CHISELL beauty brand for men a pioneer of the jawline industry
Please introduce yourself and your startup Chisell to our readers!
My name is Dmitrii Vasiukov and I am the Chief Executive Officer of CHISELL. I founded the company with my best friend Reinis Beķeris in early 2019. From a young age I have been always dreaming about coming up with something really special, which would solve some global issues. As a result, when I was graduating from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, I found out how to turn the craziest ideas into the reality. Now I promote the revolutionary idea in beauty and health care industry – Your face is no longer GENETICS!
CHISELL is an action-oriented beauty brand for men, which also is one of the fastest-growing startups in the Baltics. CHISELL is a pioneer of the jawline industry, with more than 11000 customers during the first year of operation in more than 100 countries, which contributed to a quarter-million revenue. The product is highly popular in the US, and EU, especially, Germany and the UK. We just started introducing our product to the Asian market as well.
Surgery is expensive and it tampers with the natural harmony of the face. CHISELL gives people a chance to be the master of their faces and with time and patience customize their faces in a natural way.
How did you get the idea of Chisell?
Being a self-development addict I am always in a search of self-experiements. I have gotten to know that such concept as training face muscles exist from a random YouTube video. The video featured a person with a great jawline showing a chewing product. I was very skeptical at first as the idea that we are actually in control of our facial attractiveness seemed very foreign and did not fit my existential beliefs.
From an early childhood I was fed the idea that you can always develop the body, but when it comes to face you have to live with “what you have been given”. I decided to challenge that belief and jump deeper into researching the anatomy of the human face.
After spending a few weeks and realizing that some facial muscles have a potential to grow I decided to make an experiment.
At the time I had a strechaeble string exercise tool to workout shoulders and one of the silicone strechaeble rope broke in half. It was perfect timing as I understood that all I have to do to exercise jaw muscles was to alocate some resistance to the closing motion of the mouth. That is what I did by taking small pieces of that ripped silicone tube and just chewing on them. I was very surprised that it is possible to get the jaw muscles sore after a workout, just like other muscles in the body. And I kept on the exercise routine for a few weeks and was amazed that the hypothesis got confirmed and the jaw muscles actually increased in size visually.
I lived with that idea for around 9 months before I brought it up to my friend. It was something personal which I never shared with people. I was very surprised when Reinis said “well, it kind of does tik all the boxes”. We started CHISELL soon after.
Why did you decide to start with Chisell?
Reinis and I already knew that we are going to start the company. We also knew that we can not start anything which demands large initial capital. So we made a list of criterias of what this business should be and started making dozens of ideas daily and checking whether those ideas fit the list of requirments.
After a while we have gotten to understand that CHISELL idea fits everything pefectly. After that the decision was pretty quick as we both care deeply about empowring people for possitive change and self-development. Another shade to this was the fact that with this business we are able to change the status quo of what is belived to be possible with facila development. Empowering people and giving them the proper tools and information was a goal which is as clear as day. So motivating in fact that we got devoured by the project.
Why did we start?
We are the most passionate self-developers who like challenging beliefs of what is possible. This resonates with us to the bones and CHISELL is exactly reflecting who we are. This is why we are here.
What is the vision behind Chisell?
We strive to change the status quo and make jaw training and face development as common of a routine as doing biceps curls or squats. It should be common knowledge that natural face transformation is possible and it doesn’t require anything other than a bit of patience and conscious effort. We exist to support and guide the people who want to make their faces look more attractive.
We are leading the jawline industry forward as one of the early pioneers, so that anyone who desires, can have their dream appearance. The world needs to know that a face is not determined by DNA, but it is DIY!
How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?
The start was definitely not the easiest time. The hardest of decisions was to abandon the old notion that ”you have to get experience before you start your own company”. We realized that we are not willing to wait until we are 3O or 4O to begin our first venture. After we got that out of the way and agreed that we are in fact going into a jawline industry the initial processes we need to set were crystal clear.
The first year felt like 5 years have passed. Everything is new all the time as the company is experiencing a rapid growth. We are productivity junkies and we like hard work. For the first year we averaged around 1OO work hours weekly which we are extremely proud of. Growing CHISELL does feel like raising a kid. You want your kid to have all the food [cash flow] and all the growth opportunities possible.
Especially in the beggining we had many risks which would put us out of business.
One of those risks deals with the fact that I am a Russian citizen and I have obligatory army in case I decide to work in Russia. To be in EU I have to have a residence permit which I can get by studying or working for someone. I did borrow a few thousand EUR from friends and family to pay myself salary for the first few months of CHISELL before it starts producing revenue. I can honestly say that if we did not make profit the first sales month – CHISELL would be dead.
And that is an overall approach for how we decided to take this on. It was extremely risky on all decision levels where one step right and left leads to closure. Now looking back, I would not change a thing as we practicall burned all the boats. We spent all our cash reserves, we borrowed, and I hanged my territorial freedom on this project. There was no way back, the only way was forward. Just like vikings burned their boats to make sure they conquer the island, we burned our boats to win with CHISELL.
Now on the company planning side. We understood early on that there must be a reaon why this industry did not blow up already. People want to develop and look better, they are going to the gym, they are wearing nice clothing, mantaining their instagram accounts. So facial muscle development is not a big worldwide phenomenon?
