The inspiration for Maxine Henry’s high dive into the world of skin care came from a source near and dear to her heart and life.
“My mother had flawless skin and hardly had any wrinkles. She always used her own remedies (to maintain her beautiful skin),” added Henry about her Mississippi-born and raised, part Cherokee mother. “She (also) raised 10 kids, worked two jobs, never looked tired and never had skin problems. . . We used to call her our Lena Horne,” said Henry, who went on to duplicate the things that her mother had shown her about skin care.
Initially, it was something she did only for herself, while working as a clothing designer. Then she ‘burned out’ on the rag business.
“Fashion is a very tiring business. I enjoyed it . . . But it’s just really hard to keep up,” explained Henry, who had her own firms including Max Henri and worked for other design houses as well.
Then she decided to step away from designing, but her love of fashion still burned passionately. So she had to find another way to express it.
Health and beauty seemed the next logical step. So in 2000, Henry launched her company Dora Max International, and began three years of exhaustive research to design a line of body care products that mirrored the natural approach her mother had taken to skin care.
“Our products are 87 to 100 percent organic,” said Henry of the oils and botanicals used in the Elorum Skin Care Collection.
The line consists of 77 different products that target particular skin types rather than a specific ethnic group.
“If you have really dry skin, there are specific lotions, cleansers, and exfoliants,” said Henry, adding that the same is true for those with oily and combination skin.
The products include cleansers, exfoliants, bath and facial treatments, anti-aging serums, lotions, moisturizers, as well as a men’s line that features shaving gels, aftershave blasts, and cleansers.
“. . . We are not trying to tout ourselves as being like Warm Spirit. We’re going after the high-end clientele; people who normally buy Fashion Fair, Estee Lauder, or Claire. What makes us a viable product is that we’re for someone looking for an alternative to the chemical-laden products they get now at a more reasonable price and with excellent customer service,” explained Henry of the difference between her products and others already on the market.
Elorum is primarily a direct-to-consumer product, sold via a company web site, www.doramax.com, and is being launched May 4, with the first in a series of promotional events planned around the country, said Henry, who financed the company with more than $60,000 of her own money.
The marketing strategy for Elorum is to get people to actually touch and experience the product, and that’s why the company will produce several launch parties. Additionally, Henry said there is a Passport Club on the web site that gives consumers a little something extra.
“You go online to register . . . and you get discount coupons, preferred shipping, free products, and notification of when we’re in (your) area, doing an event.”
Despite how competitive her market is becoming, with more firms moving into the production of natural skin care products, Henry is looking to snag about one percent of the market within the next 12 to 18 months.
“We can definitely penetrate this ($4 to $5 billion) market. Are we going to take down a large company? Probably not, but we can definitely be an alternative.”