How I built this: A virtual skincare consultation platform, enabled by AI
As a non technical founder of a budding beauty tech start up, there have been many lessons I have learned along the way. As someone who has never even operated a shopify website, I took up the charge to build a solution to a problem I saw many women and men deal with.
In 2019, I started discovering how people were confused about what skin care products to use. Many are just doing trial and error, wasting lots of money on unnecessary skincare. I realized people were looking for that expert advice without having to spend a lot of time and money going to a traditional med spa or dermatologist office. We are not talking about medical diagnosis, rather simple skincare regimens to have that glowy celebrity like skin.
My background is in the pharmaceutical industry and the lack of regulations in skincare industry made consumers more likely to get duped in buying and using products that just dont work. My goal was to bring Evidence based skincare to the masses. But how?
After almost a year of market research, talking to people, building a business model, I decided to take the plunge into building a digital platform for skincare.There is a “uber” concept for many professions now but none in the beauty industry. The pandemic hit the esthetic industry hard and many licensed skincare professionals such as esthetician and nurses were impacted.
The Skin Consult platform was born to connect these skincare professionals to consumers by providing a seamless way to find, book, consult and purchase professional skincare all from the comfort of your home. The algorithm builds product recommendations based on data behind active ingredients.. sounds cool right?
As a solo non technical founder, you dream and find people to help you build it.
This was lesson #1 How to find technical help and make them understand the business needs. The beauty industry has been a traditional industry without much technical innovation, so finding developers who would have the experience and business to know why and what we need to build from a technical standpoint was one of my early lessons.
Since Oct 2020, We have launched our beta product and are finding more and more ways to continue to refine it.
You launch and then what? How do you create that buzz without spending a lot of money on PR and ads.
This was lesson # 2 How to create buzz for your digital health product. Being a bootstrapped company still, we have to get creative without having to spend lots of advertising money. A challenge I find with a digital health product is you have nothing specific to send to someone for free. The value of our product is using the platform to see a professional and get advice, buy products. I am still doing trial and error in this area, and will be sharing more as I see what is successful.
As we start to get more busy, as a founder, I realize where my time is well spent: telling my story, talking to important stakeholders, potential revenue partners, sharing my vision with the team and more importantly building my team
This was lesson #3 Building a team that shares your vision and passion for problem you are trying to solve. I have made my set of mistake by hiring or partnering the wrong people. This ultimately cost me more than what any dollar amount can count for. It cost me my TIME which is very valuable to any start up founder. Now I go by the motto, “hire slow, fire fast”
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