We talked to Maya Crothers of Circcell about her skincare products and the effects of COVID-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Maya Crothers: We have become closer and spend more time together as a family. Of course, it has been difficult in many ways, but we appreciate the silver lining of a slower-paced life and time to be together, eat together, have long conversations, and ponder the state of the world in the coming months.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Circcell.
Maya Crothers: I am the child of an immigrant family. Our mantra was education, hard work, and family. Of course, I followed this path, went to college, went to graduate school, and had a very corporate career path. When I was pregnant with my second child, I retired and focused on raising children and volunteering. A few years later, we moved to a very small, rural, mountain town. While there, the harsh climate’s effect on my skin inspired me to find ways to maintain beautiful skin. The engineer in me wanted performance and science. The small, mountain town girl in me wanted to honor the environment and nature. The result is Circcell – a hybrid of circle denoting whole and balanced and cellular denoting real, transformational change. I did not set out to be an entrepreneur or begin a new career in the second half of my life…it just sort of unfolded on its own.
How does Circcell innovate?
Maya Crothers: Our creative process typically is kicked off by a skincare need, or the inspiration may come through learning about a new and interesting ingredient. From there, we start with a blank page – we do not put cost boundaries or any legacy ideas into a new product. The only guidelines are that, in the end, the product has to perform and be clean.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Maya Crothers: In many ways, this challenge has been a blessing. It gave us the space to take a minute to review what is really working and what is only draining resources. I began thinking more clearly about how I wanted to live. This ideal lifestyle informed much of our on-going strategy. Prior to COVID, I wasn’t running my business. It was running me. We’ve turned the table, and the results have been pretty astounding. We’re more focused and profitable than ever, and I am in a much better space running my company this way.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Maya Crothers: Under challenging times, the decisions almost make themselves. Typically there are not many options, and the path is clear. This is actually a good thing. The universe pretty much dictated what we had to do, and we had no choice but to follow.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Circcell in the future?
Maya Crothers: Being outside and exercise. Not sure if I could be sane without exercise and nature. The future looks and feels bright. We expect to have a much larger DTC presence, and amazon feels much more in the spotlight than in the past. We are much more focused on social as a way to educate the customer.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Maya Crothers: Sooooo many competitors…too many to mention. We stay in the game through a combination of long term planning and daily blocking and tackling.