Tim Schmidt started a business during the worst financial crisis post-The Great Depression. It was a time of uncertainty with banks and other lenders afraid to give out loans to new businesses and entrepreneurs. However, Schmidt was unfazed by the lack of support the financial world offered and founded SkinPro without its help.
Now, a decade later, SkinPro is thriving and its products are being used by everyone from your average men and women to celebrities. It has been an incredible journey for Schmidt and one that has led him to being a No. 1 selling author on Amazon.
Schmidt has built SkinPro his way but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t faced a variety of bumps and bruises along the way. The skincare entrepreneur has learned from each setback and come out on the other side with an even better product for customers.
Tim, you launched SkinPro during the World Financial Crisis in your adopted hometown of Miami, Florida. How difficult was it to start a company at that time and what were your motivations?
I found it extremely difficult to launch a company at that time, as there was a large amount of uncertainty in global markets. With major retailers, and even banks, having a hard time staying in business, it was certainly a gamble putting faith in manufacturing facilities that I had just come across while doing R & D. Luckily, I spent a lot of time vetting them and making sure that I aligned myself with quality partners with long-term visions of growing with the booming anti-aging market.
As far as motivation, I saw a huge opportunity thanks to some information on industry trends I gathered while consulting with local dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Hearing that consumer spending was being shifted from med spa procedures to personal care products, motivated me to formulate the highest quality topicals to help people look and feel their best.
SkinPro’s initial product, Elite Serum, revolutionized the skincare industry and the formula continues to be updated to provide even better results. Tim, take us back to the beginning and how the Elite Serum was created?
The goal with Elite Serum was always to help people reduce the appearance of eye wrinkles, commonly referred to as “crows feet.” Once I found studies on Argireline, an anti-wrinkle peptide proven to do just that, I knew I had a winning mix; but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to formulate a product that lived up to it’s “Elite” name, so I continued to scour for ingredients to help with eye bags, dark under eye circles, and even puffiness. The proper mix took many attempts, but the end result was a product that was an all-out attack on every visible sign of aging around the eyes.
Schmidt credits his desire to reach out to bloggers and others online to helping grow the brand when it launched. According to Schmidt, he was using online influencers before the term was ever coined. Through blogs and word of mouth, SkinPro grew organically into what it is today.
In October 2019, SkinPro celebrated its 10th anniversary. What were some of the challenges of starting a skincare brand from scratch?
Social Media wasn’t as hyper-addictive as it is today, meaning that people weren’t sharing our products and ads with their friends. To overcome this challenge and reach new customers, I started a massive campaign to send comped products to beauty bloggers in hopes of them spreading the word. Looking back at it, I was using “influencers” as people call it today, but without that label. Fortunately, the products were typically well received which led to some incredible reviews that were showing up online and helping people find the brand.
Can you explain just how competitive the cosmetic and skincare industry is? What are some of the lessons you have learned in the last 10 years?
It’s hard to find a niche as competitive as the anti-aging skin care industry. In 10 years, I can’t begin to tell you how many brands came and went, all while SkinPro and it’s umbrella of brands has held strong and held onto market share. The growth of Amazon.com has certainly led to many private label sellers putting out inferior products with much lower price tags, which certainly is something we have to navigate, but in the end, it’s survival of the fittest and people who are into their skincare regimen can tell the difference between a well-marketed product, and a well-formulated product.
SkinPro has a roster of more than 50 targeted skin treatments in categories such as vegan and organic, women’s body care, cannabis (CBD) and cosmeceuticals. Can you tell us about the growth of the company and its move to diversify its product offering?
When I started out in the industry, I felt like the trend was all about cosmeceuticals and the incredible science behind them. It was a rather new concept to most people, using laboratory-tested ingredients imported from overseas companies with incredible studies behind them, and using them in tandem with other ingredients to formulate an innovative attack on turning back the clock on aging. While a large part of the SkinPro product line continues to use cosmeceuticals due to their incredible efficacy, it was hard to ignore markets like organic, vegan, and most recently, CBD. I try to keep up with the demands of all skincare customers and offer something for every desire.
In terms of CBD, we have seen a massive uptick in the interest of CBD beauty products in recent times. What has driven the interest from the average person in CBD-infused products?
The CBD market is interesting in the fact that it’s really driving itself. Ever since the US Farm Bill passed and made hemp legal, the media has run wild promoting the benefits of CBD. Having skin in the game so long (pun intended), it was rather easy to make a few phone calls and start our team on manufacturing products for anyone who had an interest in CBD-infused products. It’s a very rapidly growing part of the business and it’s all been done with zero marketing, which is nice for a change!
Not only is Schmidt a successful entrepreneur in the skincare industry, but he is a best-selling author. Schmidt’s first book Amplifying Average: 15 Lessons to Help the Average Person Level Up Their Life shot to number one on Amazon after it was released in November 2019.
