For Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, a business was born from a bar of soap. For most of his life, Goetz washed his face, body, hair and shaved with the same bar of Neutrogena soap. “I was the ultimate minimalist,” he says. But when Malin (at the time a beauty buyer for Barney’s) started bringing home free products every day, Goetz’s skin-care horizons began to expand. Eventually, the two started their own line of products under the brand (Malin+Goetz), with a non-traditional business plan that doesn’t include marketing.
Aside from being business partners, Malin and Goetz are also life partners. What’s it like to run a company when you’re sharing your lives as well? “We’ve had our fair share of ‘Sid and Nancy’ moments, but there is nobody in the world I trust more,” says Goetz. They believe their differences (in personality, business savvy, and even skin type) make the relationship work. Is there a challenge to being a gay entrepreneur in New York City? Not really, they say. “Gay men love skincare… It’s not like we’re in the NFL.”
Malin and Goetz also touch upon whether hiring should come from your gut—a subject on which they seem to disagree (among others)—and how beauty technology has evolved since they launched their business. Organic products, for example, aren’t necessarily all they’re cracked up to be, notes Goetz: the organic ingredients in a bottle might only constitute 0.02 percent of the product.