This is the third installment in an interview series with the 2021 Target Forward Founders cohort. Participating companies are sharing details about their innovative companies in their own words. All interviews have been conducted by the Target Forward Founders Program Management team.
Meet Peachfuzz Skin Studio.
About the CEO and founder, Keisha Wagner-Gaymon, and COO, Kristin Wagner.
Peach Fuzz Laser Studio was founded by Board Certified Nurse Practitioner Keisha Wagner-Gaymon, FNP-BC. As owner, Keisha has battled excessive hair growth most of her life. After years of shaving, tweezing, waxing, threading and painful electrolysis, laser hair removal proved to be an effective remedy. It is her desire to share this technology with women of color who have often shied away from such services because of the cost and fear of skin damage. In addition, Keisha firmly believes in uncovering underlying hormonal issues as well as educating and guiding clients to investigate and become proactive in addressing medical concerns. She has worked for prestigious institutions such as New York Presbyterian-Cornell Hospital and CVS Healthcare. Keisha holds a Master’s of Science with honors from Pace University. Keisha’s background includes dermatology, gynecology and surgery. She is an expert in IV therapy and various degrees of wound/skin care.
Kristin has worked for the U.S. largest healthcare union 1199 SEIU as well as consulting with Department of Youth and Community Development, the Mayor’s Task Force and Department of Health. Kristin graduated from Niagara University with a B.S. in Marketing and International Business. She is member of the American Marketing Association and Board Member of global-based youth development organization; The Dounia Project. Kristin an experienced operations, project manager and business consultant who has more than 15 years of experience in a broad range of industries from healthcare to media production. In addition, Kristin is also a satisfied long-standing customer of laser hair removal services.
TT: What makes you unique compared to your competitors in the marketplace?
Keisha & Kristin: Peachfuzz Studio specializes in understanding the needs of women with thick, coarse, kinky coily hair. These women also tend to be more susceptible to ingrown hair, uneven skin tone, scarring and hyperpigmentation as a result of using hair removal needs that aren’t designed with their unique needs in mind. We recognize this is a huge problem that leads to low self-esteem particularly when it comes to facial hair. Our Founder Keisha Wagner-Gaymon is a Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner who understands this problem first hand given her own experience with facial hair growth that started at the age of 15. We also want to educate consumers on hormonal disorders such as PCOS and hirsutism which are often factors leading to excessive hair that many women are unaware of. Peachfuzz has developed products to address these concerns and help women gain confidence and allow them to be their best selves.
TT: What are you expecting out of the Target Forward Founders program?
Keisha & Kristin: The process behind how products make it to mass retail shelves has always felt like a mystery. We are excited to have the curtain pulled back and learn first-hand from other founders and industry professionals. We look forward to having access to expert guidance, feedback, and support that will prepare Peachfuzz Skin Studio to become a high demand brand in stores around the world.
TT: What do you think your company is missing that the program can help with?
Keisha & Kristin: From the start, we worked off of institution, personal experience and pure drive to create PeachFuzz. However, mentorship from industry leaders and professionals is what has been missing. We look forward to the program nourishing our company with support, knowledge and connections. Mentorship from target forward founders will provide guidance and reinforce the business skills we have, making us more self assured in scaling and entering into the retail mass market.
About the CEO & founder, Aliyah Marandiz.
Aliyah is a sociologist turned web designer turned business owner based in Austin, TX. She grew up in Zimbabwe, Africa, always creating and observing. Aliyah studied Sociology and Studio Art at Santa Clara University and dove into the tech world shortly after graduating. A switch hitter between marketing and digital design, Aliyah spent several years making emerging technology and science companies well known and understood, including Hypergiant (artificial intelligence), Verint (machine learning), and Canvas (highest efficacy CBD). After several years working on emerging technologies, she pivoted to new, sustainable, bio-based materials replacing everyday items (like packaging, building materials, clothing, etc). She found sugaring to be the perfect, low-waste, plant-based material for removing hair and wanted to give more people at-home access to this sustainable hair removal method. So she rounded up her skills and started Sugardoh. Aliyah is a strong believer in creating a business where everyone wins; where excessive trash is kept out of landfills, where customers are empowered, and where a profitable business thrives.
Aliyah: I want to prove that alternative, natural materials are ultimately healthier materials for your body and for the earth. I want to educate people to be more conscious and clean with the products they use, which will hopefully have ripple effects on other aspects of their lives. I want to keep excessive wax, strips, sticks, plastic, and paper out of landfills. Sugardoh pays meticulous attention to supply chain and waste reduction and puts the brand’s values of environmentalism, inclusivity, and body positivity into the very heart of the brand. Ultimately, I want to make hairy people feel better about their body hair while also giving them a sustainable and fun way to remove it.
Aliyah: Since Target is one of the largest retailers in the United States, I hope this program can help us learn how to develop products that can scale and are approachable to the masses. We have a lot of interest in our products but the most fragile part of our business is our manufacturing and distribution arm. I’m hoping, either through Target’s network, the speaker’s network, or the participant’s network, we can get assistance and/or connections to manufacturing and distribution experts. I also think the program can help us think through pricing, product quantities, product packaging, and how to get customers to purchases repeatedly and frequently.
Aliyah: I’m expecting to learn what goes into deciding whether a brand is going to succeed in mass retail. I suspect I’ll get a reality check on the ins and outs of making it (and staying) on the shelves. I know transitioning from DTC to retail is tricky and you need to learn a new set of vocabulary, so the program is a unique opportunity for us to learn the expectations, large retailers, like Target, have. I also expect to learn more about the personal care market as a whole such as customer behaviors, consumer trends, and what’s flying off the shelves. I’m expecting the program to have speakers who are currently in Target or, at one point, were in Target, as well as meet other entrepreneurs with a close pulse on cultural trends.
To learn more about each brand or to shop their products, click on their logos below!