How Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields are solving skincare issues with Rodan + Fields

Dr. Katie Rodan, co-founder, Rodan + Fields Dermatologists

Dr. Katie Rodan, co-founder, Rodan + Fields

NCA Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Retail and Consumer Products



Dr. Katie Rodan, Dr. Kathy Fields


Rodan + Fields


Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields began their careers with a do-it-yourself attitude and have maintained that spirit in all their ventures.

Dr. Kathy Fields, co-founder, Rodan + Fields Dermatologists

Dr. Kathy Fields, co-founder, Rodan + Fields

They met while carrying out their dermatology residencies and became fast friends. One of their professors advised them to “find a hobby within dermatology.” After joining separate private practices, they both noticed that the biggest problem their patients faced was acne. With no effective solutions on the market, the doctors decided to create their own treatment: Proactiv Solution.

Although the doctors were struggling to make it financially so soon after finishing medical school, they invested what little they had. Following the advice of the CEO of Neutrogena, they started selling their product through infomercials, and it has become one of the most successful over-the-counter acne solutions in history.

After the major success of Proactiv, Rodan and Fields weren’t satisfied. In 2002, they created a suite of solutions for sun-damaged skin, anti-aging, spotting and other common skin issues under a new company — Rodan + Fields — to sell these proprietary formulations.

The doctors originally sold their company to Estee Lauder but later decided their products required a more technical and personal selling process given their prescriptive nature. So, in 2007, they bought the company back and implemented a direct-selling model.

With a new marketing model, such as a short video explaining the product uses that is distributed via an app to all the company’s consultants, R+F has been built into a very successful company in a short time. The 30,000 consultants are provided their own websites and have their entire businesses set up online.

Like many other successful entrepreneurs, the biggest challenge R+F faces is the pace of its own growth. Business has doubled in each of the past three years. The company recently signed a new office lease to triple its space, and the doctors are working to maintain the culture.

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