Very few people are lucky enough to be able to turn their avocation into a business, and Peter Thomas Roth has done it twice, first with his namesake skincare line, and more recently with his fine jewelry.
While working in his father’s jewelry factory after graduating from Wharton, Roth spent evenings toying with skincare formulas – because he had always been plagued with acne and oily skin problems.“If you have issues with your skin you totally are a skin-product junkie, because it’s on the top of the list,” Roth says. “I was always going to the dermatologist, I was always getting facials, I had very active acne, so I just dived into it.” It made for long days, and was like working two jobs at once, he says.
1993 , A skin care company is born
In 1993, he launched Peter Thomas Roth Clinical Skin Care, which produces all its anti-aging and anti-acne products using the highest quality ingredients at its own facilities in the U.S. “I started with other people making the products and I wasn’t getting what I wanted,” Roth says. “So we opened our own lab, manufacturing facility, and distribution center.”
Growth: Spas, Sephora, QVC, Hilton Hotels
It quickly became popular at day spas, followed by luxury spa hotels, some owned by Marriott. “About 19 years ago, this guy said, ‘We’re opening up all these stores in the United States, it’s going to be called Sephora, and we want your brand,’” Roth says. They took all of the products. “So we’ve been in every Sephora in the United States, all doors, from the beginning, and still are.” The mega retailer also carries Peter Thomas Roth products in its stores in Canada, Mexico, Southeast Asia, and China, and will soon be in Sephora outlets in Brazil. Later, QVC came along, as did the cosmetics chain Ulta. About six years ago, Hilton signed an exclusive deal with the company, and you’ll find its products in all Hilton Hotel rooms in 80 countries.
Roth was an innovator in labeling, the first to include information on what each product is for on each bottle and tube, in addition to listing the ingredients. “Before, most people relied on being sold to at a department store, where a person told you what to do,” he explains. “Which is really nice, except I never remembered what they told me. So I need to have it on the bottle.” This is now common practice throughout the industry.
Ribbon & Reed jewelry collection
While running his ever-growing company, Roth spent his spare time at his father’s factory, dabbling in jewelry design. “Some people like to play golf or tennis, or play cards, I don’t, so jewelry was my hobby.” His Ribbon & Reed collection, inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of art, where he spent many youthful hours, and where his father’s studio makes all the jewelry reproductions, debuted on QVC in 2016.In gold and silver, the line consists of classic, simple, modern pieces for women and men that will still look good in 20 years. “That was the goal, to just do clean and modern with a little kick of the past,” says Roth. “It’s for everybody. If someone gets it as a present as a teenager, they can still wear it in their 20s and 30s, and if someone is over 50, it looks great. It’s a nice, pretty, solid design. It took a long time to do that.”