Dr Liia Ramachandra is a serial entrepreneur and “liberated healthcare executive” who has focused her education, career and start-ups in the healthcare fields and industries with the mission to improve the lives of millions living with chronic illnesses. She is the Founder of EpiLynx by Dr. Liia, a skincare and cosmetics company focused on serving customers with the most common allergies to common ingredients and skin conditions.
Born in Russia and raised in the Netherlands, Dr. Liia has trained and worked at premier institutions and companies in Europe, the Middle East and the United States before taking the leap into the entrepreneurial space. She is a doctor in pharmacy, a doctor in analytical chemistry and a business woman who has already contributed in the healthcare industry globally.
It’s with over 35 years of experience combined, that she and her husband decided to found EpiLynx by Dr. Liia.
“Our focus is to design, formulate, manufacture and make available high-quality products and services,” says Dr. Liia.
Dr. Liia’s entrepreneurial journey began first as a research and development operation in mid-2018.
“While many people have claimed “clean” or “organic” or “natural”, these do not denote what the customer experiences when they have a reaction to products,” says Dr. Liia. “We have focused on “medically-clean” to mean using ingredients and raw materials known to be clean when used on the skin, eyes, lips, etc.”
Extensive research of these materials were done by the co-Founders to understand the medical literature, the views of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the various medical societies addressing these autoimmune conditions and other groups important to the company’s mission to be cruelty-free to animals.
“We believe that while we compete in the category of skincare and cosmetics, all our products are developed to ensure that we take the medical aspects of sensitivities to ingredients before we create the products,” says Dr. Liia.
In an industry filled with false claims and very little regulation, those who suffer from sensitivities and autoimmune conditions are most at risk from suffering the consequences of putting unsafe products on your skin and around your eyes, lips, and other sensitive areas. This is why Dr. Liia is so passionate and driven to create products that are “medically-clean.”
“We keep our message clear that while all people could benefit from using its high-quality, medically-clean products, we are really focused on those who would greatly benefit from them – those people who have sensitivities and autoimmune diseases.”
By early-2019 they began launching their first skincare products, and by 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Liia left her corporate executive role to run EpiLynx by Dr. Liia full time.
The brand quickly pivoted to serve the unmet needs of the pandemic through at-cost hand sanitizers while they continued to grow EpiLynx by Dr. Liia despite the pandemic environment and the uncertainty it created for many.
“Purpose is the center of our mission,” says Dr. Liia. “That is what I am most proud of – we continued to grow our business but also served our customers with hand sanitizers at no profit to us. I hope to be an example of ‘With passion comes the desire to make a difference.’”
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As EpiLynx by Dr. Liia continues to grow, setting their sights on expanding globally, Dr. Liia reflects back on her journey so far and lessons learned.
The hardest part she had to explore and build throughout her journey was learning agility and resilience.
“There are so many facets to an entrepreneur’s journey that I really was naïve about so every time we did something that didn’t have the desired outcome, I had to learn and pivot my approach,” she says.
Without learning and embracing this agility she believes she would have failed to launch and grow her business.
“To grow, there is the need to continuously reinvent and transform around the core purpose of the business. In listening to customers, we get a lot of insights and ideas. We are in an untapped market of medically-clean skincare and cosmetic products.”
Dr. Liia’s customer feedback has been a huge motivator in her journey. She says being able to impact and help the lives of millions is what drives her to achieve success. Customer reviews such as a woman with rosacea who found the perfect product to soothe her sensitive skin or a customer who struggled with expensive creams and lotions before finding EpiLynx and seeing results in just 10 days—these are the stories that push Dr. Liia forward to continue to develop new products and help millions.
“As an entrepreneur, we live our companies while awake and sleeping,” says Dr. Liia.
Dr. Liia’s three critical elements for success:
- Be passionate about what you are doing. Have stamina as there are moments of exhilaration and moments of self-doubt. Even while our business is growing, I am never satisfied so I am constantly exploring how to meet the needs of our customer segment.
- Stay focused on why you started the business yet be willing to pivot if you find out new information in the category your business is in. For example, we started in skincare but were getting inundated with requests for cosmetics by those who loved using our skincare. So, we started developing cosmetic products. It turned out that even those not in our customer segments started using our cosmetic products.
- Have tenacity to work through the tough challenges and don’t feel alone doing it. Bring in people you can trust in building a business. Keep listening to your customers. I get a lot of energy from our co-Founder (husband), friends who love what I am doing and, most importantly, from our customers who write to EpiLynx by Dr. Liia everyday. When we get repeat customers who say that nothing worked for them until they found our products, I know we are doing the right thing.
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