Founder of Urban Skin Rx: Building an Inclusive Brand People Trust

The founder and CEO of Urban Skin Rx started her journey with a $1,500 marketing budget and a desire to treat communities long overlooked by the beauty industry.

It was the early 2000s when Rachel Roff worked as a licensed medical esthetician at a chiropractor and began to focus on services and treatments for deeper skin tones. She turned that wish into a clinical skincare brand now sold in over 10,000 locations in the US

“I learned it was my calling,” Roff says. “That it was something where I could live out my passion to help people feel and look good about their appearance, but I could also make a difference in the world in terms of a real inequality that wasn’t fair and that I could help make a difference with.” Roff spoke in a recent Inc. streamed interview with Beatrice Dixon, co-founder and CEO of the Honey Pot Company, an Atlanta-based feminine hygiene company, an Atlanta-based feminine hygiene company.

That initial $1,500 budget went to a radio spot on a local R&B radio station. It taught Roff an important lesson about building a customer base:

“Discover where your customers are and be there. Invest immediately in a tool to know who your consumer is and try to get in their way as much as possible,” she says.

In 2006, Roff founded Urban Skin Solutions Medical Spa in Charlotte, NC, and in the years that followed, she began to see even more opportunities in the beauty industry. This led to her decision to start the skincare line Urban Skin Rx in 2010. Roff knew she had a product that consumers would want and she knew where to find them, but she had to figure out how to get them to trust her brand.

“People crave authenticity and there’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation with a customer to show them the experience of your company,” says Roff. “I knew if I let you try it once, chances were you’d come back.” She says this led to a lot of giveaways and discounts, which led to growth and confidence. Roff’s confidence in her products and in herself would eventually work out when the singer, dancer, rapper and actress Teyana Taylor posted about Urban Skin Rx’s even cleansing bar.

In the next day and a half, they sold $200,000 worth of product. Then she was able to get her Urban Skin Rx in Target. Ulta, Walmart, HSN and QVC followed suit. “They just needed someone to say, ‘Okay, they’re a real company,'” she says.

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