Simon Mansell previously ran one of the largest Facebook advertising businesses. He founded Cryoskin on a vacation with his wife in St. Barth’s and came up with some of the flexible purchase options that Artemis has available. His mission in life is to help more people own and run their own businesses.
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Table of Contents
Welcome to your ValiantCEO exclusive interview! Let’s start with a little introduction. Tell us about yourself.
Simon Mansell: My name is Simon Mansell and I’m the Founder of Artemis Distribution. I founded the company after my wife received a Cryoskin treatment while we were on vacation and were blown away by the results. In 2017, I decided to introduce Cryoskin to the US Market at a medspa in NYC. After seeing the success of the Cryoskin machine and its impact on the medspa’s revenues I created Artemis with the mission to build a community of successful entrepreneurs who empower their clients to be confident in their own skin.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get to where you are today? Give us some lessons you learned along the way.
Simon Mansell: I think I actually would have said, “I want to run my own business” from when I was pretty small. I got into sales by applying for every job I could at 17 years old and that being the only company who said yes!
I was lucky to be naturally talented at sales. So I suppose my start on this path was mainly luck and then just making the most of that luck.
Tell us about your business, what does the company do? What is unique about the company?
Simon Mansell: At Artemis, we provide devices to beauticians to help their customers with Fat Loss, Cellulite Reduction and Acne. We have a subscription model which allows entrepreneurs to get started without having to buy a very expensive device. This enables more entrepreneurs to use the amazing products we offer and aligns with our mission of helping more people run their own businesses.
How to become a CEO? Some will focus on qualities, others on degrees, how would you answer that question?
Simon Mansell: I would start by finding something you are good at and enjoy and then work on being the best you can be in that area, in my case that was sales. Then move on to the next area and focus on being the best you can be in that area (such as finance.)
I would always recommend practical experience over education (but I am biased as I left school when I was 17). At some point make a jump and start your own business built on those initial skills. I think you really need to get to a decent level in 3+ areas to be a really good CEO (with 1 primary skill).
- My primary skill is sales and I spent the first 10 years of my life working on that.
- I am also strong at Finance and Strategy which I have spent the following 15 years working on.
- That triumvirate is strong and I think could be replicated by others.
What are the secrets to becoming a successful CEO? Who inspires you, who are your role models and why? Illustrate your choices.
Simon Mansell: First you need skills – sales, strategy and finance are particularly useful. You also need to understand how to communicate a vision to people and motivate them to join you. Lastly, you need grit to get through tough times and keep going.
I personally love Elon Musk as he’s creating really unique companies with big missions and seems more worried about the mission than himself. He’s also survived some really tough times with his companies being very close to bankruptcy.
I also like the early career of Jeff Bezos as he was customer obsessed and Amazon just shows what value that can compound to.
Many CEOs fall into the trap of being all over the place. What are the top activities a CEO should focus on to be the best leader the company needs? Explain.
Simon Mansell: It depends on the stage your company is at. Generally the order of what to focus should go like this:
- First is Product – All that matters at the early stage is getting a product people want and will pay for. This is often referred to as “Product / Market fit.”
- Second is Distribution – Selling your product, either through direct sales or other channels like retail.
- Third is Branding – Branding is everything your company does and stands for. Once you have a great product with a way for people to buy it you can focus more on building a brand which is a long-term moat for the business.
The Covid-19 Pandemic put the leadership skills of many to the test, what were some of the most difficult challenges that you faced as a CEO/Leader in the past year? Please list and explain in detail.
Simon Mansell: When COVID hit we were charging customers $2,000 per month per device. I understood in mid March 2020 that our customers would not be able to pay that anymore. So we immediately dropped our price to $250 per month. This resulted in close to a 90% drop in revenue and meant we had to rationalize our cost base (including unfortunately letting some of our team go).
We did this process very early and it helped us survive. So this was an example of responding to new information quickly and efficiently to save your business. A lot of the time “do nothing” is the right to do when you get new information but this wasn’t one of those times!
What are some of the greatest mistakes you’ve noticed some business leaders made during these unprecedented times? What are the takeaways you gleaned from those mistakes?
Simon Mansell: Not confronting the brutal facts of the situation. Not really thinking about whether you have the funding to survive a protracted lockdown. One of the keys to survival in business is to maintain your optionality and if the situation with COVID-19 meant your optionality was at risk you needed to act immediately.
In your opinion, what changes played the most critical role in enabling your business to survive/remain profitable, or maybe even thrive? What lessons did all this teach you?
Simon Mansell: Confronting the brutal facts. Acting quickly. Cutting deep on costs to survive. It just reminded me of these things – they sound easy but sometimes it’s easier emotionally to bury your head in the sand.
I suffer from anxiety and this period taught me that even in really tough times if my family are healthy I will be ok. My anxieties are actually ill-founded as when something hard actually happened I felt at peace. I am lucky that I have an amazing wife and family and I got to spend more time with them during the pandemic. I feel grateful for that time we spent together.
What is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Simon Mansell: What we are offering is unique (usually you have to pay $50K+ for devices of our quality instead of getting them on a monthly subscription with a free trial) so it’s just finding effective ways to communicate what we do as we are helping creating a new category of companies (some people call this “Hardware as a Service”).
Creating new categories can be very valuable but it’s also hard as you are teaching the market something new.
You already shared a lot of insights with our readers and we thank you for your generosity. Normally, leaders are asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is the most useless skill you have learned, at school or during your career?
Simon Mansell: How Volcanoes work. Don’t get me wrong, this is interesting – but I never use it.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. We will select these answers for our ValiantCEO Award 2021 edition. The best answers will be selected to challenge the award.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make, this past year 2021, for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Simon Mansell: I removed myself as CEO of my own company as I felt that someone else (our COO at the time) was better for the job than me.
Kate (our CEO now) has improved the processes for how we help our customers and I think this has and will continue to have a compound effect on how we help our customers be more successful with our devices – and that’s more important than my personal ego.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Simon Mansell for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.