Ryan Zamo was no stranger to organic herbal remedies growing up. He was always surrounded by plant life with a father from Budapest, Hungry, and a mother who studied horticulture and plant biology. Ryan grew up, without knowing it, learning what would one day make him an international success. “I always thought they were a bit off because if I burnt myself or was itching something, they’d run after me trying to rub me down with weeds from the backyard” the CEO explained.
Z Skin Cosmetics was originally created to help Ryan Zamo win his battle over acne. He quoted “I honestly just started making skincare because I was tired of trying everything under the sun and seeing absolutely nothing happening to my skin, I tried the creams, the pills, the tv systems…you name it, I tried it.” With the help of his parents, Zamo sat down and designed a planned attack against his acne, eventually leading to his skin being cleared in just 8 days.
The entrepreneur told us he then started his company after realizing the products worked, he said, “I wanted to bring effective products to the everyday consumer. I wanted to give people something I wish I had when I needed it.” Today, the e-commerce beauty brands products range from acne to anti-aging and ‘Zz Mineral’ a mineral makeup line. And despite his massive growth and success, the young entrepreneur continues to hand-make and fill every product sold, which now totals over a half million units.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Ryan to discuss his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
Hi! My name is Ryan Zamo and I’m the 30-year-old CEO and founder of ZskinCosmetics.Com. My company is a 100% handcrafted organic e-commerce beauty company. I started it in my kitchen 5 years ago and now it’s a multi-million dollar company. I used a lot of my own experiences as a millennial to build my brand (things that influenced me to purchase and become a loyal customer…like offering a better quality product for less money). I also love telling people that I’m a REAL millennial entrepreneur because I didn’t study business in college (I actually got a degree in TV production, which helps when creating my own content) and I never took a course on business. I did it the millennial way; I Googled/YouTubed how to run and grow a business and learned everything involved (advertising, marketing, etc) from doing that. Many called me crazy, but I can sit here today and tell you it clearly worked!
Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?
Honestly, I never even thought people would actually buy my products. At first, I was paying people to use them. I began selling at local flea markets, selling the products at $5 each. And when I launched my e-commerce store, I still priced everything so low, I seriously thought to myself, “$20? Nobody is going to buy anything from me for $20”, but that’s what lead to my success. I became the first affordable, effective organic skincare brand. And when I started, it was before organic became ‘mainstream’, my original customers were the older generation tree huggers. But when organic skincare become a trend, I already built a name for myself in the industry, luckily it gave me a huge advantage over other e-commerce stores that were popping up.
What is your main source of income?
Z Skin Cosmetics. Also, I’m an Emmy Award-winning actor and producer, outside of Z Skin I have my production company, which doesn’t bring in the amount of money Z Skin does but it is nice to have another revenue stream.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
I always try to stay one step ahead of things. I observe what other companies, regardless if they’re in the beauty space or not, and try to see what they’re doing. I’m constantly reading up on the latest trends and keeping an eye out for what I could do to build my brand. But most importantly, I listen to my customers. Without them, I don’t have a company, so if I get a ton of requests for something I know I should probably look into integrating it into my business.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
Well. I also sell hand sanitizers and Facebook recently deactivated my Z skin page because its related to the pandemic. Don’t get me started on that one! I had over 10,000 5 star reviews, wonderful comments and a massive following, it’s a major part of my revenue and Facebook just decided to take it down. Luckily I still have my IG [@zskincosmetics] and our Twitter. But Twitter doesn’t really do much for us, IG is a bigger platform.
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
Yes, PPC works if you know what you’re doing. At first I was just throwing money away, but if you actually think about WHO is more likely to buy your product, you can create a massive ROI. On the other hand, sponsored content hasn’t been too successful for me. I prefer to try and find creators/publishers that are either willing to get a cut of sales or are just down to mention for an extremely small fee. Marketing is ineffective if you’re not making your money back.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
It may sound odd, but being in Los Angeles, my main tactic is being cast on reality TV, and constantly talking about my company when I’m on the show. I’ve been on so many different reality shows and its the best form of free marketing.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Honestly, one of my best ideas ever was to partner with sample boxes. Ipsy was the first to take a chance with me, and I still credit them to my businesses success to this day. They turned my company into a hundred-thousand-dollar brand to a multi-million-dollar brand. I still continue to partner with other subscription boxes because it’s free marketing, and on top of that, you get the products into the hands of all new people.
How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?
We are an affordable organic skincare. Most organic skincare products cost upwards of $100, and most don’t even work and aren’t even 100% organic [sidebar- there are no REAL requirements when listing organic and all-natural. Anything can be listed as all-natural, as long as it was made on planet earth it's technically natural. Organic can be I believe just 80% organic ingredients to be advertised as organic]. Also, we use exotic herbs and oils found in no other products, most of which are proven to work up the 20% faster than typical ingredients found in organic skincare.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
To let people, go. It is tough because even though you like the people who work for you and you’re so appreciative of them, at the end of the day, you need to pay your bills. And if you can’t make enough money to sustain your company, you’re going under…like the saying goes, “No offense, its just business.”
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
Oh lord. When I first launched my e-commerce site, I did a hundred-thousand-dollars within like 10 weeks. I had no idea about advertising or anything else involved with business. So, I figured I would do what the Proactiv and Garnier’s do….I would get giant billboards and radio ads and TV commercials…DUH! Yeah, well, I blew through all that money and saw nothing in return. I then learned that as an e-commerce company, ONLINE ADVERTISING is the answer! People can see the ad, click, and buy. It was a hard lesson, but one I had to learn I guess.
What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?
Don’t get caught up in the glamour of it. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment looking at your bank account and think “OHHHHH I have enough for a new car!”. But without capital you can’t grow, I am always trying to save as much as possible. You also never know when something big is going to come along that requires a ton of money to do. For example, when I worked with ipsy, they needed over 100,000 units, if I didn’t save up my capital, I wouldn’t have been able to fill the order. And it was that partnership that changed my entire life.
What new business would you love to start?
Something with healing crystals. I don’t know much about it, but I hear it’s a lucrative business.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
Besides taking the winning lottery numbers from the next day with me, Honestly, nothing. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and it all led me to where I am today. Without the trials and tribulations, I faced, I wouldn’t be who I am today, or where I am today.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?
Don’t dive into something before really doing your homework. Just because it looks like something works for large corporations, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. But stay strong, keep your head up, and one day you’ll be writing to a wonderful magazine about how you did it.
Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’. It’s a great way to see the difference between people who save up and are able to grow, and the others who live in the moment and aren’t planning for the future.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
When I first got the idea to build a skincare company, I googled “How to make millions selling skincare from your kitchen” [sidebar- I started it in my kitchen, and finally moved out 3 years ago and got myself a huge manufacturing warehouse and office!] you’d be surprised how many articles pop up about it. But the best advice I took away from it, was this: “People don’t buy a product or service, they buy YOU. Your story is what they buy, they don’t need another shampoo or lotion or self-help book, but it’s your story that they feel good about. People buy stories, not products.”
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! I have seen tons of entrepreneurs in all industries who have failed or are still stuck in one place, because they’re scared to make a mistake. It’s not how many times you get knocked down, it how many times you get back up. I’ve made so many mistakes, but those mistakes have become my strengths today. Be fearless and most importantly, believe in yourself, because if you do not believe in yourself, nobody else will.