Why did we create Alchimie Forever?

I have had more questions this week about “why did we create Alchimie Forever,” “what is your unique selling proposition,” and recently in Cincinnati from an ex P&G executive, “what is the unmet need your line is filling.” These are all million-dollar questions for a consumer brand, questions that I fall asleep thinking about, dream about, and wake up pondering. These questions are always at the back of my mind. I know the answers – let me share them with you.

Why did we create Alchimie Forever?
We created Alchimie Forever to make men and women feel better about themselves – and thus make the world a better place. My father’s dermatological career has been first and foremost about making his clients, male or female, look younger, look more beautiful. Ultimately, however, whether through treatments or at-home use of Alchimie Forever products, our goal is to make people feel better. When you look better, you feel better. When you look better, you feel more confident. When you feel better and feel more confident, you are happier, nicer, kinder, you smile more… you are, in effect, a better person. That is why we created Alchimie Forever.

The Alchimie Forever mission
Our mission at Alchimie Forever is self care through skin care. We work to encourage people to take better care of themselves. The disease of our century as we see it is the dearth of self care. We don’t sleep enough, we eat overly processed foods, we drink too much, we don’t exercise enough, we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves. The results of this lifestyle can be seen in obesity, stress disorders, depression, and more. While skin care is not going to solve all of these problems, Alchimie Forever products play a key role in reminding people to slow down; reminding people to touch and be touched; reminding people to take care of themselves, to spend a few extra minutes in their bathroom, to apply lotions and potions that will make them look better, hence feel better.

This is so relevant today, I believe David Cameron, the new Prime Minister in the UK said it best:
“It’s time we admitted that there’s more to life than money and it’s time we focused not just on GDP (Gross Domestic Product) but on GWB – general wellbeing.”

“Wellbeing can’t be measured by money or traded in markets. It’s about the beauty of our surroundings, the quality of our culture and, above all, the strength of our relationships. Improving our society’s sense of wellbeing is, I believe, the central political challenge of our times.”

Our Unique Selling Proposition and the Unmet Need
What does the beauty consumer want today? She wants it all. She wants to look as young as she feels (anti-aging results). She wants to use products that make her feel special (luxury). She wants products she can feel good about using (responsibility). In the crowded skin care market, numerous lines answer one or the other, maybe two out of three of these needs. We, at Alchimie Forever, fulfill these three needs in a single jar.

  • Results: Visible, immediate anti-aging results. Without side effects. Without inflammation.
  • Elegance: Products that look good, feel good, smell good, and that you want to use. Twice a day. Everyday. Forever.
  • Responsibility: A botanical approach to ingredients, a commitment to sustainability, and a commitment to community involvement. All at a reasonable price point.

Affirmations and accountability

If you ask people who know me to list 5 adjectives that describe me, more likely than not they all would say, among other things, reliable, accountable, and hard working. I think that comes with birth order, I am a pretty typical eldest child. Yet, one can always be more reliable, more accountable, more hard working. One can also always have a bigger vision, and work more effectively to make that vision a realits. In the last two weeks, I put in place two new systems in my life: affirmations and an accountability partner.

My husband thinks I have taken things to a whole new level of crazy, but I am enjoying it. For both of these new initiatives, I have to thank my girlfriend Anne, who is an inspiration and role model, and who taught me about these two systems.

First – affirmations. My Mom used to tell me when I was grumpy: “Force a smile, if you force it long enough it will become reality.” I think affirmations somehow follow the same concept  – say it out loud and it will become true. Affirmations are statements that either represent a current reality that needs reinforcement, or a future aspiration. Saying these affirmations out loud every morning somehow makes the statements truer, the goals more attainable, and generally shifts the energy in the Universe so that I behave more easily according to these statements. I have 18 affirmations. I wrote them down on small white notecards a week ago today, and I say them out loud (not too loud, I am still shy about them) every morning. They range from business, to family, to personal, and encompass goals (for example, “Alchimie is on the Inc 500 List”) as well as behaviors I want to live every day (for example “I am grateful for what I have.”).

