What You Didn't Know About The Ordinary Skincare!

Fel+Ro: Welcome back to another episode on Beauty Within in our exciting DECIEM week! Fel: We know The Ordinary is what a lot of you guys love and rave about, because it’s such an affordable, effective, and science-focused skincare brand And previously, I interviewed the amazing Nafisah Abdalla, their Science Communication Associate Manager – mouthful! Who shared with us all the juicy deets on our favorite ingredients, including niacinamide, vitamin c, and retinoids, as well as tips on layering, product formulations, and technologies! Ro: In today’s video, I sit down to chat with the amazing Co-Founder and CEO of DECIEM: Nicola Kilner, where we’ll discuss and take an even deeper dive into the family of DECIEM brands You might be surprised to find out how The Ordinary actually started, why they’re able to achieve such affordable prices without compromising quality & effectiveness, and how it got to become one of the most beloved skincare brands in the industry! There’ll be another special giveaway, so make sure you watch till the end to find out how to enter! And without further ado, let’s get started! Hello beauties! Welcome back to another episode of Beauty Within! It’s your host Rowena! And today we have a very very special guest with us: The CEO and Co-Founder of DECIEM: Nicola Kilner! Thank you so much for taking the time to share about everything DECIEM with us today, Nicola! Thank you Rowena! It’s a pleasure to talk to you again! (Ro: Of course!) So, for those who are more familiar with The Ordinary more than let’s say NIOD, or DECIEM as a brand, could you please share with us how everything ties together, and like the founding story of The Ordinary cause that’s one of my personal favorites! So DECIEM comes from the latin word for the number 10, and it was all about building ten brands at once, and that was because you know, it was really Brandon’s vision that we could do more for each brand, because by having ten different brands, it would allow each brand to be able to have its own factory, its own PR team in-house, its own lab [and] its own scientist, and its interesting because you know, The Ordinary is of course our most successful brand, but it was actually the 11th brand we launched, so we certainly have had a few brands that somewhat failed or certainly didn’t have the same level of success And the reason why we launched The Ordinary was really because NIOD for us is that kind of crown jewel NIOD is a skin care innovator that believes in kind of staying at the forefront of new technologies, and you know, forever evolving You’d think about [the] Apple IPhone There’s always new technologies [and] it moves forward, and that’s how the position of NIOD is [for skincare] So we would get quite disheartened when we would see a NIOD product sat alongside another product in skincare from a more established brand, which was a good skincare product but we felt like it was being overcharged And they were shouting about innovation on an ingredient like vitamin C, which actually has been around forever and as much as it’s a great ingredient, it is not necessarily something that’s novel and that should be overcharged. (Ro: Mhm) But if you look at the healthcare industry, where actually it’s almost black and white There’s alot of transparency [so] you know if you have a headache, you know how much you’ll pay for aspirin or a painkiller [And] we wanted to bring that same transparency in The Ordinary, so we thought…well actually, if everyone sees that, “look, these are commodity ingredients in skincare,” it’s your retinols, it’s your vitamin c’s, [it’s] your different acids And this is the kind of price point that they should be because they’ve been studied for so long [and] they’re very affordable, that people would then see actually how great NIOD really was So we never expected The Ordinary to actually become the superstar that it has become All over your stores, on your bags, [and] on your website, DECIEM calls itself “The Abnormal Beauty Company.” Could you share with us where that comes from and what that means? [It’s] because we like to think we do a lot but others don’t, so whether that was the fact that we did everything in-house from the beginning, that was our own manufacturing, you know we’ve got our own labs where we have over 75 people working now in our scientific department, we have our own PR creative design – there’s about 40 people in that department So we really brought all those resources in house So in the early days, the reason for doing manufacturing in-house was to really allow us to always make the right decisions You know I mentioned to you [that] we had a few brands where we thought they were great concepts and propositions, but they just didn’t resonate with consumers [The] consumers didn’t want to buy them And we were in a fortunate position that because we did our own manufacturing, we would do such small runs that actually was really quick to see what consumers liked [and] what they didn’t like So actually we could therefore make the right decisions on what to focus for Whereas if we used third-party manufacturing in the early days and we were having to commit to huge runs of tens of thousands [or] hundreds of thousands of products, we may have produced a lot of stock of a product that actually no one really liked And there’s a brand if you have all that stock,

