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The Truth in Aging Shop Turns 5!

Reviewed by Marta February 1, 2016 10 Comments

It's been five years since I opened the Truth In Aging store and it is a cause for celebration and reflection. The decision to sell products reviewed by the community was not taken lightly and it transformed Truth In Aging from a blog to a business. And so my reflections begin with the business context — in media, beauty and retail — that we are in. Times aren’t just changing. They are cataclysmic.

A few days ago, I was with a group of women with deep connections to media and beauty. Our discussion was sobering. We noted that magazines were all but dead. Indeed, Facebook’s advertising revenue (during the five years that Truth In Aging has had a shop) has overtaken (by a long chalk) the entire consumer magazine business in the US. Traditional media still has some influence, but there are now new influencers online, on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. They are where the action is and they have changed the business model. When once beauty brands would buy an ad (in a magazine or on a website), they now buy an article.

Yes, most of the influential beauty bloggers and websites are operating a payola business model. The brand is paying for a nice article to be written about them. It is advertising masquerading as honest to goodness content. By the way, there is only a sliver of daytime TV left that isn’t payola. If you think the world was always like this, trust me (I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years), it is much worse.

With this trend emerging, an online store seemed to me to be the most transparent business model that Truth In Aging could adopt. We review products, write an honest review and, if we like it, we offer it for sale in our store. Every day I am asked whether we’ll take payment for writing reviews and every day I say no.

I am very proud of the Truth In Aging store. It is unique. It is curated by members of our community, it is stocked by products that work and do as little harm as possible and we give exposure and support to a myriad passionate, talented independent potion makers.

The business of being a store can be daunting. There are all the logistical issues of inventory management and shipping. We try to get great deals on hard to find products and that has an impact on margins. This leads to the other big trend that has evolved during the five years that we have had the Truth In Aging store: discounts, flash sales and the big flame outs. Daily sale sites and Amazon’s pricing policies have created a consumer market that expects a bargain. All to the good, except when the model becomes unsustainable and we are now witnessing the demise of Gilt, One King’s Lane, Fab and many others.

There is more to the Truth In Aging store than getting a deal. People come to us for information, for the truth about what works and what doesn’t. I am always struck by the candor and emotion that people convey when they ask for advice on what to buy. We hear so many stories, some uplifting, some heartbreaking, some thankful when our recommendations have helped. All are from women (and a few men) on a quest to look better and feel better about themselves. And this is what makes the Truth In Aging store more than just a shop.

The past five years have been an amazing journey in a rapidly changing world. I have a very strong feeling that this is just the start and the next five years will see many more shifts in the landscape. All I can do is brace myself, thank you all for your loyalty and stick to the truth.

What has Truth in Aging done for you over the years? I'd love to hear your #TIATruth in the comments and on social media!

  • February 2, 2016

    by Justin

    Five years sure does go by fast…Congratulations Marta and the TIA team! What you’ve created hasn’t gone unnoticed and is helping influence the next generation of products that companies develop. With so much misinformation on the internet, TIA is the perfect place for anyone looking for quality products and unbiased reviews. Thank you for creating this great resource!

  • February 2, 2016

    by Ki

    I love Truth in Aging because Marta & gang deliver truth in aging, which isn't that easy to find or simple to negotiate. Although I could easily spend my entire paycheck on the site, I have found products that I've stuck with and continue to be effective, while in my budget. I appreciate the independence of the reviews, & it is heartening to hear other women's thoughts about aging gracefully. There is true dedication and and concerned customer service in the entire staff. Congratulations on a successful business model that actually helps us!
    Ki

  • February 1, 2016

    by Karin

    I very happily stumbled upon the TIA website a few years back, via a google search, when I was tired of trying many many different creams that failed to work and was at a loss as to what to do. I have never looked back since!

    since then, I have also introduced your website to my best friend and we adore the products you have, and love that everything is reviewed and tested and discussed in a very direct and transparent manner. stuff just works! We love spending time reading through your website to see what other products we can try.

    your customer service is fantastic and i am in love with how fast everything is processed, especially since I live overseas in asia.

    many, many thanks to Marta and the TIA team!

    happy 5th birthday!

  • February 1, 2016

    by althea

    I live in New Zealand, and I have been a loyal TIA customer for the past four years. I'm not only impressed with the products but your customer service department as well. Everyone comments on how my skin glows, and I am 69 years old.

    I am completely dependent on your products and reviews. Happy birthday, and I look forward to TIA being around many more years.

  • February 1, 2016

    by Betty

    I love your website. I check it everyday and have purchased many products. Congratulations on the anniversary!

  • February 1, 2016

    by Karin Piotroski

    Dear Marta and TIA team,
    I stumbled upon your site a few years ago. At first glance I was immediately intrigued with the content. Never have I read such great down to earth honest reviews on ingredients, formulas, tonics, gadgets of all sorts, off brand, name brands and myriad of services. My mind was blown away. Truly this is the only site to go to for any TRUTHFUL information on ingredients for all things to make you look and feel beautifully ageless. TIA' s team must be a truly dedicated group based on the personalized service which is provided so professionally anytime I have needed assistance. I can honestly say that my skin would not be in this shape without TIA. Nor would I be knowledgeable about the ingredients that it takes to make this happen. Personally I love TIA for generously providing their extensive knowledge and products so we can all achieve our goal of looking our ultimate best and feel good about doing it. Please stay TIA forever. Thank You, Karin Piotroski

  • February 1, 2016

    by Ha

    Been following since the beginning. :) Still reference and treat TIA as my bible for all thing skin-related.

  • February 1, 2016

    by Aldo

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIA!!!

    Sciote Skin wishes the TIA family a Happy 5th Birthday...We feel truly grateful and blessed to be part of this incredible community!

    Aldo Celeste,
    CEO of Sciote Skin

  • February 1, 2016

    by Madhu

    Just came across this online store this weekend looking for reviews on a product. The reviews and discussions here seem real and deep.

    I work in eCommerce as a programmer/analyst, so I know a thing or two about running an online store. I totally agree with how daunting running a site like this could be, so kudos to you for running truthful unbiased review based site. Also, I am glad you mention the payola model, it is so prevalent these days and to gullible consumer - it's so hard to detect such sites & reviews that adopt this model (and get kickbacks for promoting a product) and not be influenced by them. Even reviews on Amazon these days are so skewed, lot of companies offer discounted or free products for people to write a good review.

    Good luck to you for the coming years! And oh, I am a guy who just got interested in skin care :)

  • February 1, 2016

    by Maria

    Happy 5th! Thank you.

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