SOME PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET JUST SEEM LIKE REAL-LIFE WONDER HUMANS BECAUSE THEY ACHIEVE ON A STAGGERINGLY IMPRESSIVE LEVEL APPARENTLY BEYOND THE REACH OF MERE MORTALS. FOR ME, ONE OF THESE WONDER HUMANS (OR IN HER CASE, WONDER WOMEN) IS CHILDHOOD FRIEND/CARPOOL BUDDY/CAMP SISTER, RANDI COGAN-SHINDER.
Though life took us in different directions (she and her family moved to Ottawa before she eventually settled in Toronto and I stayed here in our old stomping grounds of Montreal), I still kept up with the supershero’s professional journey and, on that front, was continually blown away — and mightily inspired — by all the magic she consistently put out into the world, particularly in her chosen field of beauty.
To say that Randi is a pioneer, disruptor and discoverer is truly an understatement. She made it her business(es) (literally) to find what she calls “white spaces in the market” and to then fill them (time and again) with next-level products/rituals we didn’t yet have and, quite frankly, didn’t even realize we needed, that would go on to completely revolutionize our beauty games, yielding unprecedented results to proudly show-face to the world.
She also marketed the game-changers to us with all the savvy and sophistication of some- one who just has and gets “it,” that Midas touch we speak of in hushed tones belonging to a rare breed of entrepreneurs who viscerally understand not just the “white spaces” that need filling but the precise manner in which the zeitgeist of a brand or product must be communicated to its audience.
Sure, Randi came at it with some solid expertise and experience ingrained from earlier and enormously successful turns as an initial adopter of affinity marketing and loyalty programs for some of the biggest banks in the country. She also started the groundbreaking online teen incarnation of same programs — Youtopia.com — that ingeniously aligned with the celebrity ambassador likes of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake (culminating in the largest webcast event at the time on Yahoo) and even masterminded her own Youtopia exchanges, which many, in today’s “bitcoin-ified” landscape, tout as one of the earliest variations of cryptocurrency.
But knowing Randi as I do, I can safely say that while hands-on experience certainly makes the difference and goes the distance in business and branding, in Randi’s case, so much of the savvy just flows through her veins. Which explains much when perusing some of the stratospheric initiatives that came next, almost consecutively, emanating from a pipeline in Randi’s wonder-brain housing a seemingly never-ending reserve of beauty gamechangers.
First up was her initial adventure in fragrance with the launch of CLEAN Perfume, which went on to attract legions of celebrity and mainstream devotees and become one of the most successful independent fragrance brands on the planet, primarily because, in her gut, Randi got it that many women “simply want to smell good.” (Fun fact: though clean and fresh were always her baselines and she didn’t wear much perfume, she did spend hours playing at her mom’s vanity, where the fanciful, pretty bottles were a constant source of fascination — Barbie dolls, if you will, for a beautypreneur in-the-making).
Next up: thanks to the success of CLEAN and its mega superstar fan base, Randi went with the trusty gut once again, feeling and filling a new white space calling for a multisensory beauty brand based on both scent and flavour. For this go-round, she partnered with multi-platinum recording artist Jessica Simpson to launch Dessert Beauty, which became the first brand to exceed $10 million in sales at beauty emporium Sephora and spawned two successful offshoot brands, Dessert Treats, distributed nationally at Walgreens and CVS, and Sweet Kisses, created exclusively for Walmart.
While this kind of record-breaking would have been enough — and then some — for most disrupters, Randi was just getting started. In 2005, she set the beauty world on fire yet again with a brand I personally saw as the best of its kind (until she birthed her more recent variation): the first-ever micro-injected collagen lip plumper, LipFusion (produced under a new and sexy scientific umbrella company called Fusion Beauty), which, in a nutshell, rendered almost all surgical boosting superfluous (excuse pun). As for its record breaking, shocks were felt throughout the industry as the pout perfector sold 3.2 million units in just the first nine months at Sephora alone, making Fusion Beauty the first brand ever to exceed $50 million in sales at Sephora.
What would the now highly awarded and sought-after beauty wonder-preneur do for an encore? After selling a majority stake in the company that became known as Fusion Brands in 2006, with remaining equity sold later in 2009, she formed an alliance with Sophia Bush and PMK-BNC’s Michael Nyman (a long-time friend and former president of PMK-BNC, who managed PR for her brands), wherein she revisited her first love, fragrance, establishing another ground-breaking range with the pair called “I Smell Great.” Using pure extraction and Scent Sphere technology, the line empowered women to “mix, match, create, reactivate — and smell, be, feel, and live great,” she says.
Still, there was more pioneering to come, including her most recent innovations at the helm of SBLA Beauty — a company committed to the intersection of science and beauty — where she took aging head-on (again, literally) with a potent line of neck-and face-enhancing magic wands (including the first-ever neck-lifting wand and new eye-lifting wand) as well as the much-anticipated launch of her next-generation lip-plumpers and definers, which, FYI, are all you’d expect them to be and more. MUCH more. 😉 To date, the brand has grossed over $57 million in revenue and continues to scale with a 200,000+ database of active customers.
As for what’s next for the unstoppable Wonder Woman: she confided to Diary that big an- nouncements are on the horizon (of course they are). Even cooler: she shared some essential secrets to success: “When something goes wrong, I don’t let it sideline me but face the issues head-on and use the energy to fuel solution-finding, per my dad’s mentoring,” she says with a laugh. “And when it comes to the next endeavour/pro- fessional challenge, it’s always about the passion for filling those white spaces and creating something meaningful,” she adds. “That has been — and will always be — my oxygen.”
Thanks, Wonder Woman.
For more on wonder-Randi, head to randishinder.com and visit sbla.com.