The Interview: Jennifer Rock, CEO and Founder, Skingredients

Skingredients is a range of active, results-driven skincare products, created by the award-winning skin tutor, bestselling author and dermal facialist Jennifer Rock.

Launching in the UK today, Skingredients is a capsule collection of the Core 4, four products that everyone can be using as part of their daily routine, and the Mix + Match range, to tackle specific skincare concerns.

The skincare range is designed for everyone; all genders, all ages and all skins. All products are also entirely fragrance-free, without synthetic scents or essential oils. Founder and CEO of Skingredients tells TheIndustry.fashion’s The Beauty Edit more:

Could you tell us a little bit about your background?

I’m a trained dermal facialist and aesthetician by trade, and skin tutor, too. I spent time working for brands and accrediting bodies such as CIDESCO and ITEC, and teaching in the field. I think it’s clear that skincare has always been my truest, nerdiest passion.

The Skin Nerd and my online consultation company, the Nerd Network, sprang from my passion for unbiased education as opposed to the mountains of opinion-based information surrounding skincare. Founding my own line of products based on this education focus – Skingredients – was the next natural step for me to take.

When did you launch and what was the response like?

I launched Skingredients in June 2019, and we haven’t slowed down since then!

The response to Skingredients has been overwhelmingly positive, much to my delight. We created the Skingredients range based on feedback from our Nerd Networkers.

The Nerd Network is our client base – we have 15,000 clients that we work with to provide individual skincare advice and suggestions to help them protect their skin and tackle their skincare concerns.

Drawing on the feedback from the Nerd Network, I was able to create a range of products which was able to address all of the concerns we would discuss during skin consultations. Because of the personal connection between Skingredients and our Nerd Networkers and clients, people have truly loved and connected with these products in a way that I know is not the norm in the skincare world. It’s been incredible to be able to support our claims with solid clinical evidence too and witness the results in our .

We also felt a huge amount of love from Irish press – the organic coverage that Skingredients has received in publications such as The Guardian, The Times, The Irish Times, Irish Tatler, IMAGE, Stellar, Irish Country Magazine, VIP magazine, RSVP and many others has been consistent   throughout our first year, and something that we are extremely grateful for. A lot of hard work is behind it, from conception through to communications, and it feels great to see it paying off, for myself and our wider team.

What brought Skingredients to life?

Skin Veg was my original dream product. No product like Skin Veg existed on the market before it, and so the idea for Skin Veg was definitely the spark that would eventually be fanned into the flame of Skingredients. Skin Veg’s antioxidant HA peptide infusion was a key concept for me, as I believe hydration is key through hyaluronic acid in skincare, but ultimately antioxidants are key active ingredients for skin health.

In my experience, it’s often the case that results-driven skincare can be both expensive and unattainable. I wanted to make it simpler. My belief is that you need to mirror what you’re putting into your body with what you’re putting onto your skin in order to achieve lasting, holistic results.

We all know that we need to have protein, vitamins, and good fats on our dinnerplates every day to be the healthiest version of ourselves, and the same premise applies externally. There are key ingredients needed fundamentally for long term skin health and a check list of ingredients that we need to include in our routines. Skingredients includes these key ingredients to provide a balanced meal for your skin. I wanted to create a simple, easy-to-use and effective skincare range – and that’s where Skingredients came from.

What is your brand DNA?

At our core, Skingredients relies on clinical formulas created with key ingredients at correct percentages to make a keen difference to clients’ skin. We know as a brand that smells don’t change cells, which is why we focus on results, and leave scent out of Skingredients.

We work to empower “hoomans” to feel better in their skin through education. Knowledge is power, and I wanted to give those who used Skingredients that power over their own skin once more by creating a brand which is simple to use, labelled in order from 01-04, suitable for “all hoomans” to use every day, affordable, and focusses keenly on how to use it, so you’re never caught wondering again.

