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Dave Petrillo of Perfect Image: “Why it’s so important to listen to your audience”

Listen to your audience. When I first started, I only focused on what I thought they needed. I wish I would have interacted with them more from the beginning. You learn so much from your customers. After all, they are the ones who are buying from you. Ihad the please of interviewing David Petrillo. Growing […]

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Listen to your audience. When I first started, I only focused on what I thought they needed. I wish I would have interacted with them more from the beginning. You learn so much from your customers. After all, they are the ones who are buying from you.


Ihad the please of interviewing David Petrillo. Growing up, David didn’t initially have the drive he has today. What started as “what can I do, just to graduate” quickly turned into passion and long-standing journey. Towards the end of his college years he thought he may head into pharmaceuticals, but after thinking through his greatest struggle — his skin — he figured out his “why.” David wanted to help give people the confidence to take control of their skin’s concerns and let them live their lives to their full potential. In 2006, Perfect Image was born.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

The story begins in a familiar place — I was looking for a change. I struggled with acne from a young age, in my teens right into young adulthood. The constant trial and error process was so frustrating. Between limited access to affordable, professional-strength products and disappointing over- the-counter options, product after product failed to deliver. Fast forward some years later, I graduated from college with a chemistry degree and was looking for employment. As a pre-employment assignment, I was asked to research non-surgical cosmetic procedures. During my research, I was introduced to the world of chemical peels and their clarifying skin benefits. Curious as to why I hadn’t heard of this option before, I started looking into peels and couldn’t help doing some experimenting of my own. I began to create various types of peels that were professional grade and could be applied at home. I then recognized that with the right products, education, and support, people could be doing their own at-home peels, and experiencing real results (without the hefty price tag!). Having faced the limitations of the skincare industry myself, I wanted to share this as an option for people who struggled with skin concerns. In 2007, Perfect Image was born.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

I initially struggled while working out of my parents’ house in Auburn CA. Having no money, I borrowed $600 from my mom to get started and had to be very careful about every dollar that was spent. With this, I needed to create a product that truly worked and have people coming back again or recommending the product, as I did not have extra money to put towards marketing. Only having $250 to spend for a website made it very difficult and selecting which products to start off with was challenging. One of the most difficult parts was really understanding everything about the ingredients, concentrations, instructions, and how to create an effective, yet safe product for people to use. Over a decade later, I hope to help as many people as possible build confidence in themselves who struggles from the anxieties of skin concerns.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

There have been many difficult times where I wanted to give up. One of the drivers and motivating factors that kept me going was understanding the struggle that people go through when they deal with skin concerns. I knew from my personal experiences as a child with acne and scarring, it holds you back from doing the normal, everyday things. Those with skin concerns lack self-confidence and have a fear of being seen in public and what others might say or think about their skin. It was very embarrassing as a child to be made fun of in front of other people. I know millions of other people also struggle with this, and it was enough fuel me to push through the dark and difficult times.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started I didn’t have the money for a professional photographer, so I had to get creative with marketing assets. My mom, being the creative and caring person she is, proceeded to pitch me ideas, one being that I could DIY a big red bow-tie for the background or lay the products on a white fur rug. I eventually realized that taking advice from mom may not have been the best idea.

If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self regarding life lessons, things you would like him to know, what would they be and why?

For a period of time, I had set up Perfect Image to be on auto pilot, and mostly self-run. I was working only 1 hour per day or less. Many things were outsourced to save time and resources. Although this was convenient, I later realized this was a fast paced industry, and I had to fully dedicate myself to growing the brand. We easily fell behind and it took much longer to regain that momentum we had out the gate, and by then new competitors surfaced. After fully committing to put in endless hours of work, I pooled the thoughts of our existing audience to figure out what they might be missing from our products. Through this we were able to come up with a concept that provided a better, more effective service for those struggling with skin concerns.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Perfect Image breaks the mold. We go against the traditional way of thinking or doing things. Before Perfect Image, a chemical peel was a treatment only to be done in a Doctor’s office, spa or clinic, and performed by a professional. Although Perfect Image does not disagree with this method, we believe that people have the power to take control of their own skin, and that quality results should be accessible and affordable to everyone. The Perfect Image brand is not only concerned with changing your skin but also your state, meaning we also believe everyone deserves to live a life free from the anxieties and worries caused by an outward appearance. To this we challenge any system that limits a person’s ability to experience this form of freedom.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Focus on why your company or brand exists, and what good it’s doing for other people or problem its solving in the world, because at the end of the day and what matters most is, generosity and kindness is more fulfilling than greed and selfishness. Put yourself on the receiving end of your product or service and understand why, what you provide is important for others. For us, knowing that people’s confidence is being lifted, their lifestyles are improved, they have more freedom to live a worry-free life, and feel more comfortable in their own skin, is more than enough to keep us going.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Definitely my mom, she’s my hero. While away for school, working three jobs and struggling to keep bills paid — mom never let me hit the bottom, she always helped me when she could. She continued to work a job that took her 2 hours to drive to one way, just to have the means to help her kids get by. She will be taken care of 10 fold for the rest of her life.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

This is Perfect Image’s very mission — giving people the confidence they need and deserve is at the core of what we do. We want people to have the freedom to live their life without the anxieties of skin concerns.

Recently Perfect Image started a campaign called Heart4Heroes. I teamed up with a childhood friend who works as a hospital executive in Colorado and together, we partnered with one of the largest distributors of medical supplies, named ProjectC.U.R.E.. Through this we secure donations in order to supply medical PPEs for small and rural hospitals who are struggling and in desperate need. Additionally, we raise money through these efforts to also aid the National Rural Hospital Association, Angel Flight, Civil Air patrol, who uses the efforts of volunteer pilots to deliver medical supplies in rural or difficult to reach areas.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

1) Listen to your audience. When I first started, I only focused on what I thought they needed. I wish I would have interacted with them more from the beginning. You learn so much from your customers. After all, they are the ones who are buying from you.

2) Have compassion. Caring about the quality of life of others becomes more important than solely focusing on self and success. You’re able to do more for customers and our community starting off this way.

3) Don’t get comfortable. We got comfortable and did not always focus on growth. It was more of maintaining in the market, and that’s when we lost ground and fell back. Before we knew it, the market was becoming saturated and competitors were catching up.

4) Do lots of research, and continue to do research even after you launch. Know the laws and regulations for federal and state.

5) Don’t try and do everything yourself. For the longest time we tried to do everything ourselves, and it’s like learning a new language. It’s good to have knowledge in every aspect of the business for emergencies, but sometimes you need experts who have a focus in a certain area such as within marketing and creative — google analytics, shopping ads, PPC ads, digital marketing, visual creative designer, photography, cinematography, media, the list goes one. We have since built out a creative team but we still need the help of experts in some of these fields.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement. that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

1) Treating each person with value. I think if we look at every person as having worth and value, the world would be in a far better place. We would all help each other with our struggles in life, and it would create a better balance. It sometimes seems everyone is living in their own bubble. Treating others as family or our own takes a lot of humility, but it’s very powerful and life changing.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Yes they can follow us @perfectimagepeel and @drpetrillo on Instagram.

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