The EDITed by Beauty Bay team talk with Brandon Truaxe, the man behind DECIEM and sell-out brands such as The Ordinary and NIOD who’s shaking up the beauty industry with his no-nonsense approach to skincare.
Can you summarise The Ordinary products in one word?
NIOD and Hylamide are very highly active and formulation driven – whereas The Ordinary maybe compared to a functional fridge, Hylamide and NIOD have multi-level ice makers and new cooling technologies and other systems. The Ordinary is focused on well-established, well-recognized ingredients that work very well and don’t require too much research to classify. Hylamide and NIOD require very extensive research and testing to formulate and also use far more modern and, therefore more expensive (generally), technologies.
When researching for brand development, did you discover anything surprising about the way skincare is commonly treated by consumers?
We don’t research for brand development because the category of skincare simply doesn’t make any sense. It’s a fluff, make-belief category. We instead focus on taking function to the next step every day knowing there is an audience the recognizes and appreciates such commitment.
Why did you create 10 different brands for DECIEM, rather than 1 brand which had a higher quantity of broader spectrum products?
When you start, no single brand or concept can justify or afford significant investment in having in-house laboratory, creative, manufacturing, technology (IT), distribution, sales and marketing resources. However, when you work on a few brands, they can each afford their timeshare of our resources. Furthermore, all of our team is always very excited and energized because of fresh ideas, brands and products. It’s very difficult to find and retain incredible talent and money isn’t the way to do it: evolving passion in what you do is the only way.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Sometimes from a technology that never existed; sometimes from a narrow gap in product offerings; sometimes from a new form of brand positioning (creative); and often just purely from anger at others who take advantage of this hocus-pocus category.
Your background is in Computer Science: how did this lead to the creation of DECIEM?
I had no interest in beauty products when I was studying computer science; in fact, I used to lather soap bars in my hand to form a shaving “cream”. I had a co-op term as a software developer at a beauty company’s laboratories and, quite bluntly, became angry at how dishonest and unscientific everything in beauty was. In the world of software, everything is black or white, 0 or 1 quite literally. In the world of beauty, everything seemed and seems like a grey promise. A combination of anger and passion from that experience has brought me here.
What do you believe is the main reason for the success of DECIEM?
We still have a long way to go for me to consider us a “success” but passion is always the main reason for any success that grew from the ground up.
If you could give our readers just one piece of advice for great skin, what would it be?
Avoid anything that causes inflammation – it’s never good in the long term. This includes aggressive peeling treatments which should only be used in extreme conditions and infrequently.
What do you love, and hate about the beauty industry right now?
What I love about it is that it has an audience that loves to understand, to learn, to explore. What I absolutely hate about it is fluffy regulations (basically adds no protection to consumers) that marketers have to use to come up with verbiage to confuse everyone. Complete waste of taxpayer resources. Either have no regulation at all or treat the category somewhat like medicine. Turning “Removes wrinkles” to “Removes the appearance of wrinkles” doesn’t protect consumers.
What’s next for DECIEM?
New brands, new products, new own stores and a move to a new factory/lab/office this year (our 4th move in 4 years)!