Education is the beating heart of our brand, and we pride ourselves on our expert advice and the ability of our experienced team to advise on and tweak the skincare routines of our clients, as well as advising clients how to use all of our products – all of which we suggest that you use from the nipples up – yes, really! We also have education surrounding frequency of use, application techniques, and each product outlines specifically whether or not it’s suitable for use during pregnancy. We support this through our active DMs and Live Chat functions.

We remain brand unbiased and work to introduce Skingredients into existing regimes to fulfil the needs of each individual client. We are always seeking to enhance the capabilities and results of a skincare routine in order to create long-term skin health. That’s our why.

It should be simple to look after your skin – Skingredients is there to demystify the process.

What is your current route to market?

In Ireland, Skingredients is on sale in over 250 locations nationwide.

In the UK, we have chosen to work directly at present to enter the market and to support those who are using Skingredients through our online support channels, so that “hoomans” can ask all the questions that they want and be completely educated on how to use the range! You can find all the information and products on skingredients.com.

What sets you apart from other skincare brands?

Our team is fully skin-focussed and brings their education about and passion for the skin far beyond the bounds of their work – for so many of our team, thinking about or working with skin has been a huge part of their lives. With Skingredients, we have an internal chemist for the brand as well. She works alongside three of our manufacturer’s chemists – it’s an incredible asset to have her as part of our team.

We are constantly researching, learning, and refining – it’s part of the deal when you’re so intently focussed on education.

As a brand, our focus on education is something that makes us stand out. This is something that we forward through every element of our business – our educational lives, our live-chat with skincare experts, our responses to direct messages, our educational social media – it goes right through the brand. We also offer support to our clients through these same mseans – comments, DMS, and interactions are all encouraged and answered, to create a strong sense of community.

Not only is Skingredients led by science, innovation, and clinically proven formulas, but we also ensure that the “hooman” element is at the heart of everything we do. Skincare can often be emotional, and we do our best to guide each client through their skincare journey with the utmost care and consideration. You can check out Project Love Your Skin for more information and to see the impact that skincare can truly have on the lives of our clients.

How do you come up with new product ideas?

From my background as a dermal facialist, with years of hands on skin, I’m able to draw on my own expert knowledge. I absolutely do listen to what skin needs and observing the impact that technology has on skin and see how it can factor into new creations.

I definitely draw on the feedback of the Nerd Networkers and really listen to what they say, what they want, and need, and direct my energies into dreaming up products which can fill these needs. For new ideas, we listen to our clients first as opposed to following trends – and everything that we do is clinically-led as a priority.

In previous times, I’ve spent time travelling to investigate emerging skincare practices, and to speak to practitioners about their learnings and predictions.

I have a head which is constantly full of ideas for my upcoming products – ideas are definitely not something that I lack. As I progress further in my business, it becomes more about refining the process of developing product – and of course, timing is everything.

What is the current play of the skincare market and what have been the most important skincare   trends of 2020?

Thanks to the current climate, the skincare market has certainly shifted and a trend we may have thought would have been huge for 2020 in January may not even be relevant now.

One of the biggest changes that we’ve seen is skincare is the shift towards skincare as selfcare – it’s now something mindful, something important not just for physical health of your skin, but also for your mental health, and a shift which I applaud.

I think education has become even more important over the course of the last year, and there is a new focus on ingredients and dispensing the correct dose of these ingredients throughout your skincare routine. It’s definitely a more considered approach than we might have seen in previous years.

What are your top 3 Skingredients product recommendations?

I couldn’t possibly choose, as the Skingredients range is focussed on the Core 4 – that’s four essential skincare products which should be used every day, twice a day in order to feed, nourish and care for your skin with a balanced skincare routine.

01 PreProbiotic Cleanse £23

This hydrating, gentle daily cleanser contains prebiotics, probiotics and polyhydroxy acid (PHA) which is ideal for removing makeup and cleansing skin as often as you like. It’s eye-safe, too!

Nerdie tip for PrePro: you can apply it as a hydrating face mask, too!

02 Skin Veg £39

This serum is the skin’s super-juice of hyaluronic acid, PHA, fruit, veg and botanical extracts which soothes skin with a pro- collagen peptide to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles and hydrates with sodium hyaluronate too. Hydration is key for skin health, and Skin Veg binds moisture to your skin, as well as being suitable for use around the eye area! Don’t forget to apply it from the nipples up!

