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BREAKING ALL THE RULES #rawiseverything

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#rawiseverything #nototoxicskincare #truebeauty #ilikerealstuff #sorrythisisnotaboutscaling

If someone had asked me a few months ago if I would ever invest in a company with 4 (yes, four), women (yes, all women), HBS co-founders (yes, all HBS), I would have thought it was a joke.  I might have even used the story as entertainment material over wine with my VC  friends, and we all would have had some good laughs over the joke “how many HBS co-founders should a startup have” with the well known answer being “1 or less”.

Yet, today I am not only an investor, but one of the four co-founders of that 4 all-HBS all-women team, that is building the phenomenal company called RAW IS EVERYTHING.  Now, what happened to my normally rational self to bring me into making this decision?

Inspiration is definitely the first thought that comes to mind. I rarely come across people that are so selflessly devoted to a cause that they infect you with their vision.  Jessica Assaf, one of the RAW IS EVERYTHING co-founders has a vision of a world in which the skincare and cosmetic industries are free of synthetic chemicals known to be hormonal disruptors, cancerous agents and overall detrimental to women’s health. Out of her conviction, RAW IS EVERYTHING was born, a global skincare line that is bringing to market a series of organic, unrefined, whole-potency facial oils that are not only additive, preservative and toxin-free, but that actually work.

This is not just another beauty startup. This startup is going after the $11 billion US skincare market that is selling aspirational products filled with toxic ingredients that are banned in the EU and Australia, that the FDA doesn’t care enough to regulate (yet), that most of us cannot pronounce (even if you have a Phd in neuroscience –which I do) and that absolutely and categorically have no place in our skincare products.  Sold by the photoshopped pictures of flawless skin and the marketing sham that accompanies them, we lather those products onto ourselves day after day absorbing these toxic ingredients completely unaware of how much we are putting our health at risk. It is time to stop. RAW IS EVERYTHING is about women understanding the ingredients used in their skincare products and taking ownership of their purchasing decisions.

So, I was sold on the mission. And while I am well aware of the risks, and the fact that there has not been another successful startup to date with 4 HBS women co-founders, it is precisely the no limits nature of entrepreneurship that I love.  It has no rules.  Because for everything that people claim it cannot be done, it is so until someone does it.  So watch out world.  These women are taking the beauty industry by storm. #RAW IS EVERYTHING.

#rawiseverything #notoxicskincare  #truebeauty #ilikerealstuff #sorrythisisnotaboutscaling #thisisnotanad

8 thoughts on “BREAKING ALL THE RULES #rawiseverything

  1. Thanks Enke. RAW IS EVERYTHING seems interesting, and I’m glad you found something you’re excited about.

    The central question I have after reading your post is, how do you plan to educate the consumer cheaply so that they recognize the value of your products?

    I haven’t been following the $11B US skincare market closely, but I know multinationals invest tremendous sums to gain mindshare and trust, even when that trust is unwarranted/not backed by science.

    So, from an investors’ perspective, it seems like a very expensive proposition to combat goliath and change the nature of the dialogue. Maybe you think of RAW IS EVERYTHING differently, more like Clover in that it’s capitalizing on a well-defined movement in the US away from unhealthy foods and red meat. But my suspicion is that the harmful ingredients in skincare products movement isn’t as well developed, so this may be a very expensive proposition for your team?

    Good luck!

    1. David, thanks for your great points. You are right on with Clover capitalizing a well-defined movement in the US away from unhealthy foods. The beauty industry is definitely behind in moving away from unhealthy skincare, but we believe that is not very far behind. The consumer that is educated enough to chose the healthy foods will very soon seek healthy skincare options. And they already are, several market research organizations predict the market growth of the organic/natural skincare to be in the double digits (10-14%), and to continue to outpace the overall skincare market. There is a movement in the personal care space, and RAW is positioning for it.

      1. btw thanks for the good luck wishes, we will def need them 🙂

  2. RAW IS EVERYTHING is definitely disrupting an industry!
    It would be interesting to learn more about the dynamics of having 4 co-founders and about the culture of the company. I know a bit about this first-hand because I am friends with the founders 😉 but I think the class would benefit from learning how the company is also disrupting pre-conceived notions of entrepreneurship!!

  3. I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment Enke. Sometimes when things feel right you just have to go for it, regardless of popular opinion. The important thing here is that you’re KNOWINGLY defying conventional wisdom and accepting all the risks that come with doing so, rather than naively doing so and being unaware of the risks that follow suit.

  4. I’m so excited to see watch you all grow, Enke!

    I was wondering if you could share some thoughts on being an investor AND one of the co-founders of RAW IS EVERYTHING. While we’ve learned about how putting in some of their own capital can affect founders’ relationships, I believe–and please correct me if I’m wrong!–that here you are referring to larger investments (i.e. on more the angel level)? If so, I would be so interested to hear more about how that impacts relationship dynamics, good and bad, with both your other founders, as well as other investors–both current and future. I could see this being a great way to ensure alignment, but would also expect there to be tension.

    Best of luck, and can’t wait to use your products!!

  5. Thanks for your post Enke! I love this–Given that the beauty industry is dominated by male management and male executives (these figures posted are shocking: (http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/2014_WomenCompanies5.png), I cannot wait to see how a women led skincare brand/company will shake up the industry standards and norms.

  6. I think it is exactly this kind of mission driven culture that makes a start-up stand out and inspiring to others. The vision that you guys have will ultimately create the culture that differentiates you from the rest. I think it also helps a lot with recruiting and acquiring customers since this is a problem that applies to so many people.
    I think it will also apply in China where the skincare products are almost poisonous, and the market is filled with fake brand products. There is a huge demand for trustworthy quality products there which Korean beauty companies are gaining a lot of traction. Many Korean brands have experienced a huge spike in revenue/market cap when they enter the Chinese beauty market.
    All the luck to you and your start-up!

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