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Democratizing access to expert skincare
We are a direct-to-consumer skincare service backed by world-class dermatologists and estheticians.
Personalized kits for unique skin profiles
We deliver custom-tailored kits to people with dermatologic skin conditions based on their unique skin types. No prescriptions, approvals, or doctor’s visits required.
Clinical standards for everyone
All products are clean, best-in-class, and affordable. We do the homework for you.
#220 Days Finding the Best Experts
We met with many experts all over the country. Helen and Yelena blew us away with their knowledge and bedside manner. Fun fact: Yelena worked on Demi Moore's ageless visage for many years!
#140 Days Platform + Technology
Building the technology to power a personalized user experience.
#52 Brand Partners
We interviewed countless brands to better understand what was actually good. In our relentless efforts, we went international and spent time in Seoul, South Korea, and Hong Kong researching the trends coming from the skincare mecca of the world. We accepted 52 brand partners onto the platform who met our criteria for high-performing clean skincare. We’re proud to be working with these partners who align with our mission.
We have a supply pipeline through our network of dermatologists, estheticians, and industry insiders to find the best skincare products around the world.
Laura, 30, PhD Candidate in Behavioral Science, Columbia University
Skin Allies is an online retailer. We have a hybrid platform approach — we sell other brands but also carry our own private label products.
A hybrid platform allows us to leverage the data we collect to make products that are missing in the market, and flexibility in how we accomplish this. A concrete example of how we could use this data in the future is we can create capsule collection products with select brand partners, creators, influencers, or Skin Allies ambassadors for a very specific demographic. Merchandising meets data science.
By operating as a hybrid platform, we also have the flexibility to operate as a distributor for our brand partners in other markets such as Europe, China, and the APAC.
Euromonitor predicts year-on-year growth in constant terms of 2017-2018 to come in at 3.3% for the global skin care industry.
Skin Allies focuses on two core demographics:
Women aged 22-34
Women aged 35-45
These two age groups are where there are significant life changes that include lifestyle changes (career acceleration), and hormonal fluctuations (pregnancy) in their menstrual cycles that will trigger changes in their skin.
The skincare market has historically been categorized as two distinct need states: consumer (over the counter products) and medical (a doctor’s office visit that often results in a one-size-fits-all prescription product such as tretinoin).
We believe there is a huge opportunity to create a new category by making clinical standards accessible to everyone. We’ve created a delightful experience that solves the trial and error state that most people are stuck in by collecting high-signal consumer data, and using that data to create personalized skincare regimens with the help of experts.
I’ve been an avid skincare user since I was 15. My mom had access to a scarce beauty supply through a woman living in Northern California who was importing Asian beauty products. She outsourced a task to me: My job was to make sure she got her skincare products on time every other month. I would snail mail a check and a handwritten order to Kim Nguyen on Tully Road in San Jose.
I was heavily influenced by my mom to develop good skincare habits from a young age. As an immigrant, my mom was extremely frugal but did not skimp on this particular self-care ritual — maintaining a healthy complexion. It was even more important for her since she owned a restaurant and was constantly in the kitchen, always in close proximity to a burning stove and wok.
When I turned 30, I started developing terrible cystic and hormonal acne that I couldn’t get rid of on my own. I would stay up all night on Reddit acne forums commiserating with my fellow sufferers and spending countless time and money on treatments that ultimately led to disastrous results, dry and irritated skin due to the harsh and misguided use of ingredients. This would often prolong healing times. My skin barrier was perpetually compromised.
A friend recommended I see a dermatologist who graciously offered to treat me privately outside of her practice as my insurance didn’t cover it. She used a holistic and gentle approach to curing my acne, including diet modifications and bespoke face oils that consisted of the highest grade actives — a supply that has been gated to experts.
As women, we go through so many transitional life stages that changes our skin (adult hormonal acne & pregnancy/postpartum skin is real). I learned a lot about the economics of the skincare industry in the process. The EU has banned over 1,300 ingredients. The US FDA lists only 30. Cosmetics manufacturing in the US is the wild west and labeling is completely unregulated. 70% of what we put on our skin topically is absorbed into our bloodstream.
The beauty industry hasn’t changed all that much since I was 15. It feels like the dark ages. The onus is still on the customer to find the best products, stuck in a constant state of trial and error, unsure if the products are driving results.