Nerdie tip: Skin Veg is a penetrant enhancer, comparable to an essence: apply it first and it will help the products which follow penetrate more deeply into your skin.

03 Skin Protein £39

This powerful serum contains an active formula of vitamin A, C + E antioxidants and a pro-collagen peptide and tea extracts for smoother, tighter, brighter skin. It contains the fat form of vitamin A, and the fat form of vitamin C, too – which means that they can co-exist in harmony within Skin Protein and makes Protein suitable for use morning and evening! This product provides the benefits of vitamin A in a manner which works beautifully as an introductory form of vitamin A for a client’s skin. Skin Protein has received the most testimonials of any Skingredients product!

Nerdie tip: Make sure to bring it right around your eyes to protect and nourish the skin!

Sustainability is becoming a crucial focus for the beauty industry, in what ways is Skingredients incorporating sustainability into its business model and brand identity?

Skingredients was born with the promise that one day we would be fully sustainable. This wasn’t feasibly possible at the beginning when we launched but has been an upmost priority from the get- go, knowing that a sustainable brand was what we wanted to be.

Our goal for Q1 2021 is to be as sustainable as possible. Our outer packaging is currently recyclable, but we’ll be going one step further and ensuring our bottles are, too, as well as offering refillable inside tubes. We are truly excited about this stage of our development, as it’ll be a huge achievement for our brand.

We’re also focussed on how raw ingredients enter our chain and working to ensure that these are ethically and sustainably sourced.

How has the Skingredients direct-to-consumer website been performing throughout this uncertain period?

We were delighted to relaunch skingredients.com this summer and are continuously upgrading and refining our website to provide a friendlier and more efficient experience for our clients. We’ve seen a huge amount of traffic and interest, too, which is hugely positive.

This summer we were delighted to add to our team further and this had led to our Customer Service team growing; something which has been a priority for us with increased traffic and focus on this element of our business this year. We’ve also brought members of our Nerd and Nerdette team into our Live Chat facilitation in order to support our educational side.

Our online interface is more important than ever, which is why we’ve dedicated so much time and thought to it – it’s incredible to see it reaping the rewards.

In what ways has Skingredients been adapting to such challenging times?

We launched our At Home Skin School on the day that lockdown was announced, and it has grown from strength-to-strength, featuring education and Instagram Lives with myself in conversation with global experts in skincare, wellness, nutrition and more. It’s been a truly back-to-basics education piece, which we created to bring in skincare newcomers who wanted to learn from the ground up, and to re-educate our experts – every day is a school day, after all.

We had the chance to get creative with skincare, and really strengthened the interactive element of our brand with plenty of Q&As and opportunities for our audience to interact.

We worked with our 250 stockists to support them throughout this difficult time, and ensured our team were set up to work from home. We’ve continued to invest in culture and remote training days for the whole nerdie team. We stay in touch with our teams and continue to implement the same reviews, processes, and check-ins that we would have in our office to ensure that our team is being looked after during this period.

Life is built on relationships, and it’s been important to continue to foster these, among our team, among our business relationships, and of course with our clients, who remain our top priority.

What were the biggest challenges you faced setting up Skingredients?

When we first created Skingredients, we under-anticipated the demand for it. We sold 6 months of stock in 8 weeks.

It may seem naïve of us to think that there would not be a high demand and although it sounds like the best problem to have, it certainly wasn’t at the time!

Within the first two quarters we lost customers who were not able to make a repeat purchase of the Skingredients products that they had enjoyed trying out, which let down our retailers in the process. Many a learning later, I’m delighted to say stock control is now managed perfectly thanks to our Operations Manager and Logistics Manager, and we don’t see the problem recurring in our future!

What advice would you give to anyone starting a beauty brand?

Be fair, be fun, and you’ll attract like-minded individuals. Have no ego and be prepared to learn something new every day for the rest of your life.

And most importantly, have fun while you’re doing it.