After struggling to manage acne-prone skin—and the resulting dark marks that followed—Desiree Verdejo was determined to find a solution.

“I was so disappointed by the lack of targeted solutions for hyperpigmentation,” she explained. “I owned a beauty boutique in NYC and my incredibly multicultural customer base was constantly seeking solutions for their dark marks. I couldn’t pinpoint a skin care solution for them or myself, so I set out to create one.”

She launched her self-funded brand, Hyper Skin, in 2019 with hero product Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum ($36), a 15 percent vitamin C formula designed to smooth texture, brighten and fade stubborn dark marks. Since then, thanks to rave reviews, as well as a boost from influencers promoting Black-owned beauty brands, it’s been difficult for Desiree to keep up with demand. On June 5 she took to Instagram to announce the brand was completely sold out as a result of the outpouring of support for her business.

“Our biggest challenge is maintaining inventory. Hyper Clear has sold out multiple times since launch,” she said.

Now the brand, which was sold direct-to-consumer, is gearing up for its next chapter: retail. This month Hyper Skin will roll out to and in Urban Outfitters. Here, CEW Beauty News spoke to Desiree about how she has been impacted by current events, digital marketing and advice for entrepreneurs.

Beauty News: Who is your target audience?
Desiree Verdejo: Hyper Skin is a brand steeped in multiculturalism. It was important that we formulated with ingredients that are ideal for all skin types and tones and that we tested as widely. Hyperpigmentation is the number-one skin care concern of people of color and that is definitely reflected in our customer base – many of whom have olive and brown skin tones that are treating dark marks from acne, melasma or eczema. With that being said, we also have fair skinned customers treating sunspots, etc. Hyperpigmentation is not as niche of a problem as it may seem at first glance and that is reflected in the diversity of our supporters.

BN: Describe the marketing/communications plans to reach your target consumers?
DV: We have a great digital marketing strategy, such as text messaging, press and paid social ads to spread the word about the brand. Our strongest asset, though, is the organic interest in the brand. We’re focused on a true pain point for a lot of people and Hyper Clear’s effectiveness speaks for itself. Our customers leave reviews, enthusiastically post our products and voluntarily share their results on their personal social media accounts suggesting Hyper Skin to their friends and family.

BN: How has your business been impacted by current events?
DV: What a year it’s been! You definitely feel the effects of current events as a business owner from COVID to the politicizing of the USPS. The Black Lives Matter movement is stronger than it’s ever been, and many people have been moved to set their sights on police brutality and other inequities in our country, such as supporting Black-owned businesses. This focus on discovering and shopping with Black-owned businesses definitely had a positive effect on sales, opened up conversations with awesome retailers, and created great press opportunities. As a business owner, you can’t force a movement to maintain its energy but you can take all of the resources and benefits that you’ve received from its peak and strategize to maintain and grow the level of sales, exposure, etc. that it creates. That’s where we are now.

BN: What has been your biggest achievement?
DV: Hyper Skin has been featured month after month in notable publications and has even won beauty awards, but nothing makes me prouder than getting positive feedback from our customers. Our customers show off their results after using Hyper Clear with ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos, leave reviews on our website, and regularly send emails and DMs on social media about their experiences. Our customers’ positive feedback is certainly what I would consider my biggest achievement.

BN: What advice do you have for someone starting a brand?
DV: When Hyper Skin was just an idea, I was so secretive about everything. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was creating a product line, wouldn’t share the concept, the name, anything. Fortunately, I turned a corner and started to reach out to my network to get guidance and feedback on different elements of the developing business. Those conversations catapulted the idea and actually motivated me to keep going to make the concept a reality. I would advise someone starting a brand to not get stuck in stealth mode because, in my experience, you can get so much further with others than you can alone.