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Exclusive Interview with VENeffect Founders Cecil and Rebecca Booth

VENeffect was founded by two sisters, Cecil Booth a beauty industry veteran and Rebecca Booth, M.D. a gynaecologist specialising in hormonal vitality. 

I think some of these changes have been for the best but there have certainly been many business challenges, however overcoming these challenges is what defines you as a businessperson, we learn and get better every time.

The sisters combined their experience both professionally and as women to create a line of skin care to help offset changes in skin that are hormonally driven throughout a woman’s lifetime.  Their plant-based phytoestrogen technology helps mimic the luminosity of skin at peak hormonal vitality – what the sister’s call the “Venus Effect” thus their brand VENeffect.   

1. What inspired you to start VENeffect 

Cecil:  I was so inspired by the “inside scoop” my sister shared with me about the role of the female hormones and how they are designed to make us look and feel our best when we are at peak estrogen – which correlates with peak fertility.  We wanted to share that insight with women and create solutions to help preserve and restore skin at peak hormonal vitality. 

Becca: What I shared with my sister is that Mother Nature has a recipe to help us look and feel our best right before ovulation.  Peaking estrogen helps skin elasticity and luminosity, and the key is to mimic that effect throughout the month and over our lifetime.   

2. What is the meaning behind the name VENeffect 

Cecil:  VENeffect is the brand name for the Venus Effect – the ideal vitality and glow a woman has at her hormonal peak.  While this peak is fleeting – in the month and wanes with age – we found a way to inspire skin with plant-based phytoestrogens.  

3. You’ve both had such incredibly successful individual careers, what was it like coming together and combining your experience to create VENeffect 

Rebecca:  It was a synergistic union of two skill sets and backgrounds.  Cecil’s understanding of marketing and what women need dovetailed with my scientific and clinical background.  I could talk to her about the physiology, and she could talk to me about how to solve the problem with a different model.   

Cecil: We never imagined we would have a business together, but we came together as sisters and women to share insights on hormonal variation and beauty.  They are so intertwined, and we wanted to share not just understanding, but we created a solution for skin care.   

We drew inspiration from all of the women we know, our friends, sisters, mother and now our daughters who were just young teens when we started and are now well into their twenties. We feel we can give the gift of understanding. 

4. As female founders, did you experience many setbacks when bringing your brand to life and how did you overcome these?  

Cecil: There were many obstacles, not the least of which was the “taboo” around talking about hormones, estrogen, and their effects as we age. We have found in the nine years since we launched that there is new openness to talk about these topics and share solutions that are scientifically backed and needed. 

Rebecca: There is so little understanding about estrogen that it is often vilified and yet it is actually the absence of hormonal support during PMS and menopause where we feel at our low point.  Sharing the right information and the inspiration is what keeps us going and overcomes barriers.   

 

5. Did you draw inspiration from certain people / elements when creating VENeffect 

Cecil: We drew inspiration from all of the women we know, our friends, sisters, mother and now our daughters who were just young teens when we started and are now well into their twenties.  We feel we can give the gift of understanding.  Paying it forward, so to speak.  

Rebecca:  I also draw inspiration from my patients, many of whom I have seen for more than twenty years. They have taught me so much about the need for recommendations on how to deal with the effect of hormonal variation on mood, metabolism, and our aesthetic.  

 

6. What would you say has been your biggest challenge to date – did the pandemic have ahuge impact on your business goals?  

Cecil: The pandemic has undoubtedly had a huge impact on our business and all businesses on a global basis. When you’re talking about skincare, probably about 80% of our sales were made in store, laying hands on a customer, talking to them face-to-face, this is just something that hasn’t been done for at least a year. Honestly, I think it will change for many years to come, yet women are still seeking that human interaction and certainly the information and what better time to lean into scientifically developed skincare than with the challenges of the pandemic. 

Our business was definitely challenged, we had to pivot and lean into more digital forms of communication, like what we are doing now, and we found that we could actually reach more people and it also crosses boarders so people that didn’t necessarily have access to walk into a Space NK store or to any kind of department store to get advice, can now access it digitally. I think some of these changes have been for the best but there have certainly been many business challenges, however overcoming these challenges is what defines you as a businessperson, we learn and get better every time.    

