Beauty Boss: How GloPro Became a $50M Business in One Year
Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.
As a former model, Jamie O'Banion set her sights on the $150 billion global anti-aging market in 2012. The now 35-year-old CEO of Beauty Bioscience has been building a skincare startup in Dallas for the past six years. Last year, she unveiled GloPro, a $200 at-home device that stimulates collagen production and helps the skin absorb anti-aging ingredients. And the beauty world went nuts and the GloPro barely stayed stocked on shelves. It has quickly become one of the hottest tools in the industry. Below, we talk to the entrepreneur, mother, and wife on how GloPro came to be one of the most successful beauty tool launches in history.
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How did you fall into the beauty space?
I think the beauty space fell into me! My father became an owner in one of the top skincare R&D labs in the US when I was a young girl, and I grew up going to the lab, testing products, and asking a million questions! I started traveling to Asia and Europe at a young age as new raw materials were being developed and could have told you the distinctly different skincare needs of a woman in Korea versus a woman in Germany well before I had my drivers license! So I suppose I learned to speak beauty like a second language. I have always been fascinated by the cause and effect reaction great technology can have on our skin. It’s still magical to me watching someone’s skin visibly transform after using GloPRO and our BeautyBio topicals in the new Core Collection.
How did you come up with the concept for GloPRO?
It was apparent we were lacking a way to solve two major problems in our industry. 1) We needed a way to trigger skin regeneration without the down time and risks and 2) How could we actually deliver active ingredients to the dermis where the fibroblasts live to stimulate collagen response. Basically, these super expensive ingredients only work when they can reach the deepest layers of our skin. They might feel nice on top but aren’t doing much to stimulate our youth engines. Until GloPRO, there was no conduit to guarantee delivery.
We know to regenerate the skin, we have to wound the skin. Everyone understood this concept, but were doing so in a very ‘macroinjur’y way. You got a deep chemical peel, laser or microdermabrasion and you were hiding out for up to two weeks recovering. We realized we needed to keep some of the skin intact in pillars to mitigate the downtime yet still force skin rejuvenation. We knew instead of going horizontally like dermaplaning, shaving or microdermabrasion, we had to go vertically into the skin. Think about how someone might aerate their garden or soil, a similar concept. You don’t need to swap out the entire front yard to regenerate the soil. The best way to do this was with vertical needles formed in such a way that the gently and painlessly create microchannels in the skin and trigger your skin’s healing response to create new, glowy skin cells. By keeping some of the skin intact, there was no down time and all the benefit of dermal stimulation.
The second problem was active ingredient absorption. This was solved by creating needles long enough to reach the bottom of the epidermis and make a literal hotshot tunnel for actives to dive down into after a treatment before the skin begins healing, filling in and closing up. Our skin is masterfully designed to keep things out. This is why we don’t swell up after taking a shower or swim in a pool. This is a wonderful thing 99% of the day. But what about the 1% of each day when we actually NEED to get our expensive active ingredients to get down to the lower layers where they can work. The sad truth is most of what we spend money on every month simply washes down our drain each night. It might feel nice to hydrate the upper layers of the skin, but those ingredients have to reach the lowest layers to work. Collagen is only made in the dermis (lowest layers of the skin) NOT the epidermis (upper layers). So they basically do nothing outside of conditioning/hydrating the skin until they reach the dermis. All of the clinical studies about collagen production are evaluating deep dermal activity in the fibroblasts. So GloPRO is an enormous breakthrough because it guarantees delivery of those actives to the deepest layers of the skin when applied directly after a treatment and the channels are still open. Think about that! Every other treatment or tool, dermaplaning, shaving, microdermabrasion, they are great at taking off a few dead layers of skin but it’s all horizontal and the skin is still locked! The only way to unlock your skin is to go vertical and create conduits. That is the secret to GloPRO’s efficacy and why people are seeing such incredible results. When you use your nightly serums and creams without GloPRO it would be like carefully putting tulip bulbs on the surface of the soil and hoping they will grow. Sounds ridiculous I know but it’s what we do everyday. GloPRO has become the BFF for anti-aging just as Clarisonic first became for cleansing. It’s a true revolution for the industry.
