Episode 83

Would you rather have a full head of hair or a  healthy sex drive? Sounds like the lead up to a game of “Would You Rather. . . ” but this was the real-life scenario Giorgos Tsetis, Co-Founder and CEO of Nutrafol®, was facing in his early 20s. With a thriving modeling career at stake, he had to make the impossible choice of taking a hair-growth drug that would keep him employed, but in turn, cause him sexual dysfunction. Eventually the trade-off became too great, which led him to found Nutrafol®, a supplement that promotes hair growth. In promoting his new business, he was forced to open up, get vulnerable, and share his story. In this episode, hear how that experience opened up a new level of honesty and acceptance within himself and men and women he has helped.

AnnouncerWelcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY, hosted by Jodi Katz, founder and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Jodi KatzHey, there. Welcome back to the show. This week's episode features Giorgos Tsetis. He's the co-founder of Nutrafol. I hope you enjoy this episode. It's really interesting. We start off with an unusual topic, and if you missed last week's episode it featured Danya Klein. She's a VP of brand relations at Preen.Me. I hope you enjoy the shows.
Hey, everybody. Welcome back to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY. I am sitting with Giorgos Tsetis. Did I pronounce that well enough?
Giorgos TsetisFantastic.
Jodi KatzOkay, super. You are the-
Giorgos TsetisI give you credit.
Jodi KatzI've been practicing. You were the co-founder of Nutrafol.
Giorgos TsetisYes.
Jodi KatzWelcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY.
Giorgos TsetisThank you. Thank you so much for having me.
Jodi KatzYeah. It's super cool to sit with you. Let's start off with a simple question. How will you spend your time today?
Giorgos TsetisThis morning, right? This morning I always do my morning rituals. I make sure that I drink at least 30 ounces of water to have, I call it my inner best, to at least clean myself from within after a beautiful night of sleep. Then I'm drinking my smoothie with my herbs and Nutrafol supplement in the morning. That's what I love to do, and then a little bit of a workout before I really dive into work and conquering the world.
Jodi KatzWhat time do you usually wake up?
Giorgos TsetisAround 7:00. 7:00, sometimes 6:00 depending on what time I went to bed, but yeah, it's important to wake up in the morning. For me, at least.
Jodi KatzWhen you start the day with 30 ounces of water, is it cold water, warm water, room temperature water?
Giorgos TsetisI don't have the machine yet, but I actually have an alkaline water filtering machine that I researched that I'm actually very excited about, which is changing the alkaline of the actual water. It also increases the antioxidants within the water as well, so typically it's just room temperature water. New York water's quite good. It's definitely not as polluted some different places in the world and even in this country, so we've got good water here so we don't necessarily need an extensive filter system. But typically, I drink it at room temperature. I'm looking forward to my new machine because that's definitely going to provide me with better water to completely hydrate my body in the morning. I'm very excited about it.
Jodi KatzAre you someone who needs sleep or are you sort of running 24 hours?
Giorgos TsetisI think sleep is absolutely necessary. I hear it from so many people, sometimes even CEOs running other companies. A lot of people just running on fumes. I think sleep is incredibly important. There's so much scientific studies and things that have proven that lack of sleep is almost comparable to being drunk, right? I cannot operate at three hours, four hours sleep. I used to, but I can definitely not do it anymore. I need my at least seven to eight hours. Make sure that ... There's nothing better than a beautiful night of sleep, in my opinion.
Jodi KatzYes. I crave sleep. I shut down. My brain stops working.
Giorgos TsetisYeah, and a lot of people want to work a lot and outwork and outperform others, but I believe in working smart. If you work smart, and especially when you have enough sleep you can work smart during the day and be incredibly effective and productive at the same time.
Jodi KatzWe're going to start this pod off by talking about something we haven't on the pod before, which is sex drive, right? This will be a first.
Giorgos TsetisIt's my favorite topic.
