Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member Christopher Szamosszegi set out to forge his own path in the skincare industry in 2015 through building connections in Los Angeles area. He met celebrity esthetician Mindi Walters, and the two bonded over their shared passions and business ideals. They officially launched Mindi Walters Skincare in 2016 based on a simple principle: their products would include only the best ingredients to help their clients’ skin glow from the inside out.
“Facial treatments to me are so personal,” he said. “It helps people become more confident in just their skin.
“If you have a few pimples, you aren’t that thrilled to go out in public. When you can help someone with troubled skin and they can go out without any makeup, it increases their self-confidence. And hearing a compliment on your skin is the best compliment you can receive.”
With his experience in product development and Walters’ reputation with some of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces, the two have become a force in the industry. They own a clinic in West Hollywood where they serve clients one-on-one, and their line includes the Regenerative Oil Complex and the Brightening Oil Complex. The oils combat a variety of issue such as wrinkles, moisture restoration, sun damage, reversing signs of aging and more.
“The market is so saturated, and there are so many products,” Szamosszegi said. “I’m very, very picky, and this is why we only have two products that we sell online because I am very particular about the quality of ingredients that go into them.”
Although using the best components increases costs, it is something Mindi Walters Skincare refuses to change.
“I think it is reflective of the fact that we’ve literally never had, whether it’s our clinic or any of our products, we’ve never had less than a five-star review on anything,” he said.
Celebrities have caught onto the benefits their products and services, helping their business flourish.
“We launched our product, and right after, Megan Fox posted about it. Then Chelsea Handler posted about it, and now we have customers in over 30 countries,” Szamosszegi said.
Heritage and pride
Szamosszegi lost his Potawatomi father a few years ago, which forever changed his desires to learn more about their shared heritage. Shortly after, he turned in the information required to become an official CPN tribal member.
“He was always proud to be Potawatomi — so, so proud — and after he died and because he was so proud to be part of it, I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” he said.
When the Hownikan approached Szamosszegi about his business and to schedule an interview, Szamosszegi said he felt a sense of honor.
“My first thought was, ‘I want to call my dad, he would be so excited,’ but obviously, he passed away,” he said. “We’ve been featured in multiple publications like Cosmo and Elle and on Chelsea Handler’s show, but to me, being featured (in the Hownikan) is more personal and more important than any of that.”
Becoming a CPN member has also provided him ample opportunities to learn and share his story and background with others.
“For example, my business partner, Mindi, she’s from Wisconsin, and so when I was telling her I am Potawatomi, she was like, ‘Oh, I’ve seen their casino.’ And I explained, ‘OK, well, that’s a different band,’ and I started researching why there are so many different bands,” he said.
Traversing the pandemic
At the end of October, personal care businesses across Los Angeles County could reopen with new restrictions. Before the notification, Szamosszegi used the extra time due to the coronavirus pandemic to build the brand and its e-commerce sales.
“It was super exciting to learn we could reopen,” he said. “But we have to wear a face mask and face shield while doing a facial. Anyone coming into our building, we have to do a temperature check and ask them if they’ve had any symptoms.”
In addition to being an esthetician at Mindi Walters Skin Clinic and developing products, Szamosszegi oversees marketing, social media, content creation and manages the Mindi Walters brand.
Although the coronavirus pandemic impeded serving customers in person, since its onset, their online sales have grown by 300 percent.
“It gave us an opportunity to buy new equipment, create new facial treatments and launch a new product,” Szamosszegi said.
With the new lifted restrictions, he feels excited for their clients to experience Mindi Walters Skin Clinic’s new facial add-ons and treatments. He is also focused on expanding Mindi Walters Skincare’s online sales and their line while reopening the clinic.