Episode 248: And The Listen Again Awards Go To…

In honor of the WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™ Listen Again Awards, we’re dedicating today’s episode to none other than the Listen Again Award recipients themselves: Shontay Lundy, Neil Scibelli, and Ron Robinson!

We created these awards to celebrate the episodes that resonate with our listeners so much, they want to listen again! Like Episode 208 with Shontay Lundy, Founder and CEO of Black Girl Sunscreen. When she moved to Los Angeles, Shontay had no idea where she was headed next. Cue 4 months of hiking, reflecting, and dreaming — a transformative period that birthed the idea for her life-changing brand, Black Girl Sunscreen. From not knowing where she would live, to becoming the creator and founder of her own brand, you never know where that next big risk will take you!

In Episode 237 we spoke with Makeup Artist and On-Air Beauty Expert Neil Scibelli, who we know from his many on-air appearances at Good Morning America, and learned how everyday is different in the entertainment industry. In his episode, he tells listeners that as a freelancer you have to always show up for yourself because you don’t know where the job will take you next.

Ron Robinson, CEO and Founder of BeautyStat Cosmetics, chatted with us in Episode 244 as a part of our Health Innovations Quarter. Ron created BeautyStat first as a blog and then as a successful skincare line. But what touched us most about Ron’s career journey was how he became an innovator within his own family when he pursued a career in cosmetic chemistry.

A huge thank you to all of our guests for sharing your career journeys with us and congratulations to the recipients of the Listen Again Awards!

We hope you enjoy these episodes as much as we do!

Dan Hodgdon
I think when you have something that your soul has a burning desire to offer the world, you will find a way to do it.
Neil Schibelli, Makeup Artist and On-Air Beauty Expert
I wasn't confident at all—I was compelled to do it. I just had to see it through.
Ron Robinson, CEO and Founder of BeautyStat Cosmetics
AnnouncerWelcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™ hosted by Jodi Katz, Founder and Creative Director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Aleni MackareyHi, Jodi, how's it going?
Jodi KatzHello Aleni, this is a very special day. Very special indeed.
Aleni MackareyTell us more.
Jodi KatzWow. We are having our listen again awards at Laduree in SoHo in New York City. And we want to give our podcast guests a peek into who we're celebrating this year.
Aleni MackareyI love this so much. We are so excited to be having our second listen again awards. And we also want to give a special shout out to our sponsor this year for the awards Klaviyo. Klaviyo is an intelligent marketing automation powered by customer data helping businesses connect with customers through a very seamless email, SMS, mobile push and reviews experience.
Jodi KatzYes, Klaviyo has become such a great partner for us at Base Beauty. And we're thrilled that they came on as a sponsor for the listen again awards this year. So now let's talk about award winners and how we choose how to honor one guests from each quarterly theme. So our criteria are episodes that motivate us to think in a new way, inspire people at all levels of their career, showcase a passion for learning, and encourage thoughtful feedback from fans.
Aleni MackareySuch great categories. And we created these awards because there are some episodes that resonate with us so much that we just have to go back and have another listen. Let's revisit the episodes of our three award recipients now. And we'll start with our archive award winner.
Jodi KatzSo the archive award is special because we have over 250 episodes already. And we only started our listen again awards this year. So we definitely want to go back into the archive to see who keeps inspiring us. And on the top of my list always in my head is our guests from Episode 208. This is Shontay Lundy. She's the founder and creator of Black Girl Sunscreen. And I literally think about her she just pops into my head once a week. I'm so inspired by Shontay. So her story is she moved to LA just made a life change had no idea where she was heading or what was next. She spent a few months hiking, reflecting, daydreaming. And that transformative period birth this idea for Black Girl Sunscreen, and it really is a category changing and life changing brands. So from not knowing where she'd even live to becoming the creator and founder of her own brand that's making waves. It just inspires me to realize that you just don't know where that next big opportunity will come from and what it will lead to.
