Tecco Skin co-founder Jonathan Villafane never thought he'd pursue a career in beauty, let alone launch a skincare brand. Villafane initially wanted to work in the film industry, obtaining a Bachelor's degree in film and video studies from Full Sail University in 2016. Still, his attention soon shifted toward the beauty industry. "I found a natural passion for makeup by watching different influencers," Villafane says. "I ended up becoming a makeup artist for shows like WWE and E! News. Then, I began working for corporate beauty brands. I worked my way up the corporate ladder within these different beauty brands like Beauty Blender and Smith & Cult."
In 2018, Villafane landed at IGK Hair as a marketing executive, a position he says taught him the most about the business of beauty. However, in early 2020, he was let go from the role. Trying to adjust to his new reality, Villafane found himself occupying his time with skincare. "When my position got cut, it was time for me to think about what to do with the knowledge I have," he says. So, I just started researching how to make different skincare things, and I connected with a chemist who was a good friend of mine. Then, Tecco Skin was born."
Tecco Skin's Brand Philosophy and Aesthetic
Tecco Skin is a blend of "tech" and "eco," which fittingly teases the brand's core values. The company's skincare formulations are created using biotechnology and natural, vegan, and cruelty-free ingredients. "We infuse everything we do with biotech, which is a form of manipulating the DNA of a living organism to enhance it and make it more potent," he says.
The brand taps plants and algae for its formulas, with sea kelp bio ferment being its star ingredient. "My boyfriend David and I were in Malibu on the beach, and there's tons of sea kelp out on the shore," Villafane says. "We started playing around with it, and it felt so good to touch and very serum-like, so we knew we had to use it." The product's inclusion of sea kelp can provide benefits like increased moisturization and diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Tecco Skin's product lineup currently includes three signature products: the VHS Cleanser ($29), VHS Serum ($36), and Lite Brite Oil ($44). For Villafane, developing each product allowed him to dive deep into his creative background. "It took us about four to six months to create each product with our chemist," he says. "And then once a formula was locked and loaded, we moved onto packaging." For the brand aesthetic, Villafane leaned into his appreciation for '80s music and art. He worked with designer FameKilled to create their vibrant, retro packaging.
Making an Impact in Beauty
Building a skincare brand from scratch is a process Villafane sums up as terrifying yet rewarding. "Mega-corporations spearhead this industry," he says. "So, the journey has been intimidating because our team is just me, my boyfriend, and our chemists."
However, Villafane received confirmation that Tecco Skin was a valuable player in the industry during the brand's first pop-up shop. "This woman came up to our booth, and she started crying. She told us she was so insecure about her skin and that our cleanser and serum helped her feel confident in her skin," he explains. "I got chills when I heard her say that because we are a skincare brand made by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. The fact that something we made can help other people is so rewarding."
What's next for Tecco Skin? Villafane has already mapped out the brand's 10-year-plan. In the coming months, the company plans to debut its fourth product. After that, we can expect a slow flow of thoughtful product releases. "We want to take the slow beauty route, where we take our time creating every single product instead of releasing a large, complete line," he says. "We want to dive more into simplistic skincare with hydration and clarifying products and dominate the market. But who knows, maybe we'll go into haircare one day too."