Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I’m Kevin Gianni the CEO and founder of Annmarie Skin Care. Our business started ten years ago and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Annmarie Skin Care is a natural, organic skin care and beauty company that is dedicated to helping people make better decisions about their skin, beauty and overall health. Each product is made with hand-selected ingredients that are then crafted using additional plant extracts to make them effective as possible.
Our flagship products would be everything in our skin care line. We handcraft skin care using carefully selected organic and wildcrafted ingredients including herbs and plant extracts – to meet the highest standards of quality and effectiveness for the skin and body.
I started researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when I was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in my family and if I didn’t change the way I was living, I might go down that same path. Since then, I’ve written 7 books on natural health, diet, and fitness, produced over 900 YouTube videos with over 12 million views and published hundreds of articles.
I experimented with many diets and medical protocols to differentiate myth from reality. I traveled around the world with my wife Annmarie searching for the best foods, medicines, and clinics to introduce them to the viewers of our popular YouTube videocast, The Renegade Health Show. We created over 900 videos, over 105k subscribers and a seven-figure business.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
We didn’t necessarily start out seeking to start a skincare company, it’s just something that sort of happened. It’s a pretty messed up industry. The dirty little secret in the skin care industry is that many companies are not required to fully disclose all of the ingredients they put into their products. The proof? You don’t have to go much further than the FDA website. According to the FDA, “It is the manufacturer's and/or distributor's responsibility to ensure that the products are labeled properly.” So what this means is that the skin care industry is currently not required to fully disclose all of the ingredients in their products. So we really wanted to change it.
The most learned is from the direct response from people.
It all started when Annmarie and I traveled across North and South America on a two-year journey to track down the best natural care products and protocols to share with our YouTube viewers. One question that we would always get asked was, “Annmarie, what products do you use for your skin?” We combed through our cupboards examining the labels and were horrified that there was nothing met our standards. Shortly after our trip, we decided to find a product line that we could recommend.
We began talking to skincare company owners but weren’t always impressed with their ingredients or results. Just as we were about to give up on our quest, Annmarie walked into a small spa in Patagonia, Arizona. The esthetician there introduced her to a line of skincare, unlike anything she had ever known. After more than six months of searching, here, at last, was a product line they could recommend.
Annmarie contacted Bunnie, the owner of the skincare line. She was an herbalist and a chemist, who had been formulating organic skincare products for over 30 years, using herbs and extracts straight from nature—in their finest and purest form.
Unfortunately, her products are sold only in spas. But after finding a line so closely aligned with our values, we couldn’t just let it go. We went to Bunnie, to see if she would help us bring a natural skincare line to the wider public and she happily agreed.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
At first, it was easy because Bunnie had already had a line that was in spas, so we took some of her ideas and used some of the products she already had. As we evolved, we started to sweep those products and come up with our own. I guess in a way we’re lucky because she had some of those products in her spas.
We took what Bunnie had a base for Annmarie Skin Care and reformulated, adding in some different active ingredients and designed our own packaging.
Describe the process of launching the business.
We had our Renegade Health website, so we launched our products through our Renegade Health store.
At that time we’ve already had hundreds of YouTube videos, a regular following and regular viewership of over 12 million views on the channel. So we just promoted and launched through there.
We had a platform already, YouTube started in November 2006, which was so valuable. Any entrepreneur who wants to launch a product or business should have an existing platform that’s great. If you don’t have existing platforms, you need to go out and find those people with platforms because it’s the quickest way to success.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’m doing well and our business is growing. We will be celebrating our ten year anniversary on August 15th. We’ve been entrepreneurs for 15 years now, Annmarie and I. We’ve had three businesses together.
For me, I’m trying to get clear on what I don’t need to do and a lot of that is the finance stuff. That is why we’re hiring a finance manager to take over some of the stuff that I’m not good at.
I’m trying to focus on more of the things that I’m good at and really do only that to make my day to day more enjoyable. Because when you’re a creative person reading… it’s just not for me.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
The most learned is from the direct response from people. Go where the party is, and that doesn’t necessarily mean go hang out at where all the parties are, you can… but it means to go where the people already are – it’s the quickest way to success. If you have a skincare company and it’s organic skincare, you’d need to go to all the health influencers. And that’s what we did, and we gave them products to see if they liked it and follow up.
Say you have a stroller enhancement product, go to the moms who already have followings online or mom groups. The best way is to collaborate with. The whole idea is to get referrals and network with people in your community. Leverage that for your own success and overall be a good human being.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Shopify, Typeform, Amazon Workdocs, OptiMonk, OptinMonster, ReCharge, LoyaltyLion, Back in Stock, Yotpo, Okendo, Inventory Planner, Fulfillment Works, MinMaxify, BILSI Warehouse, Programmatic Direct Mail, Algolia
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The most influential resources to me are the old school direct marketing legions such as Jay Abraham cassette tapes, mnemonic silver, and Ryan Lee.
Basically, those old school direct responses and just a lot of stuff before the internet. Kind of like how direct mail went with Joe Polish on how to build a carpet cleaning business. Anything from that shows the principles of good salesmanship.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Know what you’re good at and try as hard as you can to try to find people who are good at things you are not good at and have them do it – at the same time that costs money and you might not have money when you start, so you have to know during the period you’re doing all the stuff you don’t like to do, that eventually you actually you will be able to finally hire those people.
It would always be great to just hire a great finance person to start, but you probably won’t have the money to do it. So you’re just going to have to learn about finances. In the beginning, you have to learn about everything.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are currently looking to hire people who have a passion for the natural beauty and wellness industry. We have full-time positions available for:
- Junior Copywriter
- Performance Marketing Manager
- Customer Service Specialist
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Want to start your own business?
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help others get started.
Interested in sharing your own story? Find out how!
Are you ready to boost your revenue?
Using Klaviyo will open up a massive, untapped sales channel and bring you closer to your customers!
Level up your email marketing with Klaviyo!