Jodi KatzThis will be a first for our podcast. Why do your customers care about sex drive? Why are we talking about this today?
Giorgos TsetisWell, we're talking about this today because we ... I personally suffered from decreased libido and even at a certain moment sexual dysfunction, and that was due to some of the drugs that I was taken for my hair health for hair loss actually. I took a drug called finasteride for about nine to 10 years due to prevent hair loss. My hair was very important to me and I took these drugs. I listened to the people in the white coats and I took the drug, and what the drug essentially does, it blocks a specific hormone in the body that is indirectly causing hair loss. It actually blocks a enzyme, the alpha-reductive enzyme that actually converts to DHT, which is responsible for hair loss. This is a drug that millions and millions of people take, and unfortunately, I suffered from some of the side effects, and one of the known side effects is decreased libido and sexual dysfunction. There's actual evidence now that it can even cause permanent sexual dysfunction post-discontinuation of the drug, which is crazy, right? You have to choose between keeping your hair and losing your sex drive.
As a young man, that's obviously very hard to deal with. Now I think this topic becomes more acceptable and people are a little bit more open about it, but imagine 15 years ago. It was you cannot talk about this with your family. You can't talk about this even with your friends, and you're having to make that choice between hair ... I didn't want to lose my hair. I was modeling as well. It was important for me to keep my hair. I made that very conscious choice to take that risk, but I definitely jeopardized my health. I think that's the reason why we're sitting here.
I think it's a very important topic to discuss for men because, again, there's millions and millions of men that take hair loss drugs and they do jeopardize their health tremendously. Nobody really knows what it's going to cause long-term. I don't even know what I did to my body in terms of long-term damage. This is something that has been prescribed by doctors for years now. It's an FDA approved drug so people tend to trust it, but there's definitely a lot of question marks that we have, consumers have. It's a very important topic to at least inform about everything that relates to these drugs and what the real side effects are and the real statistics, so at least people are empowered to make smarter and healthier choices for themselves.
Jodi KatzWhat gave you the courage to start talking about it?
Giorgos TsetisIt wasn't necessarily a choice, to be honest with you. We never started Nutrafol, the product, the company to just start a company. It was about, okay, how do you make sure that ... How do you formulate something that's very healthy and effective for you? After starting the company and then getting the products out there, I was interviewed by Mashable, mashable.com. I will never forget that day actually because it was interesting because naturally, you want to promote ... You're proud of your science. You're proud of the products. You're proud of the benefits, and the product was out there already and was performing incredibly well. Naturally, you want to talk about what you did and how you did it, right?
You think that it's important to share that information, and obviously, it is, but I will never forget the moment because he was actually not interested at all in what we did and how we did it. He just simply asked for the why. That was the moment for me to kind of speak open about the fact that we created what we did because we were ... Not just me, also my business partner, Roland Peralta, we both suffered tremendously from the side effects, and so it wasn't necessarily a choice but it was a moment where I recognized that there was a need to share the story, at least for people to know why we're doing what we're doing. Then it was published that way and it actually went quite viral, which was quite interesting and embarrassing at the same time.
But it was very nice to actually see that the story just resonated with so many people. With so many people. It was picked up all over the world. Like in the matter of an hour it was picked by over 25 major outlets and it definitely resonated with a lot of people, which was very rewarding at the same time.
Jodi KatzMaking yourself vulnerable is something I guess you really had to face for this business. What was it like when you had to make yourself vulnerable with your friends and family about this topic? Because, obviously, at some point, you told them what was going on because this is the purpose of [crosstalk 00:09:32]
Giorgos TsetisIt's funny because I actually ... Well, when I started Nutrafol, the business, I owned an engineering company and, obviously, that's a great career. I had licenses. To give up that business to start a hair health, hair loss company obviously I had some explaining to do. At least to justify it towards my family, but I'm very fortunate because my family's incredibly supportive. I bootstrapped the whole company from the beginning with my own funds and my business partner, his funds, so obviously, that was a great tipping point because obviously, I had to explain why I believed this was something that people needed.
