Lisa Goldfaden and Lauren Wolk-Goldfaden are the sister/sister-in-law duo behind Goldfaden MD, a dermatologist-developed, naturally inspired skincare brand. Goldfaden MD was originally developed by Lisa Goldfaden’s father, Dr. Gary Goldfaden, who used his expertise as a dermatologist to create a clinical skincare line that could imitate the effects of in-office procedures without irritating sensitive skin.
Four years ago, Goldfaden MD relaunched as a family business with Lisa as Vice President of Marketing and Lauren as Vice President of Sales for their new & improved product line. With their shared vision and hard work, Lisa and Lauren have grown the company 40% year-over-year.
Goldfaden MD’s entire skincare line is cruelty-free, vegetarian, and void of potentially irritating or damaging ingredients like mineral oil, alcohol, silicone and parabens. Like A Boss Girls talked to Lisa and Lauren about growing their business, triumphs and tough lessons, and where they’re headed next.
Current home base:
LWG: Los Angeles
LG: New York City
LG: Miami Beach
One thing on your bucket list:
LWG: Going on Safari
LG: Walking the The Great Wall of China
A woman in history you admire & why:
LG: Amelia Earhart because she was a pioneer and brave. I have also always been obsessed with her hair cut!
LWG: There are so many, but Amelia Earhart stands out to me in the sense that she was the first to conquer and master a job that, at the time, was only seen as a “male” job. I think other women followed suit and still continue to look at her as a key reference in gender equality at work.
A present-day woman you admire & why:
LWG: Malala Yousafzai – Her story is so emotionally inspiring and moving. I see her as a true testament to strength, perseverance and determination — and all at such a young age, which is extremely admirable.
LG: Oprah, rising form hardship and poverty, self made, always pushing herself to grow and expand her mind. Constantly making the world a better place, particularly for young girls.
Quote/piece of advice that you live by:
LG: Life is short, enjoy the ride!
LWG: Don’t give up.
What inspired you to start or get involved with Goldfaden MD?
LG: Growing up, I saw my father healing and helping people in his dermatology practice, and it set me on the path of wanting to make a difference.
LWG: When I first met my husband, Rob [Lisa’s brother], he handed me this exfoliator in a lab sample jar and said, “Would you try this? I am thinking about starting a skincare brand, and this would be our ‘hero’ lead product.” Of course, I instantly fell in love (first with the scrub, and later with him!) I saw the need and massive potential for an entire dermatologist-developed, naturally-inspired skincare brand, since it simply did not exist in the marketplace.
How is Goldfaden MD making a positive impact and generating change in your industry?
LWG: In addition to bringing physician-strength products to the marketplace, we have just undergone a complete overhaul of the materials that we use in our packaging to mitigate our overall carbon footprint. In addition to all of our products (bottles, boxes and samples), now all of our shipping materials are recyclable and made of 100% recyclable materials. We’re working hard across all verticals to limit our company’s usage and waste while incorporating environmentally sound materials. It’s a feel-good movement, for sure.
What is one thing your company has accomplished that you are most proud of?
LWG: Continued growth — I know it may sound expected, but it’s a LOT of work! We have had 40% growth year-over-year since we started with Goldfaden MD, and we are working hard to continue on that path through strategies like retail expansion, product launches, social media initiatives, and marketing partnerships. We will likely surpass our year-over-year growth for this fiscal year, which is really exciting!
LG: I am most proud that we are still a true family run business. We started this on our own and we’ve grown and learned so much along the way.
What is one project that Goldfaden MD is currently working on that you are most excited about?
LG: We have a new body collection that we are working on, which is pretty exciting!
What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing your industry today?
LWG: The fact that there is not one governing body that can dictate how “natural” is defined for a topical treatment. I believe that we will get there, but right now, it’s a bit of the Wild West with various opinions and perspectives.
LG: Misinformation from social media and the opinions of non-experts. There are no real rules when it comes to the definition of “natural products”. Many people believe things that are not true from people who are not correctly informed. I think it is crucial to make sure you know who you’re getting your information from.
What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
LG: I think probiotics in skincare will continue to be a trend.
LWG: Body Rx treatments – both in topical products and in-office procedures.
What is one of the greatest challenges or screw-ups you have faced during your time at Goldfaden MD?
LWG: Early on in my career, I was in a meeting to solidify a partnership with a new (and large) retailer. We were all set to launch when I mentioned that we had also just signed an agreement with another retailer. Unbeknownst to me, the two retailers were enemies, and we ended up losing that large retailer. Lesson learned: don’t disclose too much information and do your homework on an appropriate distribution strategy.
LG: The greatest challenge for me has been hearing the word “no” , particularly at the beginning of launching our brand. As with any challenge, you have to figure out a way to approach it from another angle. I’m very lucky that I work with my family as my team, so there really is no messing up, as we all support each other.
What were you doing before your current role?
LWG: Advertising. I worked at Crispin, Porter & Bogusky with clients like Volkswagen, Coca-Cola, Method, and Slim Jim. I loved every minute of it and it was the best career prep that I could have dreamed of. I had long hours and lots of work, but I also had tons of fun. I was fortunate enough to have worked with some of the most creative people in the industry and I learned so much.
LG: I have a BFA in Fine Art/Art History and a Masters Degree in Museum Education and Childhood Education. Before we started Goldfaden, I was working as a museum educator at The Paley Center for Media. Then I worked as a first grade teacher in Manhattan.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to other female founders & change-makers?
LG: Own and stand behind your thoughts and ideas, and know that you’re enough!
LWG: Don’t burn any bridges and treat everyone as a priority – you never know where that assistant will turn up!
Are there any great resources you have discovered that you would like to share?
LWG: WWD, CEW, Goop, Well & Good, Byrdie
LG: I think it is important to participate in industry groups to get access to and network with other females. In our industry it is CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women). I also think having a mentor can be very beneficial.
Fun fact about yourself:
LG: I love to bake!
LWG: I am terrified (and equally in admiration) of sharks.
From 8/29/2018 – 9/26/2018, the Like A Boss Girls tribe can get 20% off their ENTIRE order from Goldfaden MD! Click this link to shop the product line or enter promo code LABG-20 at checkout.