EP 011: CEO to Zamboni Driver? Meet the Founder of Skin Grip, Isaac Parkinson

EP 011: CEO to Zamboni Driver? Meet the Founder of Skin Grip, Isaac Parkinson

December 13, 2021

Two years ago I randomly applied for a Social Media Manager position for an online patch company I had recently tried out with the intention of being more involved in the diabetes community. What I didn't expect was that I would witness this company disrupt the diabetes space in such an impactful and influential space. Skin Grip has easily become a leader in the diabetes space, not only in their top-notch product - but in how they lead with integrity, prioritize accessibility and give back to the community.

Meet Isaac, Founder and CEO of Skin Grip. In today's discussion, we talk all about how the company started, where they plan to go, and how Isaac leads differently than any company I've seen. Oh, and make sure to stay tuned at the end because we announce a huge way that Skin Grip is giving back and how you can be apart of it. 

Resources for today's episode: 

- Check out Skin Grip HERE

- Apply for the Skin Grip T1D Scholarship HERE

- Follow Skin Grip on Instagram HERE

 

 

 

SHOW NOTES

  • (1:42): Isaac, do you want to introduce yourself?
  • (6:27): You’re actually one of the few people on the show that doesn’t have diabetes, which most people probably don’t know since Skin Grip tailors to the diabetes community. Can you share a bit about your connection to diabetes and how it’s impacted your family?
  • (10:09): What do you feel like was the biggest learning curve was for you and your family?
  • (12:09): Do you mind sharing how Skin Grip came to fruition? How that idea came up?
  • (17:35): Do you mind sharing a little bit more about that, and kind of what you bring to the diabetes community that's more than just a, a well performing patch?
  • (23:09): When you’re looking ahead at the next 5-10 years, whats the vision?
  • (27:47): Do you mind sharing a bit on the ways that you give back, the ways that you share your values and share that transparency?
  • (32:12): You really listen to the community; what people are talking about, what they want from the brands they are buying from, what they want to hear, where they want the money to go, what they’re looking for. I, and the community, really respect that.
  • (34:26): Let’s talk a little bit more about your entrepreneurship journey. What inspired your leadership and who you look up to?
  • (40:54): By the time this episode comes out, we’ll be announcing something I think is huge. Do you mind talking about that a little bit?
        • Skin Grip T1D Scholarship - bold.org. Search “Skin Grip T1D Scholarship”. Application deadline is March 1 2022.
  • (47:11): Is there anything you want to add about Skin Grip, yourself, anything?

 

Transcription:

Elisabeth Poyner  00:00

Welcome to Keeping it 100 Radio. I'm your host Lissie Poyner. Type one diabetic, certified health coach, personal trainer, and founder of Needles and Spoons Health and Wellness. Inside this podcast, you'll find the real and raw conversations around diabetes management, including the lessons that we don't learn in our endos office, my best tips and trainings and conversations from the experts that I trust inside the community so that you can create more predictability in your diabetes management and feel empowered while doing so. Let's dive in. 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  00:26

Keeping it 100 Radio is brought to you in collaboration with Skin Grip, the only patch company that I trust with my diabetes devices. I started using Skin Grip about two years ago and before I found them, my Dexcom would last maybe four or five days before falling off, making it really hard to lift weights, hike with my dogs or just wanting to do the everyday things that I love. But now I can confidently travel, workout, and navigate life with diabetes without having to worry about dealing with insurance more than I have to, begging for replacements and resorting to fingerpricks. Plus I'm in love with their mission to help us live fearlessly with diabetes. You can check out Skin Grip SkinGrip.com and save 10% on your order by using the code Lissie L-I-S-S-I-E at checkout. 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  01:06

Welcome back to Keeping it 100 radio everyone! I am super excited for this episode and I know I say that every single time. But I really am. Because on this episode, we have Isaac Parkinson, who is the owner and founder of Skin Grip, who I'm sure you're all aware is the sponsor behind this podcast. So I'm really excited for you to get to know him and his journey behind Skin Grip. And for those who of you don't know, I've had the pleasure of being their social media manager for the past, almost two years, which is kind of insane. So yeah I'm really excited to get to share just what I've seen behind the scenes and just the awesomeness of this brand. So Isaac, like do you want to introduce yourself and share?

 

