Mike Indursky

Mike Indursky is a beauty industry professional and the founder of the sustainable skin care line, HEAR ME RAW. He earned his stripes in leading roles at Bliss, Burt's Bees, L’Oreal and more.

When the shutdown started, what were you working on, and how was that affected?  

When the shutdown started, I was in the very early stages of launching my new skincare brand, HEAR ME RAW. We were essentially transitioning from a "soft" launch to a full launch, turning on advertising, going more aggressively in promotion and social media. So, timing wasn't ideal.

Has COVID-19 affected your marketing strategy?  

Well, it's kind of like being in the middle of a conversation with someone, and all of a sudden, there's an earthquake. It's not as though you can just calmly continue the conversation as if nothing is happening. At that moment, everyone is running for their lives. In this case, there was an immediate fearing for your health, your job and your family as your whole world turned upside down. Like almost everyone else, we had to stop, recalibrate and focus on these new emotions, behaviors, lifestyles and lenses that people were living and looking through. However, whereas I hear how so many brands "pivoted,” we did the opposite.  

We drilled down even further into the brand and why it's more relevant than ever given all that's going on. Overall, as we see nature's response to the damage that we've been doing to our planet in the form of this virus, we need to have an even greater appreciation for, and take greater actions on, protecting the environment. Natural products and ingredients and sustainable packaging are more important than ever, and are two of the key benefits and reasons for the launch of HEAR ME RAW. Further, as people are going out in masks, they’re seeing the damage to their skin from wearing them. That, coupled with being told not to touch your face and not following your typical skincare regimen has made it more important than ever to think about your skin and what you put on it - avoiding synthetics and using only natural ingredients. It’s more important than ever to think how caring for and detoxifying and rejuvenating skin is so important. Also, as we see the planet start to heal due to quarantine, we need to rethink the environment and sustainability of the things we buy and why HEAR ME RAW's packaging system with reusable jars and lids and recyclable refill pods is so much better for the planet than typical beauty packaging.

Finally, we used what resources we had to be part of the community and help people get through this. Through our partnership with Global Citizen, we shared their expertise, news, tips and advice on the virus with our audience. We also donated 10,000 of our skincare face masks to hospitals around the country as overuse and reuse of surgical masks, make-shift masks, etc., are causing skin havoc among these amazing people.

“My greatest hope is that people will see the connections between themselves, their actions and the environment, and they will be more conscious of their purchasing decisions and resulting environmental impact, truly looking to make the world a cleaner and better place"

How does this affect the role of influencers?

It affects them in many ways. First, they're now fighting for share of mind with many other professionals such as dermatologists, hair stylists, makeup artists, etc., who can no longer work their day jobs and are hosting their own IG live sessions. So people now have more choices as to whom to watch and listen to. Second, there is clearly a rising in interest in skincare vs. makeup, fragrance or even hair because we're not outside and presenting ourselves, so health takes a front seat to beauty. Finally, influencers, not unlike brands, are being more careful about their messaging, making sure not to be tone-deaf nor trying to be the champions of the virus.

Do you think this experience will change the priorities of consumers? How?

In the short term, definitely. How we work and what and where we eat will be hugely affected. It's also hard not to notice how much money is not being spent, and therefore saved during this. As much as people find enjoyment in buying something new, at the same time, people will be reflective on what they need vs. what they want, as a lesson learned from being quarantined.  My greatest hope is that people will see the connections between themselves, their actions and the environment, and they will be more conscious of their purchasing decisions and resulting environmental impact, truly looking to make the world a cleaner and better place. My greatest fear is that "human nature" takes over - that we forget what we went through because we want to do all those things we've done before and "go back to normal.”  Gore Vidal once called the USA the United States of Amnesia because we have an amazing propensity to forget the past to enjoy the future. We've gone through severe gas shortages, diseases, etc., and once they're done, we go back to our old habits because "it's over now.”  I hope that's not the case this time, and I hope we use it as a springboard for the betterment of our health and the environment.

“Necessity is the mother of invention..."

What lessons can be learned from this experience?

There are so many lessons to learn from all of this. Here are just a few. First, from a worldview standpoint, Don't Take Mother Nature for Granted. There's a natural balance and ecosystems in place for a reason. When we disrupt these balances, things can go horribly wrong as we're seeing. So, there’s a boomerang effect. That’s why it’s vitally important to remember that our actions have a fundamental impact on the environment and that has a fundamental impact on our health and existence. In short, we must each take care of our planet like we do any loved one.

One lesson from a brand and business standpoint is that these hard times are fertile territory for creativity. Necessity is the mother of invention, and you can have some of your most creative thoughts and best ideas in times like this. It’s not about “pivoting” but diving deeper into your brand and creating stronger, more authentic connections between your brand and what’s on people’s

minds.  If you pivot away from your brand too much, or you'll have no brand left.  Finally, whatever you do, don't ever try to position yourself as the Kings of the Corona Campaign. Seeing these self-congratulatory ads is in such poor taste and does such a disservice

What do you think is the silver lining?

The silver lining is that we have a profoundly renewed appreciation for the environment.  Regardless of whether you think it was nature's course correction, a lab-manufactured virus, or a simple aberration, the understanding of the impact on nature in the spread of the disease, our inability to stop it, and the partial healing of the planet due to quarantine has the potential to make us supremely better global citizens.