Q & A With Charlotte’s Book founder Robin Shobin
Colorists, chiropractors, even colon hydrotherapists – women love sharing their arsenal of personal care professionals with each other. Those communication lines shut down a bit, however, when it comes to procedures like injectables and cosmetic surgery. Other than one hushed conversation with one of my closest girls over a glass of Pinot Noir, I can’t ever remember openly discussing Botox, Juvederm or Fraxel with a friend. This dearth of knowledge-sharing leaves many women at a loss to find the very best professionals…for procedures we wouldn’t want to trust to anyone less.
Well, the aesthetics and wellness WikiLeak we’ve all been waiting for has arrived: say hello to Charlotte’s Book. Founded by ex-Wall Street exec Robin Shobin, Charlotte’s Book is an online resource where women can find invaluable information on the best in skin care, anti-aging, aesthetics and wellness. We sat down with Robin to talk about (and say thank you for) Charlotte’s Book.
TB: What prompted you to create Charlotte’s Book?
RS: As a busy Wall Street executive, I was incredibly frustrated with how hard it was to find trusted recommendations for cosmetic dermatologists and other types of beauty and wellness experts. This process is still word-of-mouth….with no true online recommendation source. It was equally difficult to research the latest treatments and trends. I never had time to read beauty magazines or watch daytime TV, and getting advice from friends and colleagues was difficult as many women still aren’t as willing to divulge their latest laser treatment as they are to talk about their favorite lipstick. And, quite frankly, I was busy. The only time I had to research experts and treatments was late at night or on the weekends, so I would search online, which wasn’t helpful. In fact, it made me even more confused. I wanted to create an easy to navigate online resource that spoke in a trusted, relatable and discerning voice.
TB: What is Charlotte’s Book’s mission?
RS: Our tagline is #BeTimeless and I think that sums it up perfectly. We want to be the leading online resource for skin care, anti-aging and wellness.
TB: How does your background in finance inform and inspire Charlotte’s Book?
RS: I think it gives a great outside perspective and the site was born out of a true need. I never had a trusted source to ask questions about cosmetic doctors or beauty services because it was so taboo. In my world of female executives, beauty is often seen purely as vanity, and women aren’t taken seriously if they care too much. Getting a facial or Botox is seen as a luxury. I like to quote Tyra Banks who says, “Right now, with women in power, and not apologizing for being strong or wanting to make money or to be on top, that’s my message — and that’s all feminism. I feel like you should be able to have a fierce face at the same time.” Why is it wrong to want to look your best?
TB: How do you select the experts, doctors and businesses in your directory?
RS: We do anonymous surveys of women, consider the history of appropriate relevant credentials and bedside manner. We also think about the ability of our experts to partner with other experts. That is very important because being timeless is about the integration of beauty and wellness. And given all of the latest advancements, doctors are becoming very specialized. It’s important to see the right expert for different treatments.
TB: In your work thus far, have you learned or uncovered anything surprising about the beauty/wellness/cosmetic surgery field(s)?
RS: It’s so alarming the amount of “fake” products on the market. Stories of watered down Botox, and outdated laser equipment being used at low levels… causing women great harm that is often irreversible. That’s why it’s so important for the public to be educated. It’s not just about credentials and qualifications, it’s about integrity.
TB: What do you look for when choosing a dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon or esthetician?
RS: Bedside manner, honesty, expertise in a specific field and a holistic viewpoint, meaning they truly understand that your skin is a reflection of everything going on in your life. I actually see two different dermatologists, one for laser and one for injectables.
TB: What do you think is the right balance for a person to strike between dermatologists, estheticians, plastic surgeons and your at-home personal care routine?
RS: I think it depends on that person’s goals and what she is trying to achieve. It can vary, not only by age, but by what is going on in one’s life. The ideal is building a personal network of a dermatologist, esthetician and wellness professional that you can trust, knows you, and can always help you look your best. Just like a woman has a relationship with her hair stylist, she should have one with her derm, facialist, and nutritionist. It’s an investment in herself.