Many of you know the Lavilin products including the ingredients and where we sell the products. However, you might not know the faces behind the brand. We’re taking some time every now and then to highlight the faces behind the Lavilin name so you can understand our Lavilin story on a deeper level and gain insight into why our products are the way they are.
In October, we introduced you to Shelley Gershoni, Director of Sales and Marketing for Lavilin. This month, we're excited to profile Lavilin's CEO (and Shelley's brother!), Ron Gershoni. We conducted a Q&A style interview with Ron to learn about his background, how he got involved with Lavilin and what the brand means to him today.
What is your professional background and how did you become involved with Lavilin?
I graduated with a BBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and began my career as a strategy consultant at Accenture in New York City. Spending significant time working with our client, Freddie Mac, piqued my interest in real estate development and investment. I shifted paths and over the next seven years, I worked at a real estate investment bank, purchased and managed five apartment complexes, and acted as an independent consultant to BlackRock Solutions on its real estate portfolio.
During this time, my father was looking for ways to grow his business, representing the Lavilin brand in North America. I’ve always tried to live a healthy lifestyle by doing simple things such as exercising daily and avoiding sugar, salt and processed foods. I began to help my father with his efforts and found myself interacting with a number of like-minded, healthy and environmentally conscious people. I quickly realized that the natural products industry was much more inspiring to me than real estate ever was.
How did you know Lavilin was a great product line?
There are few places on earth that smell worse than heated wrestling gyms. As a member of my high school wrestling team, I remember the girls’ basketball team opening the door to watch us practice, only to shrink away in horror after being hit with the awful body odor stench. Anti-perspirants were useless in that setting, and I started using Lavilin at that time. I have not used an aluminum-based deodorant since then.
I had told people about the product line for years, but only after trying many deodorants at Whole Foods, Sprouts and other natural food stores did I realize that Lavilin was the only one that actually worked for me.
Why is aluminum-free so important in products today?
Many people believe that sweat itself causes body odor and, therefore, sweat is bad. The truth is, the bacteria that break down sweat is what causes body odor, and sweating is actually an essential bodily function. Your body is sweating for a reason and you don’t want to mess with nature. Anything that alters the way your body wants to behave should be avoided.
What are your day-to-day roles and responsibilities for Lavilin?
One of the great things about running Lavilin is that every day is a bit different. I find myself getting involved in all aspects of the business. I spend most of my time on the overall development of the brand by collaborating with my team to conceptualize new products and implement marketing strategies.
What is the best part of your job?
Hearing repeated demands from consumers for something the market is lacking, developing a concept, working on product development and ultimately, launching a new product. Many Lavilin consumers have asked us if they could use Lavilin deodorants on intimate areas. While the answer is absolutely yes, if you (or your significant other) feels it is necessary, it became clear to me that there is a need in the market for a product that specifically targets unpleasant odors from private areas. We were in the process of developing a body wash with similar odor-neutralizing properties as our deodorants and decided to formulate a product specifically for sensitive skin. We get more thank you's than you can imagine from people who have been searching for something just like our Intimate Body Wash!
What do you see as the most popular trends happening in the natural products industry? In the beauty industry? How is Lavilin keeping up with those trends?
The industry has made tremendous progress in the last decade in terms of product quality and effectiveness. For many years it was good enough to show clean ingredients in a product to make sales. With so much more energy and research pouring into product development and use of creative ingredients, consumers now expect that healthier products will work even better than chemical-filled alternatives.
What do you find is most important to your consumers?
We have many consumers who have been loyal to the Lavilin brand for over 30 years, as well as many who have just discovered us. Lavilin has an unusually high percentage of repeat customers due to the consistent effectiveness of the products and our commitment to R&D to continually improve upon our recipes.
What is one take-away you want your consumers to know about the Lavilin products?
It is extremely difficult to find a new deodorant because body odor is often embarrassing for people to talk about and you cannot test deodorant in a store the way you can with many cosmetics. We have confidence in our products. Try Lavilin, and if you are not happy for any reason, you can return all products for a full refund with no questions asked. This has always been our policy, although we receive few such requests.
What would you say/recommend to a consumer who wants to try a Lavilin product for the first time?
Prepare to be shocked, as so many of our customers are when they finally find an effective deodorant containing no aluminum. People literally hug me at trade shows and tell me that Lavilin has changed their lives!
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not working?
I spend as much time as possible with my wife and 2-year-old daughter. When its nice out, the best part of my day is biking my daughter to school. She loves it, and there is no better way to start the day than some fresh air while getting the blood moving. I try to do something active every day such as biking, yoga, or skiing, and I love to travel and try out new restaurants.