Aleni MackareyI love that it's a major theme of our show. So interesting to watch how these career paths happen. So let's listen into part of our conversation with Shontay Lundy, Episode 208.
Jodi KatzI'm wondering, you know, like, Are you a risk taker is sort of your natural state my entire life. Okay, so let's talk about that. Because being on entrepreneurial journey, like you literally take risks every day. And I walked into my entrepreneurial journey, not a risk taker, not thinking that a risk taker and realizing oh, I guess I take risks. I just didn't realize it. So when did this like risk taking other than wanting to be a racecar driver? How did that show up for you in like in your career?
Shontay LundyYou know, now that I think about it, probably when I went off to college, I think it's a risk when you when you leave your home, and you decide like, hey, I'm never coming back, which is a different way of living today, right? Where kids that are 17, 18 or even 21 are going back home after college, I did not. After college, I drove my car down to South Florida to Miami and I was entering a master's program and looking for a part time job in an apartment. And that was a risk that I took. I knew I was gonna go to school, but I didn't know where it was going to live. I didn't know how things were going to turn out. I was in corporate America for 13 years down in South Florida. But I transitioned out of my job and drove across the country to Los Angeles where I currently reside. No place to live no plan, you know, that was another risk. So risks have come up throughout my life. Without me even thinking that it was a risk. It was just me making a big decision, and then deciding like, Okay, well, I don't know what's gonna happen, but it's always gonna work out. And that's my mind frame that whatever happens, it will work out.
Jodi KatzWell. That's so interesting. I didn't know if we were sitting with like a business coach right now. They would say to you, well, Shante those weren't risks to you. You didn't you? It doesn't sound like you even thought that there was any counter to it working out right. It doesn't sound like you had self doubt. Did you have self doubt?
Shontay LundyNo, but I also don't have that much self doubt, I guess. Right? Because I think that one way or another, it will work out whether it's there's pros and there's pros and cons, right? Like it might be might not be favorable, but the date the day ends and then there's a new day tomorrow. So if It's a risk in my mind, because not everybody is willing to do that. Not everybody will say, Hey, I'm not going to, I'm going to just drive my car to whatever state and not have a place to live. Like, that's a risk for many people. Like it's not really stable either. Right? Like not knowing, like, where your money's gonna come from, that's a risk.
Jodi KatzRight? You know, Shontay it's so interesting, because this podcast is like free therapy for me. And I really feel like the universe like brings me the guest the day like, I need to hear these messages. So I am historically living in self doubt with like, the Shadow Man following me around like this shadow of financial insecurity, like, you know, just chasing after me. And it's so fascinating for me to talk to somebody who like moves through the world in these very big situations, right? This isn't like, I take this class or this class, this is like, let me pick up my life and move several times. It's so fascinating for me to hear someone talk about moving through the world. Without that doubt, it's, it's almost like you're speaking another language, because I just never was able to do that.
Shontay LundyYou don't God, I'm willing to do it again. And again, and again, to get experience in different environments to get experience to different folks, I will say that living here in Los Angeles has, you know, opened up a network of individuals that I didn't really have access to living in South Florida, right? So for me, it's always about what's going to elevate my life. And can I do it? Do I want to do it, right?
Jodi KatzLike when I was, you know, 20, there was one game in this industry. And maybe by you saying, like, Well, no, I'm actually going to curate and edit, like how I spend my time to what's going to serve me best, then you're writing the rules of some a new game, and there's going to be a lot of people, we're going to be looking towards you saying I want to do it that way. Because this way isn't serving me. You know, I actually used to say to my business coach, you'd like go in network. I'm like, I just want to go home and put my PJs on and watch the Real Housewives like, this is all I want to be doing. Right. So I found a way to do this and still watch the Real Housewives in my PJs.
Shontay LundyThat's great. Yeah, I just think about the way that I guess suits me, right. And then the business, the livelihood of the 16 individuals that are passionate about Black Girl Sunscreen. That's the best way for me.
Jodi KatzI love that. Well, let's talk about I want to hear about your break away from corporate America, right? Because you told me you got back in the car, and you drove to LA, what was like that moment or that period of time where you're just said, like, I'm ready for something new?
