September 19, 2023

From Marketing Maven to Clean Beauty Visionary: Lynn Power's Journey with Masami

A Conversation with Lynn Power: Redefining Beauty Standards and Entrepreneurship

In an insightful interview, Lynn Power, the visionary founder and CEO of "Masami," shares her remarkable journey from a distinguished career in advertising to leading a groundbreaking venture in the world of clean beauty. This exclusive discussion offers readers invaluable insights into the birth and growth of Masami, a brand committed to reshaping industry standards. Lynn, with her marketing expertise, turned entrepreneurial spirit, illuminates the crucial roles played by innovation, resilience, and collaboration in her path to success. Explore the inspiring narrative of Masami and benefit from Lynn's guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs in this enlightening conversation.

Lynn and James, Founders of Masami

Introducing Masami: A Conversation with Founder and CEO Lynn Power

Can you begin by sharing a brief introduction of yourself and what inspired you to start your current business, as well as how your journey as an entrepreneur has evolved?

Absolutely. I spent 30 years in advertising and marketing, even running a large agency, J. Walter Thompson, New York, at one point. However, I realized I was getting further from what I truly loved, which was building brands. The bureaucratic aspects and public lawsuits were taking away from the creative work I enjoyed. So I decided to leave and began consulting with startups to get back to the immediate impact I craved.

I met my co-founder through my husband, who had been working on hair care formulations for a decade alongside his role as an ad agency producer. These formulations intrigued me, and after trying them, I was convinced they were exceptional. We decided to launch Masami together. The name, Masami, comes from my husband's Japanese heritage and means "truly beautiful." Our hero ingredient, Makabu, is a Japanese ocean seaweed from the bay in northeastern Japan where he grew up.

We officially launched at New York Fashion Week in February 2020, and it's been quite a journey since.

Given your expertise in marketing, can you tell us about your approach when launching the product? How did you ensure it was unique and had a viable market?

Certainly, one of the key things is ensuring there's a real demand for your product before diving in. Many founders become enamored with their creations without gauging if others share that enthusiasm. For instance, I once met someone who wanted to create office capes for people feeling cold in meetings, which I found to be a less-than-ideal idea.

So, the first step is validating your idea and ensuring it's distinct, especially in competitive fields like beauty. Then, you need a well-thought-out go-to-market strategy. Are you focusing on direct-to-consumer, wholesale, or both? We chose both to be omni channel. Lastly, conduct thorough consumer testing to ensure your product works for various demographics.

Three years into this journey, what's been your most effective marketing channel so far?

The Conscious Beauty Collective has been a game-changer for us. We initially launched in 2020, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, our salon-focused business plan had to adapt. We started partnering with clean beauty brands, which proved highly successful. This led to the creation of the Collective, a group of 30 indie beauty and wellness brands. We host pop-up stores and collaborate on co-marketing efforts, effectively amplifying our reach. We've had four stores so far, and it's been a remarkable strategy.

Were there any challenges in developing your first product or prototype, especially when it comes to manufacturing?

Manufacturing physical goods can be challenging, and COVID-19 made it even more difficult. Certain components and ingredients became scarce, leading to delays. For example, we created refill pouches and larger bottles for sustainability, but they were held up for six months in the Chicago port due to the backlog. So patience and focusing on things within our control became essential.

Staying motivated as an entrepreneur can be tough, especially with personal challenges like your battle with breast cancer. What keeps you motivated every day?

Connecting with other founders, particularly those who have faced health challenges themselves, has been incredibly motivating. It's also a reminder of the importance of clean beauty, as many mainstream products contain harmful ingredients. Moreover, having peers to share experiences and expertise with, and learning from them through masterclasses, has been invaluable.

What are your short-term and long-term goals for Masami?

Short-term, I aim to continue building momentum and steady growth, even if it's gradual. I don't have external investors, which gives me the freedom to control our pace. Long-term, I want to expand our product line, become a global brand, and drive positive change in the beauty industry by promoting cleaner and more sustainable practices, although that's a long-term mission.

Finally, what advice would you offer to someone about to embark on their entrepreneurial journey?

Firstly, ensure there's a real market demand for your product. Secondly, build a diverse network of mentors, peers, and experts from different backgrounds. Learning from others who have ventured into adjacent fields or experimented with various channels can provide unique insights and broaden your perspective, which is often underestimated but incredibly valuable.

Key Takeaways:

  • Market Demand: Before diving into entrepreneurship, ensure your product addresses a genuine market need, avoiding the pursuit of ideas without real demand.
  • Diverse Network: Building a network comprising diverse mentors, peers, and experts can offer invaluable insights and fresh perspectives to guide your entrepreneurial journey.
  • Sustainability and Innovation: Prioritize sustainability and innovation in your business strategy, even when facing manufacturing challenges, to stay ahead in a competitive landscape.
  • Resilience and Adaptability: Embrace resilience and adaptability as essential qualities; be prepared to navigate unforeseen obstacles with patience, focusing on what you can control.

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