New York born and bred, Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz launched their eponymous skincare brand in 2004, with the philosophy that skincare should always be simple. Following successful careers working exclusively for family-run business, MALIN+GOETZ was born in the same vein: a neighbourhood apothecary, manufacturing all of their product locally.
Their luxury unisex range has since gained cult-status. Designed to be gentle yet effective, the products are made for all skin types and all genders.
Tell us about you and your background.
Our experiences were both pretty unique in that we had each only worked for family-run companies, rather than going down the corporate route. We didn't want to create products that were market-driven.
I started in the Exec Training Program, in the Buying Office at Saks. I then went on to work as Beauty Buyer at Barney’s New York and helped launch brands like Stila, Kiehl’s, and Nars, before going on to oversee global sales for Kiehls and later L’Oreal’s acquisition. I worked for family-owned Prada in a newly created Beauty Division, leading me to develop MALIN+GOETZ, at Andrew’s suggestion. Andrew, the entrepreneur of the two of us, also worked for the family that owns the Swiss design manufacturer, Vitra, as the NYC-based Marketing Director. We pooled our respective experiences to fill a void and created M+G. – Matthew
How did you both meet?
We met the old-fashioned way: in a bar. It was back in the days when the East Village was still the East Village, and Gay Bars were dark and smoky and full of mystery. It took a few attempts to charm Matthew, but eventually, I did – it’s now almost 25 years later. – Andrew
How did Malin + Goetz come about? Why did you see a gap in the market?
The idea behind MALIN+GOETZ was to make skincare simpler, starting with sensitive skin. Part of our mission is to keep things authentic in a time when businesses are becoming more and more commercial. Being family-owned and operated, having a local sensibility with the neighbourhood apothecary, manufacturing all of our product locally to our headquarters in New York City – all of these are our core values.
Skincare is not complicated, we leave that to the formulas and ingredients.
What’s been the biggest challenge you have faced as a brand so far?
We’ve grown a lot since launching the business back in 2004 and that, of course, has come with a lot of new challenges, but these can also often be a great opportunity. Each chapter in our trajectory has presented a different problem; so up until the Covid crisis, it would have been difficult to say what our biggest challenge would have been. That being said, Covid is definitely the biggest challenge we have faced. Fortunately, our e-commerce business flourished incredibly well while our stores and other brick and mortar partners were affected by the lockdowns, and the challenges of shopping during a pandemic.
What inspires you and motivates you?
We are both curious by nature, so we are motivated and inspired by many different things. Travel and art are obvious inspirations, but in general, it is the creative process that makes us excited to wake up each morning.
What’s your favourite Malin + Goetz product to use?
My favorite product is the first one we made, the Grapefruit Facial Cleanser, as it works as a great foundation for the rest of your skincare routine. I wash my face every day, twice a day, without exception. So, if I’m exhausted at the end of the day, or I’ve had too much to drink, or whatever it is, I will wash my face before I go to bed. It is the one thing I will not (not) do. It is thorough, it is not drying, it is balancing, it cleans the skin, it purifies, it leaves you feeling fresh and ready for whatever else you need to do on your face thereafter. Also, we must mention our most popular product, our Eucalyptus Deodorant – it’s a must for both of us. A quick swipe of our Eucalyptus Deodorant is all you need, it's aluminium and alcohol-free, yet it really works which I suppose explains why it's our #1 best-seller!
What’s your top skincare tip?
I’d advise two things: a face cleanser and face moisturizer.
What does sustainability mean to you as a brand?
The core philosophy behind MALIN+GOETZ is to make skincare simple, stripping back to what is essential for daily use. This idea has always been the foundation for everything we do. We have never added unnecessary ingredients or produced unnecessary packaging. We have always manufactured local to NYC, our home, and focused on local communities where we can make a great impact. All of these ideals have many overarching benefits that include corporate, social and environmental sustainability.
What would be your top tip to help encourage others to live more sustainably?
Well, we advocate less is more for many reasons, including sustainability.
What are you most excited to work on over the next few months?
As we inch our way out of the Covid Crisis, we are very excited about the return of urban (and office) life. We will be very excited to be collaborating with our team in person. We also are very excited for the energy of cities to return – and of course having our stores once again filled with people.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who is looking to set up their own company or starting a new project?
I learned an incredible amount during my time working at Vitra, and the company's unwavering commitment to beautiful design remains an inspiration. I’ve learned that we must always do what we believe in to make the best products and build the most beautiful stores. We are never seduced by faddish trends or hyperbole. Staying on course isn’t always easy. But in the end, it is what makes a great brand that people have tremendous affection and trust. – Andrew
What do you look for when finding the perfect gift?
The perfect gift is always the most thoughtful one. So it really depends on who you are shopping for.
What are your LITTLE FINDs?
- Since our adorable Pug, Harold, is a massive shedder, my first favourite item is the Clothes Brush.
- We can never have enough beautiful dish towels.
- And because we love the idea of cutting down on plastic waste, and doing everything we can for the environment, we love the idea of these reusable wraps.
It’s always fun to end on a quick fire round...
- Favourite TV series right now? Deutschland 82/86/89 (Three year series)
- Last thing you cooked? Roasted Chicken
- Favourite Instagram account to follow? @malinandgoetz, of course!
- Best book recommendation? “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doer
- Perfect way to spend your weekend? Going on a long bicycle ride, and working in our garden.
- Best restaurant you’ve eaten at? I’ve heard of such places, and I hear they are terrific. Looking forward to seeing what all the hype is all about.
- Country you’d love to visit? Sunny Italy sounds like a really good option!