The idea behind Francesco Clark‘s skincare line didn’t just originate out of the desire to have healthier-looking skin. Instead, it originated from a tragic accident that left the entrepreneur paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.
On June 1, 2002, Clark was instantly paralyzed after he dove into a swimming pool; his chin hit the bottom of the pool, injuring his spinal cord. As a result of his spinal injury, Clark also lost the ability to sweat, which caused a variety of skin-suffering side effects such as clogged pores, graying, and aging skin. “Everything that could go wrong with my skin pretty much did,” said Clark.
Before the accident, Francesco worked at Harper’s Bazaar amidst some of the most creative minds in the fashion world. Throughout his career, he worked with the likes of Giselle and Kate Moss (just to name a few). After the injury, Clark’s daily life was no longer filled with fashion starlets and top models. Clark spent his time in a hospital bed or in physical therapy. Once a very social and athletic person, he spent all of his time indoors because he was too ashamed of his appearance. From top of the line creams, to cheap over-the counter products, nothing seemed to cure Clark’s skin. “I loved challenging what beauty and fashion is,” said Clark, and that’s exactly what he did when he started Clark’s Botanicals.
“I reached a point in my life where I needed to become more social…I wanted to become myself again and my appearance really mattered.” For three years, Francesco wore the same old, ratty t-shirt and never once looked in the mirror. Years later, he traded his hospital gown and old t-shirt in for a new lease on life. With the help of his father, who is a physician, Clark began testing 78 different botanical extracts, all aimed at creating a remedy for his skin. The key ingredient in Clark’s Botanicals is jasmine absolute, an essential oil that rebalances the skin. These oils are extracted from natural blooming flowers that serve as an anti-inflammatory to heal any skin type from young to mature, oily to dry, and normal to sensitive.
Not only did Clark’s hard work and passion provide a skincare remedy for himself and others with Clark’s Botanicals, but also, the savvy businessman quickly became an activist for a good cause; a portion of the sales go to the Dana and Christopher Reeve’s Foundation. “Christopher Reeves was everywhere. He was on 60 minutes, he was on CNN and with him passing, I said to myself, ‘Okay, now what are we going to do? Who is going to be that voice?’ I had a sense of responsibility to be that voice.”
Clark’s Botanicals is available at Saks Fifth Avenue.