01:46

Yeah absolutely. Yeah, it's all it's always fun chatting with you Lissie, but I'm still I'm super excited about today. This is the first time we've ever like, you know, recorded something together. So yeah, like Lissie said, I'm Isaac Parkinson, the founder of Skin Grip. Some call me the CEO, but I just think that's a weird term. Like, you know, we're a small business. And I basically just make sure that the the house doesn't fall down. So, you know, I, I've been, I started it back in 2016. And we can get more into that and kind of like, you know, how it started and how my family is involved. But, you know, besides building a business, you know, because business isn't everything. Sports are probably my passion. I love to golf, play basketball, and play pickleball if you've never heard of it or haven't played, you should. It's up and coming. Fun sport. Overall, I just love being outdoors. I grew up most of my life in Utah. So I obviously skied in the winter and we just always, you know, doing something outdoors. Another thing I'm into is making pizza. So I kind of claim that I'm an amateur pizza chef. I've been making pizzas for a couple years now, just during the pandemic, in the backyard. I love doing itm it's so much fun. But yeah, other than that, I graduated from Utah State University with a marketing degree and I've just always kind of been interested in building things. So, you know, I've been entrepreneurial I, I do have a wedding videography business for a while and I, I've done you know, other things on the side, just kinda through college, to make it through. But I just I love building things that make a difference people's lives. And so Skin Grip has kind of been that vehicle for me to create, and, and try to, you know, spread joy and, and other good things to other people the last few years. But when when all is said and done, I actually have other dream jobs that I'm considering and one of them is a Zamboni driver. I don't know why, but whenever I go to a hockey game, I just think like, wow, I'd love to drive that Zamboni. It's so cool. Like, you know what they do and how they clean the ice. And if that doesn't work out, then maybe I'll become a barber or something, just so I can talk to people all day. But yeah, that's that's that's kind of me. Oh, I one more thing to add though. I mean, a lot of people don't know me too well. And so I figured this will be fun to share. But some interesting facts about me are that I actually lived in Nicaragua for two years after high school. And I currently don't hardly ever listen to songs that have lyrics. So I'm very into like jazz and like other music, like instrumental music that doesn't have lyrics. I don't know, you know, why that is. Like I like, I do love music with lyrics, don't get me wrong. I'm not crazy. But just recently I've been really into like the instrumental stuff. I guess I'm just getting old. I don't know.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  04:53

That's something and I mean, that must be hard with Taylor Swift's 10 minute version of All Too Well coming out. You have to listen to [..]

 

05:00

I know. Well, yeah, I know, seriously. It would. Yeah, my wife has maybe listened to one too many times. I found out yesterday that she has a sad autumn sad girl version or something like that. I don't know, what is it called? I don't know what it's called. Anyways, I found out about that and you know five minutes through, I said, you know what, I can't do this honey, I'm leaving the room. You can listen to sad girl version. But I've already listened to two hours upon hours of All Too Well. So

 

Elisabeth Poyner  05:28

You have to have both versions. Like you just have to. And with like, this time change, like seasonal depression. Like it just ties it all together. Like it's

 

05:36

Right. Yeah, I'm just waiting for spring version. So hopefully it'll be a little more happy.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  05:40

A little bit, yeah, hopefully. But that's, yeah, you said that there's gonna be some things that I didn't know. That's that's a lot. I'm a little bit surprised by the Zamboni driver comment but not totally surprised. Because on our team calls you consider yourself the janitor of the company. So like, true, like it ties together pretty well.

 

05:59

Yeah, I'm a simple man. I. I mean, I love doing cool things. But I don't aspire to too much like, I think that the janitor or the Zamboni driver is just as important as you know, the CEO or the hockey player, you know what I mean? So that's kind of my brain.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  06:20

Hey, I mean, jack of all trades. There you go.

 

06:25

Absolutely, absolutely.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  06:27

But you're actually one of the few people on the show that don't have diabetes. And I feel like maybe some people don't know that, because Skin Grip is a, they tailor to the diabetes community. But do you mind sharing a little bit about your connection to diabetes, how it's impacted your family?

 

06:43

Yeah, absolutely. Um. It's it's true, I don't have diabetes. My my brother, Josh was diagnosed back in 2013. Um and at the time, this obviously came as a shock to everyone, like he was exhibiting a lot of the symptoms that, you know, we talked about with diabetes, but because we just didn't really have any experience with it. We didn't know what was going on. So for weeks on end, he was I mean, he was exhausted, he was so thirsty, he was, you know, obviously going to the bathroom 100 times a night, you know. I'm being kind of facetious there, but, you know, he was like, showing the symptoms, and we just didn't catch on. And it was actually kind of scary. He uh, so he was like, laying in bed for like days, like, you know, just couldn't get up. He was just sleeping all day. And one morning, his heart was just like racing, and uh he got really scared, you know, went to my mom, and they rushed him to the hospital. And uh, you know, they did some quick tests. And they're like, Yeah, you probably have diabetes. And they, you know, they rushed him down to it to a specialist in, in Salt Lake. And um, you know, luckily, I mean, he was okay, his blood sugar was extremely high. But they were able to get them under control. And he had to stay in the hospital for a few days. And, and, you know, he went into it, pretty, pretty hopeless. And after, you know, being in the hospital, he came out a little, a little more confident. He was obviously very young. He was just starting high school. And, and it was tough, because, you know, you know, giving yourself insulin shots and stuff at lunch, and, and those little things like, you know, pricking your finger. Those little things were tough on him, and kind of embarrassing, from the beginning. And so, yeah, we, I mean, obviously, what he went through is much harder than what me or the rest of my family went through. Because, you know, we were just watching. He was actually living it. But I mean, for us, it was hard just to see him struggling. And to see him, you, you had some days where he was very depressed. And so like, that was really tough. And I feel like, you know, not having diabetes, you feel a little bit helpless, when they're going through something you don't always know what to do. And so obviously, like, we've been educated over the years, we know better how to help him and, you know, whenever like our family's together, we're very cognizant of like, hey, you know, have you checked your your sugars? Like, if we're on a hike, whatever, you know, because he's kind of a carefree guy. So we always worry about him a little bit. But we know we've learned so much and honestly, like, his life is normalized so much over the years with the, you know, with technology and things like that, you know, now he obviously uses a sensor he uses a Dexcom, uses an insulin pump. And I mean, he honestly, it's amazing the things that I've seen him accomplish now with diabetes and he you know, he treats it like, like a like it's not even there, right? He just you kind of moves forward and he's doing really awesome stuff. So it's been a it's been an interesting journey for us.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  09:54

