Indie Beauty Profile
Shuting Hu, Acaderma Inc.
Acaderma skin care is at once natural and high-tech; the brand’s site terms it #NextGenNaturals. Which is just the sort of moniker many indie brands would like to claim, but Acaderma founder Shuting Hu is in a strong position to do so, having quite a lot of research and some impressive credentials behind her: she received the 2013 Henry Maso Award from the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) and was part of the 2018 class of Sephora Accelerate brand leaders.
Here, Hu shares a profile of herself and the Acaderma brand.
Name: Shuting Hu, Founder and CEO
Indie Beauty Company: Acaderma Inc.
Launched: July 2018
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Cash flow: Acaderma Inc. is self-funded. And as a member of 2018 cohort of Sephora’s Accelerate program, we did receive a small grant.
Indie how? To me an indie beauty brand is a niche brand with a unique value proposition hoping to deliver their products to consumers and bring a fresh idea and perspective to this industry.
Team work: 6 full-time employees and 2 part-time
Distribution: Acaderma is sold globally through our own ecommerce site acaderma.com and at select dermatologists’ clinic.
Years in beauty: It’s been nearly 1 year since I launched Acaderma Inc.; but before that I spent more than 7 years on the R&D and clinical trials of our products.
I’ve sent 4 years earning my PhD and 1 year on post-doc research experience for skin science and the interaction with natural ingredients. This was followed by 2 years working experience in a university’s spin-off research center, focusing on the technology transfer and commercialization of the science that the brand is based on.
Entrepreneurial experience: This is my first entrepreneurship experience. It has been a challenging but rewarding move for me, much more than I expected. The knowledge and skill sets required differ vastly from my experiences in academia.
The business: Acaderma is a clean, innovative beauty brand powered by revolutionary patented active ingredients and technologies that are scientifically proven to rapidly repair skin and restore radiance. The company is founded on the principle of using academic research to discover the science behind the healing properties of botanicals.
The wow-factor: We have exclusive and novel natural active ingredients that are more potent than other market bench markers. Also, unlike traditional cosmeceutical brands, Acaderma provides a cleaner, effective solution.
The consumer: Acaderma consumers are mindful skincare consumers, who are passionate about the ingredients in skincare product, and interested to know the science behind [the formulas] and [to see] clinical data [too].
Milestone moment: For me, establishing this brand and bringing this technology into a final product on the market, not just in a scientific paper, is my proudest milestone.
Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: To build a brand means you have to learn almost everything about your brand, not just focus on one specific task. We might have no idea of what business operation, financial projection, and supply chain lead time are. But we have to learn everything and face each challenge by ourselves, and the process is very tough. So, it’s important to enjoy this learning process. No one knows everything when they are born, and we all learn from one project to another one. Entrepreneurship will be a unique experience that benefits your entire life.
Just one: Asked about her desert island product pick, Hu replies quite sensibly: I travel worldwide to discover novel natural ingredients and unharnessed botanicals. So I often visit a desert island. If I have to pick just one, it must be The Oasis Barrier Booster. As a scientist, I understand the harm of UV radiation to our skin, which includes inflammation, dehydration and skin barrier damages. The Oasis can provide immediate soothing and long-lasting hydration to deal with the harsh climate in a desert, and help the skin reduce redness induced by UV radiation. It’s interesting that the potent efficacy of this serum is due to our unique active ingredient kinkeliba tea, which was discovered in the Sahara Desert.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.