Q&A with SkinOwl Founder Annie Tevelin

SkinOwl Founder Annie Tevelin has slowly grown her skin care brand from a small cult following to landing on the vanities of celebs like Kourtney Kardashian and winning major awards. We chatted with Annie about the growth of SkinOwl, her philosophies and her relationship with Pharmaca.

What’s behind the name SkinOwl?

SkinOwl started as a private group on Facebook. It was a place where women could ask me personal questions about their skin, get daily inspiration and enter giveaways. Because of my background in makeup artistry and cosmetic chemistry, I was able to offer advice on a variety of topics and concerns. "The SkinOwl" became my alter ego; essentially a "messenger of wisdom" in a very confusing industry. The group grew from 6 people to 1,600 in a few months and it was then I realized there was a void in the beauty industry when it came to getting honest, sound advice without having to buy something at the forefront. In a year's time, I closed the group and started SkinOwl's fan page, which now has close to 50,000 fans.

What is your product development process like? How do you identify ingredients you want to use, and find sources of them?

The product development process begins and ends with incredibly results-driven ingredients. Four of our products only have two ingredients, and that is intentional. No fluff, just efficacy. I've traveled a lot and seen what the world has to offer in terms of special ingredients, be it mangosteen in Vietnam, bergamot in Italy or peonies in Montenegro. I find an ingredient that speaks to me and has a track record of health, benefits and results. Then begins the search for the best strain of each ingredient and beta-testing on different people's skin for a few months. Eventually, we've got our star product!

You got married recently. (Congrats!) What was your wedding day beauty ritual like?

My wedding day beauty ritual was all about simplicity. I didn't go overboard prior to the wedding with peels or microdermabrasion, for fear that it would backfire. I had two dear friends do my makeup and hair, which made me feel at ease and calm any day-of nerves. I was married at a private estate and my family and wedding party was able to spend the entire day there. This made everything calm. It allowed for time, instead of commuting and racing around. The ritual of self-care is paramount, especially giving myself time to pamper and be present while doing so.

Do you have any environmental or community-focused initiatives?

We are pretty big animal lovers at SkinOwl! We love showing love to The Humane Society and ASPCA. Also, all of the money spent on our Argan Oil goes towards a woman's cooperative in Morocco. This helps them with everything from health care to education and sustains a group of people that we've never met, but has helped our business exponentially.

What drew you to Pharmaca as a retailer?

I shopped at Pharmaca before I had a skin care line. Every time I walked in to a store, I felt at home. The level of service, the personal care, the products; everything exuded authenticity and struck me as very intentional and genuine. For these reasons, Pharmaca was one of the first retailers I contacted when I was ready to retail SkinOwl Skincare. We didn't even have barcodes at the time. Since launching at Pharmaca, we have felt like family and have been championed for being the company we are. We value this relationship to the moon!

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