10/19/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Interview: Entrepreneur Dr. Gregory Bays Brown, Founder of ReVive Skin Care Products

Beauty has been the central focus of the career and personal life of noted plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Gregory Bays Brown. With the creation of ReVive in 1997, Dr. Brown seamlessly merged his knowledge of science and medicine with skincare to produce a must-have line of products that not only deliver a luminous, even-textured and firm complexion, but that also delay the aging process via increased cell turnover - postponing the need for elective surgery. Dr. Brown revealed that ReVive was launched after he "successfully employed a multi-million dollar study on the application of Nobel Prize-winning Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), a molecule originally famed for its healing effects on burn victims and one that rejuvenates otherwise healthy skin."

In an age of dime-store estheticians, haute spas with Grecian fountains and gilded mirrors, and brands with exorbitant marketing budgets pushing image before product efficacy, consumers are flummoxed. By spending hundreds of dollars on the spa experience and well-packaged creams, we're made to believe these products will deliver on their promises. In a recent documentary Allure's editor-in-chief claimed that it's fine that anti-aging creams don't do what they claim, since they make women feel better about losing their looks.

Let me be blunt: I don't have an extra $200 to buy piece of mind, or the luxury of a placebo. I'm in the market for a product that works from a brand that's reliable.

In an economic climate that's slowly creeping toward recovery, it's fascinating to see luxury or niche brands prosper. Combining a lean business model, products that actually work, and savvy business sense, ReVive is a model for niche, high-end brands breaking into the beauty space. Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with founder Dr. Gregory Bays Brown, and learn more about succeeding during a recession and when should women, if they're inclined, start to invest in anti-aging products.

Although we're in the midst of a precarious economy, many are finding, ironically enough, that now is the best time to start a business. As someone who is a successful entrepreneur, can you speak to the process of how you launched your company? With such a lucrative practice, what was the impetus for launching ReVive?

Dr. Gregory Bays Brown: There are always reasons not to start a business: the economy, family, other commitments etc...the list goes on and on. However, if one has the passion and drive and is prepared never to accept 'no' or 'can't' as answers, then there is no time like the present regardless of circumstances to launch a business. The most fun I ever had was starting the ReVive brand. With the creation of ReVive I seamlessly merged my knowledge of science and medicine with skincare. The result is a product that delivers the aesthetic only a surgeon could achieve. ReVive was launched after I successfully employed a multimillion dollar study on the cosmetic application of Nobel Prize winning Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), a molecule originally famed for its healing effects on burn victims and on that rejuvenates otherwise healthy skin. I began using ReVive on patients in 1991 and obtained the cosmetic patent for EGF in 1994. We were able to show real results objectively with biopsies to prove we increased cell turnover. There is nothing surgically that can do what ReVive does to give one the dewy glow and beautiful skin of youth.

ReVive's business model -- strategic, organic growth, grounded in a mission of efficacious skin care -- is one worth studying. Smug brands, dime-store estheticians and clever packaging are not only confusing, but can lead consumers to spend an extraordinary amount of money on products that don't work, or aren't needed. Rather than focusing on luxury, indulgence, and pampering, your skincare line is targeted toward rejuvenation and health -- a rare breed in the beauty business. Can you speak to the reasoning behind the brand's positioning? And how it's relevant in today's economic climate, where discretionary spending is tightening and consumers are less likely to spend more on skincare products as freely as they used to?

GBB: ReVive's mission was always to delay the need for aesthetic surgery and once surgery is the only answer to an age-related problem, decrease the magnitude of the surgical procedure required. This grew out of my mindset as a plastic surgeon. Knowing what can and cannot be accomplished surgically is so important to client satisfaction for skincare as well as surgery. We try at ReVive to continually innovate beyond boundaries to bring the best and most effective new skincare therapy ideas to the marketplace, first. Our products are supported by biotechnology and rigorous medical research for superior efficacy. ReVive is effortless, quality skincare that is easy to use and understand. ReVive is developed for any customer seeking serious skincare maintenance, prevention, and repair. Our products are easily integrated into any existing skincare regiment. Never average or basic, but distinctive, focused, and results oriented, through both scientific research, and time-tested client satisfaction.

