There is never enough of anything. Never enough capital; people; and there is never enough time. But you have to make decisions with what you have, even if it’s not enough, because the business never stops.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gigi Howard, founder of SiO Beauty — a powerful collection of wrinkle patches for your face and body.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was in my mid to late ‘20’s when I started noticing the wrinkles on my décolleté and cleavage. The wrinkles gave the appearance that I was significantly older and I started to become very insecure and embarrassed about them. It was the first time I really saw the visible effects from years of sun exposure, continuous side sleeping, and the natural aging process all wreaking havoc on my skin. I was in my doctor’s office one day when I saw the silicone and out of curiosity, I asked what it was and what it was for? My doctor told me it was used for scar healing and burn victims. I thought to myself, a scar is like an upside-down wrinkle and if the medical grade silicone could help smooth a scar, then it could help smooth out a wrinkle. I asked him for a sample and tested it on my chest that same night on half of my décolleté. When I woke up, I was shocked! The results were very visible — I had little to no fine lines and wrinkles on half of my décolleté. I knew I was onto something, so I quickly enlisted the help of medical experts and hired a chemist to determine how the silicone could work to diminish the wrinkles and restore a youthful radiance. Years of testing and 180 prototypes later, I found my perfect silicone — comfortable, medical-grade, looked like skin and felt like skin, and had visible results in just one night. The SiO SkinPad was born in 2016 and since then we have expanded to over 20 sku’s that target the face and body for men and women.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The product development process is always one with many hurdles where you can encounter many highs and lows. Our pursuit of a high-quality product with proven and superior results led us to complicated safety and clinical trials. This is where we come to a crossroads in beauty and SiO stands apart from a traditional beauty product.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Prior to the conception of SiO, I became so desperate to find a solution for my décolleté that I tested every idea and apparatus I could think of — from taping my skin in place, and sleeping with various oddly shaped chest pillows, to strapping on strangely designed “night bras” and sampling all hosts of creams and serums that offered hope. I even thought about duct tape LOL. I was baffled that a treatment or procedure existed for every body part, yet I couldn’t find any effective, non–invasive, pain–free treatment for the skin on the décolleté. This determination to solve this problem motivated me even more. When you truly have your mind set to achieving something, there is no stopping.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
SiO is backed by years of science, research, chemists and protypes that have perfect formulation of silicone in our patches. They are uniquely made to maximize comfort and accessibility so that medical grade silicone can be used in a new way — to reduce the appearance of wrinkles without the need for medical procedures like fillers, chemical peels or laser resurfacing. There is nothing else like this in the beauty marketplace and SiO excels at outperforming all others in the patch market.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to develop skincare solutions that help women and men prevent and correct the insecurities that often come with having fine lines and wrinkles. Currently I am focused on the expansion of our brand, so we are able to connect with users in even more ways.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
In my experience, when you are a founder you do not have the luxury of thinking of yourself as a boss — you are a teammate; no more, no less.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Whether large or small, always work in the same space as your team so you have the ability to be in touch and on the same page when necessary. What’s also important is that you treat your employees equally regardless of where you are on the corporate ladder. I love that my team and I help each other; it works!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My father. He started working at a telephone company when he was 18 years old. After many years of hard work and dedication, he worked his way up to be the president of that same telephone company for the State of Georgia. He taught me that things are never handed to you and if there’s something you truly want, you have to work hard to get it. When I was younger, I wanted a fishing pole and to earn that fishing pole, I had to pick up pine cones in the yard for a week. I learned the value of a dollar and hard work from him.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’m grateful that our brand has encouraged so many other women to feel confident in their skin.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
· Google is your friend. In order to turn your idea into a successful business, you have to do your research — research your idea, your market and your competitors.
· Hire the right people. Your team contributes to the success and growth of your business, therefore its essential that you spend time investing in people whose values and vision aligns with yours.
· Be a team player. This involves many aspects, however the most important is creating an environment where your team feels comfortable bringing forth new ideas, perspective and opinions.
· There is never enough of anything. Never enough capital; people; and there is never enough time. But you have to make decisions with what you have, even if it’s not enough, because the business never stops.
· Treat yourself. Whether it’s shopping or indulging in some pizza, (which I love to do with my son, Southworth), take time to do things that make you feel great.
You are a person of great influence. 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. :-)
The kindness movement. The world today could use a lot more of this. Even just a simple smile and thank you goes a long way.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Don’t let your mind bully your body — June Tomaso Wood. If I would have let any thoughts of doubt get the best of me when building SiO, the brand would not be where it is today. Lead with your heart not your mind.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
I would love to have a private lunch with Debbie Perelman, the CEO of Revlon. She’s such a powerhouse and I would love for her to be my encyclopedia — picking her brain about brilliant beauty information. I would also pick up the tab, LOL!
Thank you for joining us!