Dubbed the “electrical esthetician,” Melanie Simon treated her star-studded clientele in Montecito, Jackson Hole, and New York City with nanocurrent technology. Simon decided to scale her company through the creation of a device that would allow clients to perform her signature treatments at home. After two years of development, she launched ZIIP Beauty, which has changed the game for beauty devices by incorporating convenience and personalization, and delivering real results.
Why did you create ZIIP? What did you see missing from the market?I developed ZIIP as a way to share my in-office nanocurrent expertise with the world, and make the technology accessible at home. Also, because nanocurrents work best on skin when done regularly, I felt this would be perfect for the at-home market. It was an obvious evolution for me and thankfully, the response has been incredible.
Why electric current rather than any of the other technologies out there that can be applied to a device?As an esthetician, electricity was the modality that I found to be the most effective. I have tried all other modalities available and I absolutely do think they are beneficial. However, I just think that electricity works the best and delivers the best results.
You refer to ZIIP as a software company rather then a beauty company. Why?We really are a tech beauty company if that makes sense. Instead of releasing new products frequently like traditional beauty companies, we release new treatments that are available for users to upload to their ZIIP device via the ZIIP Beauty app. Once users have the device, the app enables them to upload and use new treatments as they are added. Because we update the software frequently, the app continually gives customers the new exciting combinations I am using on my clients.
Why was it important to you to launch with a device, an app, and product simultaneously? We were really thinking ahead of the curve with this idea and to be honest, if we launched years ago, consumers likely would not have been ready for ZIIP. We had a vision and launching all three simultaneously is what it took for a modern, futuristic device to work perfectly for the consumer. All three in combination really make ZIIP unique.
You co-founded the business with David Mason, who is the chief operating officer and has a background in industrial design and building robotic cars. Why was it important to you to have this skill set in-house and what competitive advantage does it provide? I like to say that David and I are beauty meets technology. I get to spend my time creating electrical waveforms that deliver the best results, demonstrate them face-to-face with retailers, potential customers and current clients, while Dave ensures that my creations are seamlessly delivered to the client via the ZIIP app and device.
How did you bring the product from concept to commercialization?With a lot of time from and interaction with my clientele. Many of my clients are like family, I see them often and they have been instrumental in the development. We really created ZIIP based on their needs and feedback, and we continue to develop new treatments in much the same way.
How do you feel ZIIP has evolved the device category?We were really the first beauty device to come out with an app that truly enhanced the device capabilities and experience. It seems like many beauty device companies have, at the very least, an informational app, but beauty tools are now starting to evolve for today’s customer needs. It’s all about convenience, personalization, and delivering real results.
Through the app you have the ability to capture a tremendous about of data about conditions and consumer behavior. How does the data you’re collecting inform the business? We can see how often a certain electrical cocktail is downloaded. This shows us which cocktails are the most popular, what time of day they’re being done, and where they’re being done in the world. This helps us to determine what our next treatments will be, if certain ones are seasonal or consistently being used, and which treatments customers find the most efficacious.
You recently hired Jamie Rosen, who was a beauty director atTown & Country,as director of strategy and partnerships, which is an interesting choice. Does this mean content creation will become a larger focus for the brand? It’s become one of the larger focuses for the brand. We want to be sure we are delivering consistent messaging and educating consumers so that they feel comfortable and stay consistent with using the device. There are so many ways to use the device and many different electrical cocktail combinations.We will achieve this by putting out a lot of content in the coming years.
You launched the brand with a fairly traditional channel mix of brick-and-mortar and online partners when more and more brands are focusing on direct to consumer. Why was this mix important at launch and do you think it has help fueled the growth of the brand? I have tried and tried to describe the sensation of each ZIIP electrical cocktail, but there’s nothing like actually feeling each. Our brick-and-mortar partners have enabled us to reach a huge number of consumers and give them a first-hand try of the device. We are able to train the retail staff, who have all been very receptive and instrumental in our growth. Conversely, with support from us, they have been and continue to be very successful with ZIIP Beauty. We love our partners.
Launching a device and updating software is quite an undertaking. How have you funded the business to date? So far, the only outside funding has been a small amount of angel investment at the beginning. These investors are also in our inner circle of friends and advisors.We continue to put earnings right back into the company in order to grow our amazing team and to continue to push ahead on new product development.
What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs? Do the work, have a launch plan, never stop planning, be ready for anything, and be open-minded. We are on the ground and in the trenches every single day.We have a very close team and we all chip in, we listen to each other and we work hard. To really get something going you can’t just expect it to catch fire and spread.
What are the future plans for ZIIP? There are so many future plans for ZIIP, and so many different ways we are planning to branch out. If I were to tell you all of that now, it would spoil the surprise.