You might think a fondness for recreational cannabis products and desire to turn that passion into profit would be most people’s initial motivation for starting a CBD skin care company. But such is not the case for Karina Perez-Marconi, the founder of Antedotum. In this episode of ASCP Esty Talk, Karina shares how her decade-long struggle with hyperpigmentation and postpartum melasma eventually led her to discover CBD as a potent skin care ingredient that yielded real results and drastic improvement for her sensitive skin. And as a female minority business owner, conquering her personal skin challenges were not the only obstacles Karina had to overcome in developing and building her business. Tune in to this episode to hear Karina’s full skin care journey and how her determination to help others contributed to building the CBD skin care brand she owns today.
Want to experience Antedotum skin care products for yourself? ASCP Esty Talk listeners can email Karina at email@example.com for your free deluxe sample.
About our Sponsor: Antedotum
About our Sponsor: LAMPROBE
The popular and revolutionary LAMPROBE utilizes radio and high-frequency technology to treat a wide variety of Minor Skin Irregularities™ (MSI)—non-invasively—with instantaneous results. Common conditions treated by the LAMPROBE include: vascular MSI, such as cherry angiomas; dilated capillaries; sebaceous MSI, including cholesterol deposits and milia; and hyperkerantinized MSI, such as keratoses and skin tags.
The LAMPROBE uniquely assists modern, capable, and skilled skin care practitioners to do their work more effectively and with greater client and professional satisfaction. Setting standards in quality, education, and training, the LAMPROBE has become an essential tool enabling skin care practitioners around the world to offer new revenue-enhancing and highly in-demand services.
Antedotum founder Karina Perez Marconi was raised on the island of Puerto Rico (born to a Cuban dad and Puerto Rican mom), which meant consistent sun exposure from an early age—and cumulative sun damage for the Latina’s olive skin. For decades, Karina was plagued by dark spots, which were compounded by lingering, postpartum melasma after the birth of her daughter, Havana. Working for many years in beauty at Chanel’s New York headquarters deepened Karina’s understanding of premium skin care. But finding an antidote to her skin aliments remained elusive. When the family relocated to Aspen, Colorado, the unforgiving mountain climate of dry air, high altitude, wind, sun, and cold only intensified her skin conditions.
In Colorado, CBD was plentiful and prominent. Karina, curious about CBD’s purported curative abilities, started to sample an assortment of oils and balms. None of them smelled or looked great, but to her surprise, her skin started to transform. This unexpected discovery sent her down a rabbit hole of research into the alternative CBD skin care universe. What emerged was Antedotum. Having found the one ingredient that was multi-correctional in every way, Karina’s passion became sharing how CBD helped her achieve remarkable results in the look and feel of her skin.
0:00:00.2 Speaker 1: Antedotum is a dermatologist-and-esthetician-approved CBD skin care brand that is featured in some of the country's most prestigious day spas, and integrated by estheticians into their services, creating a must-have for their client's daily skin regimen. The company's proprietary formulas are 100% clean, plant-based, responsibly-sourced in the USA, never animal-tested, and features its own potent 500 mg full-spectrum CBD complex. As the only CBD skin care brand with a medical advisory board comprised of dermatologist-researchers, Antedotum is undertaking the ground-breaking efficacy of the Antedotum CBD Complex as a skin care ingredient. Antedotum products are multi-functional and multi-correctional, made for all skin types and sensitive skin. Use them alone or combine them into your routine.
0:00:47.2 S1: This podcast episode is sponsored by LAMPROBE. LAMPROBE is a popular and revolutionary device that enables skin care practitioners to successfully treat a wide variety of minor skin care regularities, such as clogged pores, cholesterol deposits, dilated capillaries, skin tags, and many more common skin conditions. LAMPROBE treatments are non-invasive and deliver immediate results. The LAMPROBE can expand your standard service menu with new and highly in-demand services. For more information, visit lamprobe.com, follow @lamprobe on social media, that's L-A-M-P-R-O-B-E, or call 877-760-2722.
