Dr. Mandy Davila of Good Skin Club: “Perfectionism is often seen as a value when in reality it is a limitation”

If you wait until it’s perfect, you’ll never launch. Perfectionism is often seen as a value when in reality it is a limitation. If you don’t feel a little apprehensive –or even embarrassed– about your first product then you’re launching it too late. As for me, I am a recovering perfectionist. Before launching the company, […]

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If you wait until it’s perfect, you’ll never launch. Perfectionism is often seen as a value when in reality it is a limitation. If you don’t feel a little apprehensive –or even embarrassed– about your first product then you’re launching it too late. As for me, I am a recovering perfectionist. Before launching the company, I redesigned the website in its entirety, four times. In my mind it wasn’t perfect enough to launch, it wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. Seeking perfection was preventing me from moving forward. It’s a vicious tendency that stems from self-doubt and helps nobody. We need to focus on progress, not perfection.

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Mandy Davila.

Dr. Mandy Davila is the founder of Good Skin Club, a digitally-native clean skincare & wellness company based in Los Angeles, CA. Originally from Costa Rica, with medical and artistic backgrounds, she is both a dental surgeon and a fashion designer. As a beauty entrepreneur, she brings together nature, science and education to build a better world. Her goal is to help people thrive in their skincare journey and empower them with products that transform their skin and health for the better.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Of course! I am from Costa Rica, a small country in Central America where the motto is “Pura Vida” or pure life. It’s a beautiful place that has no army, the people are kind and the coffee is superb. It also holds close to 5% of the world’s biodiversity in an area smaller than Lake Michigan!

I grew up in a loving household with hardworking parents and a sweet younger brother. As a kid, I remember being a bit introverted and always doing something creative. Especially painting, singing, and taking photographs. In my dreams, I wanted to be a singer or “the person who names the colors for Crayola” as I would tell my mom. I just knew I loved art and creating! Fast forward to high school — which I’ll admit was not my favorite time in life (teens can be very scary creatures). I felt constant pressure to fit in, but creativity was always there for me without any judgment. So, I taught myself Adobe Illustrator and started doing freelance graphic design. Before senior year and right at the time when I pondered what to study at university, my life changed forever. My dad, an avid cyclist, lost his life in a terrible accident. Being the eldest, I felt it was up to me to carry the torch and keep the flame alive. This belief led me to put aside my creative dreams and pursue dental school. That way I could follow in his footsteps and honor his legacy.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I love this quote by Anaïs Nin, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Following your dreams feels vulnerable and risky but anything worth pursuing feels that way. First, we have to be clear in our intention to keep moving forward despite obstacles and doubt. Then we add hefty doses of courage to scare fear away. I see fear as misplaced excitement that needs reframing to become the fuel that pushes us forward. Ultimately, to succeed is to be brave, resilient, and resolute in never giving up.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Powerful Purpose of Introverts by Holley Gerth. I recently read this book and it transformed the way I see myself and how I interact with the world around me. I used to believe that I needed to act more like extroverts to thrive, lead, and make a difference in this world. This book turned that belief upside down.

It’s a fantastic tool that helps you discover your potential and how to harness it. I love that it dives deep into brain science, psychology, relationships, and spirituality. It taught me to embrace what I saw as weaknesses and relabel them as strengths. Most importantly, it showed me that, through meaningful connections and quiet confidence, we can cultivate intentional, soul-filling influence and change the world for the better. One person at a time.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

My career experience is a little bit of a wild story! After working as an oral surgeon, I realized I wanted to do more. So, I left my medical life behind, moved to Los Angeles, and changed career paths into design. I graduated from school with a Fashion Design and Merchandising degree and tried to find my way in the creative industry. Soon thereafter, I found myself freelancing. I was doing branding work and designing websites for exciting startups and clients. I loved every minute of it!

It’s funny, I’ve always thought I’ve led parallel careers. One creative and the other scientific. Today I am thankful to say I’ve combined both worlds into my work with Good Skin Club. I have the wonderful task of designing beautiful products for consumers. And I get to do research and development of effective ingredients and formulas. Aesthetics and science, that’s the secret sauce.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

Right at the beginning of this year, I had planned to go on an all-out brick and mortar operation to launch a store. I rented out office space for my new company and was planning pop-up events for the launch of the brand. Then the world stopped when COVID hit. Between the lockdown, quarantine, and social distancing, my plans didn’t make sense anymore and it was time to go back to the drawing board.

It was time for a new strategy. I reshuffled contracts, canceled plans of live events, and moved everything online. Despite the chaos of a global pandemic, the new strategy worked! I successfully bootstrapped and launched a digitally-native clean beauty and wellness company. Embracing the new way of life post-COVID was a pivotal moment.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

It was realizing that technology was not just a part of our life, it was about to become our life-line. Every aspect of life was about to be lived online. Everything, from work to education, meals, and gatherings, especially shopping, done through screens. As for my company, being digital allows us to reach people where they are physically and emotionally.

My goal is to provide products that empower consumers in their wellness journey. Now more than ever, we have to look out for each other while we navigate this together.

How are things going with this new initiative?

Good! Breaking through the noise online is challenging. But knowing that through my products, I can improve someone’s health keeps me going!

