Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Founder of BeautyStat.com
“There was this one experience at Adelphi that stands out as among my best,” says Ron Robinson ’87, founder of BeautyStat.com, an online community for the “beauty obsessed” that helps shoppers choose brands and lets cosmetic companies know what consumers want. “I was part of a study group with three pre-med students—a real breakfast club that studied together and hung out for almost the entire four years. The first time we pulled an all-nighter, by dawn, I was so exhausted that I began hallucinating new types of organic compounds,” he says. “When it was time to take the test, my adrenaline kicked in and I became totally in the zone. I whipped through the test in under an hour. It was the sort of thing that teaches you the importance of strong social connections and relationships when you have to get something done, and that has been an influence on me.”
Mr. Robinson’s journey from all-night study sessions at Adelphi to launching his own online community was anything but direct. His initial goal was to become a doctor. “My degree was in biology, with a minor in chemistry,” he says. “I was in pre-med with the intention of becoming a physician, but after a year of medical school I realized it wasn’t for me—and I realized I wanted to combine my science background with something creative.” To that end, he responded to an ad looking for a chemist at the Estee Lauder Companies, and landed the position. “I was just amazed that there was a whole science behind cosmetics,” he says. “I had no idea that existed.”
Mr. Robinson rose through the corporate ranks in the beauty business, becoming a research executive who helped develop cosmetic products for Estee Lauder, Clinique, Revlon, Avon, and Lancome. But he was dissatisfied. “I felt I was adding to the confusion by creating and launching new products,” he says. “So I created BeautyStat, and what we do is serve as a connector or matchmaker. We connect brands with the appropriate target consumer so the brand can test out new concepts and products. We have helped brands test new ideas in various beauty categories, including haircare, skincare, and makeup.”
Since its founding, BeautyStat.com has exploded, with a member community of more than 31,000, and more than twelve million social network connections. That this success has come despite the recent recession is something Mr. Robinson is particularly proud of. ”Business is up and growing significantly,” he says, “both for BeautyStat and for the overall industry, which generated more than $10 billion in revenues last year. The men’s beauty market has had particular success. It’s nearly doubled in the last few years, especially in the facial cleansers, moisturizers and exfoliant categories, and I see this growth continuing over the next few years.”
And for Mr. Robinson, it all started with his B.A. in biology from Adelphi. “I believe that a B.A. gives you the fundamentals,” he says. “It shows that you have the capacity to learn, and to that you add practical work experience and networking to take the critical next step.”