2 Days With Danné: The Legend Behind The Movement
DMK Skincare has been rebuilding skin and rebuilding lives for over 40 years and 32 countries. Danné Montague-King, the founder, has distinguished himself as a pioneer in the field of skin and body treatments.
As the Uber pulled away from his estate, I was blown away by the man I had just gotten to know. The car stopped at the gate to be let out of the property, I stared out the window over the gorgeous valley below, and thought about the dynamic man that I had just met. Yes, I had met Danné at NASNPRO events many times. But that doesn’t matter, whenever I meet someone who owns a huge company I always tend to revert to the awkward, insecure, scared, little gay boy growing up on his grandfather’s farm in Central Pennsylvania.
I had met Danné several times, and interviewed him once on camera in Boston, always in a suit and tie, looking incredibly refined and professional. Each time we interacted he’d been, graceful and full of spirit. However, this morning at brunch, Danné wasn’t in a suit and he wasn’t at all what I expected.
When Danné opened the door and invited me in, I was instantly struck by what he was wearing. He wasn’t dressed like one would expect a 75-year old man to dress. He was wearing G-Star RAW and Doc Martins. He welcomed me with a vivacious energy that I just don’t see in other men with his experience that I know. I thought to myself, “Ok, Danné, you go ahead!” In that moment I realized that Danné didn’t see himself as someone who was a certain age.
His confidence, tenacity, intelligence and young spirit are what continue to drive him to play such an active role at DMK. This is a man who travels to China, Russia and all over Europe regularly. His schedule has him flying all over the world to teach. He is also incredibly generous with his time to the various philanthropic projects. He’s a force! I’m quite sure when he wakes up every day, he doesn’t think about age, he just thinks there’s a lot of work to be done and just does it!
Old Money Grace and Class
I realized that Danné reminded me of someone. I distinctly remember laughing to myself about how trite it was to compare a gay man to woman, but, in this case, it couldn’t be truer! You see Danné is one of the most sophisticated, gracious, generous, intelligent, kind and fiercely honest men that I’d ever met. When I began reading his book The Maybelline Prince, I instantly thought to myself, “Oh, shit, how did Danné survive in the south in the 70’s?” I’ll admit, I get a little scared below the Mason Dixon line – understanding that most of those states are “red” for a reason and make the blind assumptions that gays aren’t thought of too fondly!
After reading the book and then meeting Danné, I realized why he was such a financial success in Arkansas, where the book is set. Danné embodies the characteristics of a true old money Southern aristocrat: grace, elegance, style, chivalry, conviction and resolute strength of character.
There is a television character named Julia Sugarbaker, (played by Dixie Carter) from the show Designing Women. In my mind’s eye, I recalled an episode where Julia, spoke of a bygone era where people enjoyed providing service and took pride in doing a job well done. She spoke of the gas station attendant that would greet customers with a smile, tip his hat and hand wash the customers’ windshield. Being polite and gracious were all a part doing their job. Julia epitomized the sophistication and elegance of the old South this is why I think Danné did so well in Hot Springs Arkansas because he epitomizes that old money grace and dignity.
Danne has an air of confidence and inner strength gives him the ability to feel secure enough to be open to collaboration, this is evident in his book, when he describes the process of opening The Palace Dinner theatre and in how he has grown DMK over the last 50 years. Danné is smart enough to know it takes a village to grow a company and has always been open to working with others. His first major commercial success was creating BIOFREEZE and it is how he has grown DMK International into a global company that it is today.
Brunch With A Legend
Danné was so gracious to have me to his home on a Sunday morning for brunch after he had been out the previous night, at a fundraiser for Emerald Kingdom, his LGBT charity. Danné has always been a champion of equality; from his early days in Hot Springs, AR and Chicago, IL to 2013 when he was recognized as the first Global Ambassador for the Harvey Milk Foundation. Regardless, even after a late night, he was up and ready to greet me. He politely showed me to the back patio where we would be having brunch and asked me to wait until they were ready to serve.
I took this opportunity to take photos of the outside of the estate. The stunning views of the valley below, the gorgeous, uninterrupted blue sky, the green cypress trees, the terracotta tiles, the huge pool and various cabanas on the property made for quite an oasis. I felt relaxed and comfortable. We ate brunch with Danné’s husband Drue and one of his dear friends who was at the fundraiser the prior evening.
After brunch Danné and I sat under one of the cabanas and chatted for what seemed like an hour, but was actually about 3 hours. I wanted to dig into what made Danné tick, how he got started and what was at the core of his success. It all started in a wig store in Newport Beach. While Danné would fit clients for wigs he would also help them with their makeup. He also loved to use his background in Botany to create skincare products for himself. Many times he would offer them to his wig clients. He’d provide an unparalleled level of service to clients.
Danné is the epitome of the romantic Renaissance man from a bygone era when it was an honor and a privilege to provide a greater level of service to clients. Danné relishes in the ability to give clients and exceptional experience offering them a complete personal care service rather than just providing them with a once and done transaction.
During our conversation under the cabana, I mentioned one of the DMK Clinic Owners that I know, Nathan, owner of Tiny Bubbles Salon in Palm Springs, CA whom I met at The Skin Games Make Up Challenge. He was using DMK Cosmetics (the first of its kind medical grade silicon base foundation & color correctors created by Danné). Danné raved about him. I love that a man that runs a global empire knows one of his Clinic Owners so well. Danné spoke of a pending project with Nathan. Danné wants Nathan to create a training video for estheticians who aren’t make up artists to help them to become more comfortable introducing the DMK line of cosmetics into their skincare treatments. So they can give their skincare clients a finished look after a DMK Skin Revision Treatment. When, he finished telling me this idea for the project, I just laughed and said, “Much like you did in the wig shop?” He stopped, looked at me, and said, “Well, yes, but I didn’t even think of that.”