Shontay LundyWhen I felt like I was just tapped out in that space. And you get that feeling. Sometimes you can kind of, you know, march through it. And then sometimes it's, it's just like, okay, like, today's the last day, and I had my last day, and I was in my loft apartment. And I said, Okay, so what's next, and it's time to go to Los Angeles, I packed my car in, put my Bulldog in the front seat and fixed three days to get to the West Coast, stay with a friend for two weeks and found an apartment. And I gave myself only the two weeks to stay with her because I didn't want to feel like I was a burden. And it was important that I, you know, stayed on the path of this is what I need to do. And that was the moment where I felt like, all right, it's LA. There's nothing else that can be done here in South Florida. And I just wanted to feel free. I wanted to get off of this stuck structured schedule, right going from kindergarten to to grad school, you know, 18 years of school, and then another 12 years in the corporate space. It was all my life that I knew that was answering to someone and to being on an early s schedule from like 6am till 10 o'clock at night. I was an extracurricular activities in high school and college. You know, in the corporate space, I sat on different organizations. And it always took up more than the normal coursework. So for me to go come to the West Coast, it just felt invigorating. I had no job. I had no plan. I just did yoga, in height every day, for four months.
Jodi KatzIt sounds like a dream. I'm curious, did you ever have that like, Shadow of financial insecurity following you during that time period?
Shontay LundyNo, because I knew that I would have to enter the workforce again. But it does feel good just to kind of do nothing and to dream. And you know, I say dream because a dream in my mind doesn't always come true. It's okay for just to be idle, and just to be a thought, right? And that's what I was doing during those four months. And during the four months, I came up with black girls sunscreen, but actually implemented it so that's no longer a dream to me. Right but that time off gave me the ability to even think of something right big was when I was caught up in, in corporate. And in this rat race, I didn't have the capacity to think outside of my day to day. So I am so thankful for just that timeframe of the transition. Because without it, I wouldn't be here today.
Jodi KatzYeah, that's why we all need to take breaks, like we have to right where our bodies and our brains, our hearts need a break. And then we can be more creative, right and inspired.
Shontay LundyYeah, but my break was, it didn't have a timeline. When we go on vacation. You know, it's kind of like, Okay, five days, seven days, 10 days, whatever. There's always a time where we have to come back, and we're gonna get back into our groove of things. My break was I didn't necessarily have a timeline. I knew eventually. But when was that eventually? And I think that's what really allowed me to think creatively, because I didn't feel pressed, pressed or rushed to meet a timeline are oh my gosh, I gotta get this thought out. Because I go back to work on Monday.
Jodi KatzYeah, I'm actually going on vacation on Friday. That's exactly how I feel like okay, I'm gonna leave on Friday. Come back on Monday, right. So there's, yeah, this clock ticking, right. Like, I want to jam in as much fun and silliness as possible. Right before I'm back in this in the seat again. I want to switch gears a little bit, because in our pre show, you told me that CEO is a big big, it says you said big for me. Right? You choose not to have that title. I'm curious why?
Shontay LundyOh, because I am a fun person, I think and I liked the words creator and founder and CEO. This what's the word? The word CEO? This is what it reminds me of? And this is no, this is no shade to you, or don't feel attacked. Okay. CEO reminds me of this, this pose right? Now. People take that pose and their arms are cross. Right. And that's so not me. You know, I feel like I'm pretty approachable. I'm really silly. And I think I think I'm not as like, I don't look like your typical CEO. And that's the cool part about who we are today. We recently got a trademark Black girl sunscreen, our business name and it was a big deal because we were supposed to get it in five years. We got it into our name is descriptive, right. And the post went viral it got it's at like 149,000 likes on shanties personal page, which I have about, I don't know, 12,000 followers. So it reached 9 million accounts. And my team and I, we were really analyzing this post because we wanted to understand the mechanics behind it. Why did it go viral? What what's going on? And what we came up with was okay, Shante, you have maybe these long nails you got on your kind of cool sunglasses, you got this big hair and your tongue is out making a silly phase. And you just don't look like the typical CEO. Right? And when they said that, I'm like, Yeah, I guess I met but it just doesn't work for me. So I say that CEO is big, because I don't see myself as a CEO, I see myself as founder and creator of this product that is now running a business.
