The pursuit of clear (preferably acne free skin) can be quite a long journey and for some it’s one that continues even after adolescence. Because of this, the skin care market is flooded with both high-end and drug store products promising to keep acne at bay – so how can consumers actually find a choice that works? Matt Edstrom, head of marketing for BioClarity, joined this week’s Warby of X tracker, to share how the company is taking a natural approach to disrupting the $3 billion acne treatment market.
Attaining clear skin and keeping it that way is an ongoing struggle for many people.
On top of that, those looking to address their skin problems are bombarded with a growing number of companies and products all promising that they can deliver on clearing up skin once and for all. In many cases, consumers end up continuing to pour into the already massive $3 billion market, only to go from product to product without finding anything that sticks — or actually works.
But BioClarity is aiming to use its “Naturally Better” approach to completely disrupt the acne treatment market.
Matt Edstrom, head of marketing for BioClarity, shared with PYMNTS how the company is using its unique formula and natural ingredients to provide consumers with a new acne treatment option that’s both gentle and effective.
PYMNTS: How did BioClarity get started?
ME: We got started in February 2016 when Rick Sliter, our CEO, and I started working on the company full-time. We had worked together at a few companies in the past, including Provide-Commerce, which was the parent company for ProFlowers and Shari’s Berries, among other brands. The genesis for the idea behind BioClarity came from our Chairman, David Hale, who has decades of experience backing startups in the biotech sector based in San Diego. We identified the need for a naturally better approach to treating acne that was both extremely effective, but also less irritating to your skin than other options currently available in the marketplace. Customer research validated that there was great demand for exactly the type of offering we developed and brought to market. Most people treating acne have switched product multiple times and are still not completely satisfied with their current treatment choice. We [knew] we could change that with a better system.
PYMNTS: How has the company disrupted the acne treatment industry? Why was the industry due for a change in the first place?
ME: BioClarity brings new science to the acne treatment industry for the first time in decades. We based our formulas on natural extracts, maximum strength prescription grade salicylic acid and our proprietary super ingredient Floralux™ which powers our unique Restore Gel, the third step in our system. Floralux unleashes the power of chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants) to take acne treatment to a new level. We have an exclusive license to use Floralux™, which has been proven to minimize many of the unpleasant side effects of traditional approaches. During a clinical study, our system was found to have low levels of skin irritation and helped reduce skin redness. It’s been very satisfying to bring something new to market that works better for so many people that were unsatisfied with their options before finding BioClarity.
PYMNTS: What was the inspiration behind using a direct-to-consumer eCommerce business model versus using a brick-and-mortar or physical channel?
ME: I wish I didn’t have to say this, but there is no cure for acne. The beauty of a direct-to-consumer, subscription model for the treatment of acne is that it encourages people to commit to a regular treatment routine which is essential to clear up your skin and then keep it clear on an ongoing basis. We know that some people will actually experience a bit of a flare-up when they first get into a regular routine, as the skin deeply exfoliates and purges contaminates to the surface. At the four-week and eight-week marks of the clinical study we conducted prior to launch was when we started to see the biggest improvements. Using our business model helps people stick to a plan which clears up their skin and keeps it clear.
PYMNTS: How does BioClarity differentiate itself in the crowded skin care and acne treatment market?
ME: I like to say our product is Superfood for the skin — it’s like eating your “greens” as a way to get and keep clear skin. I mentioned Floralux™ before and that’s our biggest differentiator and can’t easily be copied by our competitors, which provides us with a strategic advantage. When we put our system together, we leveraged Floralux™ but also decided to use many premium ingredients like green tea and cucumber extracts. We also [knew] we wanted to launch a brand that was cruelty-free (certified by PETA) and vegan. Most other players in the market use the very harsh ingredient Benzoyl Peroxide or even sulfur. We also feel that our price point is a compelling value given our efficacy and ingredient story.
PYMNTS: How do you see the acne treatment market changing in the coming years? What do you think BioClarity’s role will be in that change?
ME: That’s a great question. I’m not sure there will be much, if any, innovation from the largest players currently in the market. I imagine they will continue to spend large amount[s] of money on fancy marketing tactics and lining up expensive celebrity endorsers. I also think there could be line extensions or new entrants that try to copy our Naturally Better approach, but it’s unlikely anything as truly [innovative] as the BioClarity formula is on the near horizon. One change that I do think will evolve is the development of closer 1-to-1 relationships between brands and customers. We already make a giant effort to connect with our customer and give them personalized skin care advice. In the future, I could imagine smartphone-enabled exchanges that use voice recognition and image processing to listen to and understand our customers’ experiences, as well as evaluating the type of acne and treatment progress our customers are experiencing. As we grow and have the ability to bring on additional resources, I’d love for BioClarity to be at the forefront of efforts like this that bring brands and customers together.
PYMNTS: What is your take on the “Warby of X” concept? Do you see direct-to-consumer evolving as a sustainable business model that can continue to spark disruption?
ME: We’re only going to see continued movement toward eCommerce and the 24/7 connectivity that consumers have come to expect from the brands that they love. I fully believe that this connectedness and the ability for brands to recreate industries will continue to accelerate. We compete against products sold in the skin care aisle at the drugstore, but we’re able to connect with and provide information to our customers that is fundamentally more effective than someone picking up a package off the shelf and trying to decide if that’s the best product/solution for them. Direct-to-consumer will continue to grow and displace traditional retail, much like Dollar Shave Club has done for razors, Casper has done for mattresses and Blue Apron has for grocery shopping. It’s really fun to be part of this revolution.
PYMNTS: What’s next for BioClarity? Do you have any news or updates you can share?
ME: We launched BioClarity on an extremely accelerated timeline, and as such we went to market with our core acne treatment product. Going forward, we’re really excited to start putting effort into building out a broader product offering. We know there is substantial demand for line extensions, and we plan on launching a moisturizer sometime in Q2. The other very interesting opportunity is the continued evaluation of other opportunities in the personal care, health and wellness industries, which we will be launching as entirely new brands that fill an unmet need in the market. We will most likely launch an entirely new brand in another area before Q3, which is very exciting.