Can the tactical recipe that propelled NYX be successfully repeated?
Arash Khazei may soon find out. The recently appointed chief executive officer of Envy Medical Inc., a multipronged skin-care and aesthetics company crossing medical and consumer segments, and former chief financial officer of NYX is pursuing many of the strategies that built the cosmetics brand acquired by L’Oréal in 2014 at his new charge, including broadening distribution, lifting customer awareness, shoring up the management team and spreading products globally.
“I see a lot of parallels between where NYX was and where Envy is today,” he said. “When I joined NYX six years ago, it needed structure and organization. Really, that is what this company needs as well. I think NYX founder Toni Ko recognized that at the time at NYX, and [Envy Medical founder] Ken Karasiuk recognizes there is a need to professionalize.”
Another commonality between Westlake Village, Calif.-based Envy Medical and the Los Angeles brand NYX is HCP & Co., a Chicago private-equity firm previously involved in NYX that has invested in Envy Medical. HCP connected Khazei to Envy Medical, and Khazei said it has trusted him to push the company forward. “For me personally, they are very hands-off,” he remarked. “They have been very good at working with founder-led companies, and have partnered very well with Toni at NYX and now Ken at Envy.”
You May Also Like
Among Khazei’s principal moves so far are naming Sona Tolani, a beauty industry veteran who was in marketing roles at Dermalogica and L’Oréal Paris, chief marketing officer, and Mike Healey, who held posts at Bitcentral and American Cleanstat, controller. After the hires, he expressed satisfaction with the executive ranks and singled out only Envy Medical’s field of trainers as an employee category that still requires reinforcements.
“We have filled gaps, and we have to make sure the people coming on board can integrate,” said Khazei. “We also want to develop a consumer-oriented culture. This company has been medical-focused, and we want to shift it to be more consumer-focused.”
Envy Medical’s portfolio contains three main pillars positioned as alternatives to skin-care products and therapies that have come under fire. A substitute for harsh microdermabrasion, Silk Peel is a device combining exfoliation with so-called Dermalinfusion Technology to deliver ingredients into the skin. Lumixyl, a skin-brightening solution containing Decapeptide-12, which was developed by the dermatological research department at Stanford University; is an option for people avoiding hydroquinone. Acne treatment line Clarity MD, the latest addition to the company that launched a year ago, uses ayurvedic bakuchiol, salicylic acid and a chamomile complex instead of benzoyl peroxide.
Over the last three years, Envy Medical has grown 25 to 35 percent, according to Khazei. The company has reached into 25 countries with Lumixyl and Silk Peel, its oldest offering that is found in 3,000 locations globally. Lumixyl’s revenues from abroad are larger than its revenues domestically, and Brazil and Japan are its biggest markets. Khazei believes there is substantial potential for the brand in India. To date, Envy Medical has struck third-party partnerships to expand internationally, but he is reevaluating that approach.
“At NYX, we started managing that business directly because it allows you to manage the brand more consistently,” said Khazei. “The company has never looked at its products as branded. It’s been more transactional-focused. We are trying to refocus the business to see these brands as international brands and to build the infrastructure to support that.”
In the short-term, Khazei indicated Envy Medical would concentrate primarily on the U.S. and amplify its messaging around the advantages of Silk Peel and Lumixyl compared to their competitors inside doctors’ offices. In the long-term, he pointed to Clarity MD as the company’s “primary growth engine.” Envy Medical is seeking to align with key retailers to put the e-commerce acne-fighting brand in stores.
“Envy Medical has a lot of business opportunities both in the medical-device area and professional skin care. The challenge is to prioritize, follow through and execute,” said Khazei, continuing, “The biggest lesson I took away from NYX was that having a great products is not enough. In addition to great products, you also need a great management team to be able to guide the company and a strong corporate culture that is focused on the needs of the consumer. You cannot be afraid to take risks but, at the same time, be willing to change direction when things are not working out.”