Powerful Woman: Dermatonics’ Donna Marcal

Professional Beauty brings to you our Powerful Women series – interviews with the leading ladies behind some much-loved salon industry brands across the skincare, cosmetics and technology spaces. Anita Quade caught up with Dermatonics founder, Donna Marcal.

Tell us what inspired you to set up your company?

We launched Dermatonics in 2016, with years of research and preparation leading to the release of our first products. The inspiration behind Dermatonics came from our passion and knowledge in medical research, and realising a specific need in the skincare industry.

My background is in biochemistry with years in inflammation research. And my husband, Dr Helder Marçal, has years of experience as a Biomedical Engineer specialising in wound healing and tissue regeneration. Hence, we wanted to apply our knowledge of unique natural extracts, ingredient purification methods, and how these extracts can help improve inflammation and tissue repair. We could see this would have a great impact if applied to skin for various skin concerns. There was a need for skincare products that merge unique scientific formulation with ultra-pure natural extracts. Our products are gentle on the skin and truly effective in addressing clinics’ skin concerns for their clients. 

What was one of the hardest challenges starting out?

With many businesses starting out, one of the biggest challenges is having a completely unknown product. I come from an academic background in medical science — and entering the beauty industry was difficult. An additional challenge was that we were essentially strangers launching a new product range into the industry.

And though we had become respected in our scientific communities, what we now needed to do was gain that same trust of our new industry. We wanted to ensure we gained that trust and respect of those who would use our products on their clients. Moreover, it takes time for people to know, like, and trust us as a brand and it is an important journey for any business. It was important for us to work alongside various industry bodies, share our knowledge, contribute to the industry and ensure that respect is gained. 

Being a powerful woman as a business leader – what is an important piece of advice you can share with your peers?

What I can share from my journey is:

1) ensure effective communication

2) stick to your values, and

3) don’t compare your journey

Effective communication helps build a well running business and efficient team. If you communicate effectively with those you work with, everyone is going to smash through the goals that are set out. 

It is imperative the values I have for our brand are translated throughout our business. I am a people person. Having great relationships throughout our business and with our clinic partners is an attribute that has gained us respect. It is important to me that this value is maintained as we grow.

Remember that your journey is unique and everyone’s journey is a bit different. Don’t worry about what the next person is doing. Have your goals in mind and remember why you are in business. Keep that in mind and focus on your goals.

How have you found the support from likeminded women in the industry (any examples)?

I have an amazing group of women that are the most supportive friends. They have supported me and my business, have been there from the very beginning of my business journey, and have seen me through nearly every aspect of my business. 

I have also met some pretty amazing women in the beauty industry, that are truly trailblazers themselves, that I resonate with and respect. One of the ways that I have been able to connect with these wonderful people is through industry events. For instance, as a people person, I truly love in-person events. And it is through many of these events that I have met my ‘tribe’ of likeminded women that are now part of my support network and that I also support

Ensuring you give to your support community is just as important at receiving. Above all, we all need to support each other in this journey that is business leadership. 

What is it you love most about being an industry trailblazer?

One of the things I love is not being afraid to be different in what we do. For example, I love creating a uniqueness in what our range contributes. Coming from a background of medical research, entering the industry with fresh eyes and innovation gives us a unique opportunity create progress and change. Above all we are focused on what products accomplish in the skin and how that translates to change and growth in our clinic partners we work with. 

Ensuring we provide education around the innovations we are offering in our range is a key component of what we do. In addition, what I love most is traveling the country and interacting with our clinic partners to share this knowledge. I am a lifelong student and part being a student is helping others around you learn as well.

This article originally appeared in the March-April 2022 issue of Professional Beauty.

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