This is the second 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 Dear Brightly.

Dear Brightly co-founders, Amy Chiu and Alda Luong

TT: What’s the one-liner description of your company?  

Amy: Dear Brightly is on a mission to close the gap between dermatologists and everyday people, and the first step in our journey is making retinoids, a scientifically proven ingredient to treat photoaging, more accessible.

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

Amy: We started Dear Brightly to solve a problem we experienced – retinoids were life changing for us, but we were frustrated by how expensive and inaccessible they were (we had to book an in-person dermatologist visit weeks out for one). As engineers, my co-founder, Alda, and I knew that we could solve the many problems we experienced by way of technical solutions.

Additionally, we learned the surprising truth that for every 34,000 Americans, there’s one dermatologist – how crazy is that? We value dermatologists, experts who are incredibly knowledgable when it comes to skin, and we were particularly interested in how we could make dermatologist care, whether it be through services or product formulations, more accessible.

Unlike those in the marketplace, our service today offers a way to get dermatologist-formulated, tailored retinoid serums, conveniently online.

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? 

Amy: I’ve always loved Target. I don’t have one near me, but when I get a chance to shop at one…I shop for…everything, from detergent to snacks to my vitamins! From my personal experiences shopping at Target and after reviewing quarterly reports, it’s apparent that the Target team deeply understands mass retail, continuously growing online and offline. Given the stage that we’re at in our company, we’re ready to learn about how to be successful in mass retail, as it aligns perfectly with our mission to close the gap between dermatologists and everyday people.

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

Amy: There’s no one particular thing that keeps me up at night. If it’s not x, it’s y. And if it’s not y, it’s z. Any of these things can range from my inner critic speaking to upcoming initiatives I’m super excited about. Bringing your vision to life takes patience and there’s no playbook here. To be able to navigate an unknown path that you and the team are forging together can oscillate between daunting and exciting. In any case, I always have to remind myself that any worry or excitement I have “keeping me up at night” is completely normal. It of course depends on the stage of the company, but my emotional experiences are not much different than other founders/leaders at other companies.

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

Amy: Such a good question! This might seem counterintuitive, but I’ll answer some support emails. Sometimes we get emails that are super uplifting and inspiring about how our service has been life changing. People open up and allow themselves to be vulnerable, which I appreciate so much. They share with us their skin journeys, about how Dear Brightly gave them their confidence back or even made them better leaders. I can totally relate. It started with our own skin journeys, but reading their stories is a powerful reminder of why we do what we do.

Learn more about Dear Brightly by visiting dearbrightly.com.