Why You Shouldn’t Hire A Marketing Team Within Your Same Industry: With Nikolay Turovets

“People in your industry tend to create a high-quality “ME TOO” product, while you need to be looking for something innovative.”
Nikolay Turovets, Ph.D. is the co-Founder, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of DefenAge® Skincare, the only range of cosmeceuticals with Age-Repair Defensins®. With a PhD in cancer biology and experience as a clinical embryologist, Nikolay has focused his career exclusively on stem cell research. This all came together in the new skincare line DefenAge, which unlocks your own skin’s potential to remain youthful with natural, scientifically backed skincare that is simple, regenerative and effective.

What is your backstory?

I am the co-Founder and CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of DefenAge® Skincare, the only range of cosmeceuticals with Age-Repair Defensins®. With a PhD in cancer biology and with my experience as a clinical embryologist, I have focused my career exclusively on stem cell research which is my true passion. In 2004, I learned about stem cells. My impression of this development was that it is so revolutionary that it may change the way physicians cure diseases. I was passionate about being involved in the stem cell field at that moment. I joined a team of stem cell researchers who aimed to create therapies to cure age-related blindness, diabetes and degenerative liver diseases and moved to Southern California because it was one of the world’s key centers for stem cell research. I was fortunate to be on cutting edge of stem cell research while developing the first and world’s largest UniStem Cell Bank of partenogenetic stem cell lines. I was working on this novel therapy for retinitis pigmentoza to bring it through FDA submission. Then I began to develop a novel anti-aging technology based on dormant resource (hidden preserve) of our own body.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

I got call from Dr. Darius Mehregan, a renowned dermatologic histopathologist who performed histopathology analysis of skin biopsies taken in DefenAge’s multicenter study. Dr. Mehregan said that after analyzing the study samples he had good news and bad news for me. The good news was that the tested regimen, containing defensins, caused results very similar to those seen after cosmetic retinol treatment, without any signs of inflammation. The bad news, or so he thought, was that there was no increase in the number of proliferating cells in the skin. In other words, the regimen did not case mass proliferation in the skin. To me this was even better news because it separated defensin technology not only from retinol, but also from growth factors that stimulate mass proliferation. The data from Dr. Mehregan proved that defensins, which is the core proprietary technology of the DefenAge range, provide a different mechanism of action from retinol and growth factors, while being effective and potentially safer.

So, what does your company do?

With the DefenAge topical skin care range, we have brought this unique age-reversing technology to consumers for the first time. The defensins technology is based on peer-reviewed research and has been extremely well accepted by dermatologists and plastic surgeons as a paradigm shift that the market was waiting for over a decade. Our recent Comprehensive Multicenter Clinical Study showed that DefenAge’s core skin care regimen addressed visible signs of skin aging on a global scale. The wide-range visible improvement of aging skin was confirmed by Drs. Amy Forman Taub, Vivian Bucay and Gregory Keller.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I believe that my mission is to create value. I have done many different things in my life, but the bottom line is that whatever I do, I want it to deliver value for people. When I worked for the field of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), I took great pride in that fact that over 1,000 children were born through my work as a clinical embryologist. I am very proud that I was a part of the executive team that brought this novel stem cell therapy for retinitis pigmentosa to Phase I/II clinical trials. Although there is still no cure for blindness, those who suffer from this degenerative disease have real hope to get back their vision again. The technology of Age-Repair Defensins is my latest development but I do not believe it will be the last. I will continue do what I can do the best; I want to keep discovering new things.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my Start-Up” and why.

  1. Do as much as you can by yourself. Beginning is the most critical stage for creativity — you are developing your own way for everything. Everything you do will differentiate your product and the way you present it to consumers. Do not expect that consultants and subcontractors will help you with creativity. They may do quality work, but their deliverables will be same as they have delivered for a hundred other projects they did before, so their work will not differentiate you from the others. Only you as an entrepreneur can do this for yourself. The more you do on your own, the more distinguished your product will be.
  2. Marketing is the first and crucial step. The way you deliver your product to the market is more critical than creation of a good product. I always thought that if you do something very well, then people will start using it right the way, but I learned that this is entirely wrong. You need to find a way to bring your product to people and learn how to convince them to try it. The quality of product and the benefits it provides will define how long the product will be on market and how successful it will be. Good marketing should be the first step.
  3. Do not hire a marketing team from the same industry. Go outside the industry where you are planning to market your product. People in your industry tend to create a high-quality “ME TOO” product, while you need to be looking for something innovative. However, you should have mentors who will help you understand the market and how to navigate it. Be involved in the marketing even if you have no idea what it means. You know the unique properties of your product better than anyone else.
  4. Consistency of marketing messaging is one of the keys to success. You must continue to deliver the same messages over time so people will come to understand what makes your product special. Do not make critical changes in your claims and messaging frequently or consumers will become confused and will not remember what you stand for.
  5. Micromanagement is bad, but… you need to do it at the beginning with all your vendors and suppliers to ensure that they do exactly what you want and not what they want.

Is there a person in the world or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

If I had such a chance, I would like to meet with the best people in their respective fields. I do not like idea of selecting just one. I have a list.

Steven Spielberg is a remarkably creative person, who shows a very unique way to view things. While he can digest his unique vision, and present it to people in a way that they will absorb, understand and be impressed by it.

Shinya Yamanaka is a Japanese Nobel Prize-winning stem cell researcher. I would like to explore his vision on the future of therapeutic applications of stem cell technologies.

James Thompson, who invented embryonic stem cells, would also be on my top list of people I would most like to meet because I admire his tremendous accomplishments in research.

Dana White, CEO of Ultimate Fighting Championship, was able to assemble and organize a group of extremely ambitious athletes to bring this startup to a level of multi-billion dollar development. I would like to experience his energy and passion.

Gregory T. Lucier, former CEO of Life Technologies — world leading supplier of the products for life-science research, whose company was acquired by Fisher Scientific for $13B+. I would like to learn how people who operate such major companies think, act and operate.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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