Celebrating International Women's Day with co-Founders Pippa and Cate
This International Women’s Day we are championing the incredible journey of our very own co-Founders; Pippa Harman and Cate Nisson. Pippa has 10 years’ experience developing & formulating skincare for award-winning brands including Beauty Pie, Foam and Substance and Boots. Cate is a Data Scientist focused on health and social issues, from how our environment can impact our mental health to detecting fake news.
How their paths crossed is both inspiring and serendipitous and their amazing minds led to the creation of Renude. We sat down with them both to find out what it’s like to be female co-founders in the cosmeceutical space.
Pippa: I have always been interested in skincare, I was the only girl in my physics class and one of few in my chemistry class, but I’vealways had a desire to understand the ingredients lists in my teenage years which led me to a cosmetic science degree and an early career in skincare formulation and product development. After more than a decade of friends asking me for skincare advice (and creating almost 1,000 skincare plans), I realised that the industry was not getting any less confusing, and after meeting Cate, we set about solving this problem at scale.
Cate: I became interested in skin at a very young age, I developed vitiligo around 11 years old. It made me realise the impact skin can have on mental health at any age.. Later in life, a close friend was struggling with acne, and like many people, it knocked his confidence. After dishing out for expensive specialist appointments, the acne still wasn’t clearing up as he hoped and it ended up having implications on his self esteem and mental health.
I used my background in data science to consider the countless others who had similar experiences with their skin, thinking, surely someone must have found an effective solution? I began to source publicly shared, online photos of acne conditions, alongside treatments, ingredients and routines. Millions of people were also struggling to get professional advice and I was able to use the data from the web to help create a routine that gradually helped clear his skin and boost his confidence. It was then that I realised machine learning could help address this need for better skin care solutions by improving access to professional advice.
Cate: We met at an event at the Google Startup campus. It was an event with Sharmadean Reid, hosted by Forward Partners, about how to build a great company culture. We were each working separately on a concept like Renude at the time, and happened to speak to the same person at the event, who immediately introduced us!
Pippa: My absolute favourite part of working on Renude is when we get messages from customers who feel amazing in their skin due to the results they have seen with Renude. The modern world does not make it easy for us to feel our best in our bare skin, so hearing that we’ve delivered that for our customers is incredible. The time and money savings don’t hurt either!
Cate: Naturally, I find the data really interesting, hearing from our customers and seeing their skin change - and how happy they are. The great thing is, every customer is helping shape the next customer's journey. We use AI to initially scan and identify whether somebody has redness, fine lines, or pigmentations etc, and as you can imagine, everyone's skin and how those conditions show is different from person to person. This means every new photo helps our AI learn, get better at identifying skin conditions and in term creating a better experience for the next customer!
Pippa: I am most proud of the results we have delivered to our customers, and the team we have built at Renude. To have such an amazing collective of individuals working together to achieve our mission is just wonderful. Cate: I think our biggest achievement to date is honestly just seeing how far we have come. We’ve built a team, had a really successful round of crowdfunding and some amazing investors. I’m really looking forward to this next year and seeing what more we’re capable of.
Pippa: There are a lot of women who inspire me on a daily basis. From beauty tycoons like Marcia Kilgore, Sharmadean Reid and Alexia Inge, to the early stage founders creating game-changing businesses like Adele Aitchison of Grandnanny, Hannah Samano of Unfabled and Penoy Li of Jude.
Cate: In light of Women’s Day there are a few women I can think of.. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Madeline Albright, who both were involved in American politics. I would also say Katrina Lake. She Founded Stitch Fix and was the youngest woman to IPO a company (the process of offering shares of a private corporation to the public for the first time). She did this while having young children (her son was even in her arms whilst she IPO'd).
Cate: I think we both have really valued having a community behind us, they are wonderful! Building a business is quite a wild ride, with a lot of ups and downs. Having communities of people to share in the madness really helps. Especially female entrepreneurs and those who really support female entrepreneurs!
Pippa: Don’t feel like you need to know it all before you begin. You’ll be making plenty of mistakes as you go, whatever your starting point, so just begin the journey and learn along the way (that’s all everyone else is doing anyway!)
Cate: Make use of all the support and resources available to you, we really valued Founders Factory  and Google Startup Campus .
If you’ve been inspired by Pippa and Cate’s story, follow them on LinkedIn to stay up to date with their journey and follow Renude on LinkedIn. If you’re interested in speaking with one of Renude’s aestheticians to create a personalised skincare routine for you, start our free consultation.
Complete our quick quiz, then book a free video call or upload photos.
Your aesthetician will hand-select a personalised skincare routine for the evolving journey of your skin.
Get ongoing advice as your skin changes for just £20 every 3 months (which is deducted from your purchases).