That was, for me, the opportunity to actually share it with my parents and my sister, et cetera. It was perceived very nicely, but again, unfortunate because it continued to support tremendously ... They live in Europe, so they're not here in New York. Sometimes they ... But when the article came out I remember sharing it with them. There was obviously quite disruptive and shocking at the same time because the header was quite juicy.
Jodi KatzWhat was the headline?
Giorgos TsetisI believe the header was ... It was about how a Wilhelmina fashion model is sacrificing his sex to keep his hair or something. It's along these lines. Obviously, that was quite disruptive. Again, I think nobody did it in this industry and I'm happy that people are becoming much more vulnerable in general, men and woman. I think being vulnerable is incredibly, incredibly powerful. I saw recently a friend of mine actually shared the description of just vulnerability in general and how it's being described in the dictionary, and that definitely needs to ... That description definitely has to change.
Jodi KatzWhat is it now?
Giorgos TsetisI think it's something quite negative in a way, and I think we have to turn it into something very, very positive.
Jodi KatzRight.
Giorgos TsetisI think being vulnerable is incredibly powerful in general. There's just so much opportunity to empower people to be vulnerable. I just came from a beautiful weekend upstate with 30 spiritual leaders and it was all about vulnerability. You can just see what that actually does to people. You create real connections, right? Real connections. I think that's something that's absolutely ... It's starting to decrease due to social media. People are not normally in touch anymore. People don't communicate anymore. People don't even communicate in bars anymore. It's weird to go up to somebody and have a spontaneous talk. Right? Where is this world going to?
I'm 100% sure that's going to be a massive shift in the next few years. It's going take a while, but I think there's an absolute need for real connections. Right? You can only do that by being vulnerable.
Jodi KatzThe whole reason I started this pod was to be vulnerable-
Giorgos TsetisAmazing.
Jodi Katz... because I was really tired of pretending that things were easy in running my business. I felt alone in it and felt like, "Well, I'm the only suffering through this." The minute I actually started talking about how hard it is to do what I'm doing and how lonely it is, all the sudden things got easier.
Giorgos TsetisRight.
Jodi KatzIn fact, I saw the moment in my agency business when I was super vulnerable with a potential client and that vulnerability, which just happened by mistake because I was too exhausted to keep the charade going, how it led to a really deep connection.
Giorgos TsetisWow.
Jodi KatzA really long, meaningful connection with a client.
Giorgos TsetisThat's amazing.
Jodi KatzThen I just rode that wave because it felt so much better, right, than hiding.
Giorgos TsetisRight. Yes, you feel better and you're empowering others, and you see how other people grow, right?
Jodi KatzYeah.
Giorgos TsetisIt's amazing what you do. Really amazing.
Jodi KatzIt does make people uncomfortable though.
Giorgos TsetisYes, but that's amazing. You have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, right? That's how you grow. I always put myself in uncomfortable situations.
Jodi KatzLike what else?
Giorgos TsetisEverything. Everything. Even throughout the day, I try to challenge myself all the time, whether it's just approaching somebody random or reaching out to somebody that I wouldn't reach out to, or apologizing to somebody that would never expect an apology. Right? Or speaking in public while I'm not super comfortable speaking in public. All of these things, or taking some massive risks with the business, right, that maybe even investors would challenge. Right? Putting myself in these positions or taking ... Just even going to this event upstate. Going alone and not knowing anybody. With 30 spiritual leaders, it's so incredibly impressive, right? To just be there and not knowing really ... I like the unknown. In general, I like the unknown. I always like the unknown, but keep pushing and setting the bar higher, I think, is so incredibly important for long-term happiness and fulfillment in general. That's something that really keeps me, at least, inspired, so these are some of the things that I do throughout the day and really try to make it a habit every day. Every day I want to do something that's slightly uncomfortable.
Jodi KatzIs your partner, your co-founder in the business, is he as comfortable being vulnerable or comfortable being uncomfortable?
