The former Neutrogena president and Revlon chief executive officer — credited with driving growth for troubled brands and launching first-of-their-kind product formulations, is setting his sights on the dermatologist-dominated professional skin care market.
His newest venture, Elayda Professional Skincare, is a direct-to-consumer product line said to deliver derm-quality results at a fraction of the price of an office visit. Industry sources believe the range, introduced last October online and via informercials, could generate up to $30 million by year’s end.
“This is a breakthrough approach to providing a level of skin care that women haven’t had access to,” said Nugent, founder, president and ceo of Precision Dermatology, a company he launched in December 2010.
Ten years in the making, Nugent describes his business as a “high-growth developer and marketer” of professional skin care products.
“We are laser-focused on adding to the portfolio through acquisitions and organic growth,” said Nugent.
Since its launch, Precision Dermatology now operates three separate skin care companies: one sold through dermatologist prescriptions, one through physician office distribution and, his latest, directly to consumers.
“My passion has been to create what I the call the ‘Johnson & Johnson of professional skin care,’” said Nugent. “Each operating company within Precision Dermatology is supported by the highest-quality shared services available.” Nugent said talks are under way with direct sales channels and retailers and that additional retail distribution is planned for Elayda in late July or early August.
Chief among the innovations within the Elayda line is a foam delivery system — designed to be sprayed on the skin — that was once reserved for prescription products, as well as an Rx-inspired “step up” approach, which allows users to increase the concentration of active ingredients over time.
“One of the secrets is having nonaqueous solution, which delivers higher levels of actives with lower side effects,” said Nugent. He claims visible results occur within two weeks of use. “This allows you to take ingredients that are notoriously incompatible with each other and combine them.”
“Stepping up” means consumers can amp concentrations of retinol, hydroquinone, vitamin C, niacinamide and peptides within their products, every 60 days, through an automatic replenishment program or by purchasing individual stockkeeping units.
“You start with lower levels, get your skin to acclimate, then go to the next level,” said Nugent, who added that the gradual increase of retinol is recommended by physicians. “This keeps you from plateauing and ensures results keep getting better over time.”
Nugent said that clinical testing, conducted by dermatologist Zoe Draelos last spring, supports his claims.
“We have demonstrated efficacy far superior to anything I have seen from a prestige brand and have tracked the results,” said Nugent.
The eight-sku Elayda regimen, priced from $16 for a cleanser to $84 for a foam treatment, is available at elaydaskin.com. An introductory Continuous Results kit, comprising a cleanser, treatment and moisturizer, is offered at $79.90 for a 60-day supply. Elayda products also are featured on a 28-minute infomercial, running in select markets via nationwide broadcast and cable channels, including Lifetime and Bravo.
For Nugent, utilizing experts, both on the manufacturing and conceptualizing sides, has been integral to his business plan. To that end, he tasked dermatologists like Doris Day, also a spokesperson for the brand, Draelos and others with offering feedback and suggestions on formulations.
“We didn’t take this idea and ask the derms what they thought,” said Nugent. “We involved them in formulating the products.”
Nugent also tapped many of minds he had worked with at Neutrogena — from research and development, marketing and package design standpoints — to join his business venture as well.
Nugent’s 20-year career at J&J certainly proved his tenacity in the face of uncertainty.
“For a Swede I can get really passionate,” quipped Nugent, who served as worldwide president of Neutrogena from 1994 to 1999, from the time it was acquired by J&J. During his tenure, Nugent said business quadrupled in size and that a slew of first-to-market products — including a retinol formula for the mass market in 1997 — were launched. While at the helm of Revlon, where Nugent served as president and ceo from 1999 to 2002, he said he is most proud of “shifting the emphasis from pure color to skin care.”
For Nugent, a challenge is just a starting point.
“I hate to be told I can’t do something,” he said. “I always find a way.”
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