Second – an accountability partner. We all have goals. My friend Heidi has 137 goals, broken down in annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly milestones. I am not quite there yet, but working towards it. Goals are great. Goals are even if you make sure that every week you work to achieve these goals. Sometimes, life takes over, better and sometimes on a Sunday evening I find myself wondering what I accomplished all week that really mattered to me, to my family, or to the business – what have I done to reach closer to my goals? Now, I have Kassie, my accountability partner.  We have a weekly call every Friday morning, and a Google Goals Excel sheet that needs to be updated regularly. Every Friday, we discuss our past week’s goals, go down our lists, and have to explain to each other why certain things didn’t get accomplished. And every week, we discuss our goals for next week, and how we are going to accomplish them. Now, as accountable as I am to myself, it’s a whole lot harder to make excuses to another person… not wanting to have to explain to Kassie why I didn’t do something means that amazingly, this system has enabled me to accomplish a couple projects that have weighed on me for a long time.

Crazy? Maybe. Useful? Definitely. Fun? Of course. I encourage you to try both systems, and be amazed at the difference they make. Thank you Anne.

 

Holiday traditions

To me, today is the official first day of the holiday season. Does it always start on the 5th of November? No. I realized yesterday, however, that the holiday season always starts with “Face Fair.” For the 5th consecutive year, I have visited one of my first, and one of my very favorite clients, Alex Alexa, sometime during November, for their annual holiday open house, two hours of anti-aging and skin care extravaganza at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Hurricane, WV (pronounced hurr-i-ken, I learned year 2 of Face Fair). I was reminded last night of the power of traditions.

I have written before about my love of rituals and traditions: they ground me. Rituals are familiar, comfortable, claming. Traditions help me make sense of the general chaos that is my life. I have chosen the life of a nomad: I spend more time on the road than in my own home, and I love it. The one drawback of such a lifestyle is that it makes weekly traditions difficult. No weekly Sunday night family dinners for me (except when I am home in Geneva). No weekly poker games. No weekly girls’ night out. My traditions tend to be annual rather than weekly. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to enjoy Face Fair not only because I was supporting one of my first clients, but also because this tradition has become a true pleasure, something I now look forward to every year, and the official beginning of my holiday season.

With Face Fair comes seeing Dr. Blair, his wife Dr. Kurucz, and one or more of their three beautiful children. They run Alex Alexa, a family business, just like Alchimie Forever. With Face Fair comes seeing some of their wonderful clients, some whom I now recognize and remember the name of. Last night, I loved seeing Claire M., and I missed seeing Barbara C. With Face Fair comes catching up with my girlfriend Kelly, whom I sometimes wish I were, and whom I love more the more I get to know her. With Face Fair comes the first holiday dinner of the season, a 10 to 12 person dinner in the back room of BlackHawk Grille in Barboursville, a restaurant opened by a friend of Dr. Blair’s, and I believe the one non-chain restaurant for a number of miles. And with Face Fair, comes spending time with Donna, Dr. Blair’s fabulous, loyal, and gorgeous aesthetician. At some point during the last 5 years I stopped staying at the Hurricane Hampton Inn and started staying with Donna in her beautiful home in Salt Rock. (Early on, I would get BlackHawk and Salt Rock confused and think she lived in Black Salt). At some point during the last 5 years of coming down for Face Fair, I stopped thinking of Donna as a “client” and started thinking of her as a BFF. We stopped just talking shop, and starting talking about husbands, boyfriends, dreams, kids, illnesses, stress, all the things best girlfriends speak about over coffee or wine, depending on the time of day.

This morning, at Donna’s kitchen table, having coffee with her and her delightful husband Glenn, I painted my nails red – the true sign I am in holiday spirit. I am so grateful to Dr. Blair and his team for their trust, their long-time support, their friendship, and for this wonderful annual tradition that is Face Fair and all is has come to mean in my life.

 

Men and what makes them beautiful

In three days, it is Father’s day. I think about men’s grooming habits and skin care regimens a lot, but Father’s Day as well as two events last week have put male beauty top of mind. I have been training various clients as to why the need for men’s skin care (men have oilier skin, prefer lighter, oil-free textures; men like “manly” aromas as opposed to girlie sweet scents; men like to feel like their skin care products have been created just for them), and two of our products just arrived in the office repackaged in sleek and sexy tubes (apparently men are not fond of jars).