Giorgos TsetisYeah. Yeah, I'm very proud of everything that he's done in the business. We're very, very different and I think that's what makes us great, but Roland always has been very open. His emotional intelligence is spot on. I learned a lot from him, and yeah, he has a fantastic scientific mind as well, and that's why we're here. Yeah, I think at least when it comes to being comfortable with the uncomfortable, I think we're at the same page, which I think makes us great. There's great synergy between the two of us.
Jodi KatzHow do you divide the responsibilities between the two of you?
Giorgos TsetisHe's the chief innovation and product, so everything related to innovation ... We do a lot on scientific development. These are not just the two products, the man and the woman's formulation that we have created. Everything that we do is in the name of science. Everything we do has nutraceutical science behind it, and there's clinical trials involved, human clinical trials. There's a lot of testing that we do and that is ... He works very closely with Doctor Cogan, who's a co-founder as well. They basically take the lead everything related to innovation and product development. At least where it's being inspired and then the other teams are bringing everything to life, so that is something that they focus on.
I personally focus on really building the team long-term vision. Everything related to fundraising, raising money, dealing with investors. We've got a great relationship with investors, which is always important. Of course, overseeing and building the team. You can't build an empire and help a tremendous amount of people out there without a team. I don't believe in spreading ourselves too thin, right? I think it's very frustrating for people, in general, when they spread themselves too thin. Employees as well. There needs to be clarity, and I'm there to solve problems and provide clarity. That's what I'm good at. I have an engineering background, so give me whatever problem you have and I will find a way to solve it. That's my strength.
Jodi KatzWell, let's talk about one of your careers before beauty entrepreneur. You were a professional model, right?
Giorgos TsetisMm-hmm (affirmative). Yes.
Jodi KatzHow many years did you spend in that business?
Giorgos TsetisOver 10 years. Yeah, let me see. I started ... Yes, definitely 10 years. I started when I was 21. Yeah.
Jodi KatzThat's sort of late for a model, right?
Giorgos TsetisYeah. Well, for men it's okay. For a woman, it's ... Yeah, some woman definitely start in their 16th, and 17th, and ... Well, that's always tricky, right?
Jodi KatzYup.
Giorgos TsetisThat's always tricky, but, yeah, I think for me it was a good age. I was just very fortunate because I started to model, but for me, it was incredibly important to finish my studies and that's what I did. Even though I was doing it part-time [inaudible 00:18:25] after my studies, even though they offered me a fantastic job at a multinational I decided when I finish my studies I'm just going to do a year of traveling and I'm going to do the modeling. I was fortunate to have a lot of agencies that were representing me all over the world. Some type of agencies that would book me and I would fly over and do jobs and explore new cities, so I gave myself a year to do that full-time. Then after that year, I ended up in New York. They got my green card, I got Wilhelmina Models here in New York, and I was very fortunate that my green card arrived very soon after and that ... But it was never really a long-term play for me. I always wanted to create something great and help people and create movement.
I like to create movements. I know it sounds maybe a little bit like a cliché, but I'm driven by that, to change conversations and again, to solve problems and help people out there with whatever problem out there. This is just the beginning, the hair health and the hair loss arena, which I believe needs to be disrupted, and we're almost there.
To answer your question, I did it for about 10 years, but it was never my long-term vision. I used it to explore the world, to save money, to meet great people, to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, learn a lot. Work on my emotional challenges. There's a lot of stuff you have to deal with in that world. It's a very, very tough world, even though it looks great from the outside. But it's very, very tough to survive, but that was ... Yeah, I look back at a fantastic, fantastic journey.
Then while I was doing the modeling here in New York and I got my green card I was able to start my engineering business, so I went back to school here and got some licenses. Got specialized in certain things related to structural engineering, and soon after I was able to start my consulting company and I was so specialized in something that was needed. I don't want to get too technical, but it sort of allowed me to really grow that business rapidly.
