Like many of us, Kelli Klus has battled acne and tried countless skin care products that came up short on their promise of healing troubled skin. She finally found success after creating Swell Skin in 2009. Her sea buckthorn oil and facial treatment bar have given the 53-year-old clear, youthful skin. It even landed her a spot on Lifetime’s Project Runway: Fashion Start-Up — a Shark Tank-meets-the-fashion world investor-reality show — where she struck a deal with Birchbox co-founder and CEO Katia Beauchamp and business mentor Gary Wassner. The Beachwood resident talks with us about success and skin care.
Q: Where did the name Swell Skin come from?
A: I was driving and I started thinking, What does the product do for me? I know that when I use the product my skin feels plumper. I thought, It’s kind of fuller, plumper, swollen, swell. It swells your skin with moisture.
Q: What ingredients make your products so beneficial to women?
A: Buckthorn berry, which has been around for thousands of years. It has a wide reputation for healing. It’s nature’s most nutrient dense plant. It has more bioactive ingredients than any other plant.
Q: The investors were impressed by your ageless skin. What is your skin care routine?
A: I wash with the facial treatment bar before I go to sleep, then I put the oil on. That is literally all I do. I don’t feel like I need anything extra because over time using the oil helps your skin maintain a perfect balance of oils.
Q: How do you plan to extend the brand?
A: We will be using our existing formula and offering the choice of a foam or the original bar. We would like to add a body moisturizer — most likely a foam-to-oil or a dry body oil and possibly a lip treatment.