No one can revolutionize an industry on his or her own, not even Scott-Vincent Borba, founder and CEO of Borba, who is known for a radical approach in developing high-end skin care products. But he is trying.
“To get through these challenging times, this country needs to invest in innovation and create new products the world will want. At Borba, we are changing how people think about innovation, and this country needs more of that,” said Scott-Vincent.
Borba sells high-end skin care products based on the principle that the best skin comes by addressing both its internal and external needs. The company was the first to offer nutraceuticals, foods and beverages that will improve skin quality such as Gummi Bear boosters loaded with vitamins or Skin Balance water formulated to combat aging and clarity challenges, encouraging firmer skin.
“We are the pioneers in that category, and coming up our pipeline is the next wave of nutraceutical snacks and hybrid cosmeceuticals. We are going to reinvent the beverage, giving
it an entirely new purpose for our consumers,” said Scott-Vincent.
At Borba, new ideas typically come from within rather than from the focus groups other beauty and skin care manufacturers use. Scott-Vincent said he draws inspiration from the world around him, along with the lives of his family and clients. Although listening to clients is crucial, he said he relies more heavily on ethnographic research and his own experience.
“The process in its simplest form is stripping the most common action of anyone’s typical day to its bare bones and rebuilding it differently into a more effective action,” he explained.
That’s how he developed Borba’s line of age-defying products. The company set out to reinvent topical skin care, not only by using a more potent ingredient than anyone had ever tried, but also by creating a more effective delivery system. Instead of typical methods like micro-encapsulation, Borba used hydrolyzed fabrics such as cotton, spandex, and silk.
Scott-Vincent heard about these fabrics through the work of a fashion manufacturer, and by partnering with them, discovered the fabrics served as a natural protein shield that delivered the other ingredients effectively, allowed the skin to breathe, and blocked harmful free radicals.
With Borba’s latest line of HD-Illuminating Plasma products, which includes its Diamond-Dermabrasion peel treatment, Light Effects serum, and hydrating SPF 30 lotion, it was a similar process. Launched in March after years in development, this line is designed to make pores and fine lines invisible even under the glare of high-definition and Blue-Ray cameras.
“One of my celebrity clients was telling me how horrible even young, healthy skin looks under those new cameras, and that conversation stuck with me,” Scott-Vincent explained. “I thought I could use the same technology as those cameras in a topical skin care product that generates light on the skin and erases imperfections.”
Borba partnered with a technology manufacturer to create a microencapsulated TIO2 silver solution with the same concept that plasma crystals use in TVs around the country and micro-hydrolyzed diamond dust. The two-step Diamond Dermabrasion system came first, and Scott-Vincent said it is wildly popular because it works for any age or skin type as a TV screen for the face, projecting the best possible flawless image to the camera.
Finding the right partnerships to develop products like these is crucial to the company’s success, according to Scott-Vincent. He wrote for CNNMoney.com in June 2006, saying he once made as many as 60 cold calls a day to potential partners, pursuing them relentlessly for a chance to talk about his ideas.
“Typically, I call a large corporation because I’ve identified its technology as something that could help me generate a new product, and the executives are willing to give me whatever I need as long as I take on all the risk. And I’m excited to do that; that’s what my consumer base expects of me,” he said.
When looking for a co-brander, the vetting process is much more thorough. First, Scott-Vincent said he finds companies that are a good equity match for his own and then conducts extensive research to see if that company is likely to take his idea, has a history of innovation or is just a one-hit wonder, or has any negative history with vendors or consumers.
Most importantly, he said, he needs to know if the founder or management board of the potential partner company is too self absorbed to create a product that transcends both categories. It’s impossible to offer the consumer a truly revolutionary product if half of the partnership behind it isn’t synergizing with the lead idea generator’s vision, ” he explained.
As far as retail partners go, Scott-Vincent is equally picky. “A history of innovation is a necessary characteristic. Companies like QVC, Fred Segal, and Saks 5th Avenue welcome my innovative ideas because they built their brands on the same kind of risks I’m taking,” he said.
Today, other high-end manufacturers are trying to replicate both the HD-Illuminating and Age-Defying product lines. But when Borba launched them, Scott-Vincent said retailers were skeptical.
“They said these concepts were too much for the consumer; he or she would never understand them. I said give them the benefit of the doubt,” Scott-Vincent said, adding that this is the kind of risk he needs to take on to create revolutionary products. “If the retailer isn’t on board with me, for whatever reason, I have to move on.”
It’s this uncompromising strategy that has brought Borba double-digit growth in annual sales and will continue to make it one of the unquestioned leaders in the beauty and skin care industry.
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