For women's history month - as female founders, we thought - what better way to begin than by sharing a bit of our history? As a female-founded brand for men's skin health, we are sharing a more on our own path to building GETMr., and a few hints for what lies ahead.
For a bit of background, my mother, Dr. Beth Goldstein has been a skin cancer surgeon for the last 30 years. She started with one practice in Chapel Hill, NC and today has over 100 staff with multiple different locations across the research triangle. Over the last number of years, she began to specialize more in skin cancer treatments.
Beth's interview as to why men should care about wearing sunscreen
Not only was I born into a family of physicians, throughout college and even after, I couldn't help but think about skin health. Beyond GETMr. I'm a believer in balance, exercise for mental clarity and listening to one-too many episodes of how I built this.
Now that you know we are human-beings, let's take a look back at the last few years.
The origins: 2018
What was the exact moment where we started GETMr.?
Truthfully, we cannot pinpoint it to one moment. Rather, my mother and I began meeting after our weekly yoga sessions to discuss some ideas she had been working on. The conversation tended to go something like this:
Beth "There needs to be something better for my male patients. I see more men with skin cancer every day and my female patients, they just get it. They use a daily sunscreen but the men I see day-in, day-out, they feel like the products are too oily or show up white in their beards. I know I could make something much better they'd enjoy using."
Elianna "Yup, Jared & Michael (my brothers) I think still stick with a bar of soap as their primary skincare regimen. Anyways..."
That was the gist of 2018. We thought about this problem, discussed it and asked other people about their opinions, but did not do too much more than that.
Making Progress: 2019
I moved away from North Carolina at the end of 2018, beginning a new job through an entrepreneurial program called Venture for America. However, it was the moment I moved away that things really kicked into motion.
In 2019 we met almost every weekend. Initially, we just wanted to expand beyond what Beth was seeing in her office, but we also wanted to see what other people thought about our idea - a one-step skincare solution for men that would have it all - daily SPF, age & environmental defense, moisturizing without acne-inducing, and soothing ingredients for after shaving without loads of chemical active ingredients.
From the advice of a founder & mentor we began to try dozens of men's skincare products. We also began interviewing male friends, friends of friends and ultimately decided to design a study that would interview hundreds of men and women about their skin and suncare attitudes and behaviors - which was recently published in this January's Journal of Drugs and Dermatology.
By the end of January we had an early website prototype, a strong understanding of the current product landscape and we had successfully down-selected a manufacturing partner to work with.
Throughout the year, Beth would travel to St. Louis to meet me, I would fly to North Carolina to see her, and through this collaboration, we made significant progress, ultimately spending Thanksgiving day at a coffee shop in Atlanta. Here, we drafted out our company's values and discussed what 2020 could hold, all the while drinking 3 too many cups of coffee and bickering over nonsense to our neighbor's delight.
The (soft) Launch: 2020
By early 2020 we had a plan. At this point, we had tested our formula on over a hundred men, gone through multiple formula iterations and were ready to begin testing per FDA requirements.
We understood that our product needed to be mineral-based for both men's skincare safety and the betterment of the planet. We also hired a professional photographer to help with product shots - thank you Nathan Bolster.
Amidst all of this, in 2020, we knew that a key focus of ours had to be centered around education.
In early 2020 we interviewed several of Beth's patients on their skin cancer history and journey working with a friend Grayson
We created a film that was strong, compelling and motivating. I felt privileged that so many men were willing to share their stories in order to inspire future misters to take care of their skin.
As we continued to build on our educational content, one of the core missing pieces was to include more men of color. After filming this series we realized that we said our brand was going to be all misters, yet our product and marketing did not represent that goal.
I began working over the following months to learn more about the different benefits our product could provide for men of color. In addition to skin cancer prevention, our product could help with common challenges in darker skin types such as discoloration, brown spots, signs of aging and beyond.
Furthermore, we began to look and speak about skin cancer holistically. Not all skin cancers result from sun damage, which is especially true in darker skin types. Making a brand that was inclusive for all men to feel and look their best would be essential.
In 2020 we launched a crowd-funding campaign that raised over $15,000 and I began working full-time on GETMr. We were accepted into two accelerators, received our first batch of the product, were featured in Katie Couric, spoke with local press on St. Louis Public Radio, Healthline and beyond.
Here we go: 2021
In these first few months of 2021, we've spent the majority of our time speaking to customers and expanding our brand partnerships and dermatology relations. In addition, we have spoken on additional skin health topics with Katie Couric and have had our first feature in Forbes.
In the next few months we are working to launch new products that align with our mission - to provide skin health solutions that help men develop their healthiest skin for life.
ere are a few hints to the products in work that are directly tied to feedback we received from you as to what you'd like to see next.
Do you want to see any of these sooner than later? We are a small business balancing budget, scope and timelines but if you have other ideas, questions or suggestion, please leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
1) Body Waterproof Spray
We are working to develop a 6 oz, all mineral, waterproof body spray available this summer.
2) Skin Health Supplements
Taking a daily supplement that contains both nicotinamide and vitamin D. Taking a daily supplement of nicotinamide has been shown to help in reducing skin cancer risk by nearly 28% in men with high risk for skin cancer. Further, we've heard from customers their desire for safe UV protection, but would like to maintain their levels of Vitamin D. This will be a great, daily option for your healthiest skin.
3) 3 oz bottles of The Daily
We are working to increase the size of our current formula, which will help in reducing the environmental impact of monthly shipments, as well as convert to a more sustainable bottle and package. It will also mean a larger upfront payment on your part as well.
4) Tinted mineral SPF
Our product is very sheer and ultra-light, but it is not perfect in minimizing all white-cast, after all, zinc is a white powder! That being said, we are working to begin testing in developing a range of shades of our initial formula that are suitable and well-matched for all skin types.
A long post for you, to learn more about us and for us, to document our journey. We will be back next women's history month to boast about the good, bad, ugly and pretty we look forward to tackling in the year ahead.