I have always had an interest in natural remedies, skincare and science. My grandfather was a chemist and manufacturer of natural skincare products, so we had a home remedy for everything growing up.
When it came time for me to pick a career, I was naturally drawn to chemistry and biotechnology to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather. However, I didn’t want to spend my life in a lab, so I pursued a career in town planning. It was a safe option and there were heaps of jobs available in the field at the time.
Throughout my whole life, I had always struggled with acne but by 26, I was over it. I had inherited my father’s oily skin and suffered from acne and other mysterious skin issues as a teenager and young adult. I tried everything, but nothing worked.
I assumed my pimples would go away as I got older, but they were still so aggressive and painful. I was embarrassed by how I looked, and my confidence was at an all-time low.
To top it off, I was feeling unfulfilled in my career despite being really good at my job. I knew I had to make a change, so I decided to tackle my adult acne.
My interest in skincare and chemistry hadn’t faded, and I was desperate for a solution, so I started researching different, alternative acne treatments – that’s when I discovered vitamin B5. I came across a medical paper about a trial using high potency vitamin B5 as a supplement to treat acne with significant results.
I wasn’t taking any supplements at the time, so thought there was a glimmer of hope that this might be the holy grail to improving my skin. I bought a heap of vitamin B5 capsules and two months later, my acne was gone. People around me started to notice that my skin was clear and glowing!
I was actually shocked more people didn’t know about the benefits of B5 for our skin. There was some talk of B5 in the bodybuilding community for increasing energy and stamina, but no one was talking about the benefits it had for skin. There was a clear gap in the market – you couldn’t easily buy it from a pharmacy, and especially not as an acne treatment.
I wanted more people to be able to free themselves from the burden of acne and achieve clear skin, that’s why I decided to start SkinB5.
For about 18 months, I continued to work full-time while working evenings and weekends from my bedroom, bringing my vision to life. It was a crazy time. I didn’t have a social life, I’d leave my ‘real job’ and then work all evening researching, experimenting, and writing business plans.
I went to so many meetings with potential investors and was met with the the same response “nice idea but no thanks” – it was a really hard time, I felt like no one believed in me.
I was finally able to secure an investor who believed in me, but they were only able to offer us $100,000. It might seem like a lot, but with that budget we couldn’t afford to launch in-stores. I’d already spent years researching, testing products, and building my business from the ground up, so I knew I had to come up with another plan.
By this point, it was 2006, and although extremely uncommon at the time, I turned to the internet as a solution to get SkinB5 up and running. We pivoted our strategy and using the funding from the investor we launched the business online first.
It was terrifying! We were at the forefront of e-commerce, but it worked, and the positive reviews from customers started rolling in from around the world. The before and after pictures we started to receive from customers would literally bring tears to my eyes.
It was not smooth sailing from here though, I have faced so many challenges trying to convince health professionals that the SkinB5 way of treating acne holistically works. When it comes to acne therapies, both the Australian and global market are completely dominated by pharmaceutical multinationals that have been offering the same treatments for the last 30 years.
No one believed a home-grown Australian business could invent a new way to treat acne effectively, without the side effects. Just five years ago, our sales reps would walk into pharmacies to introduce them to SkinB5, and they would smile politely and say, ‘’Interesting, but not for our pharmacy.’’ We overcame the rejection by offering free products to pharmacy team members and pharmacists who have suffered from persistent severe acne to see the results for themselves.
Eventually, community pharmacies started asking their wholesalers for SkinB5. We use the same product trial approach with international buyers, as the proof is in the visible results – 80% of our customers see visible improvements in just four weeks.
We are now taking a huge step in our business by partnering with Arrotex Pharmaceuticals. This exciting new partnership will see our products available in most pharmacies across Australia, and beyond – something I have been dreaming of for the past 16 years.
I am really excited for the future of my business. I see us as being a global leader in innovative skin wellness products that deliver real and lasting positive outcomes for people. I feel that every day I am one step closer!
Judy Cheung-Wood was a senior city planner before she began her journey into skincare. Although her grandfather was a chemist and manufacturer of natural skincare products, she never imagined that she would go into the industry herself. In 2006, Judy Cheung-Wood launched her home-grown Australian business, SkinB5. Judy’s own journey in healing her acne inspired her to get into the skincare business, which has now helped to successfully treat thousands of acne sufferers across the globe to regain their confidence. To find out more about her journey with SkinB5, you can find Judy at www.skinb5.com or follow her on your favourite social media sites @skinB5.
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