What It’s Like For Indie Beauty Brand Founders To Work With Their Fathers

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 11 founders and executives: How has your father inspired your brand, and what’s it been like working with him?

Sara A. Dudley CEO, The Sunscreen Company

My father and his life work was very much the inspiration for our company. His original question about whether conventional sunscreen was safe to use in pregnancy was the impetus for starting the company back in 1995. He was still a practicing high-risk OB/GYN at the time and a question from a patient had him considering the impact of how what we apply to our skin affects our hormonal health.  This was well before the clean beauty movement so he was truly ahead of his time.  

He still continues his work and research for the company. He spearheads our research on the impact of sunscreens on coral reefs and keeps up-to-date with the latest ingredient data on endocrine disruption. In essence, he keeps our nose to the grindstone in making sure that we continually invest in R&D. It's the continued investment that makes us credible as a company, so it's at the heart of what we do. We also continue to drive each other crazy by always acting as each other's worst editor, and that is the joy of fathers and daughters working together. I would not have it any other way!

Amy Briant Co-Founder, Lumion

My father had been working the stabilization of our incredibly unique formulation on the medical side since 2009. He worked directly with hospitals and post-surgical wound healing. I was suffering from adult acne, and he kept telling me that his solution, which mimics the body’s immune system would change my skin. At the time, I was living in Los Angeles and was hesitant as I had tried every product under the sun with false promises. 

Lo and behold, on a trip home, he kept spraying my blemishes and, to my disbelief, transformed my skin. I knew this was too good not to share, and he held my hand through all my clinical trials and worked directly with me on launching what is today LUMIONskin to help others find their skin freedom. We speak every day about the magic of HOCL (hypochlorous acid) and love how we harness the power to empower others with a safe and effective skin health product.

Selmin Karatas Co-Founder, Kazani

Kazani was started by my father, Dal, a French chef for several luxury high-end eating establishments in NYC. Working under the world renowned French chef Paul Bocuse who stressed the importance of fresh ingredients for nutrition and taste, my dad began researching generations-old family secrets and ancient beauty formulas. Having a background from the Mediterranean, he studied the Mediterranean herb and flower blends that ancient beauties like Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba relied on to treat and enhance their skin and hair. Tapping into his skills as a chef for 42 years in Manhattan, he used these formulas to create luxurious skin and hair products. 

He found innovative ways to infuse oils with flowers and herbs and use cold-processed methods to preserve the nutrients in every jar and bottle. My dad created hair products that nourish the scalp and skin, enabling healthy-looking lustrous hair and soft, glowing skin. Before I started working for the business, I was in the midst of moving to another country. He urged me to stay and join in the family business, and continue this beauty brand legacy from father to daughter. So, after a lot of thinking, I joined him in his endeavor. His mission is to help people with hair and skin problems and bring these special products into people's daily rituals.

Gia Scope Marketing Director, Dermatologist's Choice Skincare

My father, Dr. Bottiglione, is an inspiration for more reasons than I can explain in just a few words. Coming from humble beginnings in a small town in Western Pennsylvania, he worked tirelessly to become an award-winning dermatologist and owner of a successful practice in Phoenix, Ariz. Along the way, he took the most effective products he used in his office and founded Dermatologist's Choice Skincare to help his patients receive the same treatments at home. He's always believed that patients should get the results they need with their first treatment and not have to waste time with ineffective, but expensive products. 

His work ethic and drive for straightforward, effective solutions have been a source of inspiration as I work with him to continue building the business he started 40 years ago. As his eldest daughter, I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to lead Dermatologist's Choice Skincare into the next generation. I joke that every family get-together is another office board meeting as it relates to working with my family, but, honestly, I wouldn't want it to be any other way. 

Gale Mayron CEO, Jao Brand

Jao Brand would not exist if it was not for my father who, when he retired from SKF in Philadelphia, built a small lab out in Hatfield, Penn., and began doing R&D work. When I was a child, a sense of play was in the every day, in the garden smelling plants or playing with fragrances that were brought back from conventions. We always wanted a family business. It was kind of an unspoken longing. 

When I had the idea for Jao Hand Refresher back in 1994, my father and I began working together. He listened to me and allowed me to develop what I wanted. I learned how to finesse our many failed experiments, working with him to hone our formulas. It was a very long process for sure. I remember saying on the phone to my mother jokingly, because my father really is a saint, “Mom, I know why you married Dad, he listens so well!” Literally, tweaking each formula until I was satisfied was not easy! But we feel satisfied that our products are unique, effective and totally original. It's a great legacy to have learned at his knee. I am very very lucky.