We put our money on the fact that the only existing product looks terrible and can not be used in public. We thought that people would not mind anything like this if they could really associate with the brand. And we took that as a main hypothesis and thought “alright, if we can create a visually appealing product which works very well we can absolutely trigger that public opinion shift”. I am extremely delighted that this hypothesis was accepted and is proven correct. Our sales numbers don’t lie
Who is your target audience?
CHISELL is an essential tool for a man who takes care of his looks and yearns to improve. Our average client profile would be a guy around 24 years of age, he does some sport activity, takes care of himself, and is striving for personal growth.
What is the USP of your startup?
The main purpose of CHISELL is to break the widely held belief that facial attractiveness is determined purely by genetics. CHISELL strives to empower people to transform with a product that is efficient and comfortable. Our aim is to make chiseled jawlines accessible to everyone who desires it.
CHISELL offers the comfort of use, which allows to have a workout while watching Netflix, taking a shower, or sitting in the office. Moreover, a premium build, as CHISELL is made out of the highest quality food-grade silicone. We collaborated with a rocket scientist to make sure CHISELL is a true engineering marvel. Last but not least, anatomically correct product that is designed so that it only allows you to put pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) when it is safely positioned in the socket. As a result, the jaw (masseter) muscles can get the best workout possible without creating muscle imbalances.
Can you describe your typical workday?
My day starts on the evening of the previous day when I make a plan for the following day. As a real startup we work 24/7. There is no specific schedule to follow. Everyone helps each other in achieving the goal.
Typically my morning starts with a short meditation, Wim Hof breathing, and a few hardcore physical activities and cold shower.
This allows me to stay in fit and calm throughout the whole day.
Right now I try to focus more on taking only a few big projects per week as it decreases completion time and increases quality of the done work. My mornings I make sure that operations are running smoothly, take a coffee after, start the most difficult project in the first part of the day. Take on the second project in the second part of the day, in the evening at around 8pm I would invest a few hours into helping the team with their projects. I eat my first meal around 2pm to keep my surtuin pathways [longevity genes] active. I mostly take 2 meals in between 2pm and 5pm.
My day finishes with a bit of self-development such as reading a book, stretching, learning applied chemistry, material properties, or mechanical engineering. Last part is to plan the following day and I am off.
Where do you see yourself and your startup Chisell in five years?
In 5 years I see CHISELL being the leading company in jaw training industry worldwide. That counts revenue, product quality, service quality and brand loyalty. When you think jaw training and developing facial attractiveness, in 5 years the only assiciation which sparks bright in your mind would be “CHISELL”. I do not see CHISELL diversifying the product range too much with grooming products and self-care products. I really see it as a singular purpose company.
CHISELL claim are supported by professionals and by the public.
CHISELL is actively participating in orthodontic research studiyng the possibilities of facial development further coming up with better and better products.
The public starts to accept the idea that facial development is possible. CHISELL keeps heavily promoting this idea backing it up with science and influencer marketing. CHISELL is available online and offline amongst major applicable distributors.
As far as ourselves. I can only speak for myself here. I am still seeing myself a part of CHISELL, definitely not as a CEO, just as a boardmember to make sure that the vision of the company is not lost and that it does not become a simple cash machine. CHISELL is not about cash, it is about changing beliefs worldwide.
I meanwhile work heavily on the next big project. My heavy duty planning for this project is yet to come, but I do not the direction. The next big belief to tackle is the longevity belief. As of right now old age is the biggest risk factor for any desease and it takes away our loved ones. It is of course common for people to die of old age related problems, but it does not have to be. After already studying this area for a few years I am getting more and more convinced that our generation is capable of solving longevity and drastically increasing human lifespan and healthspan.
On a 5 year timeframe I will be working on assisting the solution to that problem. What shape or form my help will take, I do not know yet. This is yet to be planned.
What 3 tips would you give to founders?
Learn human biases, brain shortcuts, and intro to phychology .
Spend some time noticing biases in other people. A big portion of startups fail due to a cofounder conflict. You will only get into a conflict if you have a missunderstanding which you can’t solve. But if you are more aware of how another person works you will be able to spot those moments when only your automatic response system is active. If you are able to identify the biases and spot them you can work even with your closest friends and not get carried away by conflicts.
Work your ass off .
I think a half to a success is just showing up to ork and grind grind grind. Think about it. Let’s say a normal human works 4O hours per week. That is around 2OOO hours of work yearly. In a day you can definitely do at least 13 hours of productive work. If you also skip your weekends for the first year and just work on your project you would have done 45OO hours of work per year. That is more than 2 normal people’s capability. Imagine, you would be able to do 2 times the amount you normally would.
Bootstrap as much as possible.
This may only be applicable to ideas which do not require a large fixed investment from the start. And yet this idea is vital. You need to put yourself in the harshest of environments where decisions are risky and cash is slim. These conditions will bread you to understand cash and manage it well, you will learn the burn rate and proper reseouce allocation in a surprisingly short amount if time. I have been a witness of two companies going the opposite way, taking large investments right from the start and faling in 2 years in not being able to properly use the resource. Bootstrapping is risky, but there is no better teacher.
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Thank you Dmitrii Vasiukov for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.