How have you changed the landscape when it comes to beauty?
As mentioned above, this is the first time we have ever been able to solve the two age-old problems in beauty with one incredible technology. We can now tap into our body’s regenerative response to force new collagen production with zero downtime AND create the first vertical conduit system to guarantee delivery of our active ingredients. It’s simply never been done before.
What’s the best compliment you ever received?
Probably from my daughter when we were on the floor of Harrods for our launch and she looked up at me and said, “Wow Mommy! Our product is here!” I was so tickled that she felt a part of that moment too. I remember being not too much older than her and thinking Harrods was the most magical store I had ever been in. I was so touched to have her feel as delighted as I was to experience that moment.
I also treasure the sweet comments, messages and even handwritten notes I receive from women and men who take the time to say how our line and tool have helped changed the way they feel about their skin. It’s in those moments all of the long nights, crazy travel and countless hours are all worth it.
What was your “aha moment” when you realized GloPRO had really become a success?
Hmm. I would have to say when a girlfriend in London texted me a pic from one of the largest beauty conferences in the world with a slide the presenter was showing about the greatest breakthroughs in beauty tech with GloPRO circled front and center. It was pretty surreal.
What’s your skincare routine?
As a working mom, I don’t have time for 12 steps, which is why we’ve carefully edited the entire BeautyBio collection to the absolute best of the best. The Core Collection houses all of our topicals and it’s very straight forward with an easy number system.
My routine literally takes less than 5 minutes a day. Beauty can actually be effortless.
AM looks like this:
Cleanse with The Balance (pH-balancing conditioning cleanser)
Apply The Daily serum (HyperVitamin cocktail)
Apply The Perfector (4-in-1 multi-tasker with SPF, tint, filter effect and primer- it’s amazing)
Cleanse with The Balance
Swipe Prep Pad on skin (kills all bacteria on skin and removes any residue while conditioning the skin with our SteriGLO™ peptide)
1 minute with GloPRO on face + 1 minute with body attachment head
Immediately apply The Nightly (packed with every essential anti-aging vitamin + crosslinked filling spheres to plump the skin)
Finish with The Plump (companion product to The Nightly to magnify and seal in benefits)
You look amazing, how do you stay looking so great? Also having a family and being a working mom, how do you balance it all!?
I am committed to starting to work out regularly at some point but for now I have to get really creative! Our Dallas office is on the 7th floor and I try and take the stairs at least once a day (yes sometimes in heels if I left my flats). I keep resistance arm bands (the red ones) on the back of my office door and when I’m on a conference call (not video conference!) I will do some resistance band exercises and then I do 15 push-ups every day before I get in the shower. Hilarious I know but at least it’s something! I’m determined 80% of shape is nutrition. I definitely don’t go a day without something sweet, but I do try to enjoy in moderation.
With regard to balancing family, work and life, it is a daily struggle for every working woman. There are some days I feel like an excellent CEO and others I feel like an excellent mother, and they are usually never on the same day. The reality is we each have a pie and the larger slice you give to something it has to come from somewhere else. So, I am happiest when I am giving my all to the two most important things to me faith/family and work. I don’t have any hobbies to speak of, I don’t do yoga or play tennis (though those are wonderful things), I listen to audio books in pockets while I’m quickly pulling myself together in the morning or on my 4 min. commute to the office (another key to obtaining balance – set yourself up for success logistically!). I don’t watch TV (true story I’ve never seen an episode of Real Housewives and I think the last time I saw the Bachelor was season 1 – is it still running?), and I don’t sleep as much as I probably should. However, I love what I do, which is why it’s physically hard for me to shut down my computer at night when I get back on to wrap up the day after putting the kids to sleep! I probably live a bit crazier life to make these things a priority, but to me it’s worth it. Actually I am writing this piece on a plane from our Canada launch in Toronto today to be home by 10 PM tonight, so I can take my son to his first day of school and make him his favorite breakfast tacos in the morning. After dropping him at 8 AM, I will head back to the airport to catch my flight to NY to speak at Indie Beauty Expo and fly home tomorrow evening. Would it have been easier for me to fly directly to NY from Toronto this evening? Sure! But my son will remember tomorrow morning that I was there for his first day at school to wake him up with a hug and a kiss. Everyone has there own sense of what feels balanced to me, and I’m grateful to get to do my two most favorite jobs – mom and CEO.
