An Intimate Interview with the Goldfaden MD founders

This month marks the 4th year anniversary of when Goldfaden MD launched and we had a chance to sit down with the Goldfaden family (and founders) to uncover the history, passion and dedication involved with growing Goldfaden MD!

 (Founder and Product Developer) Dr. Gary Goldfaden, M.D.:

When did your passion for living a healthy lifestyle start? When I was growing up people were much less aware of healthy lifestyle choices and there was very little research around diet, exercise and the diseases and risks associated with food and weight gain. As in many households, I was raised eating white bread and soda and struggled with my weight.  As I got older, I started to eliminate processed foods and sugar, and I’ve been exercising just about every day for the past 40 years.  When my father died from a heart attack at the early age of 59, my personal health became more of a priority than ever.

What inspired you to start Goldfaden MD and when was the company founded? I have always been a creative yet clinical thinker when it comes to medical solutions, so problem-solving for my patients naturally steered me toward product development. I remember developing formulas for my wife and young children as they began to encounter various skin issues—it was a genuine and instinctive passion. When I began practicing in the late 60’s, the anti-aging movement hadn’t really begun on a medical level, and most patients sought in-office procedures as the first line of defense. As I gained experience in private practice, I realized just how significant preventative at home skin care could be for my patients and how it could hopefully reduce their need for more extreme corrective measures in-office. There was a void in the skincare marketplace of products that delivered visible anti-aging benefits but that could be tolerated by sensitive, post surgical, and allergic skin types. It was clear to me that the world needed a serious yet chemically clean line they could trust, and GOLDFADEN MD would be the answer.

What did the process look like to formulate your non-prescription, medical-grade skincare products? How long did it take? The process starts with identifying a problem I see in office, and from there develop at home solutions and preventative measures. If brightening is the goal, for example, we want to layer potent natural actives together without adding in silicones, fillers, and irritants. The challenge is keeping the formulas clean without compromising the stability. The first product I developed was Doctors Scrub, our hero product. I started mixing various ingredients together in my office until I perfected the formula through patient trials and lab testing, which took a couple of years.

To this day, do you still constantly experiment to find new and innovative ingredients? We continue to scour the globe for innovative and effective natural skincare ingredients. GOLDFADEN MD Fleuressence Native Botanical Cell Oil, for example features extracts from plants in the Kalahari desert in Africa to the Rooibos fields of South Africa.

Can you tell us about the benefit of  NATURAL ingredients—inside and out? Being aware of what you put in and on your body is crucial. Naturally sourced foods (meaning not processed, and free from pesticides or hormones) have the ability to offer a higher percentage of nutrients, vitamins and key antioxidants because there are no unnecessary preservatives, hormones, or antibiotics that can prevent the beneficial ingredients from leaving that specific product and also allows for maximum freshness of foods. Eating a diet of fresh, naturally grown or raised whole foods, is scientifically linked to decreasing risk of disease and increasing life span.

Our skin is the largest organ of our body and studies have found that the skin can absorb up to about 60% of what we put on to it so it’s important to be familiar with what we are putting on our skin and stay away from harsh, toxic chemicals, colors, and fragrances. Chemicals, artificial colors, and fillers in skin care products and makeup can cause redness, irritation, and breakouts. Many people are even allergic to chemicals commonly found in conventionally produced products. Natural makeup, skin care products, and body products work with your skin instead of against it. The integrity and purity in plant and botanically-derived ingredients—the high level of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, natural sugars, and more—provide a vital spectrum of benefits for the skin without being compromised by fillers and inactive ingredients which allow for the treatment actives to provide the most abundant of its treatment benefits within topical formulas.

Can you tell us how Goldfaden MD’s products target specific skin concerns? How are they unique compared to other products on the market? I have honed in on what I feel are the most important and often common skincare problems and built the range in order to allow consumers to address them at home and improve skin health long term. Superior formulations featuring naturally-derived ingredients with effective delivery systems set the GOLDFADEN MD brand apart. We couple scientific, results driven products with globally-sourced natural ingredients, bridging the “natural” and “physician” product categories at the prestige level in a way no other brand has.