0:01:36.8 Speaker 2: You are listening to ASCP Esty Talk, where we share insider tips, industry resources, and education for estheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk 'cause ASCP knows it's all about you.
0:01:52.0 Emily Morgan: Hello, everyone, and welcome to ASCP Esty Talk. I'm your host today, Emily Morgan. I'm a licensed esthetician in the States of both Massachusetts and Colorado. I'm also the Membership Program Manager here at Associated Skin Care Professionals. We share all kinds of great information on this podcast, from insider expert tips to resources on all the topics you cannot get enough of, from ingredient deep-dives to business tactics. And sometimes, we're just here for some real Esty Talk from one esthetician to another.
0:02:22.5 EM: And today, I am so excited to be joined by Karina Perez Marconi. Without giving too much away just yet, because we'll be getting into all of this in just a moment, Karina is the founder of Antedotum, which is a skin care line that draws on the proven power of 100% pure, organic CBD to transform your skin. Karina originally hails from Puerto Rico, where she was born and raised. And a decade-long struggle with her own skin is really the driving force behind Karina's passion for CBD and all of its multi-correctional properties. After discovering how CBD was able to help Karina achieve remarkable results in the look and feel of her skin, Antedotum was born, and they pride themselves on crafting the world's most effective topical CBD, and combining it with other scientifically-proven best-in-breed ingredients to deliver products that are clean, and safe, and plant-powered, and genuinely transformative. So please, everybody, welcome Karina to the ASCP Esty Podcast.
0:03:27.1 Karina Perez Marconi: Thank you so much for having me, Emily. I'm excited and honoured to be here with you, and can't wait to get into this.
0:03:33.0 EM: Oh, I am so excited. So Karina, you have such an interesting journey that led you to where you are today as the Founder of a CBD-focused skin care line, and I'm really, really excited to share it with all our listeners because it's just fascinating. So I guess we should probably just start from the beginning here. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your background and where you first started to gain an interest for skin care?
0:04:00.2 KM: So I grew up in Puerto Rico, which meant a lot of sun exposure at a very young age without sunscreen. So for me, one of the things that I have struggled with was dark spots, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and later on, melasma. I started my career and I really fell in love with beauty and this skin care industry when I worked with, for Chanel, Inc. That was such an incredible company to work for because they're just such an amazing company, and their storytelling, and their branding and really, just creating some great products. But for me, personally, I still wasn't finding a solution to my skin care issues. So it's something that I was still struggling with.
0:04:41.0 EM: Oh! And what an iconic brand to work for, right? Tell me a little bit more about your struggles, I guess, with hyperpigmentation as a result from sun exposure, as well as, I think you mentioned that you had melasma as a result of post-partum melasma. So tell me a little bit about exactly what you experienced, what your struggles were, things like what you tried, what just didn't seem to work. Tell us a little bit about that journey.
0:05:12.9 KM: My struggles were getting so much worse after I had children. Yeah, I really felt like I had this pregnancy mask, and here I was in this industry, and I wasn't able to leave my house without makeup. So I was trying to find ways to really cover and to even out my skin tone, and it was a huge challenge for me. I moved to Colorado seven years ago in particularly, Aspen, where we're at 7,908 elevation. And these extreme elements of extreme dryness, the wind, the sun exposure, they were really wreaking havoc on my skin. And like I mentioned, it got to the point where I couldn't leave my house without makeup and covering these. I tried lasers, I tried hydroquinone. I tried a lot of different products that were out there in the market, and everything was just making it worse. Or maybe it was a temporary relief, but the minute I was back in the sun and I'd stopped using that hydroquinone, that melasma and that hyperpigmentation had come back with a vengeance, and even worse.
