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Secrets of Success: Emily Frank

There are some “rules” of business success most entrepreneurs abide by. But many also have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that helped them achieve success. In “Secrets of Success,” a weekly interview series here at’s Small Business Forum, I ask some of today’s smartest, most innovative, most successful business owners to share their insights and success secrets with you.

Meet: Emily Frank, cofounder and president of ZSS, a skincare company making its mark in the booming nutricosmetics industry. Nutricosmetics are supplements that can help support skin, hair and nail health. Last year the industry’s U.S. sales reached $8.4 billion—and are still growing rapidly.

Frank founded the nutrition-focused skincare line with Dr. Dennis L. Gierhart and Paula Simpson. The line is a unique serum-meets-supplement skincare system that focuses on nurturing a healthy complexion from the inside and out.

Drawing on her experience developing new markets for products, setting overall corporate strategy and negotiating significant deals with strategic partners, Frank spearheaded the development of ZSS products from the beginning. She has also worked with a number of startups at the Austin Technology Incubator and spent five years in private law practice at a large Chicago law firm.

Frank and her partners at ZSS Skincare are passionate about promoting the total health benefits their products offer. They want consumers to know that healthy skin means having a healthy lifestyle, and that true beauty begins on the inside.

You can connect with ZSS Skin Systems on Twitter @ZssSkincare.

Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Emily Frank: Everything from a doctor to a lawyer to an engineer. Business was never on my radar growing up!

Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?

Frank: During and after business school I was drawn to the startup world. The development of ZSS products was actually a project [I worked on] while I was working for a different company, ZeaVision. Before launching the ZSS products we decided that ZSS should be its own company. I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and the investors asked me to be president of ZSS.

Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?

Frank: My career has been a series of pivotal moments. Looking back, everything I have done–from practicing law, going back to school for my MBA to working in business development–has given me the skills I need to lead ZSS.

Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?

Frank: Always put yourself in the shoes of your [customer].

Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?

Frank: There is a fine line between being staying true to your vision and being flexible. Being able to walk that line is crucial to success.

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Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.