Gigi Howard is an affable, effervescent southerner who created a product that is in heavy demand by people who want to eradicate their wrinkles without the expense of fillers. SiO products are affordable medical-grade silicone patches applied to targeted areas to temporarily minimize wrinkles. They are re-usable and are contoured to fit your skin smoothly. The patchology trend is taking Hollywood by storm as celebrities get camera ready using these wrinkle removing solutions. Gigi Howard talks to us about how she was able to bring an idea to fruition with great success.
Hi, Gigi. We hear an accent, where are you from?
I grew up in a small southern town just outside of Savannah, called Statesboro. My family has been in Statesboro and Bulloch county for generations. I was lucky enough to be raised in a very southern family and household that believed in genteel values. Yes ma’am and no sir were common phrases and a way of showing respect.
You told us the impetus behind SiO was your deep insecurity with wrinkles. Can you explain what it was like suffering from those insecurities?
In my mid-twenties I began to see sleep wrinkles on my décolletage. The curious thing about all of this was the fact that I was not experiencing any wrinkles or lines on my face. How could I be in my twenties and already be seeing these creases appear on my chest? At the time, I was the public relations director for a prestige beauty company. The head of product development pointed to my décolletage one day and said, “Your face and your décolletage just don’t match. You have no wrinkles on your face and you are so young, but the creases on your chest make you look so much older.” That was the beginning of my insecurity. I started wearing scarves and turtle necks to conceal my chest. I did everything you can imagine to prevent the creases from getting worse. I slept with pillows on each side of me and used expensive creams. Nothing worked. At the same time that I was struggling with this, I realized that many of my friends were experiencing the same thing.
How did build your beauty company?
I have an incredible team that surrounds me and inspires me each day. I invented the product using medical grade silicone, but without this amazing team around me it may have just remained a great idea.
You are a single mother and an entrepreneur, do you have any tips on work-life balance?
It is a constant struggle to find balance. I love what I do and the challenges that starting a business creates. But I love being a mother equally as much. My son Southworth is my main priority. SiO is my baby and I love watching it grow too. My goal is to continue to grow SiO in the hopes of providing the life that I want my son to have.
What was the inspiration behind the SiO’s name?
Si is for silicone. O is for oxygen, an element in the periodic table. It also stands for “Skin Innovation Overnight”.
List some attributes that you believe make a great leader.
I think one of the things that has made me successful as a leader is the ability to surround myself with great people. I have a great president that has built a strong team. Our main goal is to inspire our employees in a way that makes them want to come in and accomplish amazing things. In order to do that you have to be observant, a great listener and truly understand what motivates people.
What advice would you give to people interested in starting a beauty business?
You have to have a passion for people and creating a product that helps them. The realities of starting a beauty business are daunting. It takes a tremendous amount of capital. It takes a unique idea and an unbelievable amount of research and development. If you don’t believe that the product you have created is truly the answer or solution people seek, then nobody else will.