Bringing Balance Back with Lanya and Mandi
Meet Slate Beauty, two women with a mission to help people everywhere find their inner glow. Experts in the science of skincare and healthy beauty, Lanya and Mandi are building a personalized probiotic skincare solution for everyone who wants to build a new relationship with their skin.
Why do you do what you do?
Mandi: I have had a tough relationship with my skin, it got to a point where I was just ignoring it and hoping for the best. I have eczema and sensitive skin, so navigating the beauty aisle has always been scary for me. Now that I've taken the time to do the research I am confident that there is a new way to look at skin. People are talking about it everywhere-- the balance movement is enormous. But I think the formulations that the cosmetics industry has peddled for the last 30 years are not going to cut it. I looked for answers in the skin and found that the bacteria that are living there, the ones we're attacking with phenols and antibiotics are the very tools we need to build healthy skin. The communities of bacteria on the skin is called the skin microbiome, and probiotics are how we're going to bring that balance back.
Lanya: Skincare fascinates me, and it’s a great time to be in beauty. The industry is changing; we’re showcasing more types of skin, focusing on representation, and talking self-love rather than shame. I want to be someone who helps to bring on this change. I want to craft the user experience of our products so that everyone feels included, beautiful, and healthy.
What element of your brand are you guys most focused on right now?
We are building community around skintimacy, proven knowledge and the audacity of self-acceptance one inbox at a time. LMNTL (el-em-en-tl) is a skincare newsletter that focus on the ingredients/elements that make up the products we put on our skin. Our only loyalties are to what gives our skin a healthy glow. Each week they scour the latest research articles for insight into ingredients, or interview skincare leaders to learn more about the elements that make up a good skincare routine. We believe in democratizing the science of skincare, so they’re taking the elemental approach.
How do you balance your working relationship and your friendship?
Lanya: A lot of it actually intermingles. We go to each other's side events to support one another, or go to social events together (and end up talking about Slate). We're just in constant communication whether it's personal or work. We message each other on Slack (we have six different channels, but we're the only two in there), text, Instagram, and WhatsApp. We're crazy. We're very similar in the way we handle our work, so when it comes to it, work is always handled, and we have SO much fun doing it.
Mandi: This doesn't even feel like work for me. If I don't lay eyes on Lanya for more than a day or two, I get stir crazy. We initially started in a working relationship, but it quickly blossomed into much more. We instantly vibed concerning work speed, process, and drive. It also helps that we knew each other in college, though not very well. She is a great listener; she just gets me. I've never felt so supported by someone I work with. She's one of my best friends.
If you could make one rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what would it be?
Lanya: Pay your interns.
Mandi: Love yourself.
How do you decide which risks are worth taking?
We start with a gut check, and we ask ourselves could we get to our next goal/benchmark without taking this plunge? Luckily we also have a fantastic team of personal and professional advisors with profound subject matter knowledge that have been guiding us.
What hidden talent do you each have?
Mandi: I play 3 instruments: the piano, clarinet, and violin. I also memorized half of the Nemo movie script. Lanya can speak to crows-- whatever that means.
Lanya:I used to be a nationally-ranked swimmer.
What's the hardest lesson you've learned as co-founders?
Things take time. We've learned to be patient and that the word "yes" can come in many forms.
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