Additionally, self-care has become a mainstay and skincare is a big component of it. I see it as a way for people to invest time in their well-being and mental health during these crazy times.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My mom, first and foremost. She is my hero and the biggest example of courage. She is a wonderful woman who taught me strength, determination, and perseverance from a very young age. Her resourcefulness and unwillingness to take no for an answer inspire me every day. I could easily write an essay just on my love and appreciation for her.

I also have to thank my best friend, biggest fan, and chief encouragement officer Alex — my husband. His unwavering optimism, kind heart, and generosity are unlike anything I’ve seen before. He believes in the greatness of people even before they believe in themselves. Then he uplifts you and cheers you on until you reach it. It’s really special.

He’s inspired me to chase my dreams fearlessly, to get up when I fall, and to never give up. I also love discussing ideas with him because his dreams are so big it’s scary, and I find that exhilarating.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

Alex and I moved from Los Angeles to the East Coast and back. I was ready to launch the company when the building in which we had our office closed because of COVID. This was before anybody knew what was in store or how long we would be dealing with the pandemic.

We had to make the tough decision to close up the office and push back the launch. We packed up our lives and moved across the country to quarantine with his family. (My family sheltered in place in Costa Rica). This meant that we had to not only start working from home but start working from home across the country.

Let me tell you, flying at the beginning of the pandemic with two cats and our lives packed in a couple of suitcases was no easy feat. It was right after this that I launched the company.

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

  1. If you wait until it’s perfect, you’ll never launch. Perfectionism is often seen as a value when in reality it is a limitation. If you don’t feel a little apprehensive –or even embarrassed– about your first product then you’re launching it too late. As for me, I am a recovering perfectionist. Before launching the company, I redesigned the website in its entirety, four times. In my mind it wasn’t perfect enough to launch, it wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. Seeking perfection was preventing me from moving forward. It’s a vicious tendency that stems from self-doubt and helps nobody. We need to focus on progress, not perfection.
  2. You can’t do it all on your own. You need to build a network of supportive people around you to succeed. There’s nothing more powerful than a community of individuals that each bring something different to the table. Your weaknesses are their strengths and together you balance and empower each other. Their success is your success and together there’s nothing you can’t do.
  3. Behind every overnight success, there are years of hard work. It’s easy to think people woke up one day with an idea and the next day with an empire. It’s easy because that’s what we see and read, but it couldn’t be further away from the truth. Building something meaningful and that will endure takes time, lots of it. To succeed, you need hard work, adaptability, and resilience. Every single day. For some this journey is a little shorter, for others it takes more time. Avoid comparing your journey to someone else’s and keep showing up. It’ll pay off. Remember, the day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.
  4. Have faith. Have faith in yourself, faith in your vision, faith in the future, faith. Stay optimistic through the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. Believe that the right things will happen to you. Mistakes and obstacles are building your character and preparing you for something greater. The same way silver is refined through fire, you are on a journey of improvement. Never stop learning and trust that you’ll come out smarter, wiser, better.
  5. Celebrate even the smallest wins. A big part of what keeps me moving forward is turning every small win into the momentum to propel me to the next level. Added up, all your small wins turn into something massive and magical. That’s the process and you need to trust in the process. You don’t have to wait until you reach your biggest goals to celebrate, rejoice in every small victory. It fills up your tank, so you can keep making strides towards your goal.

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

I’ve designated a specific and limited amount of time for checking the news. I only read them for 15 minutes a day, no more. You have to limit your exposure to the anxiety and fear that run rampant in the news cycle. It’s good to stay informed but not at the expense of your mental health. Picking up a hobby or creative outlet to channel that anxious energy also helps! Write, read, doodle, knit, bake, build, whatever it may be, do something that gives your brain a break. It doesn’t have to be perfect or sophisticated, it has to be freeing.

I also enjoy meditating with Headspace. I try to do it every night before going to bed or whenever I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed. The app is very user-friendly and works wonders if you’re new to meditating. It’s easy, visually pleasing and very helpful in building this healthy habit.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would love to start a kindness movement; let’s call it the “One Kind” movement. Where people go out of their way to do one kind thing for a stranger every day. It can be small or big, but it has to become a regular practice. Now more than ever people are feeling lonely, depressed, and isolated. Many are in need and suffering. If we can all join in this movement and reach out to do something kind for another person, we can make a difference.

Saying thank you, putting more money in another car’s meter, ordering food for someone else, paying for someone’s groceries, any kind of selfless act that finds a need and fills it would work. Even the smallest acts of kindness can create a positive ripple effect and make a global impact. It’s amazing how much we can help ourselves just by helping others.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I would love to have lunch with Melinda Gates; she’s such an inspiration. I admire her tenacity, leadership, and drive. Equally remarkable is her proactive approach to solving global problems involving education, sanitation, and contraception. Not to mention her pursuit of equality and wellbeing for women globally. She’s incredible! It would be so rewarding to learn from her.

How can our readers follow you online?

The easiest way is to join The Club newsletter. They’re bite-sized reads that pack a punch when it comes to skin health, ingredient science, and how to make skin thrive. I also share fun facts and useful skincare tips on @higoodskinclub

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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