Yeah, that it's really interesting to hear that perspective from a family member because I mean, when you're living it, you know your experience, you know, like, oh, yeah, I went through the, you know, feeling sick. And I went through the learning curve, but there's also a learning curve for the family members and for the people supporting them. So like, what do you feel like was the biggest learning curve for you? Like, specifically, but also like your family?

 

10:17

Um, yeah, that's a great question. Like, I feel like, I mean, for me, specifically, one of the biggest learning curves was just like understanding, like, what, what's good? What's bad? Because there's like, a lot of stuff out there that, you know, you you'd like a lot of associations you make about diabetes, you think, Oh, sugar is bad. Like our jocks, like, don't eat a dessert. Like don't do that, you know? Whereas it's not technically just like that, it's not just black and white with every single issue. Right? And so it's been a learning curve, just kind of understanding like, okay, like, what, what's, what are the truths? What are the things that maybe are just like, preconceived notions, you know? And uh, and how can I actually, you know, support him and help him? Um. Obviously, like, you know, we can't, can't do everything for him, you know, he's, he's a grown man now. He has to take care of himself, but, but we can support him, you know, just by, you know, by letting him know, like, we're there for him. You know, and, and, I mean, like I said, like, when we're with him, you know, when we're doing certain activities, just like, always kind of like being cognizant of, you know, what's going on, and just making sure that, you know, he obviously takes care of himself. But like I said, he's a little laid back. So just kind of like, you know, giving him some reminders, and just making sure that he's doing good and feeling comfortable with the activities and, and things we're doing. That's, that's kind of like, you know, how I like to, to go with the flow and, you know, help him out.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  11:46

Yeah, it's always nice having that support from family specifically. Like, it might not know the best way to support them. But like, I mean, my mom, my mom carries, like, I'll meet up with her. And I'm like, oh I'm low, and she just pulls out a juice box out of her purse, or like, opens up her refrigerator door and she has a thing of like Yoohoo. She's like, do you want to take one? Do you want to take three? Like, are you gonna be okay? And I'm like, I'm good, thank you. But you're actually doing a lot more, I think that you're supporting him in a really big way by advocating for him through Skin Grip. So do you mind sharing just how Skin Grip came to fruition? How that idea came up? Like how did it all start?

 

12:25

Absolutely, yeah. And kind of going back to what you just said. Yeah, like our big thing is like carrying fruit snacks. Like, he loves fruit snacks. So he has, like, you know, a ton of them out of, you know, by his bedside. So whenever he comes over, wherever, whatever, it's just like, my wife and I are like, Okay, do we have enough fruit snacks? If that's the you know, how we can help.  Yeah,  we're gonna do it. But, um, yeah, like you said, so Skin Grip. Yeah, has been a big part of our lives in the last five years. And, you know, it, it got started, you know, in a interesting way. So, like I mentioned, I've kind of always been entrepreneurial. And I've just always had my eyes upward, like open to opportunities, and specific specific, like, when I think of opportunities, I think of, something like that can change someone's life, or make your life a little bit easier, a little bit better. So back about when I was in college, I was obviously, you know, doing a bunch of random odd jobs to kind of get time and pay for school. But I had a roommate that actually kind of brought the idea of tape to my attention. And I you know I ran it past, past my brother, he was obviously like, at this point now, finally, using like a Dexcom, our insurance finally covered one. And so, you know, I kind of consulted with him and said, Hey, like, are you having issues with this? And he said, Yeah, you know, this is when I see the issues with my sensors falling off. And because we're kind of new to the whole sensor thing, like I started researching more about, you know, the cost of sensors and, and how people use sensors and why they're so important, and just, you know, educated myself more on that. And I noticed that, you know, there were, there were a couple like, tapes that were out there that kind of helped with this solution. But as we tested them on my brother, just, you know, none of them were working. A lot of them were really, really weak adhesives, or, you know, they just, you know, were almost as bad as the sensors themselves that are just falling off all the time. And so, you know, I thought, you know, we don't have to reinvent the wheel with this, like, what we really need to do is make a stronger adhesive, for one, that can withstand really anything that an athlete might put it through. And then we need to make it non irritating because I mean, if there's anything worse than your sensor falling off, it's your sensor falling off and your skin, you get like a skin burn from terrible, you know, adhesion. So, I figured, you know, why couldn't we just stick to at least those two problems, and then also form a mission around what we were doing? Because like, you know, like I said, like, we're not like we're not Apple, we're not, we didn't create the iPhone, we, we didn't reinvent the wheel, we just created a better solution to a problem that existed. And so with that being said, you know, we decided on also a mission, and just kind of knew that logistically, this, like this item, this product was something that we can make happen. I mean, I didn't have a background in like engineering or you know, science or any of these, you know, crazy things, like I literally studied business. And so, you know, making something simple was important for me, you know, something like that I knew we could do, that we could afford to produce on a small scale. And so then once we kind of just decided and we saw the need, I decided we should go for it. And so, I didn't have much in savings, but I actually put down the first like the money for the first order, because it was a risk. And I thought, hey, I'm just gonna try this out. My brother, you know, tested all the products, they worked great for him. My sister actually made the logo. My dad has worked in medical supplies his whole career. And so he's kind of, you know, been been the one that's kind of, you know, talked with medical suppliers, and he's even talked to Dexcom personally and stuff. And so, you know, the whole family like, is has had a part in it one way or the other. But it's, it's been a wild journey, honestly. I mean, it's, I never thought that we'd be now you know, 2021 where we are. But I'm super happy about it. And I just feel like we have more of a responsibility to do even more for diabetes community because of the success that the business is at.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  16:35