7. Who are your biggest female influences and why?  

Cecil: I’ve had the pleasure of many female influences in my lifetime; I would say if we are relating to right now my sister has been the biggest influence, during a conversation we were having whilst on vacation together was when the whole idea came about that we wanted to share with other women. Her knowledge and understanding having been a gynaecologist for 30 years and seeing women and wellness primarily, she has so much information she can share, not just medically but also as a woman. That has been a huge influence on me and has helped me not just in business but in life, so I’d say she’s my biggest influence right now.   

Becca: I have many female influences in an all-female practice, with all female partners and administrator staff and of course my patients which are all female. Through the years I have to say my patients have inspired me, I’ve seen them go through so many stages and even now I take care of young women that I myself delivered and I’m in awe of the way they have become so independent and so strong, and many of my patients who’ve aged gracefully and beautifully have inspired me. But I am also inspired by our mother, Cecil and I of course share the same mother and our grandmother, our grandmother was one of the most hardworking women I’ve ever known, and I think about her out on the farm and how she worked so hard to support her family. As well as our mother who was determined to raise independent children, especially the women. It’ really remarkable how many women in my life have kept me motivated and as far as the aesthetic goes, I always like to say the Hepburn women, Audrey and Catherine both inspired me and their aesthetics are both very different but both highly inspiring, t’s wonderful to have so many women that are heroines for us and for our brand.  

 

8. If you had one solid piece of advice for current and upcoming female entrepreneurs, what would it be?  

Cecil: My biggest advice for any women entering or starting a new business is be prepared to get knocked down a few times and just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from that experience. I think this is true for any entrepreneur, male or female but I do think women have a little bit more to overcome as there are fewer of us in the leadership roles of the companies, we are more than half the population, we have so much to share, so much to give and I would say tenacity is the number one piece of advice.  

Becca: Some of the best advice I was given during our endeavour was that if a business fails it’s usually because they don’t have enough money or don’t have enough time. Truly I would say that time is money, while you can’t buy time my best further advice would be build a team who can help augment your time and find different talents within the team that help create a synergy that will extend your talents beyond your own specific interests and help accomplish more rapidly the goals that you have. As far as the money, just keep working on it.  

 

9. What has been your pinch me moment throughout your brand journey?  

Cecil: There have been many moments where I wanted to pinch myself. I think about what we have been able to accomplish with VENeffect and one of those moments was when I first saw it in a store, this is something we had worked on for many years and I’m a woman shopper myself so to actually see the fruits of your labour sitting there in a store, with knowledgeable sales staff willing to explain to a customer why she should understand and feel the need for this type of product was definitely one of the first pinch me moments.  

Becca: My true pinch me moment with our brand journey was when I had received a big cardboard box, I decided to go ahead and open it thinking I knew what it was, but it was actually several copies of the book that we had launched to launch the idea behind the products. I had worked so hard with so many late nights, so it gave me chills to see the book and at that moment I thought if nothing else happens this moment is worth it, all alone in my kitchen with that box. 

 

9a. Rebecca, tell us a little bit about what motivated you to write a book and why that was really needed in the world? 

Becca: When Cecil and I were talking at the beginning of the project I realised that there was so much information that I wanted to tell her, and I again realised I have very little time to explain my patients what I’ve learned and many OGBYN have learned about the effects of hormones on the mind, body and spirit and certainly the aesthetic. She encouraged me to write a book and I was excited to do it, and once we put together the proposal the idea was really well received in New York City amongst the publishing houses, so we knew we were onto something. The idea was to explain what I call the Venus week which is a metaphor for the height of hormonal optimisation for women, it corresponds with the fertile window and that’s by no accident, mother nature designs to manipulate the feminine aesthetic a bit. But it goes beyond that because it effects mind, body and spirit, good metabolism and health so to be able to put that together and then see it launched was really a great gift for us as a team.   

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