0:06:10.0 KM: And another problem for me is that I have very sensitive skin. So a lot of the peels and those fruit acids were irritating my skin, and that actually makes melasma even worse. So I was really just, it was my biggest skin care concern, was that I... This gotten to the point where I had this mask and people were asking like, "What is that?" Or I just was, it was really affecting my confidence. Being in the industry and not being able to cure my skin care struggles was very frustrating and a big challenge for me.
0:06:40.1 EM: And I think that's something that honestly, a lot of other estheticians can identify with, too, is being seen and going to a person who should be like the skin care expert, the beauty expert. It's like there's this idea that it's like, "Oh, well, this person must have the most perfect skin because this is their realm, this is their expertise." But there are plenty of estheticians out there that are dealing with similar struggles, they're dealing with hyper and hypopigmentation. Acne struggles is huge, especially if you're a female esthetician, hormones are a thing you can't really escape from, and it's difficult.
0:07:18.8 KM: Absolutely.
0:07:20.9 EM: It's difficult to manage and to have that high expectation, even to have people going up to you and asking you, "Hey, what's going on with your face?" And you're like, "Oh, my gosh! How am I supposed to manage this? And I'm trying, but nothing is working." I think a lot of other esthetician skin care and beauty professionals have struggled with a very, very similar thing. So that being said, you tried tons of things, you tried different ingredients, different products, laser, tons of different devices to try to help you feel more confident and to bring more health to your skin. And I think that's kinda where CBD comes in. So what originally drew you to CBD as a potential skin care ingredient? And what were the results on your skin condition after you started using it?
0:08:09.8 KM: Yeah, so I moved to Colorado seven years ago, and CBD is just, was abundant and plentiful, and everybody was talking about all of the benefits. And all of my favourite go-to places, my yoga studio, my favourite health food store, the farmers' market, juice bars, there was CBD on everybody's shelves. And I just kept hearing these raving reviews, and so much hype about this all-natural, which I love, this plant-powered, all-natural ingredient, and how it was helping so many different concerns, and one of them being skin care. So it really piqued my interest, and I had this aha moment of, "How can I make it work for me and my struggles?" So that dehydrated skin, the uneven skin tone. Now, I have melasma after my pregnancy, and some of the dark spots from the early sun exposure that I'd had.
0:09:03.0 KM: And what I realised was just it was incredible, I could not believe it. It really toned down that hyperpigmentation, it calmed my melasma. It was hydrating, calming. And the more I learned is that CBD is this powerful antioxidant. It's a powerful anti-inflammatory. And it really helps to bring homeostasis, so it really helps to balance out and bring everything back in balance, including our skin. I was just really, really excited about this ingredient. However, the experience and the products on the market were not truly to my standard, and it wasn't a pleasurable experience using the products that were available on the market, for a number of different reasons.
0:09:49.7 EM: And well, I think we all know that Colorado was pretty much one of the first states to really have a big cannabis CBD boom in the country. It was kind of like Colorado and California, I would say, were the leading states that were kind of experimenting with things, seeing how far we could kinda push it as far as what we could retail, what we could use, especially for estheticians, what we could use on the skin and different percentages and all that crazy stuff. So I'm sure at that time, there were some good things, but I'm sure there was a lot of just bandwagon, doesn't do a whole lot. They're just getting in on the hype sort of stuff. How long, because this, this whole skin care struggle and journey that you have had, it had gone on for years and years and years. And now, when you first started using CBD, I mean how long was it, would you say, was it before you started seeing results in your skin?
0:10:47.8 KM: Great question. Immediately, it addressed some of, I would say within the first two weeks, it addressed some of those issues of the dehydration and just evening out my skin tone. But the longer that I used it, it's just compounding, I keep getting older, yet my skin feels healthier and more rejuvenated and my... I can leave my house without makeup, and I don't have. If I have a lot of sun exposure, I might have a little bit more pigment, but overall, it's very minimal, and I can leave my house confidently without makeup. And it was for the first time, I would say, after using CBD products for about three months, I was able to leave my house without makeup and feel confident, and then I have beautiful skin that glows and that I feel very comfortable with.
