Let’s be honest: the cosmetics industry was a completely unknown and hidden world for me until, like many other things in life, it hit me in the face and, step by step, became part of my life.
I have always been fascinated by knowing how things are formed, their composition and, even more, by understanding changes that occur in matter when it is exposed to external agents and conditions.
This was not the case with chemistry. Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by knowing how things are formed, their composition and, even more, by understanding changes that occur in matter when it is exposed to external agents and conditions. So, perhaps, the first sensation of “needing” to know more that I remember was at the house of some friends in a small village in Teruel in Northeastern Spain when I was about four years old. One day, after dinner, my father filled a bucket with about two liters of water and left it in the middle of the street. After ten minutes, we wrapped up warm and went out together to pick it up, and I discovered that this liquid mass had turned into a block of ice that didn’t break, no matter how hard I hit it. . . . Oops, maybe I forgot to mention that that night the temperature had reached –17C—what a warm summer night!
I don’t know if I can say that this “little experience” changed my life, but my interest in the world of chemistry definitely increased over the following years, until I eventually decided to study chemistry. After five years at the University of Zaragoza (including a final year at the University of Pavia), a year at the University of Alcalá de Henares in Madrid, where I completed a Master’s degree in inorganic chemistry, and finally three years at the Polytechnic of Milan, including a few months at the University of Helsinki, I earned the title of Doctor of Chemistry (PhD) in January 2016. In total, nine years, most of which were spent in a laboratory, where I could eventually focus on research: taking a material, stressing it, modifying it, combining it, implementing complex processes, until the long-awaited result was obtained . . . or trying to understand what went wrong . . . just like something I had already done with a bucket of water when I was four years old.
It might be interesting to deepen my knowledge of the cosmetics world — it was chemistry, after all!
During the last year of my PhD studies, one can say that I had my first experience with cosmetics in the most unexpected way. Along with two friends of mine, I participated in a Facebook quiz game organized by Nivea as part of the promotion of a new product line. So, thanks to my friends’ knowledge (they certainly knew a lot more than I did) we won the prize: two VIP tickets for the San Siro Stadium to watch an AC Milan match and a set of Nivea products. Other than the VIP tickets (Milan AC won, but I am an Inter supporter), the Nivea products really caught my attention. For the first time, I started using cosmetic products of which my skin benefitted. Among other formulations, the two most interesting were a scrub and an aftershave that really improved my skin after shaving. . . . I started thinking that it might be interesting to deepen my knowledge of the cosmetics world — it was chemistry, after all!
I started looking for new challenges, for opportunities to carry out researches with applications in the real world.
At that point, with my PhD finished, I decided that my period as a researcher had come to an end, or at least in that way. I started looking for new challenges, for opportunities to carry out researches with applications in the real world. In other words, I was looking for a job in industry, and after many considerations, I had the opportunity to become part of one of the leading companies in the international cosmetic market. My first responsibility was in the applied research laboratory and, in a very short time, I acquired a great deal of knowledge about the world of cosmetics. Suddenly, INCI lists became part of my life. Who hasn’t enjoyed reading the list — which is impossible to understand for anyone not knowledgeable in that field — that is behind the products we use every day, such as shampoos, aftershaves, body creams or hand soaps? Well, suddenly this list made sense to me. And not only that, in a short time I was able to interpret it and even evaluate it.
I really liked combining my knowledge of our products with the research that was going on in the customers’ laboratory . . . so I decided to go one step further and focus exclusively on providing technical support to our customers.
Thus, let’s add one more year to the aforementioned time spent in a laboratory, which I spent in the application development group. However, there I became very interested in another aspect, unknown to me until then, but which fascinated me: technical support. As part of my daily activities, I provided technical support both to the sales reps and to some of our key accounts (global players). I really liked combining my knowledge of our products with the research that was going on in the customers’ laboratory . . . so I decided to go one step further and focus exclusively on providing technical support to our customers.
This work allowed me to travel to many countries and, even more importantly, to be involved in projects with some of the most important research groups in the cosmetic market, whom I supported in their research and with whom I revised some of the best known formulations in the market.
This work allowed me to travel to many countries and, even more importantly, to be involved in projects with some of the most important research groups in the cosmetic market, whom I supported in their research and with whom I revised some of the best known formulations in the market. Step by step, I became more familiar with my new job and was given the opportunity to start taking part in trade negotiations as well, something that made this work even more special. All of this was exciting, but my skin began to feel the stress I was experiencing. So, I started to get the famous dark circles under my eyes, a problem I had never faced before. More travelling, more dinners, more working nights and less sleep led to greater dark circles under my eyes . . . and I didn’t know how to solve this problem.
If you ever have the opportunity to be part of a company like CLR Berlin, don’t hesitate.
Being fully involved in the cosmetic world, which I already considered an interesting and promising part of my future, I continued to travel and travel until I attended a cosmetic exhibition in Istanbul that was of remarkable importance for the future of my career and consequently of my life. There I met John Lofthouse (Global Sales and Marketing Director of CLR Berlin) with whom I was lucky enough to spend some time, a few beers and a dinner —an unforgettable dinner . . . let’s leave it there. A few months later we got back in touch and he presented me with a highly promising offer that made me not hesitate for a second: becoming a part of CLR Berlin. I accepted especially for the following reasons. First: it is a company at the forefront of the latest developments in the cosmetics market and that continuously launches new products (e.g., AnnonaSense CLR™ had just won the Best Ingredient Gold Award in 2019 at in-cosmetics Bangkok); second: it has an extraordinary internal organization where the departments of research, marketing, customer service and the sales team cooperate smoothly; and, last but not least, my enthusiasm about a very well-defined project of expansion into the Latin American market. In addition, I might mention that an important cosmetic market player who is not part of the CLR Berlin organization and was unaware that I was about to start working for them, told me, “If you ever have the opportunity to be part of a company like CLR Berlin, don’t hesitate.”
Thus, on 1 December 2019, I joined CLR Berlin as International Technical Sales Manager in charge of different geographical areas such as India, the Middle East, Italy and the LATAM market. On my first trip to Berlin as part of the CLR group, I visited our application laboratories. The extraordinary people in our laboratories not only showed me the benefits of our active ingredients from a technical point of view, but also gave me a series of ready-made formulations containing our ingredients. I was, therefore, able to test on my own skin the properties that make CLR Berlin products different from others on the market. So, as soon as I had the chance, I asked for a formula containing JuvenEye CLR™ and tested it on my own skin; in less than ten days my dark circles, which were a problem sometimes, had disappeared.
Working in a company at the forefront of the research in the cosmetic market and with products of extraordinary quality, makes the day-to-day work and effort worthwhile.
As we all know, 2020 was a year that was different from any previous one. Nonetheless, at CLR we made the most out of it, strengthening existing relationships and developing new ones through the continuous assistance we provide to our partners remotely. Although we had to learn working with a new approach, we had the possibility to reach all clients, at the time that suited them best, through customized webinars, e-learning classes and dedicated online meetings which enabled us to provide all the required support in a timely manner. There is nothing more satisfying than having customers all over the world who completely trust the effectiveness of our new active ingredients as they have had the opportunity for years to try and test them on their own skin and on that of those who matter most: their customers. Working in a company at the forefront of the research in the cosmetic market and with products of extraordinary quality, makes the day-to-day work and effort worthwhile.
Thank you, Francisco!