you know, you have a business to run so you actually have to sell it, so you can end up pushing the wrong lines because it’s what you’ve got more stock of So I think in the early days, having our own manufacturing is what really allowed us to take risks to kind of say, “actually it’s okay. Let’s cancel that line [since] it didn’t really work out.” “People are loving this so actually, let’s increase production on there.” But I actually feel now where we are in the business, doing our own manufacturing kind of holds us back, because you know the business has grown so much so for the lines where we need huge volumes, it can be quite difficult I think to scale up to the level that we need to scale up And you know, at the moment all of our production is done on one site – in the east side So it also means if we need to, you know, close the facility for any reason, all production has stopped And so I think it was definitely a big benefit being a startup, which is strange because I think a lot of startup beauty companies wouldn’t consider their own manufacturing But now we’ve gained scale [so] it’s sometimes definitely a challenge which, I’m sure anyone who shops our brand and you see how many out-of-stocks we seem to permanently have! I can probably appreciate! I’m curious how DECIEM approaches trends in general So actually, [for] DECIEM we always try and avoid trends And that’s because by the time something becomes a trend, [and] if you’re following that trend, you’re already behind And I think either one thing that DECIEM has already always done well is actually just trying to stay in our bubble and and somewhat not focusing on what others are doing, and actually just focusing on what’s right for us Because if you’re following the trend, then every other company is also following the trend But there’s probably companies that have got more money than you [and] more resources than you, so you’re always going to be behind Whereas actually if you try and ignore the noise around you and just focus on what you believe is the right thing to do, your gut, then actually, you can maybe start the trend! And I’d like to kind of almost think you know with The Ordinary in the early days, we actually had a lot of negative feedback on The Ordinary from people in the industry, from retailers from buyers, [and] from actually even a couple of journalists who said, you know, “Consumers will never understand this,” “It’s too complicated,” “You shouldn’t have white boxes [since] they’re going to get dirty,” just all of this kind of feedback! But actually, we stayed true to our core of saying, “Actually, no! Let’s just…” “It feels right for us! We love the design,” “[And] we believe consumers are ready to be respected and actually have the appetite for that education.” And obviously, it worked out really well for us! Yeah! I feel like The Ordinary and DECIEM revolutionized the skincare industry that has been pretty stagnant in terms of like real innovation in a while, which is really, really inspiring! What do you think of DECIEM being this pioneer of like affordable beauty with The Ordinary and also just like a pioneer of innovation and skincare with NIOD? I’m definitely very proud and I think, you know, one of the key messages we always try to stand behind is that, price point shouldn’t define luxury, and actually that’s something that’s not just in the beauty industry but in every industry And I think people are starting to have that mind shift now, where actually people really value quality, [and] they value authenticity rather than something that might be mass-produced, but have a desirable designer name stamped onto it And I think especially [during] post-COVID when people are becoming even more concerned around the planet, [and] the environment, how do we have things that have longevity? It all comes down to quality And actually, high quality doesn’t always have to mean high price, because there are many expensive brands out there in other industries, which I don’t always think have the highest quality And so I think it’s a very good thing that actually the focus is going to be on quality and authenticity, and people will understand that actually the price doesn’t always reflect that I love everything you just said! And I think, the first thing or one of the main things that stuck out to both Felicia and I the first time we met and just talking to everyone at DECIEM is this very grounding empathy and like, everyone’s just exuding kindness And I feel like, at the core of you as the CEO and the co-founder, and at the core of DECIEM, this really is what everyone’s driven by, of course with like passion for skin care and everyone’s just very, very enthused about and like genuinely love what they’re doing, I’m wondering what inspired you personally to embody these as your core values and to bring that also into a company? DECIEM has obviously gone through so many different changes throughout the years, and I think we have needed different leadership styles at different points of the business And you know, for those people that knew Brandon and I, we were always kind of Yin and Yang but that’s why we worked so well together Because you know he was very on it,

and he would be the kind of person emailing at 3am and “where are we?” Kind of, “let’s say yes! Let’s keep things moving!” Whereas I would probably have a bit more of the softer side But again, I think kind of the leadership needed different styles, and obviously we’re very fortunate where we are now We’ve got over a thousand employees and [it’s] easier to make these good decisions when you’re in a good place of business And so you know when sales are going well, [and] when kind of everything’s moving in the right direction, it’s easy to say, “well actually, let’s prioritize our people. Let’s give everyone this day off.” “Let’s donate to this cause.” Whereas those are things that maybe when you’re a startup, it’s harder to make those decisions, you know, if you’re fighting whether you can break even, even if you want to donate money to an important cause It’s a much harder decision. So I definitely feel my leadership suits the the company for where it is now And you know, I’m sure in another another few years, I probably won’t suit it because it will get so big! But actually You know I always say to people, “I’m not a proper CEO,” Like I have no CEO training and definitely don’t know, I’m sure a lot of their skills that a CEO for a huge company would need But for where DECIEM is now, I think kind of the the kindness, the authenticity, the kind of focus on just being human just really fits with that with our team and our purpose Personally, how have you been? And then