Katie Uilk, CEO of K&K Skin Products, and Kristina Trujillo, Chief Science Officer, are sisters-in-law in a skincare company where science meets nature.
Katie has a background in business & psychology—but it was her struggle with severe skin conditions all her life which led her to discover the healing properties of essential oils. She began to formulate products with different benefits and give them away as gifts.
“Making your products for other people is a very vulnerable process,” Katie says. “I was really unsure about releasing [them] but with Kristina and her entrepreneur spirit, it gave me the confidence [that] we could do this […] and people would benefit from these products.”
Cue Kristina, the duo’s scientist. Kristina has her PhD in molecular biology and spent over ten years in cancer research at the UNM School of Medicine. While there, she worked with a molecule with impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “Even though it didn’t work that well for cancer or my research,” Kristina says, “it stuck in the back of my mind because it had such impressive properties.”
Both women have trailblazing entrepreneurial spirits. Katie observed her dad’s success growing up. “From a young age I saw the power of owning your own business.”
And Kristina wanted to use castoff lab discoveries to help others. She left UNM to pursue an entrepreneur in residence in San Francisco at a Venture Capital firm while Katie perfected her products.
Their combined knowledge base and experiences turned out to be invaluable years later.
Their entrepreneurial journey illustrates how dots can sometimes only connect when looking back rather than forward. K&K’s beginnings were not in a fancy research lab or with VC backing—but in the humble space of Katie’s kitchen.
“We were making oils for fun,” Kristina says, “and the light bulb came on. That molecule [BioVer-X™️] had just been in the back of my head. When I was researching ingredients, it clicked.”
The two women started doing science experiments regularly in Katie’s kitchen. They ordered different pipettes and glassware—basic lab supplies—and got to work on their new formula.
“Katie already had her oils perfected, thank goodness,” Kristina says. So the next step was to add in the molecule, and Kristina offered to be the guinea pig.
After about a week, the side of her face using the product with the BioVer-X™️ molecule saw impressive results. “The wrinkles around my eyes start[ed] to fade and not be as deep,” Kristina says. “After a couple of weeks, it was looking so different from the left side to the right side. But then something unexpected happened.”
The deep acne scars she’s had since high school—the ones she assumed she’d just live with for the rest of her life—began to fade. “It’s almost like they never existed,” she says.
That’s when the sisters-in-law knew they had developed a product that worked.
BioVer-X™️ Serum has since become their signature product and is patent pending. It’s 10 times more anti-inflammatory and has 6 times more antioxidant properties than anything else on the market right now. It helps with rejuvenation of the skin and reducing wrinkles, acne scars, and stretch marks.
Soon, they’re launching a zinc oxide moisturizer/sun shield and a jojoba bead scrub/mask, emphasizing the importance of moisturizing, rejuvenating and protecting the skin while also healing it.
Katie and Kristina are all about combining science and nature to do just that—heal.
“Kristina and I promote self-care with each other. We call it ‘the work’. Every week, we meet up and discuss what’s going right and what’s going wrong and what we’d like to overcome, what we can manifest.” Katie says. Katie’s belief in herself and the business is truly inspiring. Before launching, she was working full-time while raising kids.
“It’s scary to go from a job with benefits and security and build a business with no money, no backing, because we believe in it,” Katie says. She was craving the freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur—and something was telling her to jump in the deep end, “not knowing if you could swim, but believing you could,” as she puts it.
And swam, they have.
Know what you want and be okay conveying that to people.
And know you can do it, because you can.