Founder Profile: Lorrie King (WG91)
MEET LORRIE KING, Revolutionizing Skincare for Women over 40
Lorrie King (WG91) is the Co-Founder and CEO of Caire Beauty, a skincare and supplements brand for women 40+. Caire Beauty makes scientifically advanced formulations and delivery systems to address specific life events like menopause, aging and critical health challenges.
Lorrie has extensive experience in the beauty/consumer packaged goods brand and DTC businesses. Prior to founding Caire, she created over 24 brands and 1,000 individual products across five beauty and wellness categories, generating over $1.5 billion in sales. Lorrie honed her skills on the corporate side (Coty, Elizabeth Arden, Unilever) and then built a startup for an investor incubator. She realized she wanted to create a business from the ground-up and build a multi-million dollar business of her own.
Lorrie and her co-founder Celeste Lee have 40 years of combined experience in this field. They realized that most people don’t know that hormone decline is a major driver of skin aging and this fact has been completely ignored by legacy brands. It is a $15 billion opportunity — with 42mm women age 40–60 in the US and 6k entering menopause daily. Lorrie and Celeste decided to bring women a brand that empowers and embraces them after the age of 40. They named the brand Caire because they wanted to put the “i” in the word care to stand for each woman’s individualism.
In Summer 2020, they beat out over 1,000 applicants and were selected into NYC’s Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, the East Coast’s leading tech accelerator. This program came with $100k in working capital and dozens of extraordinary mentors that helped them bring Caire Beauty to life.
From an article last year published on NASDAQ — Lorrie said “Life as an entrepreneur brings on anxiety and stress at a level that most cannot imagine. You suffer from questioning yourself and asking if you are making the right decisions. I use a number of tools to get me through this, including a daily to twice-daily meditation practice. I actually spent 10 days in silent meditation when I started to think through creating Caire Beauty. Those 10 days prepared me to trust myself, to focus, and to understand and appreciate how to quiet the mind. I also have a circle of super sisters who help propel me to success. This support allows me to create with confidence and have less self-doubt knowing that each of them is there to support me and lift me up. For this, I live a life with so much gratitude.”
Tell us a bit about your company
CAIRE is clean, clinically verified, vegan skincare for grown ups. Created by beauty insiders King and Lee, two women whose mission is to reveal a hidden truth — that hormone/estrogen loss affects skin hard. Our lab-created formulations will build stronger, smoother and healthier skin.
What inspired you to start your business — what opportunity in the market are you seeking to address?
I was already working in skincare when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. During chemo I saw her skin deteriorate in a shocking way, but it wasn’t just that it was everything that she was experiencing with changes from the inside out with her body. I decided then that this was something that I could work towards by focusing in the skin’s health.
We discovered that hormone decline is directly related to the skin’s deterioration. Even after all of these years in the beauty industry this was new news. This is when we decided that we need to throw those age-old formulations aside, strengthen new formulations and build new not me-too potent formulations at a fair price for women.
We call it hormone defying science.
What is it about your personal background, experience, or perspective that fuels your passion for this venture?
When I applied to Wharton, I was an insurance broker working down on Wall Street with amazing clients such as Tiffany & Co (yes, I insured and moved the Tiffany diamond!), Estee Lauder, and IBM. I reviewed business schools on the advice of one of my best friends and discovered Wharton’s newly minted Entrepreneurial program. I applied, got in and then said “oops, I don’t have a business idea”, but the nugget had been born.
While working in Finance after graduating I started my own jewelry business called To Bead or Not to Bead while also working part time as a makeup artist at Bloomingdales for YSL Beaute. They already offered fragrances and color, but were launching their skincare line. This was my first entree into the world of beauty and loyalty.
What are one or two of the biggest wins or most encouraging experiences you’ve had so far?
We launched early in a premium clean beauty Goop! approved retailer called AILLEA. We are one of the 30 or so brands sold there that represent not only clean beauty, but also highly effective skincare. Additionally, we were embraced by the Katie Couric team and Katie Couric Shop which has been amazing for us. Lastly, one of our investors is Pharrell Williams and him believing in our mission and vision has been incredibly inspiring.
What has been one or two of your biggest learnings so far?
Building a startup is always harder than you think it’s going to be so you have to be super prepared financially and emotionally to dive in. The second is regretting not doing this earlier on my own!
What is an obstacle that you are grappling with as you continue to build this venture?
Digital acquisition on Facebook and Google is much more difficult than it was when I launched my last skincare startup for an inventory. It has shown me that you need to be nimble, think differently, build your brand reputation and be super focused on improving the consumer funnel to purchase on your website if you are DTC focused.
What surprises have you encountered as an entrepreneur? Something out of left field?
I’ve been surprised at how difficult and time consuming that fundraising has been. For me, I’d rather preserve capital, grow our sales momentum and not have to raise until someone wants us.
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business?
Every morning I meditate and I have to honestly say that the smile on my face and the joy in my heart says it all. Additionally, my family and my friends tribe are all in and believe in me in a way that I never knew they would.
There is incredible beauty in being supported, held up and valued vs. being bullied, put down and de-motivated by a world of non-believers and haters as I have been very much so in the past.