From social media stars to brand founders and industry pros, each month we are going to bring you interviews with guests who are experts in their fields. Not only do we value what they have to say (like, really value) but we want to take you behind the scenes into their worlds, for top tips, tricks and insider insight. After all, knowledge is power.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Goldfaden MD’s power-duo Lisa Goldfaden and Lauren Wolk over copious amounts of caffeine (they were jet-lagged). Developed by leading dermatologist Dr. Goldfaden (Lisa’s father, Lauren’s father-in-law, also known as ‘Dr. G’) the pioneering brand is famed for its plant-based ingredients and problem-solving results. The authority on green beauty, the ingredients list reads more like a food shop than a chemistry lesson with sweet potato, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, green tea and honey all featuring. With zero harsh synthetic ingredients and micro beads and fully recyclable cartons and outer packaging, the brand is also fully focused on becoming as environmentally-friendly as possible. Read on for the full interview with the co-founders…
Did you always want to work in beauty? Not ‘beauty’ per say, as I had another career before co-founding the brand. I always knew I wanted to help people and having grown up with parents in the medical field, I’m not surprised I ended up where I am today.
What do you love most about your job? I love that I get to work with my family.
What is the one beauty product you couldn’t live without? Our Bright Eyes! Multi-faceted and targets all my eye issues (darkness, puffiness and fine lines!).
This is an absolute best-seller for the brand
Why did the brand decide to go down the ‘green/plant-based’ route? Our brand DNA has always been ‘green’ and plant based. We are the first dermatologist-developed, naturally-inspired skincare brand. Since inception of the first product over 25 years ago, my father has always looked to plant-based ingredients to mimic traditional and chemically-created ingredients. He is a true pioneer in green ingredients and has travelled the world and written numerous scientific studies on effective plant-based alternative ingredients. Only recently has the public and the beauty industry accepted and caught on to plant based and ‘clean beauty’ which he has been preaching for years. Even when we first launched less than five years ago, there was a misunderstanding and mistrust in plant-based, natural products. We’ve had to educate along the way and luckily the natural category is thriving.
Describe the brand in 5 words Effective, natural, scientific, targeted, physician-strength.
The brand has the best mix of textures - from gels to creams and scrubs. Do you have a preference for this time of year? For the transition into spring, I love a multi-functional oil. I love to wear our Fleuressence Native Botanical Oil as my serum. As temperatures start to rise, I get my treatment and hydration from this one single product.
The Power Oil
100% pure active botanicals, fruit extracts and natural oils
Is there a stand-out product within the range for you? Fleuressence Native Botanical Oil. This oil was a labor of love and it had to be just perfect, which is probably why it took over two years to formulate!
What does your daily skincare routine consist of? I cleanse my face, neck and chest with Pure Start Cleanser, exfoliate with Doctor’s Scrub Advanced (3 times a week), Fleuressence Oil as serum/hydrator, Bright Eyes (which I keep in the refrigerator because I like how cold it gets) and Plant Profusion Neck Cream. I dry brush my body every night and recently introduced a jade roller for my face in the morning.
What’s a normal day for you? I wake up around 6:30am and read my emails in bed for twenty minutes, then get up and go to my favorite neighborhood coffee shop. If I can slip in a workout I’ll go to the gym, if not then I will at lunchtime. I travel quite a bit, so when I’m in town working I’m at my desk.
What makes for a successful brand? Authenticity, a clear vision and a solid team.
Would you agree that team work is the dream work? 100%.
Hopes for the brand in the next decade? To continue to make products that make people feel and look good.
What is your earliest memory of beauty/skincare? My dad bringing home his ‘magic scrub’, now (Doctor’s Scrub) for my mum every week.
Describe Lauren in 3 words: Industrious, Laser-focused and Beautiful (externally + internally).
What makes for a successful business relationship? Trust and knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
What would your ‘plan B’ have been? I had a career in museum education before starting this brand, so I would’ve stayed doing that.
You are continuously inspired by nature, are you an ‘outdoorsy’ person? I love to be outdoors as much as possible and try to exercise outdoors whenever possible. Growing up in Miami I was surrounded by the ocean and nature and feel very connected to both.
The products include ingredients like quinoa seed extract and anti-oxidants, do you both follow healthy lifestyles? I try and live a healthy lifestyle. I am conscientious about where my food is grown and what I put in my body. I recently adapted a Ketogenic lifestyle, which includes intermittent fasting for health and longevity purposes. I am very physically active as well.
Did you always want to work in beauty? Not necessarily, but I have always been product-centric! Health and wellness have always been a huge part of my life. And I’ve always felt that beauty - specifically products - is really an extension of our overall lifestyle in terms of what we gravitate to, so I am focused on being what I call “naturally conscious” in every aspect of my life. This includes beauty products, household cleaning products, diet and exercise. When I first met my husband, Rob, he handed me this exfoliator in a lab sample jar and said “would you try this, I am thinking about starting a skincare brand, and this would be our lead product.” I of course instantly fell in love (first with the scrub, and later with him) and I saw the potential for an entire dermatologist-developed natural skincare brand, since this simply did not exist in the marketplace.