Jodi KatzWhen you were a young man modeling, were you experiencing hair loss at that time?
Giorgos TsetisYeah. I will just never forget. There's always this moment where you ... I was actually studying. I was studying and I was leaning in front of my books and I just saw so much hair fall.
Jodi KatzReally? You mean you're like reading and you saw hair just fall out?
Giorgos TsetisYeah, it was like I just noticed, right? There's always this moment with men, and for women as well, by the way. It's a massive concern for women. There's always this moment where it just hits you, right? I can show you photos of my dad. He's very, very bald. He lost all his hair in his early 20s. The same with my grandfathers, so it was enough evidence that I would go through that downward spiral as well. When I went to a doctor he confirmed it. We did some tests and et cetera. That's why he put me on the drug because that was the only option back then. But there's always this moment where it kind of hits you, and for me, it was that moment. There was just so much hair fall in front of my books, and then you started to notice on your pillow, and then when you brush your hair you started to notice there, and then you're like, "Okay. Shoot. I have to do something."
Jodi KatzYou told me a fact that really surprised me, that for a person to notice that they're losing their hair they need 50% hair loss or something like that?
Giorgos TsetisYes. Correct. I think it's a very important statistic. You've got a lot of hair follicles and for you to actually notice that you're thinning you have to lose at least 50% of your hair. I think that's when you start actually noticing it.
Jodi KatzThat just sort of sounds too late. Is that too late?
Giorgos TsetisWell, when you start to thin it's not too late because obviously, you want to keep what you have, and even with the products that we give to our customers, we're not selling magic, right? It's not a magic pill. It's super effective. It's super healthy, but if hair follicles are not there anymore or you have a shiny scalp and there's just no hair anymore there it's just incredibly hard to reverse. Being proactive and being preventative and really understanding where it's coming from, the concern and the problem, what is the root cause? Is it the inflammation? Is it the stress? Is it the gene hormones? Is it a combination of all? Understanding that and taking a proactive approach is very, very important.
Jodi KatzHow many of your customers are women versus men?
Giorgos TsetisThat's a good question. I can give you that statistic. It's actually above a 75% actually women, which is very interesting, right? There's several reasons for that. Just to give you some additional statistics, to shed some light, so there's about 30 million women about, in the United States alone, that suffer from some type of hair loss throughout their lives. That could be due to many reasons. Lifestyle reasons, life stages, and stress-related hair loss, et cetera. Thinning in general. That's 30 million women alone. That is a massive population, and there's about 40 million men that experience hair loss at least by the age of 50.
These are pretty big statistics, and the reason why our women's audience is that large, there's several reason for that. We're actually selling in dermatology offices. There's thousands of doctors that are selling the products there. We've got doctors that have endorsed the science and stand behind what we do. Some of these dermatologist's offices are skewed towards a woman, so that's one reason. The other reason is there was a lot of media and press and awards that we won around the woman's product. That's another reason why it's skewed to women. Both audiences are similar in size, I believe, but we've been focusing on both genders, obviously. But it has been skewed because of these reasons.
Jodi KatzRight. I would imagine from a cultural perspective, and I'm not a man, so I'm just taking a guess here, that if I'm a man who's losing my hair I can just shave it off, right, and that's a cool look, right?
Giorgos TsetisRight.
Jodi KatzIt's relevant. But I'm limited as a woman?
Giorgos TsetisYeah.
Jodi KatzMaybe I want to get extensions to add fullness or I want to ... I don't know. Wear a lot of hair accessories or something. Do the women that love your product, do they share their personal stories with you?
Giorgos TsetisYes, absolutely. What I'm really, really happy about is that ... A few years ago, and I'm talking about just five years ago when this was all initiated, just to talk about hair loss, especially in the woman's arena, it was taboo. Obviously, it's embarrassing. It's very hard to deal with. It wasn't really a topic of discussion. There's a shift going on and we've been at the forefront of that, that it becomes more acceptable to now talk about it. But there's, I think, a massive opportunity to take that even to the next level and make women and men feel incredibly proud about taking control of their hair health in a beautiful, healthy way.