Right. Yeah. And to your point, like, yes, you guys make a incredible product. Like I remember when you actually, like reached out to me on Instagram, saying, Hey, can we send you pack? And I was, I was kind of hesitant, because I've tried other patches, and like, they're pretty, they have a cool design, that's great. But when they fall off, so did my Dexcom. And you're right, like, it's super expensive, it's really hard to call up the insurance company and say, I need a new Dexcom because it just fell off. Like it doesn't always fly. So with the cost, it adds up. And like that adds the frustrations and like, Alright, give it a try. And like I'm being so honest when I say I've never used another patch, again. Like my friend is all like, bought me another patch company for Christmas, like a pack. And I haven't even touched it. But that's really because like, it's truly a great product. But what really kind of drew me in as a more of like, a loyal, like customer, and now working for the company, is the mission behind it. So do you mind sharing a little bit more about that, and kind of what you bring to the diabetes community that's more than just a, a well performing patch?

 

17:45

Yeah, absolutely. You know, I've always said that, like, the product is great, and you can't have a business without a great product. No one would buy it, you know? But the mission is definitely what sets us apart and like something that I'm way more passionate about the mission than necessarily the product. You know, we've received thousands of reviews now. And it's always, it's always heartwarming to see the reviews of people who say, hey, you know, this is like, this was my life before Skin Grip, like, I didn't go in the ocean with my kids, I didn't play with them, you know, I was worried about losing the sensor because I can't afford to replace it. And, you know, this is my life now. And they talk about, you know, the things are going with their kids or, or, you know, whatever it may be, and it always brings tears to my eyes. And so, you know, that's the kind of, that's the kind of vision that we have is make more experiences like that in the lives of other people, specifically with the product. Now, I've always been, like, really, into, or I've always admired brands that tell a story. So you think of like, you know, the Nikes of the world or whatever, that tell stories, right? I, I, I just love how that, you know, brings everyone together. And you know, it gives like the brand an actual like identity, and it makes you just, you know, when you think of the brand new think of maybe good memories that you've had with that brand or with the product, whatever it may be. And so after the first year of business, that's kind of when we like we really decided that we're going to go all in on it. So like we rebranded the packaging, we we branched out into other products for different devices and different colors and things like that. And it was at this time that I began personally to start thinking really deeply about the vision and just like the whole mission of the company. And, you know, like I read a lot of books. I thought okay, who's you know, who's our target audience? What matters to them? And it was at like a seminar that um we were watching like some different advertisements or you know, of different companies and just like some things that you know, certain companies were doing. And like the words live fearlessly came up on one of the ads, I thought those are the two words that I would describe our vision. Like, you know, I want people living with type one type one diabetes, to be able to live fearlessly. And so the whole vision now, literally word for word is when individuals living with diabetes feel fearless, they can accomplish the extraordinary. And I truly believe that like, I mean, like you mentioned, I don't have diabetes. But I've, you know, have many people and I, you know, in my life who have diabetes, whether it's my brother, you know, aunts and uncles, cousins, like, there are many people in our extended family that have type one diabetes, and I've seen many of them and others, like yourself, do, accomplishing amazing things, you know, even though you have the card stacked against you, you know, by living with this disease, like, you guys are still able to go out and do these amazing things. So I personally look to type one diabetics as superheroes. And so I feel like, you know, if Skin Grip can at least you know, help others, like, feel fearless, then those people will go out and do the amazing things that the world needs. And so, you know, one thing that we want to do is we want to support, we want to support as many type one diabetics as we can, whether it's, you know, through giving the charities that make insulin more accessible, or, you know, whether it's donating patches to people in other countries who don't have the same, you know, resources we might have. Whatever that is, we want to be a part of it. And we're gonna, we're gonna try to do the best we can.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  21:41

Yeah, I, that's just the real the, the biggest thing that drew me into Skin Grip was that mission. Because, again, like when we're first diagnosed, that's kind of the whole diagnosis, is fear. Like, we feel like I mean, personally, and I just had this on the other episode that I recorded. But when I was diagnosed, I remember literally thinking to myself, I do not want to live this way. And it was terrifying to one - acknowledge that and two - kind of look ahead and say, I have this whole life in front of me with this diagnosis. So even if it's just a, just a patch, quote, unquote, like you're giving people kind of something that they can step into, like when I put on my patch, I'm wearing it right now. Like, when I put that on, I remember that, like, wow, like, I can do this. There is so much more that I can do now. Because one - yes, I don't have to worry about my devices. But also, there's a brand advocating for me in a way that like, maybe I didn't see myself living that way at first. But now I know that it's possible. I see other people doing it, I'm, I'm seeing examples every single day from other people on social media, and just you know, day to day, so you really are giving people so much more than just a good product. It's a way to a way to live their life and step up and say, I can do things that maybe I didn't think that I did before. But when we're looking at, so you're at the like five year mark, right? You said it sounded 2016. 

