Clarisonic® Continues To Innovate In Skincare
When the founders of Sonicare® Toothbrush sold the company to Philips Oral Healthcare, Inc., they wanted to bring their technology to the category of skincare. “We started thinking about electric current and ultrasound and got to where we understood how to apply the technology from our oral care days to the skin,” explained David Giuliani, Co-Founder and CEO of Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, Inc.
Along with Mr. Giuliani, the Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, Inc.’s team consisting of Jack Gallagher, President, Mike Stull, Chief Financial Officer, Robb Akridge, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Vice President of Clinical Affairs and Ken Pilcher, Co-Founder and Vice President of R&D, turned their combined talents to skincare. “When we started out, we wanted to make sure that we would create a system that was safe, consistently effective and quick,” Mr. Giuliani continued. “Before we had an office, we used to sit in Denny’s and have business meetings that lasted two or three hours. But we knew we needed the Aesthetician’s expertise, so we found five who either owned their own spas or worked in one. We showed them prototypes, and shared that we wanted to create the Mercedes-Benz of skin brushes.”
The Clarisonic® Skin Cleansing System was introduced at a meeting of Plastic Surgeons in Philadelphia in 2004. “From there we distributed it in spas as well as Dermatologists’ and Plastic Surgeons’ offices. We listened to our customers,” Mr. Giuliani declared, “who said ‘My skin is breathing again.’ ‘My skin hasn’t felt this great since I was a teenager.’ So, we basically changed the way their skin looked by cleansing it with sonic technology.”
“Our goal was to create a product that gives consumers healthy skin so they don’t have to use as much makeup to cover up imperfections. We want their skin to glow,” noted Dr. Akridge. “It’s all about instilling this empowerment to make the customer feel so good that they can go out of the house without makeup.”
The Clarisonic® Skin Cleansing System oscillates back and forth at a sonic frequency that produces over 300 movements per second to gently loosen dirt and oil. The system provides six times better cleansing than cleansing with the hands alone and improves the application of other skincare products.
Since not all skin types are the same, Mr. Pilcher explained that the Pacific Bioscience Laboratories’ team developed a selection of brush head options for facial cleansing—Delicate, Sensitive, Normal and Deep Pore Cleansing as well as one for the Body. “Clarisonic® brush heads are made from durable DuPont Super Soft bristles, which can be used twice a day every day.” The wide range of brush heads can be customized to compliment different skin types. There is also a range of Clarisonic cleansers to compliment the device. These pH-balanced and paraben-free cleansers are formulated to work in tandem with the Clarisonic® patented sonic technology.
“One of the great points about sonic technology is that we have riches of applications yet to be developed. So, we have a bright future in terms of completing what it is we started,” Mr. Giuliani affirmed. “We have a healthy business. We listen to our customers and are continually innovating for her.”
One new product in the Clarisonic® portfolio, Dr. Akridge informed, is the Clarisonic® Opal Sonic Infusion
System. “It’s the first sonic infusion product. After using sonic cleansing to remove obstacles from your skin, Clarisonic®’s Opal Sonic Infusion System drives ingredients into the skin.”
“I was watching women do the pitty-pat thing applying product around the eye area,” he noted. “So I thought we ought to make a prototype of a product that could perform this function. And Ken [Pilcher] assembled one that worked. It cups the serum and sonically massages it at an angle with an up-and-down motion in the eye area to re-energize the skin.”
The Clarisonic® Opal Sonic Infusion System uses patented sonic micro-massage to infuse serum beneath the surface to help it work more effectively. Although any eye cream or serum can be used, this system comes with a separate 1.7 oz. bottle of proprietary Anti-Aging Sea Serum. The serum is dispensed by the palm-sized device using a micro-massage action in a gentle circular motion around the bone of the eye. According to Dr. Akridge, it is patent-pending.
“We have revolutionized cleansing from a mundane chore to an empowering activity,” disclosed Chris Payne, Pacific Bioscience Laboratories’ Vice President of Marketing. “We’ve just launched Opal to join sonic cleansing, and we have a tremendous amount of opportunity to educate millions of women on the benefits of both sonic cleansing and infusion.”
Mr. Payne declares that the “heritage of the company’s distribution is in the professional channel and still remains one of the most important parts of our business. You can’t beat a Dermatologist or an Aesthetician who actually uses the product on a patient as well as sells it. The pro channel will always be an important piece of our business, and we spend time not only caring for that business but providing special materials and products to support them.”
There is now the Clarisonic® Mia™ Sonic Skin Cleansing System, which can cleanse the face at home or on the go. Sonic care is taken to the next level with Clarisonic® PLUS Sonic Skin Cleansing System. It offers advanced power, a spot therapy feature and a body brush for those areas needing extra attention. It works with the natural elasticity of the skin, oscillating back and forth at a sonic frequency that produces over 300 movements per second. All Clarisonic devices are waterproof and rechargeable.
Clarisonic® products are available at spas and Dermatologists’ offices and select prestige retailers including Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Dillards, Ulta and select Macy’s retailers. QVC has also become an important point of distribution.
“QVC is a unique channel,” informed Dr. Akridge, “because it allows you several opportunities. Number one, it can increase the general public’s awareness about Clarisonic®. It also educates the retailers. When I go in to a Sephora, the Cast Members say they’ve seen me on TV, and they use what I say to educate their customers. Then there is a segment of the QVC audience that watches and learns about Clarisonic® and then goes to buy at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom. They want to touch and feel the product.”
The Clarisonic® team considers their Web site to be the primary source of information about the products. A
ccording to Mr. Payne, “the Web site is not only important for sales, but it is also a critical channel to educate and engage consumers.” They also have a retail team, which goes in and trains the Sales Associates or Cast Members about Clarisonic®. After a customer purchases a Clarisonic® product, Mr. Giuliani offers a comfort level of a money-back guarantee. “We take the risk that Clarisonic® is going to be good for you. If it isn’t good for you, we shouldn’t have your money.”