ReVive utilizes technologically advanced research and ingredients to maintain, prevent damage, and repair all skin types, even the most sensitive, while at the same time, addressing specific issues and concerns for individual needs. ReVive utilizes a Nobel Prize winning, patented ingredient, [EGF], to stimulate skin cells to multiply and renew the skin. We are about relationships, service, and results, as exemplified from our company's history and roots in the medical field. ReVive is a serious, modern, and luxurious way to pamper oneself. That is why, even in today's economic climate, Re'Vive is still totally relevant and successful.

Dr. Gregory Bays Brown, ounder & Chief of Creative Services ReVive

How does ReVive differentiate itself from dermatologist-engineered skin care products?

GBB: ReVive should not be confused with other skincare products on the market created by dermatologists and skincare specialists. Their commercial skincare lines will never reach the level of activity found in ReVive. A dermatologist thinks in two dimensions, ie, the skin surface. As a plastic surgeon, I can ascertain from a 3-dimensional point of view what is achievable from a surgical standpoint versus skincare. Some goals skincare can provide and surgery cannot...the converse is obviously also true. I do not think dermatologists or their brands of skincare have this degree of insight into the aging process or the stigmata of aging. In other words, only a plastic surgeon can understand the limitations and possibilities of surgery versus skincare.

The failure with most companies is rapid diversification and massive product line extensions, which have a tendency to subsume the core product, and erode revenue. What intrigues me about ReVive is that your growth -- from anti-aging products to rejuvenating body creams -- is conservative, yet strategic. Focusing particularly on the face and body. From the core business model, what is the process of developing line extensions?

GBB: My personal philosophy and the brands' focus on developing new products is not to develop and launch products simply for the sake of retail season, revenue etc. The point is client need and want, followed by existing or progressive technology that is available.

Our aim is to make ReVive the most innovative, admired and respected prestige skincare brand by offering superior, rejuvenating skincare products supported by biotechnology and a passionate commitment to exceeding consumer expectations. We help our clients look and feel their best at every stage of life by offering the most effective, scientifically-proven beauty solutions for naturally radiant, youthful skin. I am perfectly content not to have a launch in a season.

When women think of anti-aging products, they assume it's geared towards the 40+ audience. When should women start integrating anti-aging products in their regimen?

GBB: I know it is trite, but we start aging the moment we're born. The biggest issue in the fight against aging is the loss of facial volume usually visible by the age of 30. Wrinkles are not the enemy of youth. More insidious is the loss of facial volume that dramatically ages a face. But my thoughts are that most women/girls start to care about their appearance about the time of puberty. Therefore, a good time to start skincare, and I don't mean purchasing $160 face creams, is early teens. Start out with sunscreens, moisturization, acne control etc.

What's the difference between a serum and a moisturizer? When should one use a serum?

GBB: Physically speaking it is really a degree of viscosity. I think serums versus moisturizers are a consumer preference. Either can be engineered to perform similarly. With the ReVive brand, our serums are formulated to address very specific concerns while our moisturizers address multiple concerns at once. For example, our Volumizing Serum addresses the subtle loss of facial volume while our new Serum Presse instantly firms and lifts sagging skin. Alternately, our hero product, Moisturizing Renewal Cream addresses hydration, evens the skin tone, provides a healthy, dewy glow and gives an overall radiance to the skin. Because of their extremely active nature, Serums should be applied to clean skin before moisturizer for maximum benefit.

Looking back at the evolution of your company and brand -- is there anything you might have done differently in the twelve years you've been in business? Any critical lessons learned?

GBB: I really wouldn't have done it differently. I might have stopped practicing surgery earlier and devoted all of my energies to ReVive as it was very difficult being a full-time plastic surgeon and developing ReVive. But I do believe women look and feel better about themselves without going through the agony and risk of surgery.

Can you speak about ReVive's new product launches for fall?

GBB: Our product launches for the fall are a bit of a diversion for us, they really are playing to consumer desires and that is immediate results. Most ReVive products require a few days to months to see an effect, but these new launches for the fall provide immediate results. Serum Presse is a first for ReVive products, immediate and long-term results in one product. Polysaccharide tensors act like millions of tiny 'erector set' struts, pulling the skin taught and youthful - an immediate shrink-wrap phenomenon. In addition, Serum Presse contains two growth factors for long-term clarity and firmness.

Any advice you'd like to impart to burgeoning entrepreneurs?

GBB: For burgeoning entrepreneurs I would first measure the degree of passion, it takes an enormous amount, followed by the ability to tune out naysayers. Many people will offer negative input about the difficulty, unlikely success and ennui that goes into starting a business from the ground up. Don't listen!