0:11:37.8 EM: And I think that's something really important, too, that estheticians. We try to beat it into our clients that it's like, "Listen, the longer that you stick with a routine with this product, you are gonna see results over time. It's not necessarily... You will have some immediate flash effects, maybe, but it's really the longer that you use it, the more great, intense, very beneficial results that you're gonna see." And so I love that you just said, "Yeah, I saw some immediate effects, but it was really over the course of three months that I saw the real benefit of using this," and I think that that's something that estheticians can now use and be like, "Hey, listen, trust me when I say three months or more, you're gonna see results. Just hang with it and come back and get your facials, and we can still keep using this." And so I love that you just said that.
0:12:31.9 EM: And now, what was it about your personal experience with CBD, CBD-infused skin care products that encouraged you to kind of take that next step? I mean there's not a lot of people about are just, they're just gonna use a cool product and they're like, "Wow! I wanna start a company now." They just kinda use it and they go with it and they love it, but I mean you took it to the next step. What encouraged you to really start your own CBD skin care line? That's an endeavor, and it shows that you must have been really, really passionate about it.
0:13:05.5 KM: Absolutely. It is one of the hardest things I've ever done, but one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things that I've ever done, but it truly stemmed out of a need. It was a solution to my skin care struggles. But again, that experience, the brands that were available just weren't, you know, they really weren't with my background. And Chanel, I just think that the entire experience is so important, our entire skin care ritual is so important. So I wanted to have a product that started from the very beginning with, of course, a solid, incredible formula, but also that the packaging and the scent and the experience was one that would make you excited for your skin care ritual that nighttime and those in your daily skin care ritual, which is so important.
0:13:50.0 KM: Another point is that there's a lot of great, clean products on the market, but most of them have, often, they have 23 active botanicals. And with my sensitive skin, one or two of those 23 active botanicals, and I couldn't pinpoint which one it was, was irritating my skin and making things worse. So my goal was truly to create this clean, simple, pure, and potent formulas that were non-irritating to the skin. And really, that's what clean beauty is all about, right? So I wanted to have these just really clean, simple formulas that were available to the most sensitive skin, but yet, very potent and powerful.
0:14:30.1 KM: But one of the other reasons was as I started to make these formulas and these formulations and I was sharing them with my friends, and other people in my community, the response was overwhelming. I mean I started getting phone calls, and if I'd go to the grocery store or you know, people are like, "Are you the CBD lady? Can I please pre-pay some of your formulas?" And I thought... So that was another moment where I realised, "This isn't only benefiting my skin or addressing my issues and my skin health conditions, but it's so many other women in my community were suffering from very similar skin conditions, and this was a remedy to them." And so I just felt like there is such an opportunity to create the best-in-class product, not only for myself, but it was really addressing a concern of so many other women and individuals in the market and in my community.
0:15:25.0 EM: Switching gears a little bit, because I find this very, very interesting. I am sure that there were several challenges that you overcame as a business owner, in general. Running a business, deciding to start your own business is not a simple, easy endeavor. It's not for everybody, definitely not for the faint of heart. But two things that make Antedotum really stand out in my eyes are that number one, Antedotum is a woman-owned company, you are the Founder of Antedotum. And two is the first CBD skin care company that is officially recognized as minority-owned, which both of those things, I just find really fascinating. So can you tell me a little bit about some of the challenges that you have faced as a female minority business owner. That's a lot of hats that you're wearing, lady. [chuckle]
0:16:18.0 KM: Yes, so the the first one is the CBD and cannabis industry is, was very male-dominated. It's a male-dominated industry, and I think that's how come the initial products that were on the market were really created by men for men, or what they thought women wanted. And I wanted to create products that were truly more female-focused, although we have a cult following of men who absolutely love our products, so they are unisex, but they really were created, that are female-focused, made for women by women. So that was so important to me. And so my dad is a Cuban immigrant, he, a Cuban immigrant from Cuba. And later, we moved to Puerto Rico because he wanted to be a missionary and give back. So something that's been ingrained since I was a child, and that's just part of my moral compass and my values, is to always just to give back and to be inclusive. So as we, as I founded this company, I wanted to make sure that everything we did, we truly celebrated diversity in all that we do. So we applied for the minority business, and we were so excited and proud to get that.