Does beauty start from within? Do you follow this in your diet and how?
1,000 percent yes. Beauty is a mentality. I believe that with all my heart. My two little girls could recite in tandem that the prettiest thing you can wear is a smile. When you are happy and grateful on the inside, that radiates to your outer aura.
Skin deep, your body is totally interconnected so your diet, hydration, and sleep all affect how your skin, hair and nails look. While I can certainly work on the sleep part, I make it a goal to stay hydrated and eat mostly plants, fruits and protein. Though, I do admittedly have a little something sweet every day. Biotin is a great supplement for hair and nails if you are struggling.
What’s one mistake most women make when it comes to skincare or makeup that they could easily fix?
Wearing sunscreen. If I could buy every woman one thing, it would be broadspectrum sunscreen. Prevention is such a superior strategy to repair. I find it shocking a huge number of women still think that sunscreen is only necessary in the summer. The sun only takes a vacation at night and sun damage (yes even the little bit driving in the car or walking to the office) you get every day creates aggregate damage over time.
What’s next for the brand? Tell me about the story behind your latest launch Beauty Bioscience.
Thrilled for the September launch of our topical range the Core Collection in Neiman Marcus and then Nordstrom! We are so excited to introduce this new collection designed to enhance the benefits of GloPRO. One of the biggest problems women face is knowing what to use when. Having grown up in this industry, I have had a front row seat watching brands do some things really well and others not so well. As such, we made sure the collection is super user-friendly. There are five categories and you select the product in each category that best suits your skin care needs and then use them in that order. For example, Cleanse is category one, Treat is two, Hydrate is three, Protect is four, and Enhance is five. Every product has a sun or a moon to know whether it’s for AM or PM use and benefits, usage and skin concern are clearly stated.
In addition to the Core Collection, I have created a second collection called the Power Patch collection. It is an entirely new category we’ve created, and I’ve spent countless hours with my engineers, chemists and IP attorney cracking the code on this one! After microneedling with GloPRO, the skin is perfectly prepped to receive key active ingredients. We’ve developed a way to treat not only our face and neck but microwave achievable results on our body with this new collection. The idea came to me when I was talking to our customers about areas or problems they felt there were simply not products in existence. I had multiple women relay the frustration they felt about the crepey skin above their knee caps. So much so, that some women never wore shorts because of it – even though they liked the shape of their legs. I met with a few of my dermatologist friends who confirmed that even young 20-something models were coming in for hyaluronic acid injections into the skin above their knees. This is ridiculous, I thought! There has to be a better way. I set out to invent something that could be applied to the body, like a mask, but it needed to be a material that would seal onto the skin to pump active ingredients into the skin (think the evaporation cycle), had to be adhesive, thin, flexible (over a joint) and dry on the backside to wear under clothing if desired. Nothing existed. Eventually, I was able to create a material made from a special seaweed found in Korea that is dry on one side, flexible, thin, and paired with a hydrogel packed with ingredients to help smoothe and plump the crepey skin above the knees. It was perfect providing instant results (after 20 minutes) and long term benefits. My sweet mother even came up with the cutest name while we were in my greenroom at 2 AM – Knockout Knees. Love it! We have created Power Patches for just about all of our individual problem areas with different hydrogel formulas for each problem. Our Thigh Therapy patch is designed specifically for cellulite and firming. Arm Envy helps to firm and fight crepey skin on the underside of the arm. Upper Hand has an amazing new raw material that’s insane for spot reduction. I have been wearing our prototype version when I’m at the computer, driving to block out sun’s rays and when I get my nails done and have to go under the blue light to cure the gel. We just launched Bright Eyes this month and will launch the entire collection over the next 8 months. So excited! This collection is definitely our most playful – with cellulite you laugh or cry right?! – but seriously packed with proprietary technology. It’s exciting to be able to bring something to market that is truly completely new, innovative and most importantly – works!