Rebecca Hamilton and Emily Schwerin-Whyte Co-CEOs, W.S. Badger Company

When our dad started Badger, he was a carpenter with his own business that focused on building healthy homes with nontoxic building materials. But he was always full of new ideas, and his idea for Badger was to create a balm for his cracked hands that he could sell to other carpenters. Badger has since grown into a global, mission-driven brand that’s 25 years young and now run by my sister and me.

Lately, we’ve been thinking about how much we appreciate that our dad provided for us as we grew up, and that he created this beautiful company that allows us to have purposeful work every day. While he’s mostly retired now, he hasn’t stopped sharing his ideas! He pushes us to be kind and creative and to look beyond what’s here to see what’s possible in the future.

Jordan Canepa Co-Founder, Kidskin

My dad and I both created Kidskin. It all started when we began to look for an acne solution for me. As I started to learn more about over-the-counter products, I realized that my dad and I could come up with something better. My dad taught me the importance of good quality and safe products. He inspired me to be an entrepreneur. I was able to express to him what I wanted in a brand and he made it come to life. He listens to me and understands my needs and concerns. Together, we created products that helped kids my age and we now continue to create together. It’s so much fun!

Between my dad and I, we make a great team because I have firsthand experience as a teen, and he has the knowledge and experience of an entrepreneur. My dad and I both work on the creative look. We then always like to run it by my mom and my sister for a final look.

When working with my dad, he encourages me to communicate with my age group of preteens and teens. I’m able to connect with kids my age all over the world through social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. He’s probably the only dad that encourages his daughter to spend more time on TikTok. LOL. He always encourages me to be creative when showcasing and marketing our brand.

Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, it is in my DNA to create a company, but being able to do it with my dad is awesome because I am able to work side by side with my best friend. We have one common goal: to create safe and effective products for our customers and, every day, I get to do this with my dad.

PAAYAL MAHAJAN Founder, Essential Body

My father taught me to believe in myself. He has mentored me for my entire professional existence. My values and ethics come from him. He leads by example. I have learned to courageously speak up for what’s right because of my parents. I’m a female in a culture that makes it very difficult to be independent. My father never let me believe that I couldn’t achieve anything I wanted to. Everything was within my sights. I just had to be true to myself, be an ethical and good human being, and do the right thing. He is my greatest supporter in every way.

Having a supportive father who has always stood by my side remains an infinite source of strength for me. I follow his example in life. There are no shortcuts. Nobody owes you anything. Do the work. Be good. Be ethical. Speak up when facing injustice. Do the right thing. Don’t worry about rewards or outcomes. My parents raised me with these values and I always keep in mind. When I step into the world, I am representing generations of my family who passed down the same values. It is my honor to carry them forward and be my father’s daughter.

Dr. Jennifer Edwards Creator and Chemist, RefinneSkincare.com

My dad had amazing, fun energy and I try to keep the energy alive since he passed when I was seven.  Joy is a priceless legacy to lead.  He’s a large reason I am able to empower and inspire other women in our bold, conscious beauty community.  When we have our own joy, it’s easy to uplift and be excited for others.  Now, my engineer husband is father to our two kids.  If I ever need a straightforward answer to a challenge that I have probably over-complicated, he’s my guy.

Ann McFerran Founder and CEO, Glamnetic

My dad has taught me the importance of hard work and commitment. He was the epitome of these standards he had always taught me. He started working as a janitor at the age of 19 at a glass factory getting paid $1.37 cents an hour in 1959 and worked his way up in his company to be the Operations manager until the age of 60 getting paid $435k a year, traveling 27 countries in the process. He has always told me never to quit no matter how hard it is unless your heart truly tells you otherwise! This inspired me to go for it and start Glamnetic, fully commit, and work my hardest every single day.

Mona Lisa Crossway CEO and Founder, VanityTools

My father has inspired me in countless ways. But, most importantly he has shown me that determination and hard work will result in success. If things aren't going well, just keep pushing and don’t give up and eventually the door will open for you.

If you have a question you’d like Beauty Independent to ask beauty entrepreneurs, please send it to [email protected].