BeautyTalks with David Klar, Fortify+ CEO
Tell us the backstory behind Fortify+.
Our Company Klar & Co is a brand owner, developer, manufacturer and distributor of innovative clean beauty brands and products.
Personally I’ve been in the beauty business for nearly 17 years, this is where my passion is and I and my team are constantly looking for new developments and technologies to add value to our industry.
When COVID hit, we were in lockdown with our families and like most people, we were shocked and concerned about what we were all experiencing. However as we have an office and factory in Korea — which had already been dealing with these challenges for several months, they gave us guidance as well as a care package with products to help keep our families as clean and safe as possible.
In addition to face masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and other now very familiar products to everyone, there was also something they referred to as a “Zeolite” mist enclosed.
They explained that it’s being used widely in Korea, has cleansing properties like alcohol but as it’s natural, gentle and non-toxic or harsh (unlike alcohol) it’s used to deep cleanse objects, surfaces AND skin — and is even safe for use on the face.
At the same time, we were brainstorming with our retail partners about the sudden changes in customers’ needs and how we could possibly make a difference.
That’s when we had a lightbulb moment:
Pathogens enter the body via the face. We’re taught to sanitize the hands because the hands frequently touch the face. Zeolite can safely cleanse and help protect around those entry points without harming the sensitive facial skin. What if our lab could effectively formulate Zeolite into our high quality, natural skincare formulas, thus changing the way skincare is used to not only hydrate and beautify, but to help cleanse and protect at the same time.
Thus was born Fortify+ Natural Germ-Fighting Skincare.
It wasn’t quite as simple as that may sound, as we followed a very detailed and extensive process before bringing this to market including R&D, lab testing, regulatory research by the FDA Group and finally, working to get premium Korean made products in beautiful packaging — at highly affordable pricing so that it’s accessible to all. But here we are.
What is germ-fighting skincare?
First and foremost, it’s about caring for the skin the way we would traditionally. Moisturize, address signs of aging, provide youthful radiance and the like, using premium key ingredients and clean beauty, natural, vegan and cruelty free formulas.
Second and increasingly important to many people given the times, it’s about including safe yet effective ingredients that combat germs, bacteria and pollutants to help keep both the face and through it the body, cleaner and safer. We refer to it as ‘Next Level Clean Beauty and Barrier Care’.
What is Zeolite? How does Fortify+ incorporate it?
Zeolite is a natural volcanic mineral known for its unique filtering properties.
Absorbent on a molecular level, it has unique array of honeycomb-like cages that attract pollutants by ion exchange. This structure gives it strong antimicrobial properties, which have been clinically proven to slow and reduce the growth of microorganisms and bacteria for extended periods of time. It is an FDA GRAS listed and an INCI registered ingredient, used for many years as a natural preservative including for beauty products and even for water purification.
“Our aim is to merge beauty and wellness with our products to help people…”
What are your go-to Fortify+ products?
Having been in the skincare industry for 17 years and being a believer in practicing what I preach (i.e. only selling something I would be proud of or use myself), I use many of our products daily.
Since Fortify+ came into existence and realizing the benefits of it to my daily life, I use the entire regimen regularly.
However what I use most of all are the Facial Mist Travel Capsule (I’m a frequent traveler and always take this with me), The Moisturizer and our newest product, the Eye Cream.
What inspired the name Fortify+?
Fortify means to strengthen, secure and protect.
Our aim is to merge beauty and wellness with our products to help people care for their skin, look better and be even a little more protected out there.
In what ways is Fortify+ sustainable?
We go to great lengths to be mindful of the environment and prevent unnecessary waste in everything we do. In the case of Fortify+, most bottles and jars are made with recycled and recyclable glass, all cardboard and paper material is recycled and recyclable, the ink we use is a sustainable soy substance and our factory has key sustainability policies and certifications in place. When our office sends out product samples, even the packaging peanuts we use are biodegradable.
What do you keep in mind when creating Fortify+ products?
That we are truly grateful for the opportunity we have been given to spearhead this innovative addition to the beauty industry as the first widely distributed and affordable Germ-Fighting Skincare brand — making it accessible to so many people.
Many companies wish to make a positive impact and add real value to the market, while having a viable business. Fortify+ has allowed us to do this on a whole new level.
“We continue to improve our offering constantly so it’s as useful to people as possible.”
Are Fortify+ products suitable for all skin types?
Yes they are. A lot of R&D and expertise has been utilized to make Fortify+ products inclusive, so that they can benefit all skin types, ages, genders and demographics.
Run us through your night-time routine!
I have small children so night-time is always fun (for the kids – not as much for my wife and I) and not always as routine as planned… When not working with our Korea based team during what is their morning time, we test out new masks and beauty treatments, go for dinner or events around our new home city of Miami or… collapse from exhaustion…
How has Fortify+ evolved throughout the years?
In January 2022 we celebrated Fortify+’s 1 year anniversary since its launch, so we’re not yet at even 1.5 years yet — but it’s already evolved a lot.
For instance when we first launched to the media, we got fantastic feedback about the concept and products, even earning awards for the most innovative new brand and category.
However, we also had some people point out that while Zeolite fights bad bacteria and germs, what about good bacteria and the microbiome?
This lead us to immediately work on a reformulation consisting of key probiotic extracts, that encourage the growth of good bacteria and strengthening the microbiome, while Zeolite does its work.
As of several months ago, the entire line has been reformulated with this Probiotic improvement.
We continue to improve our offering constantly so it’s as useful to people as possible.
What does the future look like for Fortify+?
In this short time since our January 2021 launch, we’ve been blessed with retail partners including Walmart, Target, Walgreens and Bed Bath & Beyond/Harmon, UNFI, Kehe – and GlossWire (to name just a few), that recognized the value right away and fast tracked our distribution to get Fortify in front of many millions of people.
We are continuing this mission full steam ahead with new retail partners in the works including Kroger, JCP and many others.
We also just substantially increased our marketing team and focus to take our outreach, awareness, content, social media presence, influencer and partner network etc. to a whole new level.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Free time… That sounds vaguely familiar… Between work and family there isn’t all that much time left but I do my best to achieve a balance that includes exercise most days, travel, spending time with amazing people, charity and community involvement, exploring our new home city, quality time with my wife and life partner — and of course constant visits to any and every store where skincare can be found.