You can see Danné’s vision come to life in this example. One can see that level of dedication to excellence in DMK's Entire business model, from their vetting process of all of their clinics worldwide, to the handpicked selection process of all of their Account Managers and Trainers. DMK is dedicated to and has a laser like focus on ongoing and continuing education.
Having met so many DMK Clinic Owners, I was able to spend time chatting with these seasoned industry professionals about why they love DMK so much and why is Danné so inspiring? I asked one clinic owner, Darcy, who is also an Account Manager, “The estheticians that use DMK are so dedicated. More so than any other that I’ve seen. Why do you think that is?”
She replied, “We have full confidence, because we have 50 years of worldwide results. We have amazing education and support. It’s a family. We joke around that it’s the DMK mob but really and truly it’s a family. There is no competition. There is support. We send each other clients. We help each other out. It starts from the top. We are able to truly change skin. Once you “fix” skin for the first time (like get rid of rosacea, that’s what did it for me) you jump in with both feet and never look back.”
This quote from Darcy struck me because she said, “…there is no competition...”. I related that back to all the collaboration that Danné did with other businesses in Hot Springs, AR, when opening The Palace Dinner Theatre and when he brought in partners to help grow his most famous invention, BIOFREEZE. His vision of providing a service and taking pride in a job well done is trickling down to every clinic owner.
Take Your Blogger to Work With You!
I had the opportunity to spend a second day with Danné at his corporate offices. Instantly, I noticed he’s the same person at home and in the office. It was so fun to sit in on a DMK Facebook Live session. DMK titles it, “What Does Danné Say.” It was so much fun to watch Danné, having fun doing a mock Presidential address on Presidents’ Day. He’s such a character, he was so funny during the session while debunked all the “fake news” in the skincare industry.
I met with his team who love working with him. There’s an amazing amount of respect for him from his chemists, his marketing team, his trainers and most of all from his National Sales manager and nephew, Drew Coleman.
Commitment to the Concept
My conversations with Drew are always so much fun. He’s charming, funny and has an impeccable sock game! We often compete for who can bring the best sock game to any event that we’re both attending. Drew and I chatted about how a spa or esthetician can become a DMK Clinic. I was flabbergasted when he told me that they must pass multiple tests! DMK wants to ensure that everyone that carries their tools will use them according to the concept that Danné has created. Danné has been focused on the DMK concept for 47 years and it’s sold in over 30 countries worldwide. Drew takes great pride in the DMK Skin Revision Concept and wants to ensure that integrity is maintained. It can take from 6 months to a year from initial application date for a clinic to be fully certified for DMK Paramedical Skin Revision Treatments. “We are a professional only skin revision company; supporting the licensed esthetic professional. We expect our network of clinic owners and therapists to be educated, professional & grow. What Danne started decades ago was not a slick marketing plan or chasings trends. He began with the ideas that if you- be yourself, trust your gut, follow your heart and work your tail off you can accomplish anything.”
Rock Star Treatment
In order to ensure that I got the complete DMK experience, I was given a full tour of the DMK Headquarters. Including their formulation lab and treatment instruction area. The first part of this rock star treatment was to meet Bien, Chief Chemist at DMK. He and Danné created a custom skincare serum for me! I legit – DIED when they told me this was their plan. They meticulously reviewed my skin and based on their findings formulated my very own, personalized, one of a kind serum called Barry’s Beads! I was so honored and told Danné and Bien that it would be hard for me to use the serum because I really wanted to save it as a memento. This just proves that the DMK Concept is 100% proprietary.
The second part of my rock star treatment was getting a Skin Revision Treatment from Kyoko! Finally! After years of seeing the famous DMK Enzyme Masque and Signature Plasmatic Effect– I was going to be able to experience it! Hello, Kid In A Candy Store! This is the treatment that Cosmopolitan Magazine called The Game of Thrones Facial, which only made me want it more because I’m a huge fan of GOT! I’d never had any skincare treatment like it before! Never had a masque get that hard on my face, it pulled my skin so tight, I felt 22 again! I can’t even describe how stunning my skin looked after the treatment. UM, no worries, because, of course, I TOOK A #SELFIE! Do you see that glowing, smooth firm skin? I died!
They have a laser like focus on their mission:
DMK believes that the origin of most skin conditions is a result of disharmony within the skin. Using the principles of biochemistry, DMK has formulated a range of treatments and products designed to educate skin to perform like youthful healthy skin. By matching formulations with the body’s chemistry, the skin is encouraged to respond in a positive manner. DMK’s revolutionary concept of REMOVE, REBUILD, PROTECT, MAINTAIN aims to match an individual’s biochemistry with the appropriate skin therapy. Botanical-based paramedical products make up the DMK skin care program.
To know Danné Montague-King is to easily understand why he is so successful. You can see his charm, intelligence and tenacity. Getting to know the DMK Skin Revision Concept, you can easily see how the brand is the embodiment of everything Danné believes. He’s created a business with a culture dedicated to kindness, commitment, teamwork, compassion, respect, equality, integrity and passion; and the 50 years of success and growth are proof that it works.
A huge thank you to DMK Skincare for partnering with us on this feature.