The founder of Swiss skincare brand Skincode is a prince, but his title is not something he wants to dwell on.
During the 45-minute interview with Urban, Prince Niclas Massalsky summed up his family's dynastic heritage in all of three minutes and spent the rest of the time discussing his 16-year-old anti-ageing brand.
The 47-year-old is a descendent of Rurik the Viking, who founded the first modern Russian monarchy in the ninth century.
The Massalskys used to rule the town of Mossalsk and surrounding territories in Central Russia more than 1,000 years ago. Sons and daughters of the Massalsky family were given the title Prince or Princess - which Prince Massalsky assures is nothing more than just a title today.
Like many teenagers growing up, he held summer jobs. When his father was an executive at American cosmetics company Revlon in the 1970s and 1980s, he helped out in the brand's warehouse in Sweden and in the marketing department in New York City to earn extra allowance.
Prince Massalsky, who was born in Sweden, says that his father influenced him to enter the beauty industry.
His father, Prince Michael Massalsky, left Revlon to become president of Swiss brand La Prairie in 1988 and in 1989, started his own anti-ageing skincare brand Swiss Line.
The younger Prince Massalsky joined Swiss Line in 1995, after working in advertising, marketing and insurance sales.
"My dad was in the beauty industry since I was 10 and remained there ever since. When the opportunity came to join the family business, I didn't have to think twice," says Prince Massalsky, who is married with three children.
After working for his father for three years, he decided to set up his own skincare line, Skincode, which he says is a more affordable alternative to Swiss Line.
Other Swiss anti-ageing brands available then were La Prairie and Valmont, which were just as expensive as Swiss Line.
"People came to us and asked for a Swiss made anti-ageing range that was not so expensive," says Prince Massalsky.
"The Swiss flag has always been a seal of quality and trust and you could charge a little extra," he says.
Prices of products from Swiss Line, which are not available in Singapore, are about three times higher than Skincode. Skincode products range from $46 to $228 and are available at Guardian.
SWISS SEAL OF QUALITY
To create something more affordable and different from what existed in the market, he spent time at a burns unit in a Swiss hospital where he learnt about CM-Glucan, a medical ingredient used to treat burn patients and babies with eczema.