Tim, you released your first book Amplifying Average: 15 Lessons to Help the Average Person Level Up Their Life in November of this year. Please tell us about your writing debut and what the book is about?
The book highlights 15 lessons I feel really shaped me as an entrepreneur. Since the age of 23, I’ve been on my own, without a boss, a schedule, or any semblance of structure in life. Especially during my younger years, there were many things that were put in my way that could have derailed me and wiped me out. I talk about how to navigate those things, as well as really drill into the 15 critical things you need to know in my writing debut. I had a lot of fun reflecting on the moments that led to successes and failures during my journey, and feel it’s an important read for anyone looking for motivation, guidance, or tips to win in life.
How did you find the book writing process? At this stage in your career, how important was it to write a book?
Like any new adventure, starting out was extremely difficult. I found myself with a mess of stories that didn’t really flow well, went out of order in terms of when these events happened, and it was just a big mess. Fortunately, I found a mentor, which is so important that it’s one of my 15 lessons (spoiler alert!), and within an hour phone call and some email exchanges the plan was as clear as day to me and with this clarity I found finishing the book very easy. It’s never been something that I felt was a “must” on my business path, per say, but after doing a number of speaking engagements I feel like my messages go over very well with audiences, and if this book helps motivate one person to change their life for the better, I’ll consider it worth all the time I put into it.
Not only have you penned a first-ever book, but you also contributed to Huffington Post. How did that contributor’s position come about and how did it grow SkinPro’s reputation for providing high-quality skincare products?
The Huffington Post position came about when a PR representative from my company reached out to them with a piece I wrote on a hotly contested topic. They enjoyed the content and invited me to become an anti-aging contributor. I enjoyed writing for HP, and definitely feel that it brought good attention to SkinPro as many of my celebrity skincare articles were very popular.
Tim, with over 10 years of success at SkinPro, what is the most important piece of advice about the cosmetic and beauty industry you can share?
Always evolve with the industry. New trends and ingredient studies are released often, and if you are asleep at the wheel, you’ll be watching your competition slowly take your market share.
What is a day in your life like?
I’m an early riser and find that getting all of the stat-checking, problem solving, project-progressing type tasks out of the way before anyone is awake to distract me is the best way to start my day. After a few hours of uninterrupted work, I make my 14-year-old child breakfast and see him off to school. After that, I usually get in some type of workout, whether it be solo cardio, a group fitness class, weights, or even spinning, and then I settle back in with lunch at my desk. I keep all calls and appointments confined to after lunch and feel that getting all the dirty work and stuff I don’t necessarily look forward to out of the way in the morning creates a positive mindset throughout the day that carries momentum. Fridays are for reflection, analytics, vetting new ideas, and travel. My week nights are spent with my son, and when we’re not shuffling around to soccer practice, we like to enjoy all of the fine south Florida dining establishments!
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve never once borrowed capital or had funding for any of my projects, no matter what personal state I’ve been in. I was over $60,000 in credit card debt when I started my first company and thanks to some expert advice from my father on keeping an impeccable credit score, I was able to shift the debt among interest-free credit cards for many years and come out of it rather quickly and without much interest paid.
What makes you smile?
Seeing children enjoy life and grow. Life is meant to be shared, and there is nothing better than seeing smiles, and witnessing laughter from kids who have the entire world in front of them.
What scares you?
My son eventually going off to college, or entering the workforce, and leaving my house! I cherish our time together, and each passing year he grows and becomes more involved with activities and we get less time together. I’ve always joked that I’ll be “that dad” that hovers around his kid when he goes off to college, showing up at parties, being that old guy who wasn’t invited, etc. I just love spending time with him and watching him grow up.
Tim, do you have any hobbies?
Travel is something I’m very passionate about and over the last few years I’ve been blessed to visit some incredible places. In addition to that, I enjoy tequila and have a large collection that I occasionally bust into when friends visit Florida. Marrying those two passions together, a trip to Mexico to do a tequila tour is being planned soon.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“During your life, never stop dreaming. No one can take away your dreams.” – Tupac Shakur
“What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle and giving 110% all the time.” – Don Zimmer
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
Bullying. Childhood is such a precious time that should be remembered with fond memories that live on forever. I cringe when I hear tales of kids having no friends, going to school scared, or worse, having to leave school because a handful of kids felt the need to pick on them. No child should have to live in fear or have any lack of friends who can pick them up and make them smile.
SkinPro continues to adapt and evolve in the skincare industry. Schmidt’s ability to change with the times has continued to make the brand relevant and reach customers from all over the globe.
The entrepreneur turned author has carved out quite a niche for both himself and company. With 10 years of business under his belt, Schmidt is plowing forward and delivering even better products to his loyal customers.
Many skincare brands have come and gone during the last 10 years, but Schmidt’s dedication to excellence has kept SkinPro in the game for the long-haul.
Journalist and author. Contributor