In central London, on the famed Harley Street where for centuries doctors have had their practices, is where one of London’s most prestigious skincare lines – 111Skin – was born just six years ago. The story begins unlike others and involves: a serum made by Dr. Yannis Alexandridis, a member of a middle eastern royal family, and the British department store, Harrods. For the full story and more, read on for our interview with 111Skin’s co-founder and Managing Director, Eva Alexandridis, on how her and her husband’s skincare line came to fruition; where they draw inspiration for the brand’s ground breaking range of products, which incorporates astronautical technology and rare ingredients, such as black diamonds; and of course, what her own beauty routine entails.
“In the beginning, my husband had no intention of creating a skincare range. He created the Y Theorem Repair Serum to help patients heal after surgery; it was just a small little bottle that he would give to clients in his clinic after they had surgical or nonsurgical treatments, but many were coming back and asking for more. All these ladies and gentlemen were saying at the post consultation, ‘Can I have one more bottle. Can I have two more bottles?’ and it became almost impossible to stock.
One of my husbands well known patients asked after she had a treatment if she could have 20 bottles so she could give them to her extended family. She’s a middle eastern lady from a royal family and it’s a customary tradition for them to give presents. And she wanted to give them something a little bit unusual. She was also a client of a department store in London, Harrods, and normally she would buy a very big order of another very famous skincare line – Creme De La Mer – for gifting. At the time, she didn’t place the order, so her personal shopper came to her and asked if she would be wanting her usual order when she does her gifting. The lady said, ‘No, I’ll just buy it next time I’m in the country. Right now, I’m using something from my doctor.’
The personal shopper was very intrigued and asked the lady who the doctor was. A buyer ended up calling us from Harrods asking, ‘Can I have your information and marketing materials so I can see what your product is? Maybe, we will consider carrying this product in our store.’ And I told her, ‘Look, it’s just a small bottle. There is no marketing. This is not a retail product.’ But the woman told me, ‘I don’t know what this is, but I certainly suggest that you develop it into something serious or a small range because if I’m losing such massive business, then there must be something amazing about this product.’
Coincidentally we were at a charity event shortly after and I was introduced to a lady who was a buyer at Harrods. She started talking with us and she knew that my husband is a surgeon. And I said to her, ‘You know, we had this phone call from a buyer from Harrods and they were interested in talking about developing our product. Immediately, she said, don’t talk to anyone else. If you develop a range, I want to be the first one to know what it is.’ So she basically said come and talk to us.
It just also happened to be a very crucial time in the beauty industry; this was six years ago and at the time, Harrods was bringing in a huge line of gadgets in-store, such as the Clarisonic and some others. It was quite a revolutionary time and they were looking for doctor brands that would compliment these gadgets.
I think it was the only time where a department store worked with a team on the creation of a range: not as far as ingredients, but as far as presentation, color, selection and branding. We didn’t have a brand, so we went to them with different options and then they would give their input. It was a fun process working with the best department store in the world.
When it comes to the products, we don’t follow trends or pay for sophisticated market research. Because my husband is a practicing surgeon, every single product comes from what’s happening in the practice and his daily interactions with clients.
Last year he came into the office and said, ‘Neck is the new face.’ There are ten of us in the skincare office, which is across the street from his surgical office, and we were like, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘All of these men and ladies I have been seeing for years take perfect care of their faces, but it’s the neck that is suffering and starting to age. I’m starting to notice the last six months or so, everybody is concerned with neck. I want to create a product for the neck that has not been done before.’
The skin on the neck has different fat tissue than the face and the circulation is different, so he gave us all these suggestions on what he wanted. The R&D team and laboratory started working on it. And we ended up producing a neck serum because he didn’t want a heavy neck cream; since his lady clients wanted something light, but very high performance.
Even the original Y Theorem Repair Serum, six months after we launched it, we launched a light version of it, and it wasn’t because we felt, oh, there’s a need in the market. It was because our clients were saying, ‘We love this product so much, but when we are in a hot environment it’s a little bit heavy.’ They were demanding we create a lighter version so we reformulated it and made it oil free.
As for my own beauty routine, I am always trying something new we are working on in our product development and cannot fit anything else into my skincare regime. Sometimes you find me applying too many products on my face, but I wouldn’t want to bring anything to market that I did not try myself.
Currently I’m testing out a Lunar set we will launch next year. It involves using four products, each to be used once a week. But my favorite products from our range are the boosters. They are mix and match products. You can add one drop into your foundation or day and night cream.
For treatments it’s all about cryo. We just opened a new 111Cryo clinic in London. It’s a whole body chamber you go into for three minutes. It gives you so many benefits helping with health conditioning; recovery after sports and exercise; it helps with sleep; and it gives you a phenomenal endorphin boost. And the skincare benefits are phenomenal. You go in and it’s minus 90 degrees and it gives you a boost of collagen; your circulation is increased because your body is shocked and has to warm up; and everything in the body starts moving and regenerating. It kick starts everything in your body and your mind, and gives you this amazing clarity. Sometimes I’ll do it in the morning before heading into the office and it gives me a boost of energy.
We stick to the Mediterranean diet and eat a lot of vegetables, feta cheese and fresh grilled fish. Lately, we started drinking coffee with butter. We don’t drink milk and for snacking we love to do nuts with greek honey. Of course we always make exceptions because we have the children around. We don’t want them to feel like we aren’t part of the family, so when we want, we have pizza or cake, but its rare that that happens.
As far as exercise, I am a member of a very well known gym here in London, but I find it is so difficult for me to make time. I have special workout tapes at home by Amy Dixson, and I find that’s the only way for me to stick to the routine, so I do 3x a week for 40 minutes at my own schedule usually after my sons go to school. If I have to go to a gym, it’s impossible to fit into my schedule
How to age gracefully?
It’s definitely not any medical development. It’s kindness: being kind, having a positive attitude, smiling and being yourself. To me this is the secret. It’s not procedures you’ve done or how well you take care of yourself. It has to come from within. People can see the radiance if you are happy and if you are positive.”
-as told to BOND EN AVANT
Image source: 111Skin