don't take in and give time or validate things that don't support you. Dismiss them and be focused.