After a handful of years in advertising, working with global brands like Coca Cola, Volkswagen, and Method “non-toxic” personal care products, I wanted to follow something that I was deeply passionate about. I joined Goldfaden MD, over ten years ago and it has been the most exciting and rewarding journey.
What do you love most about your job? The endless stories that we have received from our customers worldwide about how our products have helped their skin, enhanced the appearance of their complexions and ultimately, helped to increase their self-esteem. The end result of using a product and how it helps to enhance the lives of others is a feeling that can’t simply be emulated elsewhere. We are able to experience the direct impact of our work and that’s a really special reward in life.
What is the one beauty product you couldn’t live without? Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub. I just can’t live without it.
Why did the brand decide to go down the ‘green/plant-based’ route? It’s part of Dr. G’s heritage and DNA to use clean beauty formulas and alternatives to harsh chemicals, so it was a seamless transition into creating a brand that reflected his medical practice and the way in which he approaches topical treatments. Dr. G has been instilling a naturally-conscious way of lifestyle for decades, over 40 years, to be exact. Goldfaden MD is really a pioneer in the naturally-conscious beauty space and we’re so proud of that.
Describe the brand in 5 words Dermatologist-developed, naturally-inspired skincare.
The brand has the best mix of textures - from gels to creams and scrubs. Do you have a preference for this time of year? Exfoliation and serums! I am a total exfoliation “junkie” and there is no better feeling in the world to me than my skin post-exfoliation (especially going into the warmer months as oil, dirt and sunscreen build-up is more intense!), followed by our Brightening Elixir, which is a powerful anti-oxidant brightening serum that is oil-free (gel based). It’s the perfect Elixir for summer skin.
This elixir is loaded with anti-oxidants
Is there a stand-out product within the range for you? Doctor’s Scrub! It provides an immediate result in terms of increased radiance, texture and luminosity.
This buffs and removes dead skin cells - you can even use it on your body!
What do your daily skincare routines consist of? AM: Cleanser, serum and a lab sample of a new moisturizer that we are working on. PM: Exfoliation (Doctor’s Scrub), Cleanser (Pure Start), Serum, Oil (currently, Fleuressence). Skin Balancing Mask 3 times per week - I try everything!
What does a day in the life consist of for you?
5:30am - Get up and head downstairs to make coffee, check emails and get breakfast prepared for my kids.
6:30am - Get kids up, dressed and ready for the day!
8-9am - Workout. I have been following Tracy Anderson’s Method for four years now and my body craves the workout.
9-4pm: Office or running around the city for meetings.
4:15pm: Go home to see the kids and we do some sort of afternoon activity: hiking, walk throughout our neighbourhood, gardening, arts and crafts, etc.
6:30pm: Bath time.
7-7:30: Bed time for kids.
7:30-9: Just wind down. I usually take a long shower, catch up on emails and watch a TV show, then bed. I need my sleep!
What makes for a successful brand? I think in any category, a successful brand reflects a product/service that fills a niche, has a strong story and positioning that the brand does not deviate away from, and is a good product that offers results in all forms. It’s so important to stay true to your brands’ DNA and continue to tell that story in every way and all facets in order to stay authentic. Consumers are really savvy and can pick-up on true authenticity and passion in a brand and that’s what ultimately sells.
Would you agree that team work is the dream work? YES! And being able to share the same passion, drive, and dedication with my family is truly remarkable. As a team we’ve formed an unbreakable bond, and it makes us quite powerful in ways I had never experienced in the larger corporate setting.
Hopes for the brand in the next decade? Double our global expansion. We have had a 40% growth year-over-year since launch and we are working hard to continue on that fast-track for this fiscal year and into next. With a heavy focus on retail door expansion, new product launches, online and social media initiatives, and large sample marketing partnerships, we will likely surpass our year-over-year growth for this fiscal year, which is really exciting, and working to continue that growth momentum for the next decade to come. Working with the right retail partners greatly impacts the success of the brand and we are certainly continuing to look at both the retail landscape and shifts in consumer behaviors - namely, leveraging social media engagement - in order to hone in on the brand’s expansion and growth opportunities to allow for us to continue building upon our strong footprint within the beauty category.
What is your earliest memory of beauty/skincare? At about three years old taking my mum’s lipstick, putting it on and making kiss marks on the windows. My daughter, now 3, follows the same.
Describe Lisa in 3 words: Passionate. Driven. Visionary.
What makes for a successful business relationship? Working with vendors, retail partners and team members who truly share the passion and vision of the brand because it shines through to every aspect of work, literally.
What would your ‘plan B’ have been? Go back to work at an advertising agency, which I can’t even imagine doing now.
You are continuously inspired by nature, are you both ‘outdoorsy’ people? YES! I live in LA and I am so grateful that the average weather here is 72 and sunny, so I spend so much time outdoors. Being outside and experiencing nature is really a creative fuel to the soul.
The products include ingredients like quinoa seed extract and anti-oxidants, do you both follow healthy lifestyles? Yes, but I also indulge from time-to-time, but generally speaking, I practice intermittent fasting, eat loads of veggies and mostly fish for proteins with very little carb. I have a sweet tooth, so I always have dark chocolate on hand to cut my craving! I stay active too which is the body’s best medicine of all.
SHOP Goldfaden MD HERE