Jodi KatzOkay, so this is like incredible that we're talking today. I actually used to not use CEO for the same reasons I was founder and creative director and like, that's who I am in my soul. I'm just like, creative and I'm, you know, out in outer space thinking of ideas. But then my CEO said, No, I need you to be the CEO. So it's fine, whatever, whatever she wants, whatever leaning wants, Leaney gets. So okay, my last question for you this idea of growing a business for me, the best way to describe it is a seduction. Like I love my work. I love you know, growing these ideas and seeing my dreams come true. But once I get a little taste for that success, or what I just define as success, I want more like sugar, like I need more and more and more. So it's seductive. And this seduction is part great because it means I love my job, right? If I didn't love my job, I certainly would not be seduced by it. But then you know, there's other things that I like to do in my time. And when you're kind of, you know, really in that seduction, you can kind of lose sight of these other things. So I'm just curious if that word resonates for you at all in your own entrepreneurial journey. And if it does, how you manage that seduction?
Shontay LundyWhat I'm completely seduced, and I'm filled with lust, because I spent all of my time with Black Girl Sunscreen, massaging it, growing it and telling you little secrets, day in and day out. So, I love that you introduced the word seduction, because I never ever thought about it that way at all. I felt like I was consumed. But now my voice has even changed because I'm like, oh, you know what, don't judge me. If if I really love what I'm doing and I feel fulfilled. I feel like I can actually leave this plan it today and feel accomplished. That's how seduced I am by Black Girl Sunscreen.
Jodi KatzI love your interpretation of this. And I'm so grateful that we work in businesses where we, you know, there's so much joy in the every day that like, the seduction is, you know, warranted unwanted, right? Like imagine I mean, we both in there were having jobs where we didn't feel fulfilled and didn't feel joy, that I was not seduced by those jobs.
Shontay LundyNow, this is sexy, too. I mean, don't you want to feel sexy? Doesn't everyone want to feel attractive and you know it. For me, the best part of this is being able to give a livelihood to to people, right, that are here in the community that believe in what we're doing. You know, seeing something grow like corporate culture, our environment is also very important. Helping people grow within their personal space, even if they're here for short time, black girls sunscreen making impact on their lives and making an impact on black girls sunscreen. I love everything about it. And if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to do this at the level that I'm doing it at. The question is will I tap out? Eventually? Right? But right now I'm going you know, my need for speed is is is here.
Jodi KatzOh, I love it, how you just brought this so full circle. Well, that actually concludes our podcast portion of our show. So I want to thank you so much, John, thank you for sharing your wisdom with our listeners.
Shontay LundyThank you, Jodi.
Jodi KatzOur next award recipient is Neil Scibelli. He's a makeup artist and honor beauty expert from Episode 237. And you may recognize Neil from his recurring spots on Good Morning America. And he's also no stranger to New York Fashion Week runways, red carpets and other national television. So he has almost 15 years of experience sharing beauty education with the public. And he's so passionate. He spoke in his episode about how every day is different in the entertainment industry. And he made a great point when he talks about always showing up for yourself. Because as a freelancer, you don't know where the job will take you nuts. I'm so proud to be honoring Neil, for Artistry theme.
Aleni MackareyLet's listen again to our conversation with Neil Scibelli, Episode 237.
Jodi KatzLet's talk about kind of life as makeup artists you mentioned everyday is different, but then every day is different. So people in your career have to get used to the fact that you might not know what you're working on in two days, right? Or three days. Yes, you don't know where you're going to be next month. So what is the sort of mental alignment that you have to do when you're in a role where you're not in the same place every day, like people who go to an office or people work in a store? And you don't necessarily always know what's coming next?
