With the seemingly endless beauty and skincare brands out there vying for your attention (and money), it can be pretty tough to know who you can actually trust with your skin. Fortunately, with Rodan + Fields you can feel confident that you’re in good, clinically-tested hands because the brand’s creators are two of the most trusted dermatologists around.
Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields founded Rodan + Fields back in 2002 as a small department store skincare brand designed to cut irritants and sensitizing agents and offer folks products that actually promote the health of their skin. It’s since, of course, grown into a billion dollar brand that people all over the world have come to know and love. This is the story of how that came to be.
Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields met during their dermatology residency in the 80s at Stanford University School of Medicine and formed a fast friendship based on a passion for clean, clear, and healthy skin. About a decade later, in 1995, the two combined their dermatological expertise to create one of the most popular and effective acne-fighting products out there, which filled a void they saw in prescription acne products. Called Proactiv, their product saw explosive success—to the tune of $1 billion in sales in 2015—and is now a registered trademark of Guthy-Renker and Nestle.
Once Proactiv took off, Rodan and Fields returned to their respective dermatology practices where they discovered a new skincare problem people were facing: Both doctors reported that younger and younger patients were coming to see them about aging concerns. The pair took that as a sign that there’s another void in the skincare market to fill—anti-aging products that actually work.
So, after doing exhaustive research and consulting expert cosmetic chemists, the two went back to mixing different ingredients in their kitchen, ultimately creating the formula for the effective Rodan + Fields products people know and love today. But that wasn’t the end of their journey.
After designing their products, the two were excited to ultimately sell their brand to Estee Lauder in 2002 as a department store brand. However, Rodan and Fields soon discovered that their products were getting lost in the slew of other products Estee Lauder was marketing and theirs weren’t receiving the push they needed to get their skincare solutions to more people.
Therefore, they began studying other marketing techniques that might propel them forward, and they honed their focus on direct-selling firms like Nu Skin. The pair tested the direct-selling approach by hosting a Rodan + Fields party, which ended up being picked up by a Los Angeles television station. After an interview with the doctors was aired, the station was flooded with calls from interested people wanting to get involved.
Buoyed from their party’s success, Rodan and Fields bought their brand back from Estee Lauder in 2007 and created the multi-level marketing structure the brand is today. In a nutshell, consultants get a commission for every sale they make and from the sales of those they recruit. But instead of hosting parties to sell product, people are encouraged to recruit consultants and customers digitally through social media live streams and events—a smart move considering the reach of social media compared to small in-person parties. And thank goodness for that because without that move, we might never be privy to the game-changing effects these products have on our skin.