After a scary bout with skin cancer, founder Andy Carlton teamed up with an esteemed doctor to create smartly-priced regenerative skincare products. With the help of credit cards, Carlton has created a line of products that are more accessible, more affordable and entirely customer focused.
Behind Andy Carlton’s passion for regenerative skincare was a scary bout with skin cancer. Dr. George Sadowski, a surgeon with 30 years’ experience, operated on him. Carlton was very impressed by Sadowski and a friendship ensued. The doctor’s goal was to produce a skin care line loaded with growth factors, antioxidants and chemical messengers that would repair skin damaged by free radicals. It would not just be more effective than those sold in department stores and dermatologist offices, but far more accessible and affordable.
“George and I got together, he explained his ideas for the formula, and I said, ‘Let’s do this!’” says Carlton. “He’s a brilliant man and has first-hand experience dealing with devastating skin damage, so I trusted him. This was very important to me, personally. I wanted to do something about the facial scars and damaged skin I got as a result of the cancer, which was brought about from a lifetime in the Florida sun. Together we formed a company, Nourishing Biologicals, and started to develop the products in late 2015.”
Today, Carlton couldn’t be more enthusiastic with the line — which is sold online to keep the price-point competitive. Starting a skincare product company is quite an endeavor, however, so credit cards have helped in beautiful and healthy ways.
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What was the beginning of your business like? Were there any surprise costs that caught you off guard?
The start was interesting. Research and development took five years. We didn’t know the cosmetic business, but we did know that nothing on the market was working well enough on damaged skin. George said, “Let’s take this one day at a time and see what we can do,” so we did everything very slowly, concentrating on research and testing. George was so confident in his knowledge and ability, he funded the project.
As far as the expenses that went into it, it was all a surprise. Everything costs more than you figure, and it takes more time than you think. Twice as much, in fact. The ingredients we were testing were very expensive, such as noble prize-winning growth factors, sea kelp and a tremendous amount of antioxidants. We also had to come up with packaging and marketing — this was all before selling anything.
We finally had the products in hand but had to get the word out. We knew we couldn’t compete with companies who had huge advertising budgets (like Estée Lauder), so we decided to utilize social media, which we pay for monthly.
Did you use credit cards to help launch?
Yes. Our strategy is to use credit cards when we need them. They are great to have for the business because they are a record of everything we buy. We pay all bills with them and we get the 30-day period after to pay with no interest. That’s really great for a startup.
The credit cards are also a very convenient method to pay the models, film directors, photographers, makeup artists, travel, hotel rooms, food and parking. Add it all up and it’s really expensive! We don’t cut corners on anything because we want to show people that we not only have the best, but we are the best. We send out a lot of products as samples, so people know how amazing they are; it’s how we are getting the media attention. We were just on The Talk.
We have a couple of cards for the business, the Chase Freedom and the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. They are good for us and were recommended by our branch manager at Chase. We actually initially chose Chase because their managers came to our offices and talked to us about our business plan and how they could help. They explained that as we move forward, we will increase our credit lines which is right thing to do for our business model.
How do you handle the financial aspects of running the business?
Our jobs are complicated, so we have an accounting firm to help deal with the finances. We report everything to them so it’s easy. But as the invoices come in, I make sure the balances and billing are right. You have to stay in control.
We are debt-free and we’re careful about that. We don’t want to be highly leveraged and we don’t need to be because being leveraged costs money. The interest adds up, sometimes you have to take on additional partners — we just didn’t want to do that. We’re doing this right. We could get a million-dollar credit line now, and it’s nice to know it’s there if we want it. Our credit is good because we are never late and don’t carry over debt. We actually pay our suppliers so fast it would make their head spin!
What are the future plans for the business, and why?
I see Nourishing Biologicals going to the moon! All we care about is helping people. We are customer focused, not competitor focused. We help people when they make a purchase decision. It’s the best product and that’s it!
When money comes in, we invest it back in the business. By doing this, we are able to develop new products — we have three more in the works. Currently, our plan is to stay in the e-commerce space; it’s just right for us.
What is your advice to other business owners who are just starting out?
Everything starts with a thought. You don’t have to be great to get started; you have to get started to be great. That’s what we believe. So make a commitment — anything worth doing is worth doing badly until you get it right! Don’t complain about the problem, fix it!
If you have partners, respect them. It’s all about your ability to connect and always celebrate the little successes along the way. Don’t cut corners. This law works for everyone as long as you follow through. Enable people to be successful, serve more of what serves life, and strive to achieve your ultimate needs — which to me are growing and giving.