 

23:06

2016, yep.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  23:07

  1. That's so insane. But when you're looking ahead at the next 5, 10 years, what's the vision? What do you see for it?

 

23:16

Yeah, I mean, we have a lot of goals. And, you know, the crazy thing about, you know, being in business is that things change every year, like, you know, we could never imagine that we were gonna, you know, be in business during a pandemic. We could never imagine, you know, kind of the opportunities we've had so far to be able to give back. So going forward, I mean, for one, we we really want to be the global leader in CGM tape. And that, you know, that sounds, you know, but again, like you said, you know, it's, it's, it's a patch, like for devices, you know, it sounds kind of interesting, but, you know, being the global leader, for us means against spreading this vision and this mission to everybody that has diabetes. And so, we want, we want a million people using Skin Grip. And even more so million people living fearlessly in their lives and doing amazing things, even though they have diabetes, right? On on a on a bigger level, some some other things we want to do is we'd like to be able to donate as much as possible and give back to the community as much as we can. Hopefully, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. That's that's a huge goal we have and, you know, we were on track to do that already. You know, the some other things that may happen is, you know, we've, we've had a lot of people reach out from, from other markets, right? Not just necessarily in diabetes, but, you know, we've had we've had the opportunity to actually give patches to you know, hospitals and other companies that are creating, creating really cool products for people in need, you know, things that monitor the heart and other things like that. So, you know, there's, there's a lot of need for our product in other markets besides diabetes, but, but this is the interesting thing is, you know, we started with the focus of helping those with diabetes. And while other companies are, you know, asking for our product and other markets, we want to stay true to what we've always done. And so, we're not gonna, you know, enter a new market, unless it's very intentionally, with the goal to always give back to the diabetes community. So this is a really interesting, you know, um idea. And, you know, I know that many people, you know, may not like it, per se. But you know, our goal is, if we ever do get into other markets, you know we can use that as a catalyst to then give back to the diabetes community, and advance some of the things in in diabetes, because we're able to give back more, if that makes sense. So, you know, honestly, for us, the ultimate goal is to cure diabetes. So, you know, whether we're giving money to organizations that, you know, can advance the technology in curing diabetes, or can provide insulin access to everybody, you know, we want to use that as, as the main focus, the main goal when we're giving back. And we kind of have like this, like, in our family, we have this little manifesto, we basically call it our put us out of business manifesto, which is basically, like, we want to go out of business someday, because we want diabetes to be cured. Right. And obviously, you know, like in the business world, that doesn't make any sense. But for us, that would be everything, right? Like, I know we have many team members that live with diabetes, that have come in with with diabetes, and I think all of us want that. So, you know, again, I can't say that we'll ever expand our product line and get into new markets. But if we ever did, like the ultimate goal, would it be expanding what we can do to give back and make a difference in the diabetes community. So I'm really excited about that. And I don't know where we're gonna end up in five more years. But hopefully, it's it's a place that we can be super proud of. .

 

Elisabeth Poyner  27:04

Yeah. And, and I think your answer right there, and the transparency that you give, and it just shows how much you care about the community, and you care about the people that you're serving, because there is obviously the business outlook of, oh, this would be a great way to add to the profits and grow as a business, but you're like, No, like, we want to give back to the community that we currently serve. And I think that's, again, one of the things one of the biggest things that the community respects so much about Skin Grip, is that transparency. And I've been able to see kind of on the back end of how much the brand, and how much you and your family care about the community. And I've been able to see like, the ways that you give back and the ways that you, you truly are transparent and share your values. So do you mind speaking a little bit on that in those ways that like, like, we're gonna brag about Skin Grip for a bit, like, the ways that you give back, the ways that you share your values and share that transparency?

 