(CEO) Robert Goldfaden:

Can you tell us some of the most important lessons your father instilled in you about health when you were young? One of them is that metabolic performance is heavily dictated by what we put in our bodies. We ate a lot of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates; no processed foods and very minimal sugar and flour. We let this approach guide our choices now in my own house, and I know it’s made me a healthier adult.

When did you make the switch from the corporate world to joining Goldfaden MD? What fueled this decision? I began my career in investment banking but quickly became eager to and indulge my entrepreneurial passion, which was to fully develop the skincare concepts my father had been conceiving over the years into a retail brand. Growing up, my father was always into formulating products and mixing things in his lab and even our kitchen sink. I had seen him really help people in his Dermatology practice, and I had always felt I wanted to be a part of that in some way. Even years later I was getting bombarded with calls from old friends in desperate need of the scrub. I knew there was a need for quality skincare products and that I had access to something really special. I made it my mission to bring Goldfaden MD to market.

As a kid, you saw your father constantly inventing new formulas. What was that like? I was often a guinea pig for testing, so got to see them come to life from the ground up. And often the product inspiration was tied to the foods we ate (i.e. Cherries/Cherry Extract, Red Tea/Rooibos, carrots/retinol), so I grew up familiar with the benefits and aware that there was “technology” in our diets that could be powerful on our skin as well. This became very beneficial when I started this business with my father.

Can you tell us about the scrub your father created for you growing up? It was known as a magic scrub and all of our friends would take some when they were over at our house. From a personal standpoint, it greatly helped my skin as I suffered from blemish prone so it worked wonders to help clear up my complexion, but it was the formula that made it so unique and a true standout product. The emollient and vitamin packed ingredient list combined with our Ruby Crystal technology provides instant and visible benefits making skin brighter and more radiant. 35+ years later, Doctor’s Scrub makes up approximately 25% of overall sales and attracts a huge variety of customers from 16 to 70+, including discerning A-list celebrities like Kate Hudson who credits it as a staple of her red carpet beauty regimen.

Can you tell us about your research of exotic ingredients? What have you learned from it? Advancements in the uses of natural actives–meaning substances produced by a live organism— in medicine have been significant. And we have witnessed a massive shift in the beauty industry toward a demand for “cleaner” products. It seems that new natural active ingredients with unique treatment benefits are being introduced almost daily, so we are constantly working to stay at the forefront of discovery and sourcing the best possible ingredients for our formulas. For example, after analyzing the research on the “Birds of Paradise” flower, we incorporated it into our proprietary complex PURFLORA™ found within the Plant Profusion range as an essential brightening ingredient. I’m fascinated to see that often times natural actives are scientifically proven to deliver an equal or greater treatment benefit to a chemically-based alternative.

(VP of Marketing) Lisa Goldfaden: 

Can you tell us some of the most important lessons your father instilled in you about health when you were young? For as long as I can remember I have been health focused. As children we were not allowed to have junk, soda, candy or fast food. My father always taught us by example through eating habits and exercise routines. He was an avid racquetball player and champion, so I spent many weekends watching him compete and learning the importance of exercise and how it relates to health. Naturally my brother and I both became involved in sports at a very young age and my father coached both our soccer and basketball teams. Juicing was also a big part of his post exercise routine and so I learned a great deal about vegetables and fruits at a young age. I also watched my father get acupuncture and chiropractic adjustment, which I still partake in today. He always placed an importance on your health inside being as important as your health outside. You cannot really have one without the other.

When did you join the family business and what fueled that decision? I joined the family business fulltime in 2006. My background is in studio art and childhood education. At the time my brother asked me to join the team, I was working in the education department at The Paley Center for Media and realized starting a skincare brand was the perfect platform to utilize my education background. I wanted to share all I had learned from our father with the public. I was mostly fueled by the fact that there really wasn’t much natural skincare available on a retail level. We were so used to using products from his practice that he created, that when a friend would ask me what I used and where to purchase it, I would have to get it for them.

