West Virginia University alumna Kerry Benjamin has gone from being at the forefront of the digital marketing industry to launching a skincare line.
After graduating from WVU, Benjamin moved to San Francisco. By 1998, she was working for Microsoft’s MSN division, a position she held for seven years.
All the while, Benjamin was navigating a battle with eczema. Her case was serious enough to lead to MRSA infections that sent her to the hospital. She then realized that she had to make a change, starting with herself.
Benjamin’s skincare line, StackedSkincare, was born from her own journey to healing her skin.
After a lifetime of being in and out of various doctors’ offices with little to no improvement in her skin or health, she decided to go back to school, this time studying how she could help herself and others with skin issues.
“I wanted credibility and authenticity to my company, and that meant I needed to be hands-on,” Benjamin said.
She earned her aesthetician’s license and learned all she could about the science of taking care of people’s skin. She started her spa, which led her to work toward her ultimate goal: a product line.
The process was difficult. After working with clients in her spa all day, she spent nights doing essentially a second, full-time job – answering emails, making product development decisions, packaging orders, mailing products and more.
Benjamin understood how to build brands, and that this process is slow and steady. She never borrowed money — StackedSkincare is a self-funded profitable company.
“It’s more than just selling our customers products. We are building a relationship with them, and I want to provide education and amazing customer service where they feel we are the source for all their skincare answers and needs, even if we don’t have a product for them.”
— Kerry Benjamin
“I knew borrowing a bunch of money and attempting to go big without building a loyal customer base was not a successful strategy,” Benjamin said. “I strongly felt I could do it on my own, and while it may have taken longer, I knew the results would be a brand with staying power.”
The company’s name comes from the process Benjamin developed in her spa while treating clients: combining, or “stacking,” different skincare products and tools to maximize their effectiveness. She took this methodology and developed a consumer-safe line of peels, serums and proprietary tools to capture the process and experience of a professional treatment that can be done at home.
“Ultimately, I knew I wanted to have a product line. And I knew it was very important to have authenticity and credibility to succeed in this highly competitive space, which is why I chose to first become an aesthetician before launching a product line,” Benjamin said. “Having expertise is an amazing way to open doors.”
Benjamin wants to help as many people as she can feel great in their skin. She believes in empowering people to use advanced home care solutions to look and feel their best.
She encourages those with questions to visit StackedSkincare’s website, which has an extensive blog to answer questions and a chatbot for deeper inquiries.
“It’s more than just selling our customers products. We are building a relationship with them, and I want to provide education and amazing customer service where they feel we are the source for all their skincare answers and needs, even if we don’t have a product for them,” Benjamin said.
Kerry Benjamin couldn’t have predicted where she ended up, but she believes her digital communications experience from WVU helped her understand the process of creating buzz around her company and understanding the ally that she could have in the media.
But the most important piece of advice she has for young professionals?
“Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding things I’ve accomplished. Be prepared to work a lot, make tough decisions and be a leader. Think outside the box and be willing to pivot,” Benjamin said. “Mistakes will be some of your biggest lessons-learned. We all make them — learn quickly and move on.”