27:59

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I just, I just like, I just personally, think you know, why would anyone want to buy from a business that wasn't transparent with them? I mean, like, we try to be as transparent as we can. And, you know, I know that not everything we do is gonna be something that people like. But like, we ultimately do, everything that we do with a good heart, you know, and believing it's gonna help the most amount of people. So typically, like, whenever I have an idea for something, like, I just act on it quick, or else I forget about it. I think, you know, a good idea is only good for so long. And, you know, not not all the things that we've done in Skin Grip, have even been like my own ideas. You know, we look to other brands, we look to other people who we respect, and and we try to do what we can do in our own sphere. So, like, early on, like I mentioned, you know, we created this mission, but um we, I also wanted to make sure that we were giving back in some way. And you know, typically, like, what you'll see with brands is they'll say, oh, like, you know, we give back 1% to this cause, or, you know, whatever it may be, and I just want to, I wanted to do something different, I want to do something more unique for us. And so that's why we created the All For One Day. And if people aren't familiar with All For One Day, what it is, is on the 11th day of every month, we give all of our website proceeds to charity, and instead of just like choosing one charity to give to every single month, we usually, you know, take suggestions or let like our followers vote on where we should donate. And so, you know, over the last few years, we've donated to tons of type one diabetes charities. We've also had you know cool monthes like where we'll donate directly to you know, certain people or certain causes, or you know, like this past month we donated to type one diabetic artists who had their artwork stolen. So we just, you know, we try to do cool things and and you know, We don't necessarily, you know, how we feel like we're flexible enough where we don't have to say, hey, the money's gonna go to this one thing, but it goes to like, where the needs greatest that month or at that moment. So that's just, you know, one cool thing but, um, but like you mentioned, you know, we like to be transparent and the transparency idea kind of came from just like seeing other brands, you know, in other, in other industries being transparent about, you know, their products and what they were doing, like their mission. And so I decided, you know, one thing that really lacks in the diabetes community, which is awful, is transparency. You know, you have many organizations, many businesses who are profiting, obviously, off of people living with diabetes, but they're rarely transparent about, like, where the money is actually going. And like, are we actually trying to cure diabetes? Like what's actually happening, right? And so, I, I was listening to Craig Stubing, his podcasts, and he talks about transparency and actually ended up reaching out to him and saying, Hey, like, I love what you're doing with the Beta Cell Foundation, how, you know, you try and be transparent. We want to be more transparent. And we want to set a precedent for other companies in the space to be more transparent. You know, what, what are some steps we can take? And, you know, Craig actually sent me a bunch of ideas from other companies in other industries, some, you know, some of his thoughts. And we created the transparency page on our website, where you can see exactly like, where the products coming from, what it costs us to make, you know, the product, you know, what our financials generally look like, obviously, for different reasons, like we can't share every single thing, you know, in the business, but we can share as much as possible to let people know, like what we're actually doing, and you know, who we're actually benefiting. So, again, it's the transparency part of our business is in its early stages, like, I think we can still do a lot more. But you know, we're at least trying to set that precedent. And, you know, we have, like, on the page, we have a little part of the bottom that says, you know, we challenge every company to do the same in diabetes. Because if if every company can be more transparent, then I think everyone benefits.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  32:12

Definitely. And that's what I think something that you do really, really well is that you are constantly listening to the community. You are looking on social media and saying, what are people talking about? What do they like, what do they want from these brands that they're buying from? What do they want to hear? Like, where do they want the money going to? Like, what, what are they looking for? And you are constantly raising the bar. Like, I cannot, I just laugh at you like when you mentioned, like, you're always thinking of like good ideas and just kind of rolling with them, and how many just like, you'll just send a text like, Hey, here's an idea, let's get rolling with it. And that's exactly what like the All For One Day was with, you know, you had heard that there were artists being kind of not treated well in the community. And you said, Nope, we're going to, we're gonna raise the bar, we are going to set this expectation for other brands, and that this is how we treat our community. And we're gonna, we first of all want to share more about them. And we want to give back to them because they're an integral part of our community. And you're just constantly kind of raising, you're just constantly raising the bar for other other brands. And I, again, it's something that I respect so much, and I think that it's so many other people respect so much.

 

33:23

I appreciate that. I mean, I wouldn't know about all the things going on in the community if it wasn't for you. So I definitely think that, you know, like, I'm very lucky to work with the people I work with, like yourself. And, you know, we wouldn't be where we are without the whole team that we have around us. But like, ultimately, you know, I just think like, for someone to own a business or to be part of a business, you know, that's trying to do good. Like, we have a great responsibility to help. And I just don't think it makes any sense to not be listening to those you serve. Right? Like, I mean, it's just good for business for one. But on the other hand, I mean, if you're not, like if you're not helping the people who you're supposed to be helping, then like there's no reason to be in business, honestly.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  34:11

Right. What's the point? And the diabetes community finds out when intentions aren't pure so, like.

 

34:18

Oh, yeah, it's yeah, I know.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  34:21

We're like PI's, we find out. Absolutely. But I mean, let's talk about that a little bit more in just your entrepreneur, entrepreneurship journey, and just in how you like I see it again, in how you lead the team, and in how you lead in the community and just can we talk about that a little bit, in kinda what inspired how like your leadership and who you look up to? Yeah, so bit more about that.

