We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Gronich and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My thought process was to take everything I learned about acne and apply it to a skincare line. I have studied biology, genetics, and immunology throughout my education and struggled with skin for over a decade, which led me to found San Diego Acne Clinic. After clearing thousands of people without toxic medications I knew we could distill my process into a skincare line, so a former patient and I co-founded CLEARSTEM Skincare. We focus on education and make skincare that is both anti-aging and anti-acne at the same time, with no toxins.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
CLEARSTEM is unlike any other skincare company! Our brand is focused on providing the education for people to find the root cause of their acne- we are the opposite of most skincare companies in that sense. What sets us apart is our founder story- both founders had horrible cystic acne and met at San Diego Acne Clinic. From there we went on to make a line whose formulas are all simultaneously anti-acne and anti-aging with no toxins (normally that’s three totally separate categories, but we are expert formulators and have 7 years of clinical experience so we were able to pull it off very well).
This journey was not easy; we went through every mistake in the book and scaled slowly because we did not raise investor money. Bootstrapping the business from scratch allowed us to retain full control of the quality of the products and the journey as a whole. Luckily we as cofounders are so committed to our purpose and the business that we made our own story and did it our way, reinvesting every dollar and even investing in our own co-founder therapist to help us be the best leaders we can be.
People told us that we needed to separate acne products from anti-aging products and we wholeheartedly proved them wrong. They didn’t get our mission, but we created this niche and are killing it with an astronomically high success rate so that makes us feel very good knowing that our mission was correct. Sometimes good concepts just don’t stick, so we are grateful the market wants what we make.
We are so excited to be interviewed on major podcasts this year, like the Him & Her Podcast from The Skinny Confidential , The Art of Being Well, and The Blonde Files. We love to spread education to people who are struggling because we love them and just want to help them regain their confidence and not have to rely on damaging pharmaceuticals for their skin. Podcasts are the best platform for us to do that so we are very excited for these big ones!
The biggest lessons learned along the way is to make sure you have something of high value that you can’t shut up about. The passion is key because you will tell your story 20X a week. NEVER stop, and reinvest every dollar you can. Also to sharpen your brain at all times by reading challenging material (I love The Economist) and also learning psychology. That’s how you communicate with your customers better and understand them without meeting them. Being a sponge is critical to being an entrepreneur!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oooh! Day of arrival: brunch at Cody’s in La Jolla Cove, dinner in Little Italy, The Comedy Store after. There will definitely be outdoor yoga somewhere, and if it’s summer, renting a boat or wave runners is always so fun. I still love going to Balboa Park too! Their museums are always thought provoking and get your mind going.
if someone has never been to San Diego I try to have sunset drinks at Mister A’s, because few things beat that. Cafe Gratitude is always a go-to for me, and another dinner spot I absolutely love is the La Valencia hotel in La Jolla.
San Diego is just a perfect city, I’m born & raised here (also love that restaurant!)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The success of CLEARSTEM skincare is largely due to my incredible co-founder and former patient, Kayleigh Christina. She saw the potential and helped launch CLEARSTEM when I was still super busy with clients all day. A primary mentor of mine, although I haven’t met in person yet, is Tim Ferriss. His books and podcasts help entrepreneurs think better and provided a massive source of inspiration all throughout my journey. I’m also a member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) and it has been instrumental in developing me into a leader and helping me learn how to scale.
Instagram: @danielle.the.acne.guru & @clearstemskincare