Dr. James Beckman: “Encouraging people.”

If I were to somehow start a movement it would have to involve: Encouraging every person of any age or station in life to wake up every morning and think about who and how they might bless someone else, even a stranger! I believe the world would then see an amazing change take place. I […]

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If I were to somehow start a movement it would have to involve: Encouraging every person of any age or station in life to wake up every morning and think about who and how they might bless someone else, even a stranger! I believe the world would then see an amazing change take place.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. James (Jim) Beckman.

Board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon and Theraderm® Clinical Skin Care Founder/CEO, Dr. James (Jim) Beckman, began his medical career in 1977. With a medical degree from the University of Arkansas in hand and seven additional years of surgical training, Dr. Beckman set up his private plastic surgery practice in state, where he continued to work for the next twenty years.

Dr. Beckman didn’t envision starting a skin care company over two decades ago. He set out to develop products not available at the time to improve the overall skin health and appearance of his own patients. While treating severely burned patients, Dr. Beckman was determined to improve their quality of life by finding solutions for restoring full function and mobility to skin-grafted hands. This led to the development of Beckman’s Skin Care Cream.

The steps to restoring aging skin are to clean and gently remove damaged skin elements or cells, repair the skin, restore skin to its healthiest condition and protect skin from damage.

In 1996, the full Theraderm skin renewal system was completed. Theraderm continues to innovate and add new breakthrough products to the line.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

The life/work goal of a plastic surgeon has always been to restore full function and appearance to patients after injury or damage from disease or trauma. Time teaches that the skin is not simply the “painted surface” of the body… it is perhaps the most functional part of one’s life and self-esteem.

Over years of treating severely burned patients, I realized my passion of developing a superior cream to restore mobility, suppleness, and softness to skin grafted hands — hands that could bend and grasp objects necessary for someone to have better quality of life.

My college degree in chemistry and passion for knowing the details of skin anatomy, physiology, and function, and hundreds of hours researching in the library led me to laboratory formulations and clinical testing to find the “ultimate skin restoration cream.”

Several years later, five women that all had excellent results in eliminating sagging skin from facelifts asked a familiar question: “What can erase fine lines, wrinkles, and make skin pigment even after a facelift removes sagging?” In the quest for a product that would correct these issues, I discovered a unique secret ingredient that not only enhanced moisturizer penetration, but also had a side effect of erasing fine wrinkles and restoring youthful coloration to aging facial skin!

I can remember the spring day in 1988 when the clear vision came. The vision was to create a simplified daily skin care system of products that would restore and rejuvenate aging facial skin to a beautiful, younger look, as well as make skin soft and pliable again. Each component of the system would have a special role in the system and yet be a fully “stand-alone” product.

The result was the Theraderm Skin Health System that restores sun-damaged or aged skin and produces youthful, natural beauty. Taking only minutes per day, women (or men) of any age or ethnicity, and of any skin type could now incorporate products into their beauty routine specifically focused on skin health. Other plastic surgeons heard about the products, so I began to provide these incredible new products to their patients as well. It was a natural progression to start a company to make sure they could reach the masses.

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

With a very busy solo practice of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the time needed to start another “company” meant long hours at night. Then there was a need to hire three additional persons in my practice office to manage daily details of the skincare products addition. I developed the exact formulations and specific ingredients, then I contracted manufacturing out to professional manufacturers. We started with only two products but marketing to the entire plastic surgery community required exhibit displays at national plastic surgery meetings. Getting larger quantities of product packaged lowered unit cost, but increased need for cash as we have never borrowed money. Paying for all of the additional expenses had to come from my practice income.

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

There were NO OTHER medical-grade skin care products available for patients and I knew our formulations enhanced quality of life for my patients so we just persevered!

So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Because we did not have any outside sales reps, we marketed only to Plastic Surgeons whom I was in contact with. We had a great response from patients and other plastic surgeons that heard about us called us to obtain products. 80% of people who have used Theraderm skincare for 12 weeks are still using our products 15 and 20 years later. The result experienced is the key to repeat sales and long-standing customers for any product.

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?

We really did not make any serious mistakes as we prepared well, advanced slowly, gave superior customer service, and always gave customers the benefit of any doubt with an unconditional guarantee. I do remember one lady from 15 or so years ago that returned a moisturizer product jar with nearly no product inside. She claimed that the product just did not work for her and could we replace the same product. We code the date of filling on every product jar. This lady sent had been filled three years earlier. I simply sent her a new jar of the same product and later received a very nice thank you letter from her. She explained that she was an elderly widow and on a limited budget for food and rent. We laughed and felt glad that we were able to truly help another person!

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

What differentiates us is that all of our products are formulated by me, and as a physician, I have personally seen every kind of trauma and skin problem imaginable. We only formulate products focused on getting a good improvement in skin problems. We look first at what is the cause of the disease or problem. Then we look at what ingredients rectify or solve the problem. We combine different products with other products rather than make one mega product that claims to do everything. This allows us to provide very specific focus on getting the best result from the combination. Similar to preparing an excellent meal with 3–4 exceptional dishes that complement each of the others.

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

Always focus on serving other’s needs, set aside time to enjoy life with your children before they grow up, and avoid any debt if possible. I live by the phrase ‘consider others as more important than yourself,’ and consider this sage advice for anyone in the industry.

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?

I grew up on a dairy farm with six sisters and my dad encouraged all of us to go to college. For me, that led to a degree in biochemistry, then medical school, followed by a surgical residency. There was no plastic surgeon at our medical school, but I elected to spend a three-month rotation at a private hospital with a master plastic surgeon. Seeing the beautiful results after restoration of birth defects, burn scars, and other deformities from his surgeries gave me a vision of what could be possible and made me want to do the same. This surgeon and I had the same birthday so yearly celebrations together led to a very close personal love for both him and the specialty!

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

I have been able to go to numerous countries including Iran, India, and Russia on many medical mission trips to repair cleft lips, burn scars and numerous other reconstructions. This is a pleasure of mine to be able to give back to others through service.

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

I don’t have a person that told me five specific things. My father instilled many business principles in me as I grew up. He died suddenly in the summer after my freshman year in medical school, leaving behind a business with 56 employees that I needed to manage for a year, and a mother and six sisters to care for, so I took a year off from med school. I luckily had good advisors as I ran the company and quickly learned about all aspects of business, which helped prepare me for running my own future practice and business.

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.

If I were to somehow start a movement it would have to involve: Encouraging every person of any age or station in life to wake up every morning and think about who and how they might bless someone else, even a stranger! I believe the world would then see an amazing change take place.

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