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Founder of Dead Sea Dream

Louise Lisztman

the journey by enty
A brand powered by nature: the story of Louise Lisztman and her company Dead Sea Dream
Business is not only about money and paperwork. Most of all, it’s about people, inspiration, and passion. With that in mind, we present you the Journey — a project where entrepreneurs share how they started their businesses, what made them successful, what drives them, and how they came up with what they ended up doing.

Our today’s guest is Louise Lisztman, the founder of Dead Sea Dream, a skincare brand leveraging the power of Dead Sea minerals to provide a natural treatment for sensitive and acne-prone skins.
Product formulation took a long time. We were very meticulous about the details and wanted our products to be perfect

Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey. Is it true that the idea for your startup came from your personal struggle with acne?

I used to suffer from really bad acne and eczema for most of my life. I've been struggling with these skin conditions since I was 13. Throughout my teenage years, I sought help from numerous dermatologists, but the treatments they prescribed only provided a temporary fix to my acne and would often leave my skin dry and dehydrated.
When I was 21, I had the opportunity to travel to the Dead Sea, where I discovered a completely new approach to treating my acne. The Dead Sea is a very unique place. It has a much higher concentration of minerals than any other seas in the world. Some of these minerals like magnesium and calcium have a soothing and nourishing effect on the skin. People from all over the world go there to alleviate skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. The region is widely known for that.
During my trip to this place, I met an esthetician who advised me to use a simple set of skincare products which were a much more minimalistic routine compared to what my dermatologists in the UK would prescribe. Although it was daunting to switch from a complex daily skincare routine to using just four or five products, I was desperate for a solution.
Surprisingly, this simplified approach yielded the best results I could have hoped for. I didn't even know it was possible to have great skin until then. I had thought I would have to deal with acne for the rest of my life. This experience was transformative for me and ultimately led me to leave my job in finance and start my own skincare business.
When the pandemic hit, I realized that my growth prospects in the company I was working for were limited. I had been in the same role for over two years, and it felt like the right time to venture into entrepreneurship. I found a great formulator from Israel who helped me develop formulas for skincare products harnessing the power of these minerals. After spending three years on research and development, I launched Dead Sea Dream in 2022.

What types of skincare products do you offer? Do you actually produce them in Israel?

We have six skin care, body care, and hair care products that aim to recreate a spa experience from home and promote skin healing. We have also launched six accessories that complement our product range — cleansing sponges, makeup removal pads, face massagers and so on. We are also working on developing three additional skincare products scheduled to launch later this year.
We work with a contract manufacturer based in Israel to produce everything. And we also source our packaging from Israel. While researching this subject, I discovered that a significant portion of the world's packaging, including skincare packaging, is produced in China. It is then distributed globally, often making its way to one part of the globe to be filled with products before being shipped back to a different region for sale. That's a lot of unnecessary carbon footprint. So we’ve decided to source our packaging locally in order to circumvent this.

Do you deliver worldwide or within a specific region?

The issue with cosmetics is that you have to abide by regulations. All our products are compliant with cosmetics regulations in the EU and UK. So yeah, currently we only distribute to these two markets.

How many people are on your team? Do you run this company solo or do you have any co-founders?

I'm a solo founder. Our team at the moment is just me and my marketing assistant, Lisha. She handles social media planning, ads, email marketing, and influencer campaigns. I was so lucky to meet her. She’s amazing at her job.
We work closely with a marketing agency in the UK and outsource certain tasks like accounting and order fulfilment to other companies. Other than that, it’s just the two of us. My boyfriend also helps me a lot, but he’s not really a part of the team. So we're pretty small in terms of employee count.

What was the most challenging part of launching your own skincare brand so far?

Everything was challenging! Realistically, product development was paramount. Because that’s what we're selling and what we are trying to showcase to the world. The product formulation took a long time because we were very meticulous about the details and wanted our products to be perfect. But I'd say it was the most fascinating thing to do because you're really creating a new product, a new formula.
Selecting the packaging, particularly in the current context of the beauty industry's emphasis on sustainable packaging, was also a major hurdle. It's extremely difficult to move away from using plastic due to the lack of a viable alternative. We also had to contend with packaging suppliers who demanded very high minimum order quantities. I spent a considerable amount of time grappling with this issue.
Another tricky part was working on the branding. Deciding on brand fonts and brand colours and making them work together can take ages. It’s important to keep your inner perfectionist in check so that you don’t end up in an endless loop of striving for something better. You have to remember that there is no definitive right or wrong answer when it comes to branding. It's about discovering what resonates the most with your audience.
Then there’s also creating the website. It was a tedious process because it's something I had never done before. If you're doing e-commerce, I wouldn't even look at WordPress unless you're a web developer. You’d be much better off using Shopify or a similar e-commerce platform. Building on WordPress might seem like a better idea at first — after all, it’s free. But in reality you will spend ten times as much in development cost and it's still not going to be as user-friendly as Shopify or its alternatives. I’ve learned that the hard way so you don’t have to.

What are your plans for 2024?

Our goal is to establish a strong presence in the retail market in the UK. The first year of operation, I believe we've done a great job building the brand, reaching our target audience, and introducing a compelling product line. The next objective is to expand our presence in retail stores across the UK.

What recommendations would you give to someone who’s about to start their entrepreneurial journey?

I would advise being focused and consistent with your work, especially in the beginning. It can be daunting, so do as much research as possible. If you're developing a product, make sure to test it before launching the final version and gather as much feedback as possible.
Also, don't rely solely on feedback from your friends, as they may only tell you what you want to hear. I recently listened to a podcast where a brand founder mentioned running test ads to see if you can generate any leads before the launch. You can start with a small budget, like $100, to see if people are interested and if they click through. It's always a good idea to test the waters in advance.

Thank you for reading Louise’s story, hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you are looking to share your story, please leave us the form below and we will contact you back. Cheers!