Neil ScibelliThat is really a great question, because not many people have asked it. And I feel like not a lot of people kind of think about that. But um, so it's a few things. My, I think my family always kind of like wanted me to have structure and a life that was set up in a certain way so that I knew what was happening all the time. And from very early on, I knew that that wasn't in me. It wasn't, it just wasn't me. I think, you know, when you have to make something like that work, when you just feel like you like owning your own business. You like controlling your own schedule. I think it's artistic, I think because I'm an artist, it's hard for me to just kind of like not do what I'm doing. So in a way, I don't know anything else. But at the same time, I have had multiple, you know, working with, you know, as a national artists like you're exclusively with the brand and it's it's kind of corporate, and you know, I've tried I've had experiences like that. And I worked for record label out of college, my intern really early on for Sony Music and Columbia Records, which was a mind blowing experience. And it was incredible. And I think internships are so important. So also intern everywhere you can if you're still in college, but um, I got to see all those things. I got to see what an office setting was, like, you know, in at Sony and I sat at a desk at Sony and I got to work PR and goals for for the for the Sony artists. And that was like a dream. Like I got to work on amazing campaigns for some of today's biggest acts, you know, but I still knew even then I was like, just know that. This is not for me. I know I'm not supposed to be at this desk. And like I just always felt that there was more that I my soul was supposed to give the world and it took a long time to like, just figure out that you can go out on your own and be successful. Make it happen. And I did it in a little bit of a strategic way. I think, you know, I always worked from very early on. So I, you'll, you know, freelancers will tell you now, like, you need to have a couple months saved before you go out on your own, you kind of have to, like, look at the future and know, like, these are my expenses, this is how much I might need for the next few months. Even if I don't know what's coming in January, I know that I'm good until then, or you know, things like that. And then I also feel like, you know, it's okay to sacrifice a bit to get there. So I feel like at this point in my life, I'm okay with it. But maybe when I was younger, I always knew I had to have, you know, maybe it was a part time job. And then I was on my own, or I knew, like how to balance that financially. But I think when you have something that you know, your soul is, has a burning desire to offer the world, you will find a way to do it. And I feel like we all do, we all just kind of find a way to to make our passions happen. And, and I think, you know, when you're doing something at a certain point, you know, that like it might have an expiration date, you know, you're gonna do this for a bit, but then you know, that you're burning passion is this. And so you know, you just kind of have to balance your time in making both happen really, along with a lot of self, I would say like meditation, you kind of have to set yourself up in a regimen as a freelancer, or as a creative that makes you feel sane, because a we could work morning tonight and just never stop or be you need to know how to actually let yourself relax, and you don't know what's happening, you know, in three months from now, but guess what, I'm going to go to core power yoga and do like a hot sculpts yoga class. And I'm going to feel really good when I get out. And then I'll figure it out, you know, like, you do have to become your own best friend, you're your best champion for yourself. And you really have to like, hone in on your mental health in order to be a successful entrepreneur or be a successful Freelancer because, you know, it's it's definitely not easy. But I think it's also really rewarding.
Jodi KatzI would like to just point out to everyone listening, that to get to where you are now was an enormous amount of hustle, and you had to make it happen, right? Things were not handed to you. And anyone who has gotten to their goals, whatever their goals are worked hard for it. So yeah, you know, Neil, you have a very, like peaceful Zen explanation of what, what the career has been like, but I know for sure you had to really, really, really commit yourself and make sacrifices to get to do what you're doing today. Absolutely.
Neil ScibelliYeah. And I think we all do in different ways. But it's not easy still, you know, and I still am constantly working, you know, I'm constantly pitching still, I'm constantly auditioning still. And also, like, still really hard on myself all the time. Like when I maybe don't get the project I really want or, you know, I think you just kind of have to champion for yourself. And yeah, it's, it's, it's still hustle. So I feel like you know, as long as you love it, and you just, you know, you gotta just continue to do and put your best foot forward.