 

34:47

Yeah, absolutely. I don't really consider myself a leader. What I do like though, is making people's lives better. So that's kind of like my North Star. Is how can I make someone's life better? And, you know, if we're talking about the diabetes community as a whole, you know, the way that make people's lives better obviously, is, is, you know, by making good products, by giving back, but also by hiring the right people. Um I think when you hire the right people as a leader, that makes all the difference. So my, you know, my general rule of thumb is, I find the right person, and then I get out of their way. Because there's no reason to hire someone who knows more than you do about a subject, and then tell them what to do. So you know, whether it's customer service, social media, operations, whatever it is, I just make sure that someone shares the same vision for, you know, the we have, and then, and then I remove myself somewhat obviously, you know, like yourself to manage the team, and, and, you know, have the vision and make sure we're all going towards the vision and the goal. But I don't like to be a micromanager. I think that, you know, a great example, as you you know, I've given, you know, you and many other people a lot of freedom to do, you know, great work. And then it's led to some amazing things. And so that's just kind of my general philosophy. And I mentioned, you know, a little bit before that, when it comes to the ideas, you know, at Skin Grip, I don't come up with all of them. I'm not like, you know, the Wizard of Oz, I don't come up with all the ideas around here. But rather, what I try to do is create the best environment where people can be their best selves, and then the ideas flow through them. So, you know, many of our great ideas, and, you know, our campaigns, our initiatives, have come from team members who, you know, they felt comfortable to speak up, and, and, you know, to share with me, the ideas they had, and because of that, you know, that Skin Grip and the community as a whole has benefited from it. So yeah, I mean, again, like, it's, I don't think it's too hard to be a great leader, necessarily, you just gotta have good people around you, and you just don't mess things up.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  37:08

Don't mess things up. We all mess up one way or another, but it's all about how you rebound from it, and how you come out from it. But yeah, I mean, like I've seen, again, from working with you in the past few years, it really doesn't even feel like work, because you're such a facilitator and like, everything feels collaborative. So again, like on our calls, you'll come up and say, I have this idea, what are your thoughts? What do you think? What are your ideas? What do you want to see from from Skin Grip? And it's really like, it's a positive environment to be in. And again, it doesn't even feel like work. It feels like fun, it feels like our way of branching out and saying, again, how can we create that change in the diabetes community? How can we start those conversations? And how can we, how can we create that ripple effect? So again, for anybody listening, who is wondering what that environment is like, it's a very, it's just great. And I think, again, the people that we work with, like you bringing Alicia on the team, and like, all the people that we have, kind of supporting us, has only it's been really great to collaborate with them as well. And has done a lot of good work, I think within the the team environment.

 

38:12

Yeah, you know, if there's anyone listening that has specific skills that they think could enhance, you know, what's Skin Grip's doing, you know, feel free to reach out to me, you know, we don't hire a ton, but you know, whenever there is an offer, like, whenever there is a good fit, or like an opportunity, we do hire, you know, out for that position, and we really do give a lot of autonomy and, and just kind of having a say for, you know, how we want run that role or how we can, you know, make the business better. You know, and, like you asked, you know, who were maybe some of my role models? I personally, like love reading books. So, I mean, I'm, I'm reading, you know, probably a couple of books a month, not always on business, just kinda whatever strikes me as interesting at the moment, but, you know, books, like you know, How to Win Friends and Influence People and Start With Why, have kind of just like been my, you know, like, been almost like my, you know, my role models in, in figuring out how we can, you know, create, create that environment that I talked about where people can be themselves. And, you know, other than that, like, I don't know if you've watched Ted Lasso, great, great TV show if you haven't watched it, but you know, Ted Lasso like he's a goofy guy, but in the show, you know, he creates an environment where his players can flourish. You know, he's a soccer coach and, and he actually has never been a soccer coach before, he has actually always played football. And that's kind of you know, the funny part of the story but I just think you know, it kind of those those examples of, of just creating environment and then and then getting out of the way, and just letting people you know, be themselves is really what's led Skin Grip to be what it is today. And I think also a part of that is a you know, you mentioned sometimes we kind of do things that are unconventional, like, if we have an idea, and if it's unconventional, we usually double down on it. Because, you know, it's new, it's different. Like, it's not how things have always been done. And so you know, I think of Steve Jobs is like, you know, someone who did this really well, where, and he didn't think of necessarily, what do people want? But rather like what do they need that they don't even know they need? And, you know, sometimes we, you know, try to think in that way as well. And so, yeah, I mean, we're gonna try our best, sometimes we'll make mistakes, sometimes we'll have ideas that are terrible, but, but if we never try them, we'll never know. And, and we're gonna keep trying.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  40:41

Yeah. And I think that's a human way to think about it of, you know, no brand is perfect, no person is perfect. And that's what makes Skin Grip so human is that we're able to admit that too. So that's all good things. And I'm really excited, because by the time this episode comes out, we'll be announcing something, I think is huge. So do you mind talking about that a little bit?

 

