Terri Vinson, Synergie Skin

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

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Name and role:

Terri Vinson, Managing Director and formulator of Synergie Skin

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

My day to day schedule is diverse; most days I will be working in our lab on new formulations or conducting research on cutting-edge ingredients to determine how I can harness them in my cosmeceuticals range to impact the skin in a positive way. I am also committed to education and spend much of my time travelling, hosting lectures at medical conferences and education workshops with my clients. I am dedicated to furthering knowledge on the principles of formulating and skincare in our industry.

How/when did you know this what you wanted to do as a career?

I have always been fascinated with both beauty and science. A career in formulating has enabled me to marry my two passions. When I opened my skin clinic over 10 years ago, I realized there was a huge gap in the market for skincare backed by clinical data and scientific results. Furthermore, formulations on the market were riddled with harmful additives. Harnessing my chemistry knowledge, I started researching active ingredients in clinical journals, and became driven to create Synergie Skin.

I decided to focus 100 per cent on formulating in 2007. Having a clean science philosophy and formulating without harmful additives is so important to me. This became even more important to me when I became a mother of two. Being a mum, I always say: “If I won’t put it on my face, or my children’s face, then I won’t put it on my customers’ face.”

Where do you find your inspiration?

I draw inspiration from the feedback of my customers, both medical and beauty therapists and end user consumers.

Many people believe the beauty industry can be superficial, however I believe that physical appearance has a direct impact on a person’s self-esteem. My expertise is making clean and effective skincare and makeup, so if I can help create a positive change to a person’s skin and empower them to feel great about themselves, then I know I have done my job. This really inspires me to grow and enhance the Synergie range.

Did you have a mentor? 

I have had two prominent mentors in my life, the first was my high school biology teacher who really went the extra mile to ensure all of her students were engaged in learning and had an enquiring mind. Sir Gustav Nossal, a renowned immunologist from my Monash University years, has also really inspired me to excel in my field of formulating science.

Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?

The people who have helped me in my journey are too numerous to mention! I’ve always known I could rely my own instincts and abilities first and foremost, and my wonderful team are a huge part of Synergie’s success. I started from nothing and grew organically. I have no regrets with anybody I have met or any experiences I have had in this industry, as they have all driven me to where I am today.  

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then?

Being a small company in a large pool of corporates, I have found it challenging to educate consumers that smaller, specialised boutique brands can offer superior results to department store brands in producing long-term, positive changes to the skin. Through my education forums around the world, it has been a challenge having to dispel some common myths surrounding skincare and to cut through the marketing hype. So many skincare companies make false claims when it comes to the results from active ingredients, and I make it a top priority to encourage people to do their own research and endorse skincare that is backed by clinical data and scientific results.

How did you overcome these?

Every product I create contains active ingredients that are backed by scientific, clinical data and all are certified cruelty free. My team and I always make an effort to educate in clinics (both in store and online) to demystify the skincare industry and expose the truth of good skincare.

What are your goals for the future?

I hope to give new markets the opportunity to have Synergie Skin. We are currently expanding distribution throughout the US, UK, NZ and parts of Asia. I am also proud we have come so far, given that we are 100% Australian made and owned, and our formulating and manufacturing is done all under the one roof at our Melbourne headquarters. I look forward to growing our global presence even further and taking on the new markets.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

  1. Be really passionate about what you do and you will look forward to every day and its challenges and possibilities.
  2. Always seek to expand your knowledge and never be satisfied with what you know today.
  3. Persist with your dreams, have a clear vision and see it through to fruition.
  4. Don’t be afraid to work hard. People who work hard and are good at what they do always get noticed.