Jodi KatzAnd yeah, I think that Well, first of all, when I was my 20s, I thought that all the stuff came easy to everybody who had it, right. So I was very misaligned with reality. But once I realized, Oh, everybody has to work for it. Then I started working for it. And then I was like, wait a minute, that never ends. You have to pay for it. Like, like, never ever ends.
Neil ScibelliLike I think and that's the thing. Like, I think people think that once you do this, then you'll like be okay. Like, you'll be good. I'm just like, I did this, but I'm still you know, I'm still hustling. Like I think we all still are. And maybe we have to continue to lift the veil, which I think the pandemic honestly and sadly did. But in a way it lifted the veil of like, we're all in this together and we're all working hard. We're all just trying to make things happen. And I think when you see it on highlight reel, and you see the success look at us, you think the success is coming easy. It's really not. You're I've heard this said but like you're only as like relevant as like your last project or something. I've heard that as a makeup artist. And I think that's kind of sad. So you have to feel yourself for yourself. Like I have definitely taken a lot of time over the last few years like away from kind of things that I don't want to do anymore. You know, like, I also stay off of social media a little bit more and I'm trying to get back into like life things like reading, you know, like I have A book right there, I have books right behind me, like, I'm trying to actually, you know, continue to create a real life greatness for myself because it can feel really empty when you think that this thing is going to fill you and make, you know, solve, solve whatever you think you need to solve, but I think they're these the why behind it should just be that burning desire and passion for sharing what you do. And I've gotten back to that myself, like, for me going on air or performing or doing anything, it's like, there's an intention behind me wanting to share things. So people can feel their best. So they can look their best so that I can share my talent in the most like optimal ways. It's not for, you know, the posts or the grants.
Jodi KatzSo yeah, I feel like you and I could talk about this forever ever, today. Because I also want people to know that like, you could be working with your dream clients, and you could still feel kind of like not having a good day, right? Like, feel a little matte inside, right? Like, this is just like totally normal, like not every day, just because like the work you're doing is awesome doesn't mean like you feel awesome every day like this is life. We have these, you know, emotional ups and downs, even when the success is all around us.
Neil ScibelliWell, to go off of that the client also is feeling that way. Sometimes, you know, like, it's not, it's not just me. And I do have a little like, technique that I do. Like before I go to anything before I leave my apartment before I go to a client like I kind of like do this whole, like mental readiness of like, I'm showing up as my best self. Everything is checked up the door. I'm here to help them. I have a light around me protecting me. I'm here to do my job. And I'm here to make you be your best self and and I checked everything at the door. And I think that's really important. And I've heard from clients that like that is what will get you rebooked is like, kind of like I meet them where they are. So sometimes, you know, we're all humans. So the client might be having a super chatty day where we're super chatty, and everybody's having fun. And then they might have also just gotten off a flight and had a full day of like, press, and we just need to get this face done and get on to the next interview or something. And maybe we're not talking, you know, and that's fine. So I think we're all just kind of meeting I think it's about meeting them where they are and they might be having just as much of a good or bad day as I am you know.
Jodi KatzI love this. Okay, this has been an incredible conversation, we will definitely have to and maybe we'll have like a bring some more voices into the part two because this could go on forever. We didn't even talk too much about the line between artistry and influencing you did mention that you tried to like stay off Instagram. So I think you gave me the answer there like your focus, focus focus on that client in your chair, but that could be part two. So I want to wrap up this interview segment. Thank you, Neil, for your honest answers.

Aleni our third award recipient is Ron Robinson. He's an award winning cosmetic chemists and CEO of beauty stack cosmetics. His show is Episode 244. Ron spent over 30 years in the beauty industry as a cosmetic chemist and product development exact for companies like Estee Lauder, Avon and L'Oreal. He's also resident expert for magazine Refinery 29 and has amazing edutainment on social.