41:04

Yeah, this is, I mean, really, this is one of our biggest announcements when it comes to giving back that we've ever made. What we call it is the Skin Grip T1D Scholarship. And what this is, is we're actually giving 20 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each, to students that are living with type one diabetes. So this can be high school seniors, or it can be students who are in their undergrad, it doesn't have to, you know, you could be at a university, you could be at a trade school, it doesn't really matter. You know, as long as you have type one diabetes, you're eligible to apply for this scholarship. So you know, if you know, depending on when this podcast launches, the deadline for the application is March 1, so you have a few months to still apply, you can do that by going to bold.org. And searching Skin Grip T1D Scholarship. And you can I will have a will have a link in the show notes, we'll also have links to the scholarship on our website, on our social media. So we're gonna definitely be talking about it a lot over the next few months. The application is actually really easy. Besides bringing in some, like, you know, details about yourself. Just you know, for qualifying details, the only question you have to ask is, how do you live fearlessly with type one diabetes? And we're asking everyone  to submit a video, a short video, you know, less than two minutes, about how they live fearlessly with type of diabetes. And we're going to be picking 20 people to win the scholarship. So we're super excited about it. But that's not all, actually. I feel like you know, one of those commercials, that's not all! No, you know, the cool part is, is actually this. So we're you we're working with a company called bold.org to, to give scholarships to everyone, they help they help us qualify, as well as distribute the money once the winners have been announced. And something really cool about them is they have this feature where people can contribute to the scholarships, almost like a GoFundMe, right? So if there are, you know, individuals with type one diabetes out there that have already graduated, and maybe have some extra income, you know, they can actually contribute as much as they want to this scholarship. So you know, $5, $100, whatever it is, and that gets added to the pool of money being distributed to the winners. So for example, you know, if, if we're able to raise another $20,000, then that scholarship now looks like $2,000 for each of these 20 individuals. So whether you're a student or or your, you know, an adult, a parent, we invite you to either apply or to contribute to this scholarship, and help us make a big difference in 20 lives. This is just, you know, one of many things we're going to be working on over the next few years. But I think it's a great start. And um, and as you know, many of you know, I mean, living with diabetes is not easy, and going to school just makes it that much harder. So we want to make sure that we're doing all we can to support these up and coming individuals in their schooling.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  44:28

I'm so excited for this. Because you're right, like it's a lot. I've been a college student with diabetes, it is not easy to manage. There's a lot that goes, there's just a lot that goes into it of studying and taking care of your body in the way that diabetes demands. And then when you add on the financial component of it, going to school is expensive, accessing diabetes supplies is expensive, insulin is expensive if you don't have the right insurance. And like this is just a huge way that Skin Grip gets to make a difference in 20 lives and maybe in the future it will be more and it It's a way that people get to contribute in a way, that's not just like they're, they actually get to see where their money is making a difference and who its contributing to. Where like a lot of, you know, nonprofits, like you don't really get to see that direct outcome. So I think it's really unique and really special.

 

45:16

Yeah, that's a good thing to touch on is, I mean, there are really good charities out there that, you know, are fairly transparent. But I know, you know, me myself, like, when I'm thinking about donating to something, I am always curious, like, where's the money actually go to? Like, if I were to give back to my, like, the university I went to, am I confident that money would go to the student that needed it the most? Right? And so, yeah, with this, I mean, there's no fees. So like, your, like, your donation, like, doesn't go to the organization that's hosting the scholarship online, it doesn't go to us, it's going directly to the students. And, you know, we're going to have some more announcements over the next few months, but, you know, these students, like will definitely announce, we'll, you know, we'll share who they are and, and with anyone that contributes, we will also, you know, share with them, hey, this is who basically you contributed to, this is what they're going into, this is what they're doing. And, you know, hopefully in a year from now, we can hear back from these individuals on how the scholarship helped them, you know, and, and hopefully, you know, a year from now we can we can donate more than $1,000 to 20 people, you know, hopefully we can, you know, you know, be able to donate like a whole semester, you know, like be able to pay for a whole semester for 20 individuals. I don't know. We'll see where we get. But again, like that's, that's, that's the goal we're going for. And in order to do so, obviously, you have to do good in business. But well, you know, we don't want to do good in business, if we're not gonna do good in the community.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  46:48

Right. That's so huge. And like you mentioned, I'm going to put the links in the show notes, we'll have all links on social media, and, obviously, keep sharing about it, and keep talking about it. Because I think this is probably one of the biggest, it is the biggest thing that we've done, at least since I've been working with the team.

 

47:05

Absolutely. Yeah, it's definitely the biggest.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  47:08

It's, its awesome. Thank you so much for talking about that. Is there anything else that you want to add about Skin Grip, yourself? Anything?

 

47:16

No. I mean, if you know, if people haven't heard about Skin Grip, I'd say just yeah, go to the website, try a free sample. You know, if you hate the product, I'm not gonna be offended. You know, I know that, you know, different tapes work for different people depending on you know, their skin type and like, their, like environment they live in. So, again, you know, even if you don't love the product, like just join us on the mission, you know, help us spread, spread the mission of living fearlessly and help you know, hopefully, hopefully, you know, we can do great things and we need everyone to play a part in that.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  47:50

Couldn't have said it better myself.

 

47:54

Thanks Lissie, it's always a pleasure chatting, but it's, you know, I think it's the first time like I said, we've ever recorded anything while we're chatting. So

 

Elisabeth Poyner  48:00

Yeah no, this is awesome. Yeah, thank you so much for coming on. I can't wait for this to to show, to air.

 

48:06

Absolutely. Thanks so much.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  48:10

Thank you so much for tuning in to today's episode, I hope that you loved learning about our sponsor behind the podcast, Skin Grip. And if you are eligible for the scholarship, go head to their website, SkinGrip.com or their Instagram account at @SkinGrip and go ahead and submit an application by March 1. We were so so excited about this and if you still haven't tried student grip go ahead to SkinGrip.com and use the code Lissie L-I-S-S-I-E at checkout to save on your order.

 




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