Shinji Yamasaki: “Know your supply, know your demand”

I’m not sure if I’m quite an expert, but I do believe that beauty comes from within, and that each person’s “beauty” is unique. I think an integral part of feeling beautiful is having a healthy level of self esteem, and being yourself. If you feel good in your skin, you will naturally give off […]

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I’m not sure if I’m quite an expert, but I do believe that beauty comes from within, and that each person’s “beauty” is unique. I think an integral part of feeling beautiful is having a healthy level of self esteem, and being yourself. If you feel good in your skin, you will naturally give off your own beauty. I see skincare as something that helps you take care of yourself, in order to be yourself. Not to change your skin to fit into a determined set of criteria.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Shinji Yamasaki, Founder and CEO of RE:ERTH.

Born and raised in Tokyo, Shinji completed his Degree in Boston, then received his Masters in London. After working in top capital cities like New York, London, and Tokyo in finance, insurance, and medical devices, he joined his family business, which owns several distributorships for international health and beauty brands. Using ingredients backed by studies from reputable universities like Kindai University and Oxford University, he and his team developed RE:ERTH — a nature-derived, efficacious, and minimalistic skincare brand for healthy, mochi-skin. RE:ERTH combines the Japanese zen way of life with cutting-edge technology, and features proprietary ingredients including Japanese White Turmeric, which grows only on the brand’s farms in the Kyushu region of Japan.

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?

After college, I bounced around between the finance, insurance, and healthcare/medical device industries, but nothing really stuck. Finally due to different circumstances, I thought I’d try the family business in the beauty industry and I haven’t looked back since! While joining a family business has its own unique intricacies, I found the transition into the industry very smooth. It occurred to me that even though I officially entered into the business as an adult, I grew up in the industry. Since it was a family business, a lot of the conversations around the house and during extended family gatherings revolved around work. My family also took me to business meetings and work engagements (dinners, events, etc.), where I learned more about the field.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I’m responsible for business development in family business, which includes finding new products or brands to represent in Japan. During the last 15 minutes on the very last day of my first beauty convention that I attended alone, about 8 or 9 years ago, I stopped by a booth that is now one of the biggest and most successful brands we represent. That was definitely a big lesson for me. It taught me not to quit and to go all the way to the very end of an opportunity, because you never know when things will happen.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

To be absolutely frank, I don’t think I’ve hit my tipping point yet. I believe in consistency and continuously working hard, no matter how trivial the task. I believe all your hard work adds up, and leads you to being more successful.

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

You are absolutely right. I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as “self made.” There is always somebody somewhere that helped you out, took a chance on you at some point, or invested in you. For me, throughout my career, I have definitely learned a lot from each and every boss, as well as many of the colleagues that I’ve worked with, and I am very grateful to each of them. However, if I had to choose the most influential people in my life and that I am most grateful for, it would without a doubt be my parents, and of course particularly in regards to my career, my father.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?

At RE:ERTH we have a very different approach to skincare. In our philosophy, we believe that healthy skin is beautiful skin. Therefore all of our products revolve around that core belief. Our products are formulated and designed to work together with your skin, in order to help it become healthier. In order to do so, we use many different nature-derived ingredients, particularly our patented Japanese White and Japanese Spring Turmerics, and combined them with cutting edge cosmetic science. By addressing skin health without supplementing deficiencies, and instead stimulating the skin’s own functions, we are able to have a more holistic effect. This means that our products can be used by everybody, no matter their skin type, ethnicity, or age, and our products deliver long term improvement to your skin.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?

I love the fact that the industry is constantly changing. There are always new trends and consumer preferences, which allows us to explore new niches and facets of the market. Additionally, there are always new ingredients and technologies being developed, some of which I believe are really astounding. Finally, I love that it’s no longer just a “big boys game.” Of course, the giants in the industry are prominent, however with the change in consumer preference and behaviors, we are starting to see smaller companies thrive, many of whom have a very unique set of assets, which makes them all different from each other.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?

My three concerns would be that the industry is heavily driven by marketing, that there is an abundance of misinformation and “fear tactics” used in marketing and advertising, and that the product life cycles can be incredibly short.

Three ways that I would like to improve the industry is by creating a stronger fact-checking and information dissemination system. Additionally, I would like to increase consumer awareness and knowledge, and decrease the marketing and advertising bandwagon, particularly for baseless claims.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

I’m not sure if I’m quite an expert, but I do believe that beauty comes from within, and that each person’s “beauty” is unique. I think an integral part of feeling beautiful is having a healthy level of self esteem, and being yourself. If you feel good in your skin, you will naturally give off your own beauty. I see skincare as something that helps you take care of yourself, in order to be yourself. Not to change your skin to fit into a determined set of criteria.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.

1. Know your supply, know your demand. Who are your customers, and what are you providing them? It’s not only important to understand the basics of “who” your customers are, (demographics, etc.), but also to know who they are for instance, what is their day to day like? what are their concerns?, etc. Additionally, it is equally as important to consider who your suppliers are, their histories and their strengths and weaknesses as well as where your ingredients, packaging, manufacturing, etc. are coming from.

2. Who are you? There are a lot of brands out there, and even more products. It’s important to know who you are, who you want to be, and what you want to grow into with your products and brand. It’s easy to be swayed by trends and hype. It’s not always easy to be true to yourself.

3. Always be Aware and Willing to Learn. While keeping in mind the above, it’s important to note that this industry is constantly changing. Thats something that’s exciting about being in this industry. It is important to always be on the lookout for new ideas, new ingredients, and new technologies. Not everything will be in line with your products/brand, but you never know when something might be perfect for it.

4. Make good, unique products. The industry is constantly changing and adding competitors. Know what your edge is and what your unique selling points are, and bring that to the forefront. Make high quality products that you are proud of offering, and that customers can be proud of using.

5. Build a good team and have a strong company culture. Build a team that believes in your products/brand as much as you do. Create an environment that is supportive, open, and a joy to be a part of. It won’t be sunny everyday, but it is how you get through the storm as a team that makes the biggest difference. Once you have a positive environment as a team, expand that out and show that energy to your customers.

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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I love nature. Plants, animals, the ocean, mountains, deserts — all of it. I feel it is increasingly more important to do our part to make the environment better. I find that the skincare industry is in a very difficult position when it comes to being environmentally friendly due to having to balance both consumer demands and expectations as well as production and manufacturing requirements (minimum order quantities, minimal batch sizes, product safety, etc.). As a first step in doing our part in helping the environment, in Singapore we have partnered with a local recycling company and have launched a recycling initiative. We are accepting all plastic skincare containers for recycling. While this is still currently only possible in Singapore, we are actively trying to seek how to expand it into the US as well.

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

I was taught to always look your best and always be presentable. While that may sound outdated, I think it is important when applied in the right context. That doesn’t mean you should show up in a tuxedo to your company camping trip, but rather I mean whatever you do in life do it fully and be fully present. For instance, if it is a team exercise, be part of the team or if you’re going into an interview, make an effort to make a positive first impression. I think this philosophy is relevant to all aspects of life. I travel a lot for my job, which I really love to do because I get the chance to meet new people all the time, whether it is at a convention, at the gym or while I’m doing an interview. By being present in all activities I take part in, I’m always growing personally and professionally.

How can our readers follow you online?

Please visit RE:ERTH at and follow us @re.erth and @shinjifyamasaki.

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