This is the first installment in an interview series with the 2021 Target Takeoff Beauty cohort. Participating companies are sharing, in their own words, details about their innovative companies. All interviews have been conducted by the Target Takeoff Program Management team.

Meet APTO Skincare.

APTO Skincare co-founders Marta Cros and Noemi Manso

TT: What inspired you to start your company? What makes what you are doing different from anyone else in the marketplace?

Marta:  When I was pregnant with my first child, I realized I needed to be careful about the products I was using on my skin. So I went to a store and ended up paying $65 for a suitable face cleanser. And that broke my heart (and my wallet!). We all should have access to clean, functional and fun skincare products which is why APTO was created with the mission to deliver vegan and cruelty free products from $5 – $25.

What makes APTO  different from other affordable clean beauty companies was born through another personal experience. Due to COVID and quarantines, my husband, my parents, my 2 young kids and I got stuck in a Caribbean island for 3 months last year. We had traveled with one shared suitcase with just a few things to last for the 1 week we had planned to be there. Ultimately having very few things ended up being an extremely liberating experience, which impacted our lifestyle priorities and some of our family’s core values. It also impacted my business – it made me consider.. Why do we need to sell 6 different types of masks? Why would I want to spend more than 10min getting ready? Life is so interesting and there are so many other things I want to spend my time on – skincare should be a simple act of care, uncomplicated and enjoyable. I spent the rest of the year working on a streamlined assortment, one composed of only 8 essential products that work for most skin types and are super easy to use.

 

 

TT: How did you decide it was the right time to join an Accelerator? What are you most looking forward to getting out of the Target Takeoff experience?

Marta:  Last year we felt APTO was ready to enter the mass market, and at the same time quite overwhelmed about how to go about it. My friend Naa-Sakle from Eu’Genia, who participated in the first Target Takeoff program a couple of years ago, told me this is what we needed!

Some of the most valuable business advice and opportunities I’ve received has come straight from a network of beauty and wellness entrepreneurs (like Naa-Sakle!), that are naturally generous with their time and advice with other like-minded people. We are so excited to meet the other brands and founders of this year’s cohort!

Last, Noemi and I are childhood friends, and now co-workers! Being a team and sharing this experience is a dream come true. We’ve been giddy ever since we found out we got into the program.

TT: What currently keeps you up at night, as a leader of your company?

Noemi: What can I do today to give more people access to clean skincare? I believe in the power of beauty products to uplift our mood and, sometimes, regain our dignity. We try to take small steps every week towards this fundamental value at APTO. I am personally very excited about our partnership with Project Beauty Share, an organization that provides personal hygiene, cosmetics and beauty products to non-profit organizations who serve women and families overcoming abuse, addiction, homelessness and poverty.

TT: How do you stay motivated through the ups and downs of growing a business?

Marta:  Self-motivation works differently for everybody, so the first step is to get to know what sparks your fire. I grew up playing tennis professionally in Spain, and for me what works is action. Action leads to results, and results lead to motivation. When I have a bad day, I drag myself out of bed, push through it, and I keep doing my thing. Since I launched this business, I’ve had many, many downs, but I’ve just kept going and little by little started reaping the results of that hard work. Sometimes tiny results, other times life-changing results. We try and celebrate both small and big victories, and through that celebration, comes motivation to go bigger, do better.

TT: Fast forward 1 year from now: where do you see APTO Skincare and the team?

Noemi: If we learned something in 2020 is that serendipity and luck are actually a state of mind. We worked harder than ever but we also went with the flow, chasing wild opportunities and surviving a tough year. We are excited about the next 12 months. We think our products will reach more people around the globe, and we are certain we will keep and grow our positive energy “bubble” for our team.

Learn more about APTO Skincare by visiting aptoskincare.com