how has DECIEM as a company been during the past couple of months with everything that’s been happening? Well, it’s certainly been a very hectic couple of months! From a personal perspective, you know I’ve found that actually I’ve had the best work-life balance I have had Probably in a decade – like my whole career! (Ro: That’s great!) And it’s actually interesting! You know, as soon as you stop traveling, you realize… I don’t know if it is that it was a burden but you know, I was in Toronto every… for ten days a month! And I was doing a lot of that obviously recently with my baby, who’s obviously now almost 18 months old! But you know in her first year of life, I think she did about 16 trips to Toronto, She went to Australia, to Hong Kong…like, she just went everywhere! And I look back and I think, “How did we do it with the jet-lagging [and] keeping up with that momentum?” So actually, I have personally just loved having this kind of time at home and a base And I felt like I’ve had more time for work, [and] I’ve had more time for family so, I’ve definitely felt a personal benefit And I think from our business you know, I almost feel guilty because we’re one of the businesses where actually, our sales have somewhat gone through the roof during the pandemic, which leaves me feeling guilty because i know there are so many businesses out there struggling during these hard times And I think you know, skincare as a category is doing really well People have got more time for self-care, they’ve got more time for education, maybe they’re going out less and maybe they’re wearing less color And I also think you know from our retail perspective, we do so well online anyway, that we were kind of bricks and mortar shutting didn’t have too much of an impact on our overall business I guess where we have really felt the impact [is…] So obviously, we’ve got 35 of our own DECIEM stores, which from a revenue perspective is about 10% of our business so shutting those was easy, especially because we had uplift elsewhere But I was really conscious that you know, we have 300 team members who work in retail, and none of us know how long it’s going to take even to get back to normal when our stores reopen again And i was really determined that actually, we have to find a way to make sure that all 300 of those team members have jobs that can be sustained in the company for as long as it takes – whether it’s a few years until normality returns So that’s why we implemented the DECIEM At-Home Software, so actually people can have at home consultations because we’ve got 300 people trained on the products [and] on the brands I mean, our customers are wanting that information, and it’s great because you can even have a video consultation! So you can talk to one of our ambassadors in their home from your home, show them your skin [and] you could show them your bathroom cabinet, and just get advice on what you need We’ve also obviously started creating hand producing hand sanitizers [and] donating hand creams So at the moment, we’re still just donating all of those to people that [are in] need And then, we’ve really tried to kind of focus on making sure everyone has a choice, because I guess the hardest part of the business was to decide what to do with warehouse production [and] logistics because again, knowing that COVID wasn’t if it was something that was going to be two or four weeks, it’s easy to just say, “we’ll shut everything down.” but when you know something could be around for a year or two, shutting everything down means actually ending the business So we had to make a decision on how do we actually respect all of our people, but make sure we have a business that can be here for everyone So we gave all colleagues working in production, in our factory [and] in our warehouses the choice that they could either stay at home on 80% of their pay doing no work or they can come into work and they would get a 50% premium for this whole period And because actually we felt the choice was really important,

because everyone has got such different circumstances in this situation. So And we’ve had a really positive reaction from our team and obviously, business is doing really well And then you know, just this kind of…COVID, it feels like it’s kind of starting to I don’t know – not normalize – but we’re kind of dealing with it And the terrible atrocities have happened and you know, brought all this attention to kind of Black Lives Matter So again, we are looking at what we can do to It’s not only you know, we’ve made financial donations which I know are important, but how do we amplify people’s voices? We’ve given every single colleague across our businesses being given Friday off, with the purpose of educate yourself on this topic, because things have got to be changed. We got to lead that change So yeah, it’s definitely been a very interesting time for the business And for everyone tuning in, I hope now you know why Felicia and I and Team Beauty Within are such fans of DECIEM as a whole! So Nicola, I feel like this is a good transition I think our audience would love to hear some of your favorite memories with Brandon Or…like the early days starting off DECIEM and how that’s changed over time or how like you’ve been able to grow and evolve with the company over time I guess some of my favorite early memories it was… you know, actually being in the factory overnight producing products We would have very manual equipment back then because obviously, we were just creating a factory without much resources So I remember like with Hand Chemistry, we would be sealing the tubes but it was like a hand crimper So it was about one in ten actually I say exploded but they didn’t crimp right So one of us would be sealing it and the other person would be squeezing it to see if it was one that would pop and the hand cream would come out the top And you know, Brandon would be in there [and] I’d be in there Astrid [and] Alexandra like, all of our office team would be over in the factory because we would say yes to whatever