In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
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Who are you and what’s your business?
My name is Gregg Throgmartin, and Skin Laundry is a pioneering medical aesthetics company that I first invested in in early 2017, then joined as CEO shortly thereafter in 2018. Skin Laundry was founded on the belief that the technology and science reshaping skincare today should be widely available and accessible to all. We focus on delivering customized energy-based facials and have performed more laser facials than anyone in the world. We have 23 clinics in the US, plus ten internationally, and are on track to own and operate 100 clinics by the end of 2024.
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Before joining Skin Laundry, I served as President of Fabletics, where I built their retail channel, expanding on their then-pure direct-to-consumer ecommerce model. I’ve been an active seed and growth investor and board member in consumer-centric startups since 2010.
What inspired you to get on board?
As I started my Skin Laundry journey as an investor and board member, I had a clear “aha moment” after visiting a handful of our clinics very early on. I talked to team members at each location and always asked, “What brought you to Skin Laundry?” Nearly every employee had the same story: they started as a client and the results were so life-changing they wanted to join the company to help others have a similar experience. They would all proudly pull out their iPhone to show me their before-and-after photos as proof. I knew there was something far more powerful going on than I could have ever imagined.
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What was your biggest business challenge and how did you pivot to overcome it?
Being forced to shut down during Covid was clearly a momentous challenge. We had to address the fear and uncertainty, the loss of loved ones, and the loss of connection, while still pursuing steps to ensure the business could not just bounce back, but excel when we eventually emerged. The lingering effects in the workforce, particularly when gearing up for the high growth plans we had for 2022 through 2024, took longer to recover from. We continue to work to overcome this, and I can say the fastest-growing department in our company this past year is our People Team. We’ve poured more into building the finest team and resources for our Skin Laundry people than at any other time in my career. These efforts are paying off — employee reviews on Comparably are strong and our EMPS is up there with the best.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs looking for funding?
Make sure you have enough funding to have some initiatives fail. I’d like to be able to say the first initiative I implemented at Skin Laundry was a huge success. But it was not. You need enough cash to test, fail, iterate, test again, refine and continue. If you do happen to nail ‘it’ on the first try, congrats – your funding cushion along with your early win will allow you to add to the team and accelerate growth.
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What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?
To me, an entrepreneur is someone who can paint a vision of something that has never before existed, then work tirelessly to make it happen. Someone who lives and breathes their business, not because they have to, but because they love to. An entrepreneur is curious, passionate and not afraid to dive headfirst into an area of opportunity where almost everyone else has failed before. They can either tune out the large chorus saying “this won’t work,” or get fired up by the challenge to uncover and prove out just how it can work. Lastly, the best entrepreneurs I know openly talk about their failures. They learn from them, use them to teach their team, and use the sting to work even harder.
What is something many aspiring business owners think they need that they really don’t?
An “Idea.” I say that partly jokingly, of course; but so many people I meet think the idea is 90% of the battle. Many aspiring business owners get hung up on perfecting their idea or finding “the big idea.” What one needs is to be able to execute that idea the best. Then, you have to be able to evolve and out-execute everyone else that copies your idea.