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it’s stretched longer distances. If Clarisonic could use sound waves within a short radius instead, gently jostling the skin with a brush rotating about 300 movements per second, the device could pop loose all the usual bacteria, oils, dirt, and dead skin cells that accumulate on the skin.
This action opens up pores, which improves the absorption of lotions into the skin, like sunscreen or moisturizer. Because this is a cosmetic device, not a medical device making claims that it can treat a condition like acne, it never needed to win approval from the FDA to enter the marketplace. Customers pay for it out of their pockets, so there’s also no need to hassle with insurance reimbursement.
Clarisonic has clearly put considerable thought into how to market the product — appealing to vanity while suggesting it has more substantial health benefits, without crossing the line and ticking off the FDA. “It’s a health-care product that delivers beauty,” is how McClain, the marketing director, put it.
I’ve never tested it myself, partly because I’m a guy. But one of my trusted former colleagues from The Seattle Times, Pam Sitt, once wrote, “My skin felt smooth as a baby’s bottom when I was done.”
The product didn’t cost a fortune to develop. Clarisonic got about $650,000 in seed funding during its first three years, mostly from Giuliani’s own pocket, according to this story in The Seattle Times when the company first surfaced in public in 2004. Since then, Clarisonic raised $10.5 million in April 2007 from San Francisco-based Rosewood Capital and angel investors. Giuliani wouldn’t say how much capital has been invested to date, or who the angels are, other than that a lot of them were the same people who made big returns on the sale of Sonicare, which had 600 employees and $175 million in reported revenues when it was sold in 2000.
“A lot of people who invested [in Clarisonic] were playing with the house’s money,” Giuliani says.
Clarisonic has added two new products to its lineup this year: one higher-end … Next Page »