“That said, I absolutely ran up against the old-boys-network chauvinism and patriarchal discrimination from men when I moved from simply practicing skin care treatments to becoming a manufacturer-- for instance, when I was working my way through the list of available compounding labs in Los Angeles in order to launch my new product line, all of the chemists were much older men—I think they viewed me as a girl with a cute accent, who knew nothing.
Without exception, these male chemists told me that the concept for my line was impossible to formulate. I wanted to make a skin care product which did not contain S.D. alcohol, petroleum or mineral oil, artificial dyes, artificial perfumes, lanolin—all of which were standard ingredients in every skin care brands on the shelf at the time.
“They all said it couldn’t be done. That was 25 years ago. Today, Dermalogica is the #1 most-requested professional skin care brand in the world. And our VP of R&D is Dr. Diana Howard – a woman.”
What would you consider your greatest professional break? “Coming to the United States in 1983. More dreams come true here than anywhere else on the Planet and I still consider it the greatest gift I have ever received. There have been many landmark moments, but I think that the opening of our very first concept space, our Dermalogica flagship store in Santa Monica, still feels like a major turning-point. It’s not so much about someone giving us a break, as feeling that it represents a moment of our becoming, of arriving, for Dermalogica, the brand. Our creative team truly created magic in the planning and implementation of the space. It’s an incredibly fertile space—even the treatment rooms are shaped like eggs, or cocoons! The flagship is where we “incubated” ideas which changed our business, such as the Skin Bar, where people can casually sample products, the gleaming, white stucco treatment “pods”, which put treatment front and center instead of in the “back of the house”, and stations for Face Mapping®, which is a complimentary, and targeted skin analysis given by a professional skin therapist. No wonder the space collected all sorts of design and architecture business kudos. It utterly redefined the professional skin care setting. Now I have a Creative office upstairs, on the floor above the flagship store—it’s a charming old white brick building from the 1920s, which is rare in Los Angeles. I still feel my heart skip a beat when I walk up to the door.”