With the proliferation of technology, where access to information and products is instant, we are truly at the height of confusion with online self-help.
Dermatology has been a gated and premium service in healthcare that only the affluent can afford.
The reality is that bad skin doesn’t discriminate and can strike at any time or stage of life, regardless of your socioeconomic status.
We're on a mission to make clinical standards accessible for everyone, and make transparency the norm in our industry.
Yours in health,
Nu is the Co-founder/CEO of Skin Allies. She previously led product teams for tier one VC backed startups and big box retailers, predominantly in female-driven marketplaces. She loves solving problems for women. True&Co, backed by First Round and SoftBank, was acquired by Calvin Klein parent PVH in 2017 with 5M customers. She was on the founding team of price.com, backed by Social Capital, launching the product at Google I/O 2016. She also led product for Weddings & Registry (a $20B+ market) at Macys.com, helping to redesign the online and offline registry experience. She has consulted early stage startups on how to get products to market quickly and efficiently with minimal resources, and how to grow their early user base organically.
Sameep is the Chief Technology Officer of Skin Allies. He has been fascinated with problem-solving for as long as he can remember. At age 10, he fixed a broken refrigerator for his mom. From repairing air conditioning to fixing light bulbs, growing up he loved all handyman work. Sameep built up a passion for math and computer science while completing his undergraduate degree. He majored in math and computer science at Boston University, and has previously worked at Microsoft and Goldman Sachs as a Tech Lead and Engineering Manager. He has since run a startup, and helped another 12 startups as a freelance engineer and manager. Sameep has won Top Coder awards, Google code jam competitions, as well as numerous hackathons.
Senior Strategic Advisor
Esther has been a cross-border executive in beauty, fashion, and media. Prior to that, she was at Akamai through the Cisco acquisition. Esther provides support to Skin Allies through her expertise in International & Strategic Business Development, Brand Building, Licensing, Lifestyle Brands, and Asia/US Market Entry and Expansion.
We call it Consumer Dermatology, where you can get access to the best products and experts without leaving the comfort of your home.
Thank you for your early support! — Skin Allies
The smallest investment amount that Skin Allies is accepting.
Skin Allies needs to reach their minimum funding goal before
the deadline. If they don’t, all investments will be refunded.
The Crowd SAFE is an agreement for future equity in the startup,
meaning that it can convert to equity in the future.
The Crowd SAFE is an agreement for future equity in the startup, meaning that it can convert to equity in the future.
If a trigger event for Skin Allies occurs, the discount provision
gives investors equity shares (or equal value in cash) at a reduced price.
The maximum valuation at which your investment converts
into equity shares or cash.
$25,000 – $107,000
Skin Allies needs to raise
before the deadline. The maximum amount Skin Allies is willing
to raise is $107K.
We dedicated 220 days, meeting with experts all over the country. Our Chief Dermatologist is Oxford-and-Harvard trained, and our Executive Esthetician was the former Head Esthetician of the iconic Bliss Spa.
Please see the below transcript from Skin Allies' pitch at the LAUNCH festival.
Nu: My name is Nu.
Jason: I'm sorry. Say that one more time.
Jason: You. Got it.
Nu: Like I'm brand new to you.
Jason: Got it. Okay. You nervous at all?
Jason: Good, where you from?
Nu: Nu ... Well, San Francisco.
Jason: But originally New York.
Nu: Actually, I moved the company to New York in January of this year.
Jason: Oh good. Fantastic.
Nu: But I was in SF for about nine years.
Jason: You got an upgrade. Very nicely done. Okay. Three two go.
Nu: I'm Nu. I'm the founder CEO of Skin Allies. Skin Allies is an online retailer that uses data and medical expertise from dermatologists and estheticians to custom tailored skin care regimens. Skin care is a massive replenishable category. In 2017, women spent 137 billion dollars on personal care products, 80 percent use at least three skin care products every day. And yet, the modern day skin care experience really sucks.
