Russell Moon: Founder/CEO
Nicholas Henderson: CMO
Bryon Morrison: Board Member/Advisor
Russell Moon, The Next Moonshot
Disrupting an established industry might sound a little daunting or unattainable to most—especially those filled with behemoth conglomerates and countless “me too” brands biting at ankles. The idea that one can start something from nothing, build it up, and show established players there’s a better way is what most would call a “moonshot.” (or a long shot, for those unfamiliar with the phrase). That’s precisely what gets Russell Moon out of bed.
In 1994, Russell was introduced to a skin care industry focused on covering up skin to look “pretty” instead of making skin healthy and radiant on its own. With the help of world-class research teams, he and his co-founders, Alden Pinnell and Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, developed and patented topical solutions that would forever change the way people care for their skin by leveraging antioxidants in topical applications to prevent damage from harmful elements like free radicals from pollution or excessive sunlight. Those early pioneers co-founded a company to take the novel technology to market—SkinCeuticals. Russell and his co-founders achieved a skincare moonshot by growing SkinCeuticals to $35 million before selling it to L’Oréal. Today, it’s the leading cosmeceutical and a brand likely worth more than $1 billion.
While most entrepreneurs might celebrate a triumph of this magnitude by resting on their laurels, Russell set his sights on tackling his next big challenge—and this time, it was personal. As an adult orthodontics patient, the scraping and stabbing of Russell’s gums left him with a great deal of pain and with a question echoed among ortho patients for generations: “How can I make my mouth feel better—and fast?” But Russell had something they didn’t—a mountain of research on the effects of topically applying antioxidants calling his name, offering a solution.
As he began researching the oral care universe, he found a familiar foe—behemoth conglomerates more interested in solving a singular problem in the mouth rather than making the mouth healthy and beautiful. Russell had found his next moonshot.
He worked with researchers at Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Baylor College of Dentistry, the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, and many prominent clinicians researching many of the same antioxidants, but now topically applied in the mouth. The result—a groundbreaking system of oral care products branded as PerioSciences. Russell was determined to bring what he’d learned to bear: cut out the fluff and filler used by other companies, design a novel two-part approach to oral care with natural antibacterial and antioxidant ingredients, and deliver the safest, most effective products possible.
PerioSciences’s products were sold exclusively to the dental community. Almost immediately it became one of the most trusted brands among dental professionals with hundreds of customers, but Russell noticed new e-commerce brands entering the market with inferior products. Their brands were compelling, but he felt their claims confused consumers. His mission was clear—he had to open PerioSciences directly to consumers. To accomplish this, he enlisted two accomplished co-pilots, Bryon Morrison and Nicholas Henderson, who form the PerioSciences direct-to-consumer marketing and leadership team.
Bryon is an experienced entrepreneur in his own right. He brings a decade of Omnicom agency experience with companies like AT&T, Limited Brands, Pepsico, and many other global industry leaders. Nicholas offers one of the most innovative perspectives on digital advertising in the space, which has allowed him to grow amazing start-up brands like Hari-Mari and Poo-pouri. Together, they believe in Russell’s vision and his plan to take it to the moon.
We sat down with these entrepreneurial leaders to learn more about their mission.
So, why are you so focused on the mouth after all your success focusing on skin?
Russell: The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. Not taking care of your mouth can have a substantial impact on the rest of your health. People don’t understand how they’re prematurely aging their mouth by not caring for it. It’s similar to a metabolic age being higher than your actual age if you’re out of shape. If you subject your mouth to a lifetime of bad treatment, then it may show signs of aging like chronic bad breath, dry mouth, or inflamed, bleeding and receding gums. No one wants their smile to show their age, and we can help.
Do you think consumers understand the difference between “oral health” and having white teeth?
Nick: I do. I think consumers want beauty, but they don’t want to sacrifice their health to get it. The media attention over the last ten years has really educated consumers about the link between mouth ailments and unhealthy bacteria, plaque in the mouth, heart disease, and, most recently, COVID.
Bryon: You can have teeth whiter than your kitchen sink and still experience all the problems Russell mentioned. But you don’t have to. Russell proved with SkinCeuticals you can have beauty and health in the same product. Now we’re proving that in oral care with PerioSciences.
How are your products different from other toothpastes and rinses?
Russell: Previously, the goal of oral care has been to reduce bad bacteria in the mouth—kill the bad bugs in your mouth, then your mouth is healthy. We still use natural antibacterial ingredients to achieve that goal, but we include combination antioxidants in our products that will complement and amplify your body’s natural systems of keeping itself healthy.
What led to the transition from PerioSciences 1.0 to your consumer-focused 2.0?
Russell: We spent the last decade educating and working with dental professionals to bring antioxidants to the oral health space. We created a kind of cult following with customers returning to their dentists specifically to buy our products. As demand increased, I wanted to share our solution more broadly with consumers while continuing to serve dental professionals.
Bryon and Nick, what compelled you to join PerioSciences?
Bryon: I believe in all of it. The product is amazing, and the vision will make a difference. I’ve worked with so many brands that are indulgent or superficial, but they’re not good for you. PerioSciences is the opposite. It truly solves dental problems that most people experience and can affect their daily lives, and does it all while providing a beautiful, healthy mouth.
Nick: After working at Poo-pouri, I just liked the idea of focusing on a different orifice. Just kidding! I agree 100% with Bryon. I’m here because a product like we have here actually gives me a chance to create a movement and to feel like I’ve done something worthwhile.
Founder & CEO — PerioSciences