Dr. Liia Ramachandra was born in Russia, grew up in the Netherlands and has lived in the Middle East and Europe, prior to moving to Lincolnshire where she now lives. Using her experience as a chemist, she started EpiLynx, a skin care and cosmetics company two years ago. Earlier this year, she opened a store in Northbrook Court mall.
Q: Why did you decide to open your own business?
A: One day I was thinking, I am turning 40 and you always feel you can do more for the patient. I was also diagnosed with a gluten allergy. So I decided to start a company because I know a lot of people with sensitive skin and I can make the skin care product myself as a pharmacist. It is an unmet need for people with Celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders and just in general, people with sensitive skin. So that is how I left the pharmaceutical industry, built a lab and started the skin care company.
Q: What do you think makes your products distinctive?
A: I would say a couple of things. First, it is really clean and organic and all the products and ingredients are sourced either from organic farms or from companies with good manufacturing practices. I would say there is no ingredient in there that is bad for your skin and the way it interacts with the cells. So every individual ingredient is chosen by me based on its chemical interaction with the cells especially with people with all sorts of allergies and diseases.
Also, the way I designed the product and the technology I am using is also the latest drug development technology so I am looking at what will be absorbed, what will stay in the skin and how can you keep the skin moisturized longer.
Q: What do you know now about the product and running a business that you did not know two years ago?
A: Two years ago I didn’t know anything about running a business because then I was an executive at a the pharmaceutical industry heading a team of 100 people. Then it was just me sending the packages out, sourcing and making the ingredients, going through QuickBooks and hiring people. It was great because everything I had to do everything myself and also learn from scratch the operations which was great.
Q: What are you enjoying about the business?
A: One thing is really getting positive messages from people who are using it for the first time. It is great to make people happy. With that, it is my own company and investment, so the freedom that I feel is just unbelievable.