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Shower Habits Lead to a Business

Question: What’s the story behind \r\n(Malin+Goetz)? 

Andrew Goetz: I was the ultimate \r\nminimalist. I washed my face, body, hair and shaved with a bar of \r\nNeutrogena. You know, a very clean rectangle square. 

Matthew \r\nMalin: Yes, and I was a beauty buyer for Barney’s when it was a \r\nfamily-owned and -operated business, so I had thousands of things \r\navailable to me that I couldn’t use and I’d bring them home. We knew \r\neach other maybe for two years at this point and eventually Andrew \r\nstarted to see that something more than just a bar of Neutrogena soap \r\nmade a difference. And sometimes—when he would sort of vet the various \r\ndifferent items—I would be able then to try something as it was my job \r\nto evaluate in the first place that might in fact be appropriate for my \r\nparticular skin type.  

Andrew Goetz: I think what I \r\nlearned is, or my evolution was that it doesn’t necessarily have to be \r\nmore expensive, but there are definitely differences in quality and you \r\nuse a better product, you have better results. But I also found from \r\njust a design perspective it was baroque out there. There were so many \r\nsteps. It was very intimidating and I’m a firm believer of less is more,\r\n not only in architecture and design, but also in your whole lifestyle \r\nthat you don’t need to do 150 different things just to get out the door.\r\n The fact of the matter is we live in New York and our customers live in\r\n urban centers. They don’t have time for ritualistic ten step programs, \r\nwhich aren’t even efficacious anyway. 

Matthew Malin: But \r\nmost interestingly Andrew is quite oily and his skin is fairly \r\nresilient. Mine is dry and quite sensitive. I had suffered from several \r\ndifferent existing conditions and what we found through the years was \r\nthat in fact there were only a few things that were really effective for\r\n both of us and it wasn’t a complicated understanding of these expansive\r\n ideas of skincare. It was really a great cleanser and a great \r\nmoisturizer. And when you started to then look at Neutrogena as a \r\ncompany and you start to look at three-step Clinique and these very \r\nsimple ideas; if you can create sort of the best cleanser and the best \r\nmoisturizer, you’ve really established the core of what you need. 

Andrew\r\n\r\n Goetz: Yeah, you don’t need a tertiary product if you already have \r\nthe best. 

Matthew Malin: Yes, so those were the real \r\nvoids that we saw in the marketplace and I think that we’ve hit home in \r\nmost of them. 

Andrew Goetz: Yeah and also there was a \r\nvoid... There were very few unisex brands, you know most people, so it \r\nwas an amazing opportunity to literally add 50 percent to your market by\r\n being unisex and the fact of the matter is whether you’re a man or \r\nwoman or whatever your ethnicity is, we’re all basically biologically \r\nthe same. So this whole idea of marketing that you’re from here, you’re \r\nfrom there and you’re masculine, you’re feminine... is sort of \r\nmarketing. 

Matthew Malin: It really came down to the idea\r\n of how a modern couple could shop for and use products together. \r\nSomebody with oily, resilient skin, somebody with dry, sensitive skin \r\nand it didn’t matter what your sex was or your race or et cetera, et \r\ncetera, that you could share these products and that they would be \r\nreally effective and really great. 

Andrew Goetz: And even\r\n your skin type, whether the pendulum skews one way or the other, most \r\npeople are somewhere in between and have a combination of different skin\r\n conditions on their face, which can change with hormones, with age, \r\nwith weather, with seasons. It’s always a moving target, so... and we \r\ntry to address all those things in a way that other companies haven’t \r\ndone. 

Question: Did you notice a big difference after \r\nyou stopped using the Neutrogena bar? 

Andrew Goetz: \r\nYeah. I did as a matter of fact. 

Matthew Malin: Doesn’t \r\nhe look great? He is like 80 years old. 

Andrew Goetz: \r\nAlmost, but not quite. Thank you very much. Sometimes I feel like I’m \r\n80, but yeah, no, you do notice it and you feel better. 

Question:\r\n What’s the secret to a successful brand? 

Matthew Malin:\r\n I think that there is a lot of passion behind the brand in terms of how\r\n it connects with the consumer. That it’s real. It’s not just another \r\ncorporation creating a brand for the sake of marketing. We really tried \r\nto do something that was special and unique and fill a void in the \r\nmarketplace and to do something from a family-owned and -operated \r\napproach, something that was local and interesting and specific to our \r\ncustomer base. 

Andrew Goetz: And I think also what makes \r\nthe brand so strong is that we really put so much energy into creating \r\nreally superior or great products. And people, when they experience some\r\n that efficacious, they come back and they tell other people. So while \r\nwe’re not advertising and having great marketing campaigns, we have this\r\n great guerilla or word-of-mouth campaign because people use everything \r\nand they love it so much and we’re also really true to the brand. We \r\ndon’t develop things because the season is saying this is in vogue now \r\nor this is in vogue tomorrow. We develop products that we really believe\r\n the market needs or that we would actually use. I mean, most of the \r\nproducts were developed around our own lifestyle to a certain extent. 

Matthew\r\n\r\n Malin: I was going to say the same. I was going to say the same. \r\nThat we in fact, in terms of filling voids, part of it was addressing \r\nour own specific lifestyle in terms of those particular voids, so most \r\nof the products and the brand itself really speaks to how we live our \r\nlives every single day. And those experiences from Andrew’s design \r\nbackground and those experiences from my beauty background, and how we \r\ncould create something really wonderful and unique and fill these sort \r\nof marketplace voids that made a difference in a way that we would use \r\nthem ourselves because we needed or we wanted them. 

Recorded on March 19, 2010

A relationship with a bar of soap turned into in a high-end skin care venture.

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