As a kid, you saw your father constantly helping patients. What was that like? Throughout my life, I have had the pleasure of being able to watch my father make profound changes in so many individual lives simply by the way in which they view themselves from a physical standpoint. Experiencing skin ailments can be debilitating and eat away at our self-confidence levels and my father has always been able to provide a healing touch to his patients. Being able to watch the lives of so many people change and transform through the way of dermatological practices of enhancing the way in which our skin appears has touched me so much and what keeps me motivated on a daily basis.

On the website you say that you credit your dad for your artistic side. Can you tell me how you’re both able to use your creativity to make Goldfaden MD a unique company? Watching my father mix up batches of product in the sink at home absolutely encouraged my creativity. He utilizes his vast knowledge of western medicine with his interest in innovative exotic natural active ingredients. His ability and creativity in an almost culinary manner, to combine and mix ingredients is an imperative skill in creating a unique skincare brand. I use my creative and artistic teaching background on a retail level to educate customers and team members alike on how to pinpoint the brands greatest assets and how to distinguish the unique products among the sea of other products within the category and weigh in on the critical creative branding process. I have also been known to offer my input into product development based on where I see growth opportunities within the marketplace and consumer demands. Many of our products were birthed out of a necessity or suggestion from us. For example, our moisturizer Vital Boost was created for Lauren and myself when we couldn’t find a moisturizer that we found effective.

How has this creativity also played into how the products are marketed? I think this creativity is woven throughout the brand. From the packing to the product names to our Social media presence, we aim for an edited natural elegance and an emphasis on the key standout piece that makes the product so unique which differs among the SKU – packaging, ingredients, design, technology, delivery system. When it comes time to name products we have everyone throw their ideas into the ring and ultimately select from there.

What’s your go-to must-have Goldfaden MD product? Fleuressence Native Botanical Cell Oil is my must have product! I love it because it is light weight but power packed with omega fatty acids, vitamins A, C and E. Fleuressence is not only hydrating, but the glow and brightness is delivers is like nothing I’ve ever used—and trust me, I’ve tried everything.

(VP of Sales) Lauren Wolk-Goldfaden:

How did your passion for natural ingredients and beauty lead you to finding Goldfaden MD? Health and wellness have always been a huge part of my life. And I’ve always felt that beauty– specifically products–is really an extension of our overall lifestyle in terms of what we are gravitate to, so I am focused on being what I call “naturally conscious” in every aspect of my life. This includes beauty products, household cleaning products, diet and exercise. When I first met my husband, Rob, he handed me this exfoliator in a lab sample jar and said “would you try this, I am thinking about starting a skincare brand, and this would be our  lead product.” I of course instantly fell in love (first with the scrub, and later with him) and I saw the  potential for an entire dermatologist-developed natural skincare brand, since this simply did not exist in the marketplace.

When did you join the company and how have you seen it grow with your involvement? After a handful of years in advertising, working with global brands like Coca Cola, Volkswagon, and Method “non-toxic” personal care products, I wanted to follow something that I was deeply passionate about. I joined Goldfaden MD, over eight years ago and it has been the most exciting and rewarding journey. Spearheading the sales of Goldfaden MD, we have been able to penetrate growth of the brand in over 250 retail doors, in over 8 countries, and a number of international distribution partners in just over two years of being in market. It is a huge accomplishment and a true testament to the long-standing power that this brand has with our consumers worldwide. I am filled with excitement about what is coming next for the brand and to see it continue to flourish in both untapped markets abroad and building upon the success in our existing markets.

How are Goldfaden MD’s products different than other skincare brands on the market? Goldfaden MD is the first Dermatologist-developed, naturally inspired skincare brand on the market. It truly bridges what was once a gap between natural luxury and physical strength/dermatologist formulated skincare. It fills a huge void within the beauty space and one that consumers increasingly demand– they want clean products of the highest quality that deliver on their benefit promise; it’s as simple as that.

What’s your go-to must-have Goldfaden MD product? GOLDFADEN MD Doctor’s Scrub and GOLDFADEN MD Needle-Less. I just can’t live without them.

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