Disruptors have always had their detractors. From the Luddites and the cotton gin to doubters of Elon Musk’s dream to colonize Mars, critics maintain we’re better off with the status quo or avoiding the risk altogether. That’s exactly what entrepreneur Nannette de Gaspé faced when she set about launching a dry masque that would offer a needle-free solution to youthful skin.
“When the opportunity presented itself, people said, ‘You can’t do that!’” recalls de Gaspé. A private equity entrepreneur, she became interested in investing in a Canadian company that was creating cosmetic products with a cutting-edge perspective. She immediately knew its science-based wearable technology had the power to transform the beauty industry. Woven onto a Japanese textile called Techstile, the dry masque advancement—for the face, mouth, eyes, hands, and neck—is activated by light massaging, temperature, or the skin’s pH.
Skeptics immediately told her that taking on the multi-billion-dollar beauty industry with a new product was a David and Goliath proposition. Not one to be daunted by a challenge, though, de Gaspé was determined to share her innovative approach. At a meeting with Hilary and Galen Weston, owners of Holt Renfrew and Selfridges, de Gaspé’s hostess gift included one of the singular masques. Galen was so intrigued that he immediately arranged for her to connect with Selfridges buying and merchandising director Sebastian Manes, who himself was so taken that he insisted de Gaspé launch her own label instead of just market the technology to cosmetics companies. “This is the bomb,” he asserted. “You need to create your own brand.” Eager and emboldened, de Gaspé set to work.
Fast-forward just a few months and her high-end eponymous line—where “wearable technology meets luxury cosmetics”—has already landed at Colette in Paris, Barneys New York, and Holt Renfrew across Canada. Part of the brand’s runaway success stems from its rabid endorsement by over 40 European beauty editors who were introduced to the brand at Selfridges when Nannette de Gaspé first launched. Word of mouth made its way to this side of the pond, and beauty junkies took note.
The masques’ innovative technology boasts differences in wrinkles, hydration, firming, and brightening. While traditional wet versions feature mostly water and glycerine, this dry delivery system called Biomimentic MicroVectors allows the 87 per cent active ingredients and emollients to penetrate the skin barrier, where they begin their transformative work. Within minutes of putting the dry cloth over the skin, proprietary technology begins to slow-release the fabric’s printed contents for up to eight hours after it is administered. “It can deliver where needles deliver,” says de Gaspé. “But instead of injecting, we’re infusing.”
The results are quantifiable, with an up to 20 per cent reduction in wrinkles within a few hours. “I call it a ‘youth-revealed’ product, not an anti-aging one,” says de Gaspé. “I’ve learned to look at the glass as half full, since ‘anti-aging’ sounds negative. I just want to prolong youthful skin.”
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