Industry

“Encourage Employees to Have a High Sense of Well Being.” with Christian Ferm and Len Giancola

"I would tell them to encourage employees to have a high sense of well being. This not only benefits the company but it inspires people to utilize their creativity, which leads to success and productivity. And, also listen to your employees."

I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian Ferm, Founder & CEO, Bevara Skin. As Founder and CEO of Bevara Skin, Christian Ferm has always had an innate aptitude for business operations. Building upon the foundation of his family’s manufacturing business, Christian double majored and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from Chapman University. After graduating, he found his niche in retail consumer goods at Ernst & Young where he received his CPA. Starting as an assurance associate, Christian developed expertise knowledge in several areas such as accounting, auditing, financial modeling, mergers & acquisitions, and contract compliance. Most recently, he served as a senior associate of accounting and finance at Veracyte, a pioneering genomic diagnostics company within the health tech industry. Christian has always been fascinated by conceptual design and had a burning passion for creation. Throughout many conversations with colleagues and professionals he found that CBD was a commonly raised topic. After much research, he realized that there were many brands entering the space offering health, wellness, and ingestible products, but nothing that presented a true luxury CBD skincare line. It was then that he recognized the potential for a well-branded, quality product line in the luxury skincare market. And soon, Bevara Skin was born. As Founder and CEO, Christian leverages his knowledge of finance, operations and uses his natural entrepreneurial spirit to lead Bevara Skin to becoming a boundary-breaking skincare brand founded on its innovative product development approach. His love for manufacturing and process improvements led to his Progressive Development model, focusing on the constant optimization of the brand’s lean product line and ongoing commitment to offer current, relevant, and sought after ingredients in its continuously evolving line. With Bevara Skin, Christian wanted to create a brand that not only resonates with the consumer at a product level, but from a lifestyle perspective — ensuring that the brand evolves with their modern consumer.

Thank you for joining us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was working tireless hours at Ernst and Young and the draining lifestyle was taking a physical and mental toll on me. I started to notice that it was significantly impacting my skin as well — it was getting really dry and lines were starting to become very apparent. Not knowing much about skincare, I started researching online about different solutions to solve my skin issues. This is when I learned about CBD and its rich anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties — which are extremely important for preventative skincare. As I continued my research, I saw a huge opportunity for a well-branded, quality product in the luxury skincare market. It was then that my interest switched from a consumer to a potential business owner wanting to start a business in the CBD skincare industry.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The most interesting experience since founding Bevara Skin has been witnessing the consumer’s reaction to our product. Nothing gives me a better feeling than positive feedback about the brand and it’s products that I worked relentlessly on. Positive appreciation for Bevara Skin has been the highlight of starting this company for me.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

While collaborating with my product testers, I forwarded them a mock-up of our product boxes that our designer had sent to me. I had given the artist some parameters of the aesthetic I wanted, but for the most part, I trusted her talent and let her design what she thought would look best. Upon receiving her designs, I immediately was in awe and quickly sent it to my testers for their opinion specifically about “the sea foam color edging on the box”. They were so confused and asked me “do you mean the pink?” Now I was confused — I guess you shouldn’t leave color critiques to someone who is color blind — me. It turns out the pink was a big hit and thus, our “Bevara Pink” was born!

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

Yes, always! There never is a slow time at Bevara Skin. We are continuing to work on our brand partnerships with retailers as well as partnering with other brands that share similar values. Our most recent collaboration is with Rove (www.ridewithrove.com), a luxury ride share service shuttling urban professionals between Manhattan and the Hamptons. Utilizing unique opportunities is an exciting way for us to spread the message about our brand.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Wow, where do I even begin? I am grateful for everyone I have met along the way and who have helped me get Bevara Skin to where it is today. There are too many people to name individually. Building a network of strong individuals that are very proficient in their field was monumental. Accepting that others know more than me in a particular field was equally as important. Once I did, I trusted that they would to a great job. And it helped me to learn as much as I could from them so that I could make holistic decisions for the company. From ingredient suppliers, publicists, manufacturers, marketers, and more — there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new from someone I am speaking with and that’s what makes this adventure so great.

This industry is young, dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

Being a young entrepreneur in a young industry allows for a ton of exploration and creative ways to think about marketing. There is definitely an advantage to being a young company. When I was first researching the skincare industry, it become very apparent to me that the industry was evolving faster than ever before due to an increase in ingredient development and consumer data. By combining data analysis and qualitative consumer testing, Bevara Skin uses real time market data and customer collaboration to offer a lean and forever evolving product offering. Our Progressive Development approach doubles down our commitment to refining our products keeping them continuously effective, current, and relevant to our customer.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

Three things that excite me the most would have to be how little we still know about the plant. There are over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant — CBD is just one of them. Secondly, I’m excited that the Cannabis industry continues to educate consumers about research and lastly, I’m excited about the untapped growth potential and opportunity within this industry. My concerns for the industry are that banking and FDA regulations are not current with the growth and that we are experiencing more and more fragmentation.

Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.

I wish someone had told me how difficult the banking solutions would be. Within the CBD industry, high-risk merchant processing currently isn’t able to match the growing demand. Taking the time to vet suppliers is also really important. I was very lucky to have partnered with an industry leader from the beginning. But if I hadn’t, it could have led to big problems, especially regarding quality control standards. The third thing that “I wish I knew” is to understand how to navigate business regulations, or maybe the lack thereof. Creating a company in an industry that is implementing regulations simultaneously is difficult. The lack of red tape makes business strategy challenging, to say the least. I also wish I had been told about the importance of partnering with non-cannabis related companies. Lastly, I wish I was told to double down on qualities such as perseverance and patience. These two qualities are true for anyone starting a company, regardless of the industry, but these are tested over and over again and you just have to keep going no matter what.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

I would tell them to encourage employees to have a high sense of well being. This not only benefits the company but it inspires people to utilize their creativity, which leads to success and productivity. And, also listen to your employees.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

It would be my dream to inspire financial literacy. I was very fortunate to go to college, study business and to receive my CPA. However, those who didn’t have this opportunity are at a disadvantage. Having a basic understanding of personal and business finance should not require a college education — I truly feel this should be implemented at middle and high school levels.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

I would love for everyone to follow us on Instagram @bevaraskin

Thank you for all of these great insights!

About the author:

Len Giancola has over 25 years of experience in Executive Management and Business Ownership. Formerly a Managing Director of Global Securities Finance in New York, responsible for a $16 billion trading portfolio, he is now an Officer/Board Member of over 30 corporations. With well over $100 million in sales over the last decade, including a successful residential development company, vacation rental property management company and diversified investment and online technology portfolio, Len is a Founding Partner of MJ.com and is a frequent media guest on international podcasts such as Rich Dad Radio with Robert Kiyosaki along with many other entrepreneurial and mentorship vehicles.

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