Mary Fisher joined SkinMedica, Inc. in April 2008. Coming from almost 30 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields, Mary saw an immediate opportunity with SkinMedica: doctor’s offices. Today, SkinMedica, which is based in Carlsbad, Calif., ranks as the fourth best-selling brand by medical providers, behind Obagi, Dermalogica and SkinCeuticals, and is the fastest growing brand in the medical channel. Beauty Insider recently spoke with Mary about the firm’s unprecedented growth.
Beauty Insider: Six months after you joined SkinMedica as CEO, the economy collapsed. How did you regroup and hammer out a growth strategy for the beauty brand?
MF: In early 2009 I huddled with my group and we decided to lead the firm toward a strategy to establish relationships with physicians’ practices as the underpinning for future growth, helping doctors see that sales of skin care products could be a meaningful revenue base for their practice and help them weather the economic storm. By following that plan, SkinMedica grew sales nearly 10% in 2009, when the industry went the other way. By focusing in on our closest partners, SkinMedica realized success. The partnering model became proof that doctor’s offices provided a large opportunity for us, not just selling to them but partnering and managing their skin care business. In 2010, SkinMedica’s sales grew 33%.
BI: What’s the premise of SkinMedica?
MF: Our premise is based on the science of the skin’s own healing abilities. We conduct extensive research particularly the use of growth factor proteins in our products to stimulate the creation of collagen. Our non-prescription products target a variety of skin concerns, including skin rejuvenation, age defense and sun protection. We also have a very popular anti-aging product line called TNS – Tissue Nutrient System , which holds a patent for NouriCel-MD, a compound using growth factors. The line includes a total of 9 products and a kit. TNS Essential Serum is the brand’s best selling product, and sells for $260. In 2013 we will bring together the launch of the first new and patented innovation in anti-aging skincare in years.
BI: In 2011 the company grew 26%. What is this attributed to?
MF: Continued partnering with existing physicians and outreach to the consumers to drive them into our practices. We have more than 3,000 accounts across the U.S. SkinMedica sales continue to grow at a dynamic pace as a result of our TNS line, a growing sales force and the implementation of various loyalty programs with key accounts.
BI: How do you target doctor’s offices?
MF: The aesthetic market is found in the coastal areas, the Sunbelt and in Chicago. It’s not a typical metropolitan statistical area. But it gravitates towards photo damage. We target practices in these areas. Overall we pay more attention to the medical channel skin care business than other brands and we are more discerning. We conduct clinical trials and publish extensively in peer review publications. Over the years we’ve built a reputation that the trials create a sense of trust around the brand.
BI: Please talk about Colorescience, which SkinMedica purchased earlier this year. What’s the first order of business with Colorescience?
MF: We acquired it in January. It’s a mineral makeup line that’s true to the originals with immediate results, color correction and sun protection. It was founded by Diane Ranger, who created the mineral makeup category. Right now it’s sold in physician’s offices and also in a few select high-end spas. Colorescience gives us an adjacent brand that’s a bridge builder to new doors. We’ll look to expand our footprint selectively with spas and maybe speak directly to consumers with infomercials or long form ads.