SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS: Small Business Spotlight

Steve Hilburn

21 Year Old Solves Own Acne Problem, Builds Business


Jordan Austin was just a 21-year-old looking for a way to treat his own acne. It isn’t an uncommon story. But this nursing student actually took action to create something that worked, rather than just hoping there was something out there that would work.

Now, Plexylabs, currently with three employees, is a family business that produces the natural acne treatment.

The company’s website explains the reason for the business name:

“1. Plexy
Meaning neat or ‘cool’. It’s more hipster than ‘awesome’, without the doucheyness of saying ‘deck.’”

Called “Nothing to Hide”, the product was born out of personal necessity. It fills a gap in the market thanks to natural ingredients and the different ways it can treat acne. Read more about this unique business and how it got started in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does:

Sells acne treatment “Nothing to Hide.”

“Nothing to Hide” is a cream-based acne solution that Austin created after extensive research during his time in nursing school.

What’s the Business Niche:

Using natural and organic ingredients.

According to Plexylabs, “Nothing to Hide” is the only acne treatment that uses Beta-Sitosterol, a completely natural compound. The ingredient can also be found in everyday food choices like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Austin says:

“Our ingredients are of purest form, meaning they are all natural and organic based.”

This ingredient targets oil glands to treat acne from the source. Some other acne treatments target oil in general, but some of it is actually necessary for normal functions. So the aim of this treatment is to actually restore oil balance in the skin in a natural way.

How the Business Got Started:

Looking for a way to treat their own acne.

Austin started doing some research about acne treatments in 2012 during his time in nursing school. He and his family had tried other available acne treatments, but they decided that the best route for them would be to start a business. Austin explains:

“We have struggled with moderate to severe acne most of our lives. Over the years we have tried every possible acne treatment whether from the dermatologist or over the counter products. Our ‘Nothing to Hide’ cream soon became a business because of the amazing results we had seen with our own skin.”

Biggest Win:

The success of Beta-Sitosterol.

During Austin’s research, the Beta-Sitosterol ingredient was the first one that really worked on a different level than the standard ingredients. He says:

“The biggest win was that Beta-Sitosterol actually works amazing for slowing down oil production.”

plexylabs 2

Lessons Learned:

Take risks.

Austin says the biggest risk was just jumping in and starting the business. But so far it has worked out and he says he wouldn’t change a thing.

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000:

PR and advertising.

Unique Business Edge:

Being a family business.

Austin says:

“Our business is run by our family, so often times, we already know what the other person is thinking. Our family has always been good about working together even though we all have our differences. My mom has to be the most motivated and driven person I have ever met. If it wasn’t for her, Plexy Laboratories would not be where it is today.”