Felipe Correa once consulted for my company, Beardbrand, on supply chain matters. He’s a pro at product development, custom manufacturing, and logistics. He also knows much about skin lotions, as he had eczema when young. And it’s his frustrations with eczema that inspired Goodspread, a direct-to-consumer seller of skincare products that launched on June 7.
“As a kid I suffered from eczema,” he told me. “I used a lot of lotions. You could say I’m an aficionado of lotions of all types. I still have a hard time finding lotions that I can identify with. That’s where Goodspread comes along. It’s my desire to demystify quality skincare. It’s substance over hype.”
Correa’s lotions are carefully researched and produced, focusing on quality and simplicity. He and I recently discussed those products, as well as the company’s launch, manufacturer search, investor negotiations, and more.
Our entire audio conversation is embedded below. The transcript that follows is edited for clarity and length.
Eric Bandholz: Tell us about Goodspread.
Felipe Correa: Goodspread produces premium skincare lotions. We launched on June 7.
As a kid I suffered from eczema. I used a lot of lotions. You could say I’m an aficionado of lotions of all types. I still have a hard time finding lotions that I can identify with. Typical drugstore brands don’t resonate with me, nor do high-end brands.
So that’s where Goodspread comes along. It’s my desire to demystify quality skincare. It’s substance over hype — bringing a product to market that is very approachable, intelligible, gender-neutral, and inclusive. The ingredients are incredibly well researched. We don’t even use U.S. standards, only E.U. standards that ban many more ingredients. It’s harder to formulate for that reason. It takes longer.
As a new company, we have a lot to prove. But it starts with quality. We want people to feel better with good skincare products and no reactions to ingredients. And that goes back to research, talking to the right chemists, and implementing the right plan.
Bandholz: You launched with three products.
Correa: Yes, three SKUs into one kit. The company is self-funded. Manufacturers have minimum order quantities of 5,000 to 10,000 units per SKU. More SKUs require more cash. So I dialed back on the number and focused on the quality. It’s a small product line initially, but we have a lot of room to grow.
People’s skin doesn’t feel the same every day. It’s not about separating body parts, like face lotion, or body lotion, or toe lotion, or knee lotion, or nighttime lotion, or daytime lotion. The industry does that because it equals cash.
I didn’t want to be one of those brands. So we implemented a straightforward approach, with just three products. Plus, I didn’t have the money or the staffing to produce more.
So our products are labeled, simply, light, medium, and heavy. Customers use each depending on how they feel, anywhere on their body. If it feels good on your face, it’s a great face lotion. If you’re coming off the mountain after skiing, you’re going to want to use our heavy lotion, which is called “Heavy Does It.” If you need only a touch-up, use the “Keep It Light.” In between is the “Happy Middle.”
It’s not complicated.
Bandholz: It’s early on, but are customers leaning toward any one of the products?
Correa: It’s hard to tell. However, Heavy Does It seems to have a more profound effect than the other two. It’s a bit more oily. It stays with you — people with psoriasis, eczema, or skin problems like it. I’ve had customers tell me they are already mixing and matching them, which we encourage. That’s the whole point of self-care.
Bandholz: You have a beautiful website, Goodspreadskincare.com.
Correa: Thank you. I did most of it myself with some help from a local company. I tend to be a bit of a control freak. I wasn’t able to get my vision across to the designer. So I learned Shopify and designed it myself. The local guys helped me with the initial branding, too.
Bandholz: Walk me through what your day looks like.
Correa: I’m the sole owner and sole employee. I tend to focus on the products. I am most comfortable with product development.
The best ecommerce strategy is to develop an intelligent product and do all the work as a supply chain expert, a product development expert, and a packaging expert. You can have the best SEO strategy on the planet. You can have the best digital marketing strategy on the planet. If your product sucks, then it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at marketing.
Bandholz: One of the biggest challenges at Beardbrand is finding the right manufacturer. Initially we were small and unimportant. They forgot about us. They didn’t fulfill our POs because they’re working on big accounts. What is your mindset when building the overall supply chain?
Correa: It’s tricky. It depends a lot on the product. Many products have tons of potential manufacturers. Skincare is much more difficult with fewer options. Plus, skincare manufacturing tends to have high minimum order quantities.
Negotiating with manufacturing companies is a lot like an investment pitch to VCs. Manufacturers have a choice to make every day. Are they going to work with a startup, or a medium-sized business, or a company with a strong foothold in the industry?
So I always approach them with an investment or a project pitch, with a presentation deck. And once you get their backing, you can negotiate MOQs and all kinds of stuff.
Bandholz: You mentioned investors. How is that process going, finding the perfect investor?
Correa: Ideally my investors would be advisors or board members with much industry expertise. Angel investors are fantastic when they have experience in the category. That would be the perfect investor for me. Three or four of those would make for a great team so long as they are not passive. I’m at the series A stage now. So it’s pretty early on.
Bandholz: Where can listeners learn more about you and Goodspread?
Correa: I’m on LinkedIn, @felipecorrea. Goodspread’s site is Goodspreadskincare.com. Listeners can learn about my story and my struggles with eczema there. Plus it’s full of good information about the ingredients we use.