order we could get, and then obviously find a way afterwards to be able to produce, and I remember once actually one of me and one of our factory managers, I think she did like a 28-hour shift which probably isn’t a good thing But I mean, it was just that dedication of everyone involved that actually [made us realize] “this is an amazing company we want to make this work!” And actually everyone has to kind of get in [and] almost get a bit dirty just to do whatever job’s needed With Brandon, he was just the funnest person to be around When you went on work trips, he always preferred to have more fun than actual work, which sometimes was frustrating because I’m someone who actually likes to do work and feels guilty if He’d be like, “just turn off your phone! Let’s go for afternoon tea! Let’s do this!” “Don’t worry about emails!” And I’d be like, “Oh no but I want to do this! I need to do this!” But you know, Brandon was such a practical joker But to the point where you know we’d be on overnight flights together And I’d wake up and you know, he’d got a go-pro and he basically just filmed me sleeping all night Just so he’d have terrible footage or he did a Facebook advert with a horrible photo of me And like paid [for it] so actually all of our customers could see it too But he was just fun to be around and actually he was just so inspiring He had such high energy [and] he just made everyone want to do their best when they were working with him Knowing everything that you know now about the company, if you could go back to that fateful meeting with Brandon where he approached you at Boots [British Pharmacy Chain] where you guys first met, would you have embarked on this beautiful journey that led you to where you are today? I would have done it 10 times over! It’s the best journey of my life [and] the best decision I ever made! (Ro: Aww!) I miss Brandon every day but I’m so thankful that actually I still have DECIEM -the baby- to kind of continue and you know, Brandon feels very alive still within the company So yeah, I have no doubt ever about meeting Brandon and the DECIEM journey You know when Felicia and I went to DECIEM headquarters [and] like being around, it was just clear that everyone there is so happy! And they all were fighting for the same cause, and they’re just also passionate and loving individuals And i think it’s something so rare to see especially I think within the beauty space space where things can get a little hairy here and there So I think that for both Felicia and I and our whole team, [it] was very, you know, inspiring and touching to be able to see and witness all of that! Let’s move to the last section of our interview where we’ll give you some rapid fire questions for you to answer So first question is: “If you were deserted on an island and you can only choose three products to take with you, what would they be?” So definitely would be NIOD Survival 30 to protect my skin, it would be The Ordinary Buffet & Copper Peptides [serum] because if I am limited on products, then that’s supercharged with everything, (Ro: Mhm) And I think the third would be actually The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser because if I’m ever stressed, I just get so much relaxation from massaging it into my skin

That’s also like the basic foundations you need in a skincare routine (Nicola: Yeah) You know, a really good cleanser, a favorite product, And that’s…really all you need! (Nicola: And SPF!) Moisturizer…of course, SPF (Nicola: For sure!) Yeah! I think you already mentioned this just now but if you had to choose one favorite child among all of your DECIEM, NIOD [or] The Ordinary products, what would that be? (*Ro laughs*) See it’s such a hard question because you know, different products have got different favorite memories, maybe it was how it’s developed or something about the launch but, I think The Ordinary Buffet and Copper Peptides is just the one where it has so much jam-packed into it that if you’re ever short on time, obviously [especially if] you’ve been a working mum of a baby, it’s just my staple where it’s kind of just that one product where you know you’re just covered on lots of different levels and for those of you guys who are tuning in, we will be doing a giveaway for 15 people for this copper peptide [serum] that Nicola just talked about, so keep an eye on the description box and comments where we’ll let you guys know how you can enter! And what is the one advice you’d give your younger self especially during these times? Nicola: Well, it’s very relevant in these times! Just always stay calm Things always just have a way of working themselves out in the end, And whenever times are tough, the tough times never last Things always eventually do get better so yeah Just definitely staying calm and having faith So beautiful! And very very last question: what does Beauty Within mean to you? I think it means being at peace with yourself, which for me means being happy! That’s when I’m at peace So beautiful! Thank you so much Nicola for spending time with us from all of us here on Team Beauty Within [and] from all of our viewers, thank you so much! We hope you and the whole team at DECIEM are doing well, and continue to keep doing the right things, and keep fighting the good fight! Nicola: Thank you it’s been a pleasure as always talking to you! Thank you thank you! (Nicola: Thank you! Thank you! Bye bye!) Ro: Hope you guys know by now why Fel and I are such fans of DECIEM and everything they stand for! We were lucky enough to visit their headquarters in Toronto before the lockdown happened And we’re still feeling immensely grateful, encouraged and inspired by being around such positive, purpose-driven, and passionate souls who are changing the skincare industry and the world for the better! So keep an eye out for a series of mini documentaries we’re working on, featuring all things DECIEM! Thank you guys so much for watching as always! And we’ll see you on the next episode! Bye! (Special thanks to Nicola Kilner for joining us! <3)