Shannon Johnson – Founder, Merida SkinLabs
Q: Could you tell me a little about yourself and Merida Skin?
Shannon: Merida Skin is a clean, clinical skin care brand that arose as the solution to my own Rosacea struggle. A big part of what we’re doing right now is that we have products that have passed testing and are launched and available direct to consumer. A big part of what I’m working on is driving brand awareness and introducing people to the brand. So, I’m spending a lot of time on marketing and a couple of exciting things have happened on that front.
Q: Such as?
A podcast called Skincare Anarchy, recently featured Merida Skin. Skincare Anarchy Episode 368, so you can check that out. It’s about a half hour long and it’s all about Merida Skin and me. Our line was also named a top pick by Skin Care Anarchy for 2022. I’m also pursuing certifications that are meaningful to my core values and provide some exposure for the brand. One of the things that I think is really central to that is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “EWG VERIFIED” is a process that I’m trying to take all of the products in the system through and the first product to go through that pipeline was just awarded EWG VERIFIED which is exciting for us.
Q: Outside of marketing, what does what does a typical day look like for you? Or is it all marketing?
No, no. I think when you’re a brand founder and you’re in ‘startup mode’ you do everything. There are some days that I work on product development and what’s next for Merida Skin. Then, there’s also production. I make batches that actually end up in the consumer’s hands. There’s filling and labeling and lot numbering, which I also do. There’s quality assurance like testing and making sure that lots are safe to release to the consumers. There’s floor sweeping and cleanup – I do all of that, I do accounting and bookkeeping. There’s regular website maintenance I do with the help of an IT group Then there’s responding to customers and customer touchpoints. And every day I would say several of those things happen.
Q: What’s something you wish you could focus more of your time on?
Definitely product development. And actually, this is so strange, but when I started out, I had no appetite for social media at all and I completely outsourced it. Then I sort of dipped my toe into the world of Instagram reels and TikTok and I was like ‘Oh my God that went viral, wow that’s really cool!’ I wish I had more time to sit down and make content, develop content. I try to make content that is useful to people, give people things of value instead of things that are purely entertaining. You kind of have to marry both. You can’t just sit here and be a talking head for 40 seconds because people tune out after 2 seconds. You have to do some refining and learning and figure that out. Anyway, I wish I had time to take what I’ve learned and turn it into more content. I think content is king, right?
Q: With so much going on at your company, what is a mechanism you use to deal with stress?
Plunge pool, cold plunge pool. I am such a fan of getting an ice-cold water because I feel like it just wipes my brain.
Q: What next steps do you want to take with Merida Skin?
More partnerships with people who can deliver awareness to the audience that I’m serving. Right now, for example, I’m working on a partnership with a doctor who has a focus on Rosacea and skin health through nutrition. And my focus is more on skin care and skin health through putting the right stuff on your skin. So that feels like a good synergy; she’s coming at it one way and I’m coming at it another way.
Q: What’s your favorite movie from 2022?
Top Gun Maverick. I watched it three times in one week.