They do not teach business in nursing schools. But that didn’t stop Nancy Pellegrino (better known as Nurse Nancy) from teaming up with Courtney Baber to co-establish the science-backed luxury skincare brand The Root Beauty.
Three years after they started, Nurse Nancy and Bob share their experiences, breaking up their entrepreneurial journey from finding the right ideas to finding the right partner. (Hint: now!)
How did you two meet?
Nurse Nancy: Courtney was my patient. She came for some big skin problems year after year. When he went inside, there was something unique about him. Not only was she attractive and beautiful (and kind), but I also felt that our lives would be intertwined.
Courtney Baber: We quickly became friends. During my second appointment, we discovered our shared dream of starting a skincare brand designed for mature skin that brings together all of our choices about the countless brands we’ve tried for over 50 years in the beauty industry. One that will make people feel a little more beautiful – and even a little happier – at the same time acknowledging the inevitability of beauty, wisdom, and the aging process. I was 51 and Nancy was 54 when we launched.
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What inspired you to start the route?
NN: I’ve been using different skincare lines for my patients – and on my own – for decades, but I’ve almost jumped, looking for products that will do more and make it better. After years of doing business, I still haven’t gotten to the one I like enough to use exclusively. I wanted to make the process easier for my patients without cutting corners on the quality or effectiveness of the ingredients. I wanted to give women access to medical-grade products that worked but cost no fortune. But most of all, I was finally ready. It’s not too late. It was just the right time.
CB: When we discovered that we both had paper roots in pre-teens, we thought, “That’s it.” We already had a name and work policy. Now we just need a business plan. We’ve tested every line of high-quality products out there and researched that we have more people available in Nurse Nancy’s office – and can change any treatments for a more affordable price. We knew the products had to be medical grade (no corners on functionality or ingredients), clean (as little impact on the environment as possible), and luxurious (we wanted it to make you feel good on your counter, on your face, on your face). Had to feel improved). The party pill, inspired by a popular in-office pill of choice for Nancy’s clients, is a prime example of our difficult process and is now our best seller. You should have seen my sensitive skin that year. It was not happy. But I was committed. But if I had to be a guinea pig, so be it. If it weren’t for my lifelong skin struggles, I probably would never have met Nancy when I did and the brand would never have been. Life is full of silver lining.
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What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who think they are “too old”?
NN: I have seen many friends stop pursuing career dreams because they think time is not right or they are too busy or they don’t know where to start. I personally know that climbing off this hamster wheel can be difficult. But, believe me, one day you will wake up and be 50 or 60 or even 70 years old and if you go after it. My advice? Ten years into the future, what would you tell your present self to do? Will he think you are too old or too busy or too much? Fill in the blanks? Probably not. If you really want it, stop making excuses. Tap on your superpower and get it done. Your future self will thank you. Believe me
CB: No matter how old you are, you really have to do it. If you don’t, it will never happen.
What is the mission of the brand?
CB: In short, it helps people to have happy, healthy, beautiful skin regardless of their age. But if you pill a layer, it is much more than that. The name, The Route, is proof of where we are in life right now and a celebration of the journey we took to get here. It is also a reminder that the unique paths in our lives are the most beautiful things – obstacles, roadblocks, walkways and all. We want people to know we see them, we’re here with them and we trust them.
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NN: I like the saying, “Please be the most beautiful thing.” If we can do even small things to inspire women to be a little kinder to themselves and by default, to others, I think it is a victory. It’s the little things that sometimes make the most impressive difference. We created the route for ourselves but wanted to share it with everyone. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Quality, honesty, and innovation come first and foremost, but add happiness and luxury to everything we do. The most beautiful bottle material and packaging from the highest quality ingredients and formulas. We wanted everything to be thorough, thoughtful, and unquestionably beautiful.
What advice do you have for middle-aged aspiring entrepreneurs?
CB: You really want it, and you have to be ready to work off your tail. There is no other way to do it. There is no substitute for hard work and you will never know how hard it is until you own your own business. It’s all consuming when it’s yours.
NN: I would be crazy. Turn on your support system on the 1st day. Check your health. Make sure your family is on board. But at the same time, don’t use these things as an excuse not to start. You can’t wait until everything is perfect because it will never happen. Preparation is a bridge to success where opportunity is combined. You have to make it happen for yourself. And, of course, if you have an amazing business partner (thank you Courtney) it’s much better.