Get ready for the long haul: It takes time to formulate products, manufacture, design and launch. It won’t happen overnight. Remember that good things take time to build.
Take into account that your idea will ALWAYS be influenced by the customer. Customers are constantly shifting so you need to be able to adapt to their behavior and pivot when needed.
As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lena Skliarova, a former game developer and Ukrainian Space Research Institute scientist who earned a MS in Computer Science with a concentration in artificial intelligence. Her passion for artificial intelligence and technology has led her to develop the Good Face Project where she serves as a co-founder and CTO. Lena spearheads the technology department authoring algorithms for the clean beauty app which is comprised of the largest data index of cosmetic ingredients in the world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My fascination with computers and IT began as a teenager. However, at that time I didn’t know too much about them. I saw exciting movies about AI and read some extremely interesting books, but never thought that I would be working as a developer. But as I got older, my curiosity grew. At some point, I had to decide between being a diplomat or a developer, I chose the developer path because computers and technology fascinated me throughout my life. As I learned more about my interests and what direction I wanted to take, AI became even more intriguing. I wanted to create something that could act and think like a human. And that is how I began my journey. I learned from the very beginning working in IT will test your willpower. You need to be committed to learning on your own. Once I had a clear direction and path, I began studying data mining (a subset of data science and statistics, a basis for AI) and that led me to what I am doing right now with the Good Face Project. I am building my dream.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Meeting my Co-Founder Iva Teixeria is a story that stands out in my mind. I was looking for a partner to start a business with in the United States and both Iva and I had a mutual mentor, an incredible woman who supported young entrepreneurs in San Diego, who insisted that I meet Iva. She knew we would click instantly and would make a perfect team. Iva and I are very much alike and have developed an amazing partnership.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
As an entrepreneur you feel like you are always at a tipping point. I always knew what I wanted to do and I never deviated from my path too much. When you are building a company, you need to be passionate and committed to your vision, while maintaining resilience through challenges.
Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am forever grateful for my family whose support has been unwavering through good times and more challenging ones. I am especially grateful for my husband who supported me when I made the decision to be an entrepreneur in the United States. I am reminded every day that you can’t build a company without the support of your family.
The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
Our mission from the very beginning has been to establish more ingredient transparency in the beauty industry and help consumers find clean and safe products that meet their unique skincare needs. We created the world’s largest data-driven index of cosmetic ingredients, that uses powerful AI algorithms to provide users with unbiased, completely clean, totally personalized, and immediately shoppable skincare recommendations through our user-friendly app.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
The shift to clean beauty in adult and baby products is very exciting. In just 6 years there has been a massive push for cleaner formulations and I am proud to be part of this movement. It’s alarming how many health issues are caused by carcinogens and hormonal disruptors.
Prior to founding Good Face Project, I never researched the ingredients in my products, but when I realized my shampoo was full of carcinogens, I knew I had to create a solution to help others.
The shift to sustainability: I am excited and proud that our industry is finally thinking about the future of our planet and increasingly adapting to sustainable practices. We are moving in the right direction but still have a long way to go!
Variety: There are so many great products and brands on the market with diverse formulations. You can find clean products that meet your specific skin care needs if you know what you are looking for, and that is what Good Face Project is here to help you with!
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
- Carcinogens are still widely used in the beauty industry yet have been proven to cause health issues. There are safer substitutes to maximize product shelf life.
- Wasteful Packaging — without a global shift to recyclable or reusable packaging, the beauty industry will remain one of the top sources of waste we are currently producing. Just think of all of the jars and bottles we throw away, and imagine if instead we were reusing them.
- Lack of regulations — While the EU heavily regulates the cosmetics industry, the US has limited restrictions, allowing for harmful ingredients in personal care products . Good Face Project is committed to protecting consumers, educating them on harmful ingredients and recommending clean and safe alternatives.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
Feeling beautiful comes from within. We need to learn how to associate beauty with how you feel not how you look. To feel beautiful, you must balance your life. Take time for yourself, be more present in the moment, absorb your surroundings and make time for self-love.
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
- Formulate smarts: Surround yourself with a strong team of experts from various fields who will give you a competitive edge in the market.
- Have a good head on your shoulders. The beauty and personal care industry is tough. You have to be strong and persistent to succeed. Continue to work hard and educate yourself about the industry. Don’t let others get the best of you.
- Get ready for the long haul: It takes time to formulate products, manufacture, design and launch. It won’t happen overnight. Remember that good things take time to build.
- Take into account that your idea will ALWAYS be influenced by the customer. Customers are constantly shifting so you need to be able to adapt to their behavior and pivot when needed.
- Find a business partner that balances you: Most importantly having a partner to help keep the system in balance is essential. You need to surround yourself with reliable people, especially a partner you can 100% depend on no matter what challenges you face.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Good Face Project is a movement– it’s a call for clean beauty and safer product formulations. Our beauty industry, especially in the United States is filled with toxic ingredients. Through our technology, we can effectively educate consumers on the ingredients in their products and recommend clean alternatives specifically curated for their skin.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Stay hungry.” — you need to push yourself to new achievements and goals. This hunger for seeing new horizons will be your key to success.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
About the Interviewer: Jilea Hemmings is a staunch believer in the power of entrepreneurship. A successful career revamping Fortune 500 companies was not enough for her entrepreneurial spirit, so Jilea began focusing her passion in startups. She has successfully built 6 startups to date. Her passion for entrepreneurship continues to ﬂourish with the development of Stretchy Hair Care, focusing on relieving the pain associated with detangling and styling natural black hair. For far too long, people with tender heads have suffered in pain. Until now.