Skin in the Game
By Sarah Bahari
Photos courtesy of SkinKick
A Southlake entrepreneur aims to disrupt the skin care industry with an affordable natural line.
Growing up, Matty Schirle did not spend much time thinking about his complexion. Schirle possessed that combination of good genes and good luck that resulted in easy-to-care-for skin and few blemishes. He admits he is a seemingly unlikely fit for his newest venture — founder of a natural skin care line geared toward millennials and their mothers.
“I don’t think I realized just how much skin can affect people’s confidence and self-esteem,” he says. “The power of clear skin is incredible.”
His aha moment came during a focus group in Southlake for the blemish treatment he was testing. A 14-year-old girl gushed about the product, sharing that her skin was glowing and that she had even tried out for the school play and won the lead role.
“You should call this ‘self-esteem in a bottle,’” he recalls her telling the group.
Schirle knew this could be big. Previously, he worked as a chemical engineer manufacturing computer chips for Texas Instruments and later received a Master of Science degree from Southern Methodist University. Looking for a change, he decided to pivot and pursue a longtime dream of starting his own business.
The skin care industry produces plenty of products to target acne, but most have ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which are effective but also can cause severe irritation, peeling and dryness. To fight acne, Schirle worked with a cell biologist to develop and patent what they call B3 technology, a combination of cat’s claw extract, dragon’s blood extract and black willow bark. For the glow renewal serum, which is a sort of alternative to retinol, the team turned to five ingredients in the Amazon rainforest, including acai, andiroba oil and camu-camu extract. The cleanser is a mixture of finely ground coconut shell, aloe, green tea extract and various fruits.
Schirle launched SkinKick in 2016. In addition to the blemish relief lotion, the line also includes an exfoliating cleanser and glow renewal serum that targets fine lines and uneven skin tone.
Retailers have begun to take notice. In January, Target began selling the products online and in nearly 300 of its stores, and Macy’s recently began selling the line, which is formulated with all-natural ingredients.
Several new products are in the pipeline, Schirle says, and the company recently launched an acne system with CBD oil called Dope Kick Lotion at Urban Outfitters.
Products range in price from $16 to $59. Although the company is designed to appeal to teenagers and millennials, Schirle says the customer base is ages 8 to 88.
“The skin care industry is big, and we are going to disrupt it,” Schirle says. “It’s time to move to clean and natural. We are seeing results just as good as products with harsh chemicals. It’s very compelling.”
Nancy Henger, who owns Carrollton-based Brilliant Fulfillment, which ships SkinKick products, says Schirle is one of the most determined businesspeople she has ever met.
“He has so much tenacity. He doesn’t quit,” she says. “He is self-taught in the beauty industry, and he has had to learn everything from trial by fire.”
To do so, Schirle consulted Southlake teenagers and their mothers for the name of the company and packaging. He also spent countless hours wandering the aisles of Sephora and Ulta, conducting field research and chatting with sales staff.
He says he frequently hears from mothers who struggled with acne as teenagers and are now trying to help their own children.
“Our skin is the first thing people see, and it’s terrible when we don’t feel good about ourselves,” Schirle says. “Our vision is to bring clear skin and confidence to the world one face at a time with the most powerful natural ingredients we can find. Just imagine a world where everyone feels confident.”