I'm not talking about taking drugs. I'm not talking about just taking basic vitamins and minerals because, unfortunately, just taking vitamin is not going to cut it, right? That's not enough, and that entire industry is not regulated either, so there's a tremendous amount of product out there that just simply doesn't work. Making sure that all of this is being perceived in a different way, and it becomes acceptable, and it's great to talk about and great to share, and being vulnerable and then taking control of it, and then really seeing tremendous results as a consequence, I think these could be incredible stories.
We have a lot of women that share their stories because we are changing their lives. The stories that we hear are very emotional, but it's incredible what you hear. I hear stories of women that cannot even walk on the street anymore because they're afraid of the wind because they are covering certain spots that they don't want to expose, so when it's very windy they do not want to walk outside. To live this way, it's not good. It's not good. If you are able to empower these people and give them the tools to resolve a situation like this, it's incredibly rewarding. It's something that really, really drives us as a company.
That's why we're building an entire concierge service around the products. We're not just offering products, but we want to make sure that we are there for our people, for men and for women, to guide them through this ... We call it a growth journey. Right? That is something that we stand for. That's something that we love doing, and that's what we're going to continue to do because I think that's absolutely needed. Hope that answers your question.
Jodi KatzYeah, for sure. Well, I look forward to hearing some of the stories because allowing people to be vulnerable about it, giving the space for it is really important, right?
Giorgos TsetisAbsolutely.
Jodi KatzBecause then we can normalize it?
Giorgos TsetisAbsolutely.
Jodi KatzThe last topic I want to talk about because it's not every day that somebody just says, "I'm going to invent something new and I'm going to make it work and put it through clinical trials," right?
Giorgos TsetisYeah.
Jodi KatzThere's a lot of heavy lifting here, so can you just take us back a few years to the process of when you and your partner actually sat down while you had your other day jobs and said, "Let's investigate if we can make something happen"? What was the idea on the napkin, or what was the idea in its infancy at that point?
Giorgos TsetisI like the napkin idea. It didn't start on a napkin, but it start ... Look, for us, it was really faith. We never went into like, "Let's just start a business together." It was more about, "Okay, we've got actually a serious problem here, and let's really try to resolve it," because we don't get answers from our doctors. If you go online you're going to get completely confused, and there's so much distrust and so many misconceptions out there it's just you can really not find your way. It's incredible what's happening, so ...
Jodi KatzBut before this point, there must've been lots of back and forth conversations of, "Oh, I just learned this. I just learned this." Someone doesn't just have a problem and all the sudden decide to start a business. What was the process?
Giorgos TsetisYes. Absolutely. The process was I had a problem. I panicked when I heard that there was actual scientific evidence that the drug that I was on can cause permanent sexual dysfunction post-discontinuation of the drug.
Jodi KatzSo this was your ah-ha moment?
Giorgos TsetisThis was like, "Okay, I cannot be on the drug anymore." By the way, a good friend of mine from LA called me up and she knew I was on the drugs and was like, "Did you hear about this study? Because you have to get off this drug." Every single time I was going of the drug my hair started to fall out, so I was stuck. Right? What do you do?
Roland happened to be a very dear friend of mine. I trusted his knowledge. Back then he was working for a hair company, for a renowned hair stylist creating products and diving into the science and doing some of the scientific research. Just coincidentally my business partner, so Roland, was suffering from RA, rheumatoid arthritis, and he treated his rheumatoid arthritis by taking some very potent [inaudible 00:30:56] anti-inflammatories instead of taking a drug such as Enbrel and some of these other blockbusters out there. He was able to move again. He was really experiencing some great, great effects for his RA, but one of the things that we noticed and he noticed, and he mentioned to me and I noticed it as well, he said his hair health was changing. Because he was balding as well.
