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Meet Marya Khalil-Otto of VI Peel in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marya Khalil-Otto.

Marya, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I was 25, my father passed away and I had to take over his skincare company. It was a very trying time in my life.

I’m the eldest of three sisters. My youngest sister was just finishing high school. My middle sister was finishing law school. And my mother was terrified that she was going to lose her house because my father had taken a 2nd mortgage out to fund the company.

And then, there I was 25, almost no business experience, and I was responsible for all of them.

My only goal was to make sure I could keep the lights on at the company (and home) and take care of my family.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When I took over the company, the odds were stacked against me. Statistically, only 30% of family-owned businesses survive into the second generation and less than 20% of family businesses survive after the death of the founder. I was no exception.

Every other day, it seemed a new rumor sparked that we were going out of business. Some competitors made false claims about our products while other competitors thought they could try and buy the company for pennies of what it was worth. There was an even a rumor floating around that I was the one who died.

The people I thought I could trust, I, unfortunately, found I could not. I didn’t inherit a stable business, it was essentially a start-up company that required vision and direction. There wasn’t a job I wouldn’t do. At any given moment, I was the bookkeeper, head of sales, a customer service rep, and even the supply chain manager.

Every day, I felt like our competitors were waiting for me to fail. I was motivated to prove them wrong.

I think one of the hardest parts for me was that I felt I didn’t have anyone to relate to. Most of my friends were still trying to get their first job and they had no understanding of what I was truly going through. It was a very lonely time.

VI Peel – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The VI Peel is the 1st painless chemical peel, that can be used on all skin types and tones.

The VI Peel was created by my father Dr. K. He was an emergency room doctor and was one of those people that always had the answer to everything. Then, one day, his 14-year-old daughter got acne. Acne is a very emotional condition, and I became painfully shy and wouldn’t leave the house without makeup on. He hated seeing me suffer and so I became his patient. As a dad, he did what any dad would do — he brought me every product he could find.

As a doctor, he was perplexed that he couldn’t cure my acne. What he eventually realized was that acne medications and skin peels weren’t designed for my skin tone. That’s when he knew there was an opportunity in the market because no one was creating safe products for women with darker skin tones like me. So, after comprehensive research and development, he created what we now call the amazing “VI Peel.”

We specialize in professional in-office chemical peels and skincare products. We are known for the life-changing results that can be achieved in five days including issues surrounding skin pigmentation concerns and texture. We are the only chemical peel on the market with a consumer post-care app.

How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
When I think of Success I don’t think just think about business. It’s the perfect mixture of business, family, parenthood, marriage and self-care. Success is not an endpoint. It’s about confidence, embracing your weaknesses, and being able to balance it all.

Balance is really about tradeoffs. I live for my LEK FIT class but I’m also up at 6 AM, so I can be at the office by 9 am. My husband drops our 2-year-old son Jude off at school and I do pick-up. He puts our son to bed, and I tuck in our 1-year-old baby girl Serene. I usually eat salad for lunch, but love to follow it with a Ferrero Rocher.

Success is about finding the time to manage it all and never getting comfortable. I don’t have all the answers and I’m very honest about that. I am constantly growing, learning and adapting, and that’s what makes me feel successful.

At the end of the day, I love what I do and the mission my company lives by. Our mission is to transform people’s skin and confidence so that they can reach their true potential. I feel most successful when I see our mission in action through the inspiring stories of how people worldwide feel more confident (just look up #vipeel on Instagram for yourself).

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