Aleni MackareyAnd as far as health innovators go, Ron Robinson has cemented his place in the ever shifting beauty landscape as really a go to guy for all things skincare, where he helps his audience navigate which ingredients work and which ones don't. Ron found that cosmetic chemistry blended his knowledge of science with his passion for creating new things. When Ron was hired at Clinique in 1990. He broke into the beauty industry and never looked back. And we're so glad he shared his story with us.
Jodi KatzI've known Ron for a really long time. So I'm so proud to be able to honor him with this award. And here's a part of our conversation with Ron from Episode 244 Part of our health theme. So leaving the corporate world to be an entrepreneur, that's a big shift. It's a big leap. How many years were you thinking about that before you left Avon?
Ron RobinsonIt was very fast. I just I launched it at the time when Facebook had launched LinkedIn had launched Twitter to the launch. So people were moving to social media at the time. So it was a very interesting time where social just started and again, there was no Beauty Insider like myself and certainly no cosmetic chemist was out forming a blog and helping to educate consumers. It was totally new and fresh. And it was super exciting to be there at that time.
Jodi KatzSo what was the shift from content to actually then formulating and putting out products acted with the beauty stock name on it. When did that happen? And what was the inspiration?
Ron RobinsonThe inspiration came after many years of connecting and talking to consumers that were reading my blog. They were asking me specifically about vitamin C, the ingredient, they would ask about all types of ingredients. Hey, what ingredient should I use if I have this problem? But the question about vitamin C came over and over again, specifically, why is it unstable? How do I shocked by it and and sees how do I use a vitamin C serum. And that got me thinking, vitamin C, great ingredient, everyone knows that. But it's notoriously unstable. And there, there are a few big selling vitamin C's in the marketplace at the time and still are today that are unstable. And consumers understand that they do Shift they turn to they tend to oxidize, turn brown, and stop working. And I said, What if I could stabilize pure vitamin C, that would be the Holy Grail and beauty, a stable vitamin C, that consumers can really get results and not have to worry about tossing it and wasting their money. So me and actually a cosmetic chemist colleague of mine, we got together. And we worked at nighttime, as a side hustle, working on trying to stabilize pure vitamin C, spent several years we applied for multiple patents. And the last step was to actually do the independent clinical testing to say, Okay, we have a stable formula, but doesn't work. We got the results back God after a few weeks, and I by the way, I fitted the bill to spend clinical testing is very expensive. I decided, hey, I'm going to I've got to do this, we spent so much time working on this great formula. And we got the independent clinical testing results. And it was came back amazing before and after fade photos were fantastic, really transformed consumers skin. And that's what prompted me in 2019 to launch the brand, the skincare brand beauty set with our star Vitamin C serum, this universal C skin refiner. And that's four years ago, that's how we started, we went from a blog to a fast growing skincare brand.
Jodi KatzAnd when you're formulating after hours, this isn't something you can see like in your kitchen, right? You have to go to a lab for this?
Ron RobinsonYeah, to lab. So we rented lab space that we were able to use and leverage that in order to formulate and I'm still running the blog at the time, and then doing this as my side hustle to see, you know, we're would net out.
Jodi KatzSo this is a lot of investment in your time. And then ultimately, with paying for the testing a lot of faith that this would pay off, How confident were you in this process that you're going to get to the end result that you're hoping for?
Ron RobinsonI wasn't confident at all, I felt like I just I was compelled to do it. I just felt like, you know, we spent this time doing this, we think it's a great idea. I just had to see it through. And it was one of those where I just okay, if I lose the money, then I lose it. But at least I can sleep and say hey, I tried. And it was the best money I've ever spent either.
Jodi KatzThis is a very on entrepreneur tree, which is this desire to keep going. Right? Even when like all the signs are saying like, you're gonna run off the cliff to just say, I'm gonna put my head down and keep focusing because I some part of me, just needs to do this. Right? Even if you weren't confident you needed to do it. I find that myself, like, I've been running my business for 16 years, like, wow, like, Why did I keep going? It's so hard. But there's just a kind of like, internal goal that I have for myself. And the goals keep moving as I evolved, but like I'm compelled to keep seeing the magic happen. And the only way it's going to happen is if I keep going. Right?