His hair health was changing, so that was about ... Okay, so we're targeting CRP, which is an inflammatory biomarker with these potent anti-inflammatories. Why is his hair health changing? Because if you go into literature, if you talk to doctors about inflammation and how that implicates and effects the hair growth cycle, nobody has an answer to that. It started with a hypothesis. How does inflammation ... It goes back to problem solving, right? What is at the root of the problem here? Because we're not trying to just treat the symptoms because that is not going to work. What is at the root of the problem? Hold on, inflammation plays a role. Okay, so what leads to inflammation? What else?
So then very quickly you're starting to connect dots by just connecting papers and scientific research out there just by using common sense and being, of course, science-savvy, but also very important in being curious. Of course, we're incredibly curious because we were very, very motivated in connecting the dots. To keep a long story short, inflammation played a role. We started to find some papers for that. Nobody was addressing what is at the root of inflammation, some of the biomarkers, and inflammatory cytokines. Then what about stress? Right? Everybody know anecdotally that when we stress we sometimes lose our hair, so why is nobody addressing what is at the root of stress? It's the elevated cortisol hormone. Then what about the gene hormone? The gene hormone, at the root of that is DHT. Right? Is there any way to address that naturally?
Then when you start to connect all the dots and not to get too scientific, but you see that free radicals, just aging in general free radicals leads to oxidative stress lead to inflammation, and then inflammation we got, again, inflammation, and it's this downward spiral. Even elevated cortisol, being chronically stressed leads to inflammation. Elevated DHT hormone leads to inflammation, so there's this whole downward spiral that needs to be addressed, so you need a multi-factorial approach.
All the drugs out there simply address single factors. Just one factor. That's why everybody's trying to figure out this magic pill. Well, there's no such thing as magic because you have to address it internally. You have to address it with an integrative approach, and you have to address it with a multi-factorial approach. Then the basic vitamins and minerals that are all out there are simply addressing nutrient deficiencies, but we're not losing our hair because we're nutrient deficient. That was an hypothesis. That's how everything really started. I think, and this is something I truly believe, there's so many complex problems out there. You just have to simplify it and use common sense and see if you can connect the dots. That's always a great starting point.
Now, we had this hypothesis and that's what sparked the conversation and that's how we started to include some of the doctors out there and some of the scientists that really take that research to the next level. That's how everything really started. When we saw the light, meaning when we saw that and we got confirmed by the doctors that we're on to something very big here and that it makes scientifically sense that's when we got excited and said, "Okay, maybe this is becoming a business," because we actually started to formulate the products in a parallel and we started to test them. We're giving them away to stylists, which was very, very cool actually because one of our first salons was Warren Tricomi in the Plaza Hotel, which is one the best salons in the world really. We started to give the products out to get feedback, and the feedback was tremendous, like beyond expectations.
Of course, when you've got that feedback, and you got excited, and you've got doctors being intrigued that's where we kind of decided, "You know what? Maybe we have to turn this into something bigger?" By the way, it was just two products back then and we never knew that it could grow to what it is now, but that goes back to always setting the bar higher and always competing with yourself, not with anybody else. What is it that we can do better? Can we do more research? Can we optimize the ingredients? Can we optimize the service around it? What else can we do? Et cetera, et cetera.
Jodi KatzCool. Well, thank you for sharing that story with us. I think-
Giorgos TsetisOf course.
Jodi Katz... it's important to understand the motivation, that one thing for you that your friend said to you that said, "I need to do something about this."
Giorgos TsetisYes.
Jodi KatzWell, I appreciate your wisdom and our listeners do as well.
Giorgos TsetisThank you so much. Thank you for your line of questioning.
Jodi KatzYeah, of course. And for our listeners, I hope you enjoyed this interview. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes, and for updates about the show follow us on Instagram @wherebrainsmeetbeautypodcast.
AnnouncerThanks for listening to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY with Jodi Katz. Tune in again for more authentic conversations with beauty leaders.
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