FAB CEO: Interview with Lilli Gordon, founder of First Aid BeautyPosted: February 8, 2010
First Aid Beauty launched at select Sephora stores last month. Since then, the line has gained a large following (see my review here). Their most popular product, the Ultra Repair Cream, has been featured in numerous magazines, and will launch on QVC later this month. I recently had the opportunity to interview Lilli Gordon, founder and CEO of First Aid Beauty.
WB: What was your inspiration to start First Aid Beauty?
LG: I wanted to create a better experience for people with sensitive skin and other common skin challenges. The prestige beauty world these days is so focused on anti-aging that many common skin conditions are overlooked. For example, anyone who has ever consulted a dermatologist on what products to use for their sensitive skin is directed to Cetaphil more times than not. While people with especially dry skin or eczema are directed to products like Eucerin and Aquaphor. Not only are these products dated in terms of the ingredients they use, the textures leave much to be desired, and the packaging is basic. Once I looked into this further, I learned just how old some of those drugstore formulations are (some of the most popular date back to the early 1900s!!!). Needless to say, science has evolved to allow us to create highly effective formulations with very pleasing consistencies that are free of harmful ingredients, such as parabens and propylene glycol. I saw an opportunity to update the drugstore classics with skincare that was both more modern and scientifically-advanced and that incorporated luxurious formulations and exciting packaging. In short, my inspiration was the desire to create effective skincare for even the most sensitive skin types, without sacrificing beauty or experience.
WB: Do you have a background in developing cosmetics? How did you come to collaborate with Dr. Robert Buka, the board-certified dermatologist and First Aid Beauty’s Chief Science Officer?
LG: My experience in beauty began with another Boston beauty brand, Fresh, where I was partners with Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg. I was introduced to Dr. Robert Buka and his former business partner through a friend of mine. In addition, we work closely with a couple of incredible chemists who help bring our ideas to reality.
WB: Your line launched in early January at select Sephora stores. Will First Aid Beauty be available at more retail locations in the future?
LG: Yes, we launched in 125 Sephora stores in January and by March we will be in an additional 25 stores. We expect to expand into even more stores later this year with a goal of being in all Sephora stores in the United States by the end of 2011.
WB: Your line’s initial launch consists of six products. Do you have more products planned?
LG: We are launching FAB Daily Face Cream in March. The cream is lightweight and non-comedogenic, which makes it perfect for people with combination, oily or acne-prone skin, since it moisturizes without clogging pores. We will also be launching a gorgeous, sophisticated multi-tasking face cream with SPF 30 this spring, and a gentle body wash and body moisturizer in the Fall.
WB: First Aid Beauty seems to have debuted to phenomenal press coverage, overwhelmingly positive reviews, and an ever-growing fan base since it was launched last October. Did you expect the response to FAB to be so strong so quickly?
LG: We are just thrilled with people’s response to FAB to date. We’re in love with the products – they feel good, they work, and they are safe. We’re happy that our fans feel the same!
WB: What is FAB’s most popular product and why?
LG: Our most popular product is the Ultra Repair Cream. It is a rich cream that works on everything from winter dry skin and scaly elbows to super chapped hands and eczema. The cream has a beautiful whipped texture that feels wonderful going on, and can be used anywhere from your face to your hands to your feet. Since we kept petrolatum out of the formula, the product is non-greasy and absorbs in a flash. We relied on ceramides, squalane and tryglicerides, a highly effective combination that is found naturally in the skin, to moisturize and provide barrier protection. We also infused the product with botanical antioxidants to combat free radicals that compromise the skin. In addition, FAB Ultra Repair Cream contains colloidal oatmeal, which is the only FDA approved over-the-counter ingredient for treating the symptoms of eczema. We have some powerful clinical results that corroborate this product’s effectiveness. 100% of participants in a clinical trial reported a lasting improvement in skin dryness. Ultra Repair Cream is s a universal product for every single person in your household, even men and babies!
WB: FAB is scheduled to appear on QVC this month. What led to your collaboration with QVC?
LG: We are scheduled to go on air on February 22 at 10am and 4pm on a special program called Beauty Solutions. QVC is a giant in the beauty arena. Their focus on practical solutions to the toughest beauty problems makes them an ideal television partner for FAB. We are very excited about the opportunity to take FAB into literally millions of households.
WB: What’s next for you and FAB?
LG: I’m very excited to develop and grow this business. There is so much to do in terms of new, innovative products that reflect FAB’s philosophy of delivering safe, effective, and luxurious solutions at a reasonable price point. We are also in discussions with potential retail partners in international markets. All I can say is that this is just the beginning!