Ron RobinsonAnd I think this this was a clear, though no go type of decision. In other words, I either had to do this, and then that would be okay. If it didn't work, then it was time to stop. So I did have that in mind. So So I guess the advice I would give any entrepreneur on the line now is that you have to decide what the risk reward is. And I felt that if I would take this last risk, which was expensive, that the reward could be so great. And that's where I went and then since then it's been a lot easier in order to build this. That was the that was the final step. And now I have the proof points to continue and to hustle and to be super excited waking up every morning and wanting to drive and grow and build this brand.
Jodi KatzYou've become so influential in our industry. I'm wondering do you think of yourself as an influencer?
Ron RobinsonYeah, it's interesting. You ask that because you remember the reason why I started the BD stat blog was to educate. And that back then you educated by creating blog, you actually typed out wrote out your feelings, thoughts, whatever you wanted to educate and share, you wrote it down. Now I've gone full circle now and I've become this creator, if you will. So if you if you follow me on Instagram, you'll see that almost daily, I post a short, one minute video where I educate my followers on ingredients, trends, I weigh in on things, and I help them again, navigate this crowded space, help them understand what ingredients work, which which don't work. And it's been super fulfilling in terms of being able to talk and give consumers you know, that education from from someone now they seem to value they seem to look towards the cosmetic chemists to help them understand ingredients. So I'm really excited about being able to do that. And again, give back. And most of my content is it's not about my brand. It's about other ingredients, things that I'm not necessarily using. But my followers they want to hear they want they want to understand and learn more. And I'm just happy to do that.
Jodi KatzWell, you didn't tell me yet. Do you consider yourself an influencer? I know you're influencing. But do you in your heart? Think like I'm an influencer? Just to some extent.
Ron RobinsonYes. I guess I have since people do ask me. And they do value my feedback. I would say to some extent, but I think a lot of it I think a lot of us are influencers? I think it's a level of of magnitude, how much What are you doing to actually show up and to influence? Folks? What are you doing to address that? And really show up for that. So I made I made I made making a commitment to do so on a daily basis.
Jodi KatzI love the consistency. I mean, I think that's what separates once again, it's very entrepreneurial mindset, like making a commitment, because you know that there's value in it versus like, you know, dipping in and saying it's too hard. And you know, I'll move on to something else. It's I think, another really fierce entrepreneurs trait. Okay, before we close out the interview part of the show, I want to ask another question, because I've been with you at events. And I've been standing there next to you chit chatting with other people. And notable people will say to you, oh, well, you formulate for me, I want to start a brand. So you probably get asked this quite a bit. I do. So a lot. What is the answer is this is this part of your world helping other people establish great firms for their brand Are you like totally focused on Beauty Stat?
Ron RobinsonFocused on Beauty Stat, the exception I made was with Haley Bieber and road. So I'm, I'm the cosmetic chemist and residents for her I made the exception, you know, think we first connected during the pandemic when she had this concept, this idea. And I was so intrigued but with her enthusiasm, her knowledge of beauty and ingredients in tennis laser focus approach to what she wanted. And I made the exception with partnering up with her in the road team to help her understand ingredients and help her build that brand. So I'm thrilled about that. But between my own brand beauty set and how I support alien road, I really can't do any more. I might my my plate is full. I love that, Ron. So I do. I do have some great resources for folks and referrals to give folks that are looking to start their own brand. But God The other key thing I want to share is that I am huge on mentorship. And if I cannot help them with their brand in terms of formulation, I'm always here for resource if they needed to ask me a question. I have frequent touch bases with various mentees. And I it giving back is really important for me, so I always try to make time for that.
Jodi KatzI love that and that's an incredible way to close out the interview portion of our show.
Aleni MackareyOur next listen again awards event will be in the summer when we honor our q1 and q2 recipients.
Jodi KatzCongratulations to our recipients Neil, Ron and Shontay thank you so much for sharing your career highs and lows and all that wisdom and insights with us and we are so excited to listen again.
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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