[6 MINUTE READ]
Morning everyone! Back in the depths of our third national lockdown, we spoke to the inspiring Kat Burki, Founder of Kat Burki Skincare on IG Live for International Women’s Day.
For those who missed the chat, Kat Burki Skincare is a trend-setting beauty and skincare brand, powered by Nutritional Science and research.
"The entire line is devised around the concept that you must calm the skin and reduce inflammation."
Welcome back to CAROLINA GMX Kat! Please could you start by telling me a bit about your childhood and how you feel it has influenced you today?
Of course! I am the youngest of four and was very close with my mother. I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, where my father was a professor. Between my father’s academic life and my mother - who was a fifth-generation native Californian - my childhood was enriched with books, homemade yogurt, carob, and trips to the natural food stores (The Whole Earth Centre). My mother had every nutrition and diet book known to man, so I guess it makes sense that I gravitated to the same industry.
That’s awesome! I love going through parent’s old books. So, how did you get started in the beauty industry?
I studied Nutrition for my undergraduate degree. Then, I completed a Juris Doctorate in Health Care Law and later, added a Graduate degree in Health Policy. I worked for managed care companies implementing Disease Management programs to keep people healthy in the long run and that is where I met a group of skincare formulators that specialised in hand-poured, cold-processing ingredients. It was a lightbulb moment for me; here you have an organ on the outside that you can actually treat directly. Years later, I had the nerve to launch four products I developed myself - one is the Vitamin C Intensive Face Cream - our number one seller to this day.
A lightbulb moment that turned into a business, wow! When did you decide to start up Kat Burki Skincare and was the timing important?
We launched in September 2013 in New York City. For New York, I think the timing was pretty good as the consumer was just coming around to wanting better ingredients in their products. As New York is one of the fashion centres of the world, makeup artists began buying our products. They saw how quickly it improved the skin, as well as how quickly it absorbed into the skin, which is key for makeup application. The rest of the U.S. needed a little more time to get on board with the science and point of difference from other brands, so next, we grew internationally.
And you continue to grow! How does Kat Burki Skincare consider issues relating to sensitive skin/allergies?
I believe sensitive skin and allergies are caused by inflammation. The entire line is devised around the concept that you must calm the skin and reduce inflammation (create baseline), before looking at anti-aging therapies.
And how do you consider this throughout the manufacturing process and when selecting ingredients?
In all ways. Firstly, we add our trademark KB5 to ingredient decks in lieu of water as our anti-inflammatory base, followed by smart ingredient combining that allows for greater and rapid absorption. We also pay special attention to the ingredients we pick. For example, STAY-C is an encapsulated Vitamin C and REVISOME is a less abrasive and more effective Retinol.
It sounds like your process is deliberate and personalised which is comforting for someone like me, who suffers from sensitivities. How does sustainability factor into your business?
It is a big consideration for us and the reason we use glass primarily.
That is great to hear! Would you say that people are more conscious of the ingredients in their beauty and skincare products nowadays? If so, why?
Yes, I think so. We are more conscious in general of what we consume. I think we are at the first stage of knowing certain things we don't want in our beauty products. Now, the consumer is starting to understand what they do want and why.
I agree. I think awareness and accessibility will make this a bigger talking point in the future. What were your biggest challenges in starting up Kat Burki Skincare?
Really understanding the product cycle and the enormous outlay of capital for inventory that is needed was a challenge.
And what strategies do you think have been key to the success of Kat Burki Skincare?
Being adaptable. You need to turn things over quickly sometimes and trust your judgment.
That’s definitely good advice! What is your favourite thing about your job?
The team and our customers.
How lovely! Which is your favourite product that you’ve created for Kat Burki Skincare?
The Bio Correcting Creme. It really performs miracles on my skin.
It looks fantastic. What do you think makes Kat Burki Skincare stand out?
Authenticity. The story behind the brand is real, the science in the products is real and the products really work.
"We are working on driving a more consumer-centric business, both through digital channels and physical locations."
I can vouch for that! I am obsessed with your Rosehip Revitalizing Face Serum. Could you describe your biggest “pinch-me” moment since launching Kat Burki Skincare?
Seeing our products in store for the first time was a pretty fantastic moment.
I can imagine that being surreal! What inspires you?
Human connection. It’s the deep common thread we all have. Human connection during one of our Beauty and Body Detox programs or through customer feedback is always inspiring. It's a somewhat intangible concept, but we all know when we are communicating on that level.
Absolutely! And could you describe what an average day looks like for you?
It starts by taking my son to school. Then, I get home and write out my to-do list for the day. We just moved so my list is divided by work and home. The rest of the day is a mixture of zoom calls, regular calls and emails and in-person meetings.
It sounds extremely busy. Do you think you are able to have a work/life balance?
Not really, but I am trying to turn off more. Unfortunately, it has become a habit to multitask work and family at the same time… Although I did recently take a vacation and was pretty darn good at tuning out then!
Good! It's so important. What words do you live by?
“ENJOY.” You must. If it's not enjoyable, then don't do it. Of course, that does not mean that you shouldn’t work hard. Not everything will be wine and roses, but ultimately, if something is dreaded or becomes a chore, then it's time to reevaluate what you are doing wrong and how you might be able to do it differently.
I couldn’t agree more! Finally, what’s next for Kat Burki Skincare?
We are working on driving a more consumer-centric business, both through digital channels and physical locations.