Meet Darwish, Former Data Product Manager Turned Lumin Skincare Startup Founder
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Darwish Gani is the co-founder of Lumin Skin, a direct-to-consumer men’s skincare line known for its personalized and straightforward regimens and rave reviews. We spoke with Darwish to learn about his background and what compelled him to start a men’s skincare brand for both first-timers and guys who haven’t found what they need with other brands.
Why did you decide to start Lumin?
I was with some friends at their house, and I noticed that one of them had some Korean skincare products on the bathroom sink. I didn’t think too much about it. But the next week, I went into another bathroom in the same house and realized that every guy in the house was using Korean skincare products. They were just hiding their products in their drawers because they were embarrassed.
One of these friends became my co-founder for Lumin, Richard Hong. He realized that guys actually care about taking care of their faces. They know they are aging prematurely, can tell they have sun damage and feel they should be doing something. They just don’t know where to start.
Enter Lumin. High-quality, Korean skincare products made to help men easily adopt an effective skincare routine.
What’s your background?
I’m a software and data guy. Prior to Lumin, I was an early product manager at Optimizely, the leading A/B testing software company. There, I helped large Fortune 500 companies use data to better optimize their website experiences. I also had two companies in education. Believe it or not, all these fields require a lot of skills transferable to e-commerce!
Richard’s sister was also a big part of Lumin’s backstory, right?
Absolutely. Before starting Lumin, he asked my sister Chelsea for help on finding good skincare products. She recommended a regimen of korean products and this solved Richard’s problem so noticeably that friends started asking for her help.
Despite this all, guys still get embarrassed about skincare. That’s why we decided to turn Chelsea’s solutions into something by men, for men. We couldn’t have made Lumin happen without her initial spark, and I’m forever grateful.
Who is on the Lumin Team?
We are not even 3 years old but now employ more than 200 people globally. The demand for our products has been off the charts and we’ve hired accordingly.
What are your best-selling products?
Our best-selling products are our UItra-Hydrating Moisturizing Balm, No-Nonsense Charcoal Cleanser, Dark Circle Defense, and UV-Defense Moisturizing Balm.
Those are only a handful of your dozens of products. How have you built such a broad product line in not even three years?
We bought our own machinery instead of importing finished products from Korea and selling them to our audience. We also designed all our containers, which we source ourselves.
Maybe this all sounds complicated, but it gives us way more control over our products’ quality than our competitors can claim. And since we’re doing it all ourselves, we can offer all kinds of products that our customers love.
Men around the world love the Lumin brand. Where did the inspiration come from?
All these other men’s brands out there were for the “super tough guy” and the “alpha bro.” We didn’t feel that reflected us, our friends, or even what society felt it meant to be a “cool guy.”
The Lumin brand is a reflection of a redefined and refined view of masculinity. Lumin guys care about living better lives in every way. They are ambitious about life. They work hard, exercise, eat healthy, are always learning, and live conscious lives. They are everyday guys who have just chosen to live better.
Are there any customer reviews or notable press reviews you would like to share?
We’re really proud of what the press has to say about us! Here are four of my favorites:
- GQ Magazine said that we have the best moisturizer for winter, calling our product “a terrific option for colder temperatures or for year-round overnight recovery, as well as for people with dry or damaged skin.”
- Men’s Health magazine said that our cream was “lightweight, spreads easily, and doesn’t leave any sticky or greasy residue.”
- The Adult Man said that Lumin is an “excellent brand if you have problem areas like deep wrinkles or bags—plus, the moisturizer is super effective.”
- Taryn Lowman of My Subscription Addiction said: “I’ll admit it, I was so excited after watching my husband try this product that I had to try it too! Wow, I am obsessed and so is my husband! Honestly, he asked me how many times a week he can use it because he loved the way it left his skin feeling (you can use it at night, 2 to 4 times a week FYI).”
Clearly, Lumin is no stranger to stellar ratings and reviews, plus your products are super high-quality. How are you able to keep prices fair when other brands charge so much more?
Our customers use our product more, which gives us the space to charge more reasonable prices. When your products have a following like ours, that following can be used as a competitive advantage. We are widening the skincare market by bringing luxury products at affordable prices. In some ways, luxury prices have previously kept the men’s market artificially small.
Has Lumin won any awards or recognition?
Our Dark Circle Defense won a 2020 Men’s Health Award for best grooming products, and our Correction Trio was named the best skincare routine for men by Yahoo. Cosmopolitan also named our Age Management set one of the best subscription boxes. Several of our other products have been featured across major publications including GQ, Rolling Stone, and Men’s Health.
Which Lumin product are you most proud of?
I have two picks. The UV-Defense Moisturizing Balm has created true skincare superusers, as people use the UV Balm in the a.m. and their other balm at night.
I’m also super proud of the Dark Circle Defense. It’s crazy how many guys realize they have tired-looking eyes! We are proud to have the leading product in the men’s industry for this problem.
Our Readers LOVE Deals – Are You Currently Running Any Promotions?
We offer a free trial where you can try our skincare products for just the cost of shipping, which isn’t even $5. You can get the Classic Maintenance Set, Anti-Fatigue Essentials Set, or Age Management Set for your free trial by clicking here. Starting your trial is super easy – just as we think all things skincare should be.
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