Building a brand that stands out requires a deep understanding of your community, innovative solutions to common problems, and a strategic marketing approach. My conversation with the CLEARSTEM Skincare co-founder Kayleigh Christina illuminated these principles.

Kayleigh is highly regarded in the entrepreneurship and wellness industry. Her interests revolve around understanding the real root causes of acne, exploring the connection between gut health and skin, building a community-based CPG brand, scaling a company without external investments, prioritizing education before product, investing in other wellness brands, and recognizing the significance of personal development and mental wellness for long-term entrepreneurial success.

Kayleigh is knowledgeable and eager to share her expertise on various topics, including the future of 'clean-ical' skincare and the importance of prioritizing safety and efficacy when shopping for skincare products. She can also provide insights into common and complex skin conditions such as acne, melasma, and eczema. With her background in holistic nutrition, Kayleigh can discuss how diet affects the skin and shed light on commonly overlooked dietary root causes of acne. Additionally, she can offer tips on preventing premature skin aging, building a sustainable skincare and beauty routine, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends in vegan and cruelty-free beauty and makeup.

CLEARSTEM Skincare is a brand that focuses on creating products free from hormones-disrupting chemicals and known pore-cloggers. Their unique selling point is offering solutions that not only combat acne but also work on reducing the signs of aging without using ingredients that could trigger acne or harm the skin in the long run. They are well-known for being transparent about their ingredients, ensuring that products are both effective and safe for long-term use.

CLEARSTEM's philosophy revolves around a holistic approach to skincare, emphasizing the importance of internal health and its impact on the skin. Their range often includes serums, cleansers, and other skincare essentials designed to be compatible with various skin types, including sensitive skin.

Given its focus on clean ingredients and dual action against acne and aging, CLEARSTEM positions itself at the intersection of skincare concerns that are highly relevant to a wide audience. This approach resonates well with consumers looking for multifunctional products that address more than one skin concern without compromising their health or environmental values.

Here is what I learned from Kayleigh in our conversation.

Prioritizing Community Engagement

Kayleigh emphasizes the integral role of community involvement in CLEARSTEM's strategy, describing how early engagement and feedback shape product development. This approach not only fosters anticipation but also builds a product that the community feels a part of.

"Absolutely. So since we are a very community-based and social first company we make sure we lead with that. So on the community side of things... we sent samples out to our VIPs. So within these VIPs are top ambassadors. We work with about 900 ambassadors that are all focused on building community within the wellness space..."

she explains. This process of sending samples to VIPs and engaging with feedback underscores CLEARSTEM's commitment to ensuring their products resonate from conception to launch.

Innovating Based on Customer Needs

CLEARSTEM stands out by directly addressing the limitations found in existing skincare solutions. Kayleigh highlights the adverse effects of traditional acne treatments and how CLEARSTEM seeks to offer more skin-friendly alternatives.

"For issues with spot treatments in the past they're typically just really aggressively drying. They either have benzyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and a lot of times alcohol denat which can actually be further irritating for the skin... So we focused on those problems and our solutions were combining ingredients of sulfur, zinc, glycolic acid which all are very calming, healing and working to reduce pigmentation from the breakout, smoothing it out and healing it faster..."

Kayleigh shares. This insight into their product development philosophy illustrates a commitment to meeting unaddressed needs in the skincare market.

The Significance of Active Listening

Kayleigh discusses the importance of active listening through social media, especially Instagram, as a pivotal part of their product development process. This direct line to their community informs CLEARSTEM's offerings, ensuring they align with consumer desires.

"Our main channels of communicating directly with our customer is Instagram. Our community of course is across all social platforms but that's the easiest to communicate back and forth of with both comments and DMs... So we pay attention to comments, DMs, track all of our DMs through a real customer service platform called Gorgias. We can actually search by things and then see how often people are asking for certain things so it allows us to quantify it..."

she explains. This approach not only helps CLEARSTEM stay attuned to its audience's needs but also fosters a sense of community involvement and investment in the brand's evolution.

Embracing Flexibility in Launch Timelines

Kayleigh highlights the unpredictable nature of product launches, underscoring the necessity of flexibility and adaptation. She shares candid insights into the challenges faced and the importance of maintaining quality over adhering to rigid schedules.

"But if I'm being honest every single one of our launches are always delayed because you can't predict any lead time or how long it takes to get a formulation back and then you want to change something and then it's another six weeks..."

Kayleigh reflects. This honesty about unpredictability underscores the reality that successful launches require patience, flexibility, and a commitment to quality.

Building Trust Within the Community

A strong foundation of community trust significantly mitigates the risks associated with new product launches. Kayleigh speaks to their confidence in their product's reception, born from years of cultivating a dedicated community.

"The fear of it selling doesn't exist at this point because we've built such a community over six years and have the most incredible formulation team. And with Danielle having her clinic she knows what works and what doesn't work for people's skin. So it's always tested for efficacy and making sure it'll actually work..."

she asserts. This trust and confidence underscore the value of a loyal community and the benefits of a thorough understanding of customer needs.

Strategic Use of Marketing Channels

Identifying the most effective platforms for engaging their audience is key to CLEARSTEM's marketing strategy. Kayleigh discusses the role of Instagram in building relationships and TikTok's potential for virality, illustrating the importance of choosing the right channels for their message.

"Instagram has still been our leader since day one... TikTok can just run off and take a mind of its own. So our mind body skin supplement has gone viral on TikTok just through people trying it and then the results are acne that they have gotten... But Instagram is still where we foster those relationships and we can individually really talk and engage with our community..."

she explains. This nuanced understanding of each platform's strengths highlights the importance of a tailored approach to marketing.

Focusing on a Specific Niche

Maintaining a niche focus allows CLEARSTEM to specialize and excel within a specific segment of the skincare market. Kayleigh discusses the strategic decision to address both acne and aging, emphasizing the desire to remain within this specialized area.

"No, we always want to keep it both [acne and aging]... that's definitely a category that we want to stay in and own."

she mentions. This commitment to its niche has enabled CLEARSTEM to build a strong brand identity and loyalty among consumers seeking targeted skincare solutions.

Cultivating Authentic Influencer Relationships

The value CLEARSTEM places on genuine influencer and ambassador partnerships is evident in its collaboration approach. Kayleigh talks about looking beyond follower counts to the influence and community engagement potential partners can bring.

"We really look at people who have influence and have built really strong communities... It's really a blend of a lot of different people but all coming back to they've built strong communities."

she shares. This focus on authenticity ensures that partnerships reflect the brand's values and resonate with their audience.

Continuous Improvement Post-Launch

Post-launch, CLEARSTEM is dedicated to analyzing performance and adapting its strategy based on real-world feedback. Kayleigh speaks to the importance of this continuous improvement loop, ensuring their products evolve in response to customer needs.

"It is a lot of analyzing and watching... to then see how can we refine moving forward? What questions do our community have that we haven't answered on our product page or anywhere else?"

she says. This commitment to refinement and responsiveness highlights CLEARSTEM's dedication to meeting and exceeding their community's expectations.

Kayleigh Christina's insights reveal a comprehensive brand-building approach that intertwines community engagement, innovation, flexibility, and strategic marketing. For brand builders, CLEARSTEM's journey offers a template for creating a brand that not only meets market demands but does so in a way that fosters deep connections and loyalty among its audience.

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