Founder and Co-President of Barefoot Scientist.
Dana Ward is the founder and co-president of Barefoot Scientist. Dana studied journalism at USC and worked as a host and producer of several different shows, including E! News and a long tenure at Clevver Media (where she was a founding member and helped build it from the ground up).
Dana has worked as a host of E! and Clevver Media
Dana’s long experience as a red carpet host, conducting hours on end of interviews at different A-list events -- wearing heels no less-- sparked the idea for PreHeels+, a blister prevention spray that could dry quickly.
After several years and countless formulations, Dana launched PreHeels+. The product received raving reviews and attracted so much attention, Dana and her partner noticed there was a white space in the beauty industry and they decided to launch Barefoot Scientist.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Dana and asking her about how she started Barefoot Scientist, what were some of the first hurdles she had to overcome, and what she's looking forward to today...
When did you first get the idea for Barefoot Scientist -- and realize there was a white space for this product?
My partner and I got the idea for Barefoot Scientist after initially launching a single innovative product – a blister prevention spray – and seeing the immediate validation in social engagement, reviews from editors and customer sales. Our product was speaking to an audience that was looking for a safe, effective solution to a common problem. We then surveyed the foot care space and realized that while there are true leaders in orthotics, footwear and treatment-oriented formulations, we wanted to develop clean, smart, scientifically advanced skincare for the feet to bring WELLNESS into the foot care industry. To me, foot care is self care. Further, we should treat our feet in the same specialized way that we care for our face, hair & body.
Dana and her amazing Barefoot Scientist products!
What were some of the first hurdles you had to tackle as a founder?
Innovation can be difficult because there isn’t a known path to success already laid out for you to follow. But for me, it is that challenge that is most exciting and keeps me driven every day. The first hurdle in this founder story was pre-launch: we invented our first product, PreHeels blister prevention spray, from scratch and it took several hundred formulations to develop. And the challenge didn’t stop there; with the introduction of a new product category comes customer education which meant a thorough audit of all points of contact with a potential customer to make sure we answered every question before it was asked. This meant packaging inserts and updates, ‘tips & tricks’ infographics for the site, ‘how to’ videos on YouTube as well as explanations each and every time I spoke about the product. We chose to solve a common pain point for many people – BLISTERS & BURNS from shoes that rub – so it was good to have immediate attention. We just needed to make sure that we got the right info across in a timely manner. And then when we launched the entire collection for Barefoot Scientist, we had 9 new formulations and several tools to educate on at once. It was certainly difficult to pick and choose certain products to focus on, because as a founder, I love each and every product that I worked on and I want to make sure everyone knows about them all. But from a marketing strategy standpoint, you do have to choose sometimes.
How would you like to see Barefoot Scientist evolve?
I hope to see more and more people caring for their feet in a proactive wellness capacity… instead of simply thinking about foot care in a reactionary, treatment-oriented way (the current US norm that we’re working hard to change). And that means continuing to develop smart, clean, scientifically advanced formulations specifically for the feet, launching Barefoot Scientist in more specialty stores and retailers, expanding internationally and generally becoming THE trusted expert in consumer foot care.