Mackenzie Guzman, a junior at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, said she was referred to Dr. Fulton through a friend of the family, and in the few months since she has seen him and used the Vivant products he recommended, she has seen her acne improve.
“It was like magic, it was like a dream come true,” said Guzman, 16, who lives in Pinecrest.
“I still complain about my face; it’s not perfect yet,” she added. “But it’s certainly a lot better than when I realized I first had acne.”
At Vivant, Fulton-Kendrick is now targeting department stores and other large retailers, with plans to create another version of the company’s products. So far, talks with retailers are in the works and progressing.
“Our main objective is to build the retail division,” she said.
Vivant’s roots are in the treatment of acne.
Fulton-Kendrick’s father was a resident at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967 when he co-developed Retin-A as a treatment for acne, and discovered that it also improved wrinkles and the skin’s appearance, overall.
At that time, the University of Pennsylvania owned the formula, patented it, and sold it to Johnson & Johnson.
Fulton’s interest in product development was piqued. He worked on stabilizing benzoyl peroxide for use on the skin at the University of Miami, where he earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry.
In 1972, Fulton and his wife Sara, a chemist, opened their first acne health care center in Coral Gables. They developed their own products, which they used at the clinics, and manufactured them in California.
The Fultons built a network of 12 acne clinics nationwide, called Face Up, before they sold them in 1989.
Fulton had also maintained his own practice in Newport Beach, Calif. But he wanted to continue with his product line, which was primarily based on a patented formulation of Vitamin A propionate, which he sold to dermatologists and cosmetic and plastic surgeons around the country.
So they launched Vivant, selling the line to a small network of skin care professionals, generating about $1 million in revenue each year, through 2003.
That’s when Fulton-Kendrick stepped in to grow the line, bringing it to a larger audience of skin care professionals, including spas, salons, medical spas and doctors.
She also oversaw the launch of new products, including Mandelic acid products for acne, aging and hyperpigmentation, and peptides, which are used to regenerate collagen. In December Vivant added a new clinically tested lip plumper with peptides called Maxilip Lip Plumper.
One of four children, Fulton-Kendrick, 39, had grown up filling bottles, answering the company’s former acne hotline, and working in the acne clinics.
“In my family everybody worked,” she said.
She earned a law degree at the University of Miami, and worked for two years as a lawyer in Dallas before returning to Miami and Vivant. She is the only one of her siblings who works at the company.
A certified aesthetician, she went to 20 trade shows a year, held 30 educational seminars, and spread the word about Vivant. By 2008, the company’s products were sold by 2,000 vendors, and sales had reached $3 million.
But then the economy turned sour. Spas went out of business, and as they took a hit, Vivant felt the blow. Sales dropped and the company had to lay off half its staff in the summer of 2011, reducing it from 20 to 10.