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When Tom Seery started content and reviews site RealSelf in 2006, he wanted to create an honest and accessible resource for people seeking information on cosmetic aesthetics and plastic surgery by focusing on user-generated content. Twelve years, 2 million reviews and a fresh round of funding later, Seery said RealSelf is positioning itself as the Yelp of “modern beauty.”

“When I started the company, I felt that [cosmetic procedures] were very much outside of the world of beauty,” said Seery. “As time has progressed, we’re seeing that we’re just an extension of the beauty discussion. I like to say, ‘We’re just an extension of the beauty counter at Nordstrom now,’ and that’s because there are all these noninvasive or minimally invasive treatments available now where you get results with little to no downtime. That collapsing of the distance between the products you use at night and the services you may choose to do in the afternoon is something that has really been a catalyst to this industry becoming defined as modern beauty.”

On this episode of The Glossy Beauty Podcast, beauty editor Priya Rao sits down with Seery, the founder and CEO of RealSelf, to discuss his approach to experiential marketing, why injections aren’t such a big deal anymore, and the plans for the company’s latest round of funding. Edited highlights below.

Closing the gap between people and procedures
“South by Southwest was really our first experiment in what would happen if we could bring the world of medical aesthetics closer to people. So if you think about it, your access to medical aesthetics involves setting up an appointment, going to a doctor or clinic’s office, sitting there and waiting, and you’re kind of committed at that point. It’s also a really expensive procedure, by the way. So this idea of being able to get it closer to people, collapse that distance and make it frictionless was really the idea behind it — not to just bring these procedures and treatments [closer], but also the conversation of modern beauty, while elevating it. We saw a combination of journalists, bloggers and influencers all coming together, and show a lot of interest in this subject matter of medical aesthetics, and they had a real interest in connecting with consumers to hear their stories. Holistically, it was a great experience. We learned a ton, and we’re excited to do some more of these.”

The new frontier of aesthetic bars
“I’m fascinated. The founder of Alchemy 43 and I are actually getting together in L.A., because I just want to see how [the company] works and how it’s resonating with the same people who come to RealSelf. Right now, we don’t really have relationships with these various outlets. Something I want to know is not only how it works for the consumer, in terms of accessibility and experience, but also: What about safety and other factors around quality?”

An omnichannel content strategy
“One of the things we want to do is elevate our point of view, and we have strong points of view based on the beliefs of our community and what we have learned from millions of postings, answers and all these interactions. We’ve found that what would make it more accessible and easier to consume would be to create our own content. We hired the former editor-in-chief of, and we have another individual coming from a background in beauty, coming together to build a small office here in New York and produce great content. We’re also be renaming our blog to Beauty Mark, instead of The Treatment, and you’ll see us continue to elevate our content in places like video, Instagram and YouTube. All in all, we’re just trying to have our information reach people wherever they want to spend their time, and however they want to consume their information.”