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The Metropreneur

February 07, 2019 3 min read

The Metropreneur


Microbiome-friendly skincare products are poised to be the next big thing in the industry and one Columbus company is positioning itself to be on the leading edge of the movement.

The company is familiar but the name and the focus are new. Balm Skincare rebranded to CONCUR in late November 2018, and with the new name comes a shift in market position to highlight the microbiome-friendly aspects of their raw, organic skincare products.

Founder Lindsey Moeller initially launched the skincare line in December 2016 based on a deeply personal experience. Moeller lost her mother to cancer, but before she passed the family turned to alternative treatments to some success. It piqued Moeller’s interest in herbalism and more natural products.

While the family story of Balm resonated with consumers, many were missing the importance of the science behind the product. Already facing a rebrand due to a trademark issue, Moeller decided it was time to transition and put the science front and center.

Skin microbiome might be a new term for many, but for anyone familiar with prebiotics, probiotics and the recent push of gut health, the concept is rooted in the same since. Skin microbiome refers to the ecosystem for healthy bacteria on an individual’s skin. Moeller says that although a large percentage of bacteria makes the human form, people don’t think about fostering the bacteria side as they do their human side with exercise and nutrition.

With CONCUR’s skincare products, “We’re creating the right environment for good bacteria to live and grow and culture,” Moeller says.

Microbiome-friendly skincare products have three defining characteristics: no soap, no preservatives and an acidic pH. Preservatives allow products to be shelf-stable, but kill bacteria, while basic soap is too alkaline for the skin’s naturally more acidic pH. Moeller says bad bacteria like a more alkaline or neutral pH, but microbiome products still dissolve dirt and oil and cleanse skin, but with a lower pH.

CONCURS’s products fall into the category of prebiotic. They don’t actually contain bacteria, but give good bacteria the environment they need to survive. It’s just as it always had been with Balm – the product formulations already met the standards of microbiome-friendly. Customer feedback has driven additional product formulations, and a few tweaks to the existing lineup.

The re-launch has also shifted the business model to a subscription-based offering. Moeller says working with microbiome products makes them very sensitive, just as Balm’s products had a shorter shelf life than traditional skincare options. To ensure customers are using the products as intended, they now arrive at their doorsteps monthly.

A $49/month subscription includes a supply of cleanser, toner and moisturizer – three products Moeller says should be used twice a day in the morning and evening. Subscribers have the ability to change, skip, modify or add additional products to their lineup.

Individual items are available on CONCUR’s website as well. The company hasn’t moved into retail yet because of the products’ shelf life. Moeller says it’s something they are considering, though, looking at more vacuum-sealed, food-grade packaging to help the products maintain their integrity.

As CONCUR continues to grow, Moeller has engaged with Rev1 Ventures. She has leveraged the startup studio’s resources to take classes on finance, fundraising and more.

Moeller is also looking to raise her first round of funding for CONCUR. She says they’ve had to be even scrappier this time around. Legal fees and rebranding costs add up, “It was basically like starting a completely new business,” Moeller says. But operationally they have the ins and outs of the company honed in from Balm. The company is designed to scale, they just need the funds to do it.

CONCUR will also need significant resources for a technology-based solution it looks to bring to the market. Moeller is creating a mechanism to test an individual’s microbiome, which is unique just like a person’s DNA. Products could then include probiotic solutions with bacterial strands that build up good bacteria in a way that’s most natural for them.

It’s likely just the beginning of the skin microbiome conversation. Moeller says recent research that started with the gut and has expanded to other areas of the body has spurred the development of products – including from big brands like Dove and L’Oreal. As larger brands join the conversation, Moeller already sees vague terminology and attempts to pass products off as microbiome-friendly. Moeller wants to change the conversation; to put CONCUR in the early ranks of the industry.

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