The Urban Skin Rx founder and CEO started her journey with a $1,500 marketing budget and a desire to treat communities long overlooked by the beauty industry. 

It was the early 2000s when Rachel Roff was working at a chiropractor's office as a licensed medical aesthetician and began to focus on services and treatments for deeper skin tones. She turned that desire into a clinical skin care brand that's now sold in more than 10,000 locations across the U.S.

"I learned that it was my calling," Roff says. "That it was something where I could live out my passion of helping people feel and look good about their appearance, but I could also make a difference in the world in terms of a real disparity that was not fair and that I could help make a difference with." Roff spoke in a recent Inc. streamed interview with Beatrice Dixon, co-founder and CEO of the Honey Pot Company, an Atlanta-based feminine-hygiene business.

That initial $1,500 budget went toward a radio spot on a local R&B station. It taught Roff an important lesson on building a customer base:

"Find out where your customers are, and be there. Immediately invest in a tool to know who your consumer is and try to get in front of them as much as possible," she says. 

In 2006, Roff founded Urban Skin Solutions Medical Spa in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in the following years, she began to see even more opportunity in the beauty industry. This led to her decision to found the Urban Skin Rx skin care line in 2010. Roff knew she had a product consumers would want and she knew where to find the consumers, but she needed to figure out how to get them to trust her brand. 

"People crave authenticity, and there's nothing like face-to-face time with a customer to show them the experience of your business," Roff says. "I knew that if I got you to try it one time, that the odds were that you would come back." She says this led to a lot of giveaways and discounts, which led to growth and trust. Roff's faith in her products and herself would eventually come good when the singer, dancer, rapper, and actress Teyana Taylor posted about Urban Skin Rx's even tone cleansing bar. 

In the next day and a half, the company sold $200,000 worth of product. Then, Roff was able to get her Urban Skin Rx into Target. Ulta, Walmart, HSN, and QVC followed. "They just needed somebody to say, 'OK, they're a real business,' " she says.