0:17:29.3 KM: And building a robust business, like you said, is difficult, but you also need that network and connections and mentors. And I think that's one thing that's been missing for me, is there aren't a lot of Latin, Latina women or Hispanic women founders that are out there that I can look up to, and that can provide guidance and their experience and mentorship. So I feel like I am a trendsetter in this industry, and I am just excited to really to pave that path and to make sure that I can be a mentor to other Latina and Hispanic women in this industry. And one of the ways that we're doing that is 5%, like our pledge and our commitment to giving is that 5% of all of our profits go to the Posse Foundation. And that's an incredible female-founded organisation that gives back and really helps the minority and diverse youth become tomorrow's leaders. So I just wanna continue that everything we do, that we are celebrating diversity and are truly inclusive and just make a difference.
0:18:33.3 EM: I love that. That must have been so difficult. I'm sure that there were just not a whole lot of resources or places that you could go where you were seeking mentorship or seeking just someone who might have walked a little bit in your shoes on the same path. And to not have that and to really just have to pave that way yourself, you're the one making all the mistakes, you're the one that's hitting all the road blocks and taking notes, but there's something very, very admirable to that because if you don't know anyone else that has done it, it doesn't mean that there's not other women out there who are just struggling and trying to do the same thing. And so the fact that you are kinda paving this way, you're learning the mistakes as you go so that you can help others not make them and learn how they can build their businesses better, that's just very amazing and inspiring. And I love that during this whole time, giving back to the community is just really, really important for you with 5% of these sales is just... That's amazing, I love that.
0:19:39.8 EM: This has been such a delight, getting to chat with you today, Karina. And thank you so much for sharing your story and being a little vulnerable with us, sharing some of your struggles, your obstacles, and how you've kinda gotten to where you are today. And just giving us a little bit of a deeper look behind the brand of Antedotum. I just, I'm so obsessed with your story and just how everything seems to have come into place for a reason. And you are here now for that reason, to help others, to give back with these amazing products and share your knowledge. Before we close out here, can we get where we can connect with you, and how some of our listeners can learn more about Antedotum?
0:20:23.0 KM: Absolutely. So just we have a website, www.antedotum.com. You can email me, any estheticians or anyone listening, we are happy, we have deluxe samples for anyone that would like to experience our products. You can email me at karina, K-A-R-I-N-A, @antedotum.com.
0:20:47.7 EM: Excellent! And just one last thing that I just thought of before we leave for reals, 'cause I also thought this was interesting, is the name, "Antedotum". I feel like some people are like, "What the heck is that? Where does that come from?" What is the meaning behind the name?
0:21:03.0 KM: So Antedotum means "a powerful antidote or remedy" in Latin. So yes, so we, and this is exactly what our potent and pure remedies became in the community, and that's where the name came from. So it's... Thank you.
0:21:18.4 EM: I love it! I just thought of that and I was like, "Oh, it's just such an interesting name," and we will make sure that we throw all of the links and contact information all within the show notes. So when you guys wanna check out Antedotum, see what they're all about, connect with Karina. All of that information is there for you, just check out the show notes here. Thank you again so much for joining me, Karina, and thank you, everyone for listening in. I hope you all have a wonderful day. And we will talk to you next time.
0:21:48.0 EM: Thank you so much for having me, it's been an honour.
0:21:51.3 S2: Thanks for joining us today. If you like what you hear and you want more, subscribe. If you wanna belong to the only all-inclusive Association for Estheticians that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights, and an opportunity to spotlight your sick skills, join at ascpskincare.com, only 259 per year for all this goodness. ASCP knows it's all about you.