Kris Rodriguez is the founder of Skin Territory, an all-natural Probiotic skincare brand made in Australia with a mission to represent the under-represented. Skin Territory believes skin is unbiased and just exists as is.
Proudly Australian owned and operated, Skin Territory products are Vegan-certified, cruelty-free and Halal. The company’s aim is to create a safe space with the skincare enthusiast in mind and curate campaigns that amplify diverse identities and lived experiences.
What caused you to have such a keen interest in genetics and the human microbiome?
In my 20s, I stopped taking the contraceptive pill due to the negative side effects, which resulted in hormonal acne. Doctors and Dermatologists recommended returning to the pill or use Roaccutane, which I was reluctant to do so.
I began researching how Western diets (high in sugar, sodium and dairy) can influence acne and sebum production which led me down a rabbit hole of gut health and the world of bacteria.
The research astonished me! I found that gut imbalances were related to excess sebum and keratin production, psoriasis, and eczema all of which can be further exacerbated by environmental aggressors.
Many mainstream products we purchase contain ingredients that we assume to be harmless but are unaware these ingredients can disrupt the balance of our natural bacteria, which is crucial for maintaining healthy and resilient skin.
My aim is to educate customers about nurturing their own skin microbiome, hence Skin Territory was born.
Why do you think that there is still such a lack of representation in the beauty and skincare industry in general?
I think the term ‘beauty standards’ are often characterised by Eurocentric, cis-gender women, with little to no representation of people of colour.
Lack of representation of specific groups means it is less likely products aimed at these consumers will be stocked; and traditionally we saw brands isolating their marketing efforts to one audience resulting in fewer doors of opportunity for PoC and other minority groups.
I believe customers are becoming a lot more conscious and seek out brands that are inclusive whether that be in their products or their board of members. Customers are considering the ethical, social and environmental impacts of their spending habits which is important.
Also, I think representation in the beauty industry plays a significant role in how people perceive beauty. It offers minorities the space to express themselves and teaches people that diverse voices matter and they are valued.
How do you think we as a society can do more in terms of recognising and supporting WoC Founders in Australia?
I think there needs to be more curative programmes and communities that support WoC founders. Ones that provide mentorship, guidance and access to networks that support early entrepreneurial journeys. Entrepreneurship and Startups inherently come with their own challenges of venture capital funding, personal branding, imposter syndrome and burnout just to name a few.
Being a mentor to WoC early in their careers; telling your friends, family and co-workers about businesses owned by WoC, buying their products and/or services are all things we can do as individuals to support WoC founders.
What do you love most about what you do?
I’ve always loved creating! Whether it’s working on a Marketing strategy or planning a launch event it’s been my creative outlet, but my favourite part of this business journey has been product development! I love finding show-stopping ingredients whether it’s an innovative bacteria strain or an advanced plant-derivative, testing what raw materials go well with it and seeing if we can use it in a serum or moisturiser.
If you could turn back time, is there anything that you would love to do differently?
Honestly, I wish I started my business sooner! Too many times I’ve talked myself out of taking the first step or imposter syndrome has taken over and cripples me. I’ve had many careers in my life and this one is by far the most challenging yet exciting one I’ve embarked on thus far.
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