5 Rules For Life: Skinfix CEO Amy Risley

Skinfix CEO Amy Risley is a beauty veteran, who honed her marketing chops at the likes of companies like L’Oréal, Coty, Jo Malone, and Space NK. 
Amy later moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada to raise her family, she thought she had left the world of beauty behind —but fate intervened. She discovered the Skinfix 140-year-old, natural healing balm in her hometown. used it on her daughter’s eczema and was amazed by its healing properties.

She saw a market opportunity for products that heal skin without steroids, irritants and synthetics. She purchased the company in 2012 from the great, great-granddaughter of the original inventor, a British pharmacist. Today, the brand brings together natural and dermatologist-recommended skincare.

Here, Amy shares her rules for life, in her words.

  1. Failure is not only inevitable — it is essential.

None of us enjoy failing — but it is going to happen.  Failing early in life is actually a blessing. I have some friends who didn’t really experience their first big “failure” or set-back until well into their 20s.  They did well in school, or sports, or any endeavor that they pursued. They worked hard and achieved their goals. When something eventually didn’t go to plan – despite hard work – it was debilitating.  They felt they had lost control. Becoming comfortable with failure and learning to extract its lessons, is mission-critical in my opinion. Our journey will be full of ups and downs; it is guaranteed. How we choose to accept and respond to failure is up to us.  The lessons in failure are where the real magic and personal growth resides.

2. We are nothing without purpose.

I believe we are each endowed with gifts — and the responsibility to use them.  Whether through work, art, service, family, spirituality — I believe we are programmed to pursue a life with purpose.  The journey is about exploring our gifts and finding our purpose (or multiple purposes) along the way. I try to live with heart and eyes wide open — grateful for my gifts, and acutely aware of my obligation to share them.   

3. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Warren Buffet says “a brand is a promise.”  Your brand’s integrity is everything. I believe that doing the right thing by your consumer is paramount. Create the best product, charge a fair price, and do your utmost to ensure that it delivers on the promise. Don’t make claims that you can’t substantiate.  Don’t cut corners on quality or efficacy. Respect your consumer’s investment in your product, and be obsessive about delivering. I have been in the beauty and wellness space for 20 years, and I have seen brands take liberties with the claims that they make about their products.  My personal philosophy is “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. Don’t say it if you can’t prove it.

4. Fast followers often win.

First movers beware. Being the first off the mark with a new idea can be a liability. The first often have to educate the market, forge the path, make the costly mistakes. Fast followers can learn from these mistakes, and enter the market once the dust has settled, and a path cleared.  They can iterate to create a more successful, sustainable version of the original idea. Sometimes second is best.  So pause and reflect before jumping in. If you are the first to create a new category — think about the value of taking it one step at a time – versus going all in out of the gate.  Consider taking the time to learn while mitigating risk. Appreciate that competitors don’t signal demise, but rather validation that the idea may have legs. Their entrance into your space will help to educate your consumer.  You just need to keep your game sharp.

5. People can change.

We all know the old adage “a leopard doesn’t change their spots.” While this can be true — it can also be false. We are programmed to change. We are meant to evolve. I believe that all of us have the capacity, and many make it their mission, to be the best version of themselves. I believe that forgiveness is powerful and transformative.  I believe that people can change. It’s important to trust that they will and to give them the benefit of belief.

Thank you, Amy! Stay tuned for more Five Rules installments.

 “5 Rules For Life” is a series on Rouge18 in which I ask others to share their five rules for life about anything and everything. You can learn a lot about a person by reading which five things govern their actions, no? 

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