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Entrepreneurs

Faces of Entrepreneurship: Kimberly Tan, Founder of Skin Salvation

Our "Face of Entrepreneurship" for this week is Kimberly Tan, the Founder of Skin Salvation, a skincare destination as much as a methodology for treating the most troublesome of skin ailments: acne.

Kimberly Tan is the Founder of Skin Salvation, a skincare destination as much as a methodology for treating the most troublesome of skin ailments: acne. In 2016, the Acne market of the skincare industry was alone worth $5 billion. And with good reason, it’s the skin ailment that’s as frustrating as it is mysterious with causes stemming from diet, allergies, hormones, and any other triggers. Diagnoses and treatment therefore require nuanced experience and a sophisticated touch, like Tan’s.

Before building a name for herself, Kim had worked her way through the San Francisco spa scene from neighborhood salons to luxury day spas, learning the mainstream, holistic, medical and business ideologies of the industry. She’s worked directly with big name facialists and studied in-person with Dr. James E. Fulton, co-creator of Retin-A, author of “Acne Rx”, and pioneer of acne research and product development. Skin Salvation clinic and method was then conceived, blending skin treatments, effective products, and education in holistic health and sustainability. Tan has grown her team to eight employees and is currently focused on scaling her company’s impact and reach outside of San Francisco. Tan took a moment to update the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center on her journey as a founder so far.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?KT: Entrepreneurship means being relentlessly stubborn, hardworking, clever, and resourceful as all heaven and hell to fill a void in the world. It’s about providing a product or service one believes the world needs for its own good. I am not one to just sell units or make money, I really want to make a meaningful impact on the world with what we do – which is empower people to take control of their own health and be their best selves.

What’s the biggest experience or lesson you’ve learned so far?

KT: These are things that I not only learned but BELIEVED and did early on when starting, like always putting yourself first in body and mind. You can’t steer the ship and motivate your team if you aren’t well in body and mind. As a founder, you’re always going to be your company’s longest standing employee, so treat yourself as the most prized resource — which you are! Ultimately, your own health and happiness aren’t worth any amount of money, success or fame. It’s much better to make these self-care choices every day than to let illness decide for you.

What advice do you have for fellow entrepreneurs about building and leading teams?

KT: Don’t take things personally. Employees, mentors, customers, PEOPLE – are not perfect and they might let you down, and more often than not, they don’t mean to. develop your communication skill set and use it regularly so that you can get the best work done with the people you have, while you have them.

What’s credo do you live by?

KT: I’ve done it once, and I can do it again. Entrepreneurs are a truly special breed with a unique set of talents that aren’t learned skills _ we have a ton of ideas, follow-through, persistence, and incredible work ethic. It’s because of this, that I have as much confidence as I do to make things happen. It’s important to believe in your own self and your capabilities and that if you need to start over, you can… and will do so well.

Where do you find inspiration when faced with challenges?

KT: I travel as often as I can to foreign countries so that I can be humbled by the people, nature, and the ways things are in other places other than my own upbringing. It’s a special thing to visit a country where the village people live in concrete boxes, have 1 window and 5 outfits and are happy, healthy and truly fulfilled with their life. It makes the things that stress me out in my city CEO life a bit less dramatic. What does success mean to you?KT: Health, happiness, and fulfillment are the true meaning of success to me.


Nasdaq's Education Foundation helped launch The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center in the fall of 2015. Located in San Francisco, it has quickly become the go to destination for the next generation of risk takers and idea makers who take the plunge into entrepreneurship.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.