Nu: There's an overwhelming amount of misinformation, brands and anecdotes to sift through. We can thank the internet for that. I've spent on hours on Reddit's skin care addiction forum. The traditional retail experience is an absolute nightmare. It's intimidating. It's impersonal, and it's a matter of luck. Professional treatment, dermatology, is inaccessible and unaffordable to most. With insurance, it takes on average 32 days to get an appointment. Without insurance, people spend about $200 for a 15 minute elective consultations, where your total bill will add up to about $1200.
Nu: And most importantly, everyone's skin is different. So while I really like talking to my friends on skin cares' addiction Reddit acne forum, they are not equipped to give me advice about what works and what doesn't work for my skin. What this all means is that most people are in trial and error purgatory, making present day skincare a costly guessing game.
Nu: How it works. Users take a simple interactive quiz to help us understand their needs. We've adapted the patient intake form that you would fill out at a derms office. We've supercharged it with lifestyle questions that change and dictate how your skin evolves over time. So this is climate factors, menstrual cycles, et cetera. Our expert team will then customize a kit just for you. Our estheticians and dermatologists will analyze your skin profile, and tailor a kit based on your quiz results. We deliver this skin care kit directly to your door. The kits start at a 14 day trial size, so you can take it with you traveling, to the gym, et cetera.
Nu: Laura is an early Skin Allies customer. She lives in New York City, and she's a PhD in Behavioral Science at Columbia. She is a smart consumer. She understands that she's feeling desperate and yet she can't help but feel that way. So she emailed us in early may and asked if we were open for business. We hadn't soft launched yet. And she begged us to help fix her skin. I said, "Don't worry. We can send you products today." She emails us two weeks later.
Nu: And she says, "Nu, you've saved my face. This is the best my skin has been in a year fighting terrible acne. My acne's been reduced by a ton." And the reality is that there are many people like Laura. Bad skin doesn't discriminate. It can hit at any stage or time of your life. And the desperation that our customers feel is very real. It can affect their confidence and it can affect how they project themselves in the world.
Nu: Our business model. The kits start at $59. And you get access to a personalized skin care kit and access to expert advice from the dermatologist. Our gross profit margins are 70 percent. The re-ordered kits are replenishment. That also is at 70 percent. And we also operate a full size shoppable market place. The average order value for this is about $320 for a complete skin care regimen. Our gross profit margins there are 50 percent.
Nu: Our growth plans. Today we have onboarded 52 brand partners that have met our criteria for high performance, high efficacy, clean skin care.
Jason: Okay. Times up. Well done. Let's give her a big round of applause. Andrea, it's your turn to start us off. Go ahead.
Andrea: I'm just wondering where you source your products and why would you choose one over another?
Nu: When we-
Jason: Wait wait. Just take all the questions first. Stonely, you're next.
Stonly: So, the customer acquisition costs, what do you think is your go to market strategy?
Jason: Great. Delly.
Matthew: You can go.
Jason: Yeah. I'm wondering if you're making your own product, or selling other peoples, 'cause it looked like it was your own, and then it looked like you had a marketplace for other peoples, and then how much time am I getting with that dermatologist since it's $59, and you said it cost $300 for a 15 minute visit or something, and $1200. So how do you do that? And are they really getting access to that dermatologist?
Nu: Yeah. And then ...
Matthew: Mine was the question, "Are you recommending the other products or is it you are the ones who are creating?"
Nu: No. Yeah. So I think your questions kind of roll up together. How we source our products is we've looked at, essentially, a lot of brands in the market. We've traveled to Seoul South Korea, and Hong Kong to really understand what's coming out of the innovation in that market. We test all of the products with our dermatologists and estheticians for efficacy and performance. And so we have testing cohorts of customers who've opted in their different skin profiles, and we test the products for about a month. So that's our process for onboarding new brand partners.
Nu: In regards to your question Jason, we're an online retailer but we have a high rate platform strategy. So that means that we sell other brands and we vet products in the market, but we also use the data that we collect to create capsule collection products that are our own private label. So that's the data that we're using to make products that we think are missing on the market.
Nu: And customer acquisition costs. Our go to market strategy. There's paid and earned, and so we are working with influencers who we've identified as having not such great skin and putting them on a regimen, and turning them to ambassadors, obviously marketing on Instagram is our big channel, Facebook is not something that we're doubling down on since they've been changing their algorithms.
Jason: Great. Let's give her a big round of applause. Well done.
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