Randi Shinder on how SBLA explores the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns
Describe your business in a few words?
SBLA uses the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns. The non-invasive wand-delivery-system skincare line is clinically proven to build collagen, smooth, lift and tighten the skin while targeting the most fragile areas of the face and neck to deliver a more youthful appearance – all without surgery or needles.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
After seeing early success working in affinity and loyalty programs, I decided it was time to turn my attention to my true passion, the beauty industry.
In 2002 I launched my first beauty company CLEAN Perfume, which offered a unique fragrance experience meant to re-create everything that was the epitome of CLEAN. The story behind CLEAN was simple and literal: I didn’t wear fragrance back then, but I showered… and people would ask me what I was wearing. That’s where the idea came from. I always look for the white space and fill it. That’s how I started all of my brands.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I began my career in affinity and loyalty programs, launching an affinity card that I groomed for acquisition by one of the largest banks in Canada and America’s first teen loyalty site called Youtopia, with Britney Spears as the official ambassador.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I had several childhood influences that shaped my affinity for beauty at a young age. My late paternal grandmother was obsessed with skincare. She would take me through her whole daily beauty routine – cleanser, toner and moisturizer. She had beautiful skin and perfectly groomed nails. She instilled a reverence and love of this daily ritual.
I was also infatuated with my mother’s perfume collection and would spend hours playing with the bottles and taking in the different scents.
In retrospect, I think my upbringing and strong maternal influences coupled with my ability to look for the white space to bring new and innovative products to the marketplace subconsciously groomed me to be a beauty entrepreneur.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I have always been a big believer in public relations. For CLEAN, I had the opportunity to preview the fragrance at a Grammy Gifting suite at a hotel in New York City. It was very early, and the final product was not ready, but my publicist convinced me to take a chance and seize the opportunity to help garner early exposure to the media. This ultimately led to a feature in People StyleWatch and from there the brand exploded. Once the story hit stands, consumers started running to department stores, asking for the fragrance. To this day, public relations remains a core component of my marketing strategy.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
One of the most challenging times for me was when I first launched CLEAN. I was balancing motherhood and running a beauty empire with two young children at home. I had to travel often and put in long hours, which was very hard. I learned to set boundaries with both my children and my job, but it wasn’t easy. I look at my daughter now, who is a strong and driven woman, and know that I instilled the importance of hard work and chasing your dreams.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
The first product we launched from SBLA was the Original Neck Chin and Jawline Sculpting Wand, and it sold out three times, helping the appearance of more than 200,000 mature necks across the globe. We sold $8.5 million through Facebook alone, in the first five months it was available. I am very proud that we were able to deliver a product that resonates with so many women – and truly provides the results they’re looking to achieve without surgery or needles.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I don’t have one go-to interview question, but I look for people who are inquisitive and have that entrepreneurial spirit. I hire people who want to learn and are self-starters. It doesn’t matter to me if you have experience in the beauty industry. Instead, I look to hire individuals who are honest and hungry to advance in their careers.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The beauty industry is massive, but much of the industry is housed in a few geographical locations. This proved to be challenging with COVID, as there was a lack of manufacturing and resources available when factories experienced severe delays or business came to a complete halt.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
At the end of February 2021, SBLA announced our partnership with beauty icon and entrepreneur Christie Brinkley, who has joined our ownership team. I was so thrilled to learn that Christie was a fan of our products and am excited to be collaborating with her to develop new innovations to add to our SBLA portfolio. Our shared goal is to continue to create products designed to help women, particularly those who are over 40 years old, to look and feel their best. So, you can expect to see some exciting new product launches hitting the market in the not-so-distant future!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
I think 2020 has given me even a deeper appreciation for my family, and my children. My daughter is studying to be a marine scientist and has plans to save the world. My son just graduated last year, and I am constantly impressed with his intuition and business sense for his age. My children keep me grounded and continue to inspire and motivate me to be my best self.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Don’t try to do it all yourself and surround yourself with a solid team. In the beginning, I would find myself answering every email, every call and every request. That’s a recipe for burnout. Find the right people who can help to drive your business forward, so you have time to think without the day-to-day distraction of doing it all.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
In addition to spending time with my family and children, I stay grounded by reminding myself all I have to be grateful for and maintaining a positive, glass half-full outlook on life.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Make time for yourself. Give up on the idea of being perfect – perfection is paralyzing and will make you feel like you’re never fully ready. Sometimes you just have to go for it and take a chance. Expect to fail, more than once – failure leads to growth. Lastly, get clear on your goals and build a plant to get you there. Allow shifts and revisit your goals often.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I desperately wanted to be a singer when I was growing up. I now sing as often as possible for the pure enjoyment of doing something I’m decent at. Singing takes my mind off of everything but hitting the high notes! Also, I have an exceptional sense of smell, which is both a blessing and a curse. Since childhood, I arrived home from school and knew exactly what was for dinner. I will say, this has served me well in my chosen industry.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
To be the best version of yourself daily, I recommend 1) getting a good night’s sleep and prioritizing rest, 2) exercising and putting in the time to get your body in motion and 3) eating healthy and filling your body with proper nourishment. Start here. Prioritize your health and well-being, as this is crucial to productivity and feeling your best.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
At this stage in my life, being an Entreprenista, to me, means sharing my life and career experiences with other women as a sense of encouragement, support and inspiration. It means showing up fully to chase your dreams and helping others do the same with a sense of honesty, transparency and integrity. 2020 has been an impactful year for all of us, and I look forward to continuing to use my knowledge and experiences to help guide other women through these unusual times and celebrate a brighter and better tomorrow together.