Pharmacy is More than Skin-Deep for Emogene & Co. Founder

UM alumna uses health care background to start skin care company

All the skin care products from Emogene & Co. are formulated to use clean ingredients to improve skin functionality and promote healthier skin. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Allyson Gregory Brennan didn’t set out to be a business owner or entrepreneur. However, it was the turn her pharmaceutical career took when she wanted a solution to better ingredients in her skin care products.

That passion had University of Mississippi alumna Brennan starting Emogene & Co., a skin care line that provides clean ingredients to improve skin functionality and promote healthier skin.

Brennan’s academic journey through the UM School of Pharmacy provided the background and drive she needed to get the company off the ground.

“I owe the majority of this company to my pharmacy education and career,” Brennan said. “Without the understanding of pharmaceuticals and ingredients, molecules and chemical interactions, I would have no place to start with creating skin care formulations.

“I will forever be grateful for choosing pharmacy as my career path.”

The School of Pharmacy’s reputation was a no-brainer for Brennan to choose Ole Miss, as she has served as a clinical pharmacist for 14 years with a concentration in neurology and neurosurgery. After graduating from Millsaps College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Brennan completed her Pharm.D. in 2007.

Allyson Gregory Brennan, a graduate of the UM School of Pharmacy, launched Emogene & Co. after turning her focus to using more natural products in her own household. Submitted photo

“Ultimately I chose pharmacy because I love chemistry and how molecules can interact with each other to form powerful ingredients,” Brennan said. “I also love how pharmacists are instrumental health care professionals with a broader accessibility to the general public to impact people’s health.” 

Brennan’s curiousity isn’t just about what goes in the body, but what goes on it. More importantly, what goes on her daughter’s skin. Brennan turned her focus to using more natural products in their household.

“As I’ve gotten older, I began to notice how the skin care industry has failed us with ‘quick-fix’ products, the use of toxic chemicals, fillers and overcomplicated skin care regimens that are not only expensive, but ineffective,” she said. “I saw a genuine need for simpler, purer products with much greater transparency about ingredients that were safe for all members of my family.”

What started for her family has also grown because of her family. A native of Okolona and daughter of a third-generation farming family, Brennan named the company for her grandmother, Emogene, who Brennan noted had a remedy for every skin care problem.

Her husband, Andy, is a huge part of her team as well, helping to pack and ship orders at night while she is compounding.

“It’s amazing to see alumni like Allyson combine their enthusiasm for pharmacy, science and helping others and turn it into dream jobs,” said David D. Allen, dean of the pharmacy school. “Allyson is proof that the career paths in pharmacy are endless and can take untraditional turns, and I’m excited to keep watching her company grow and succeed.”

When Brennan first started, she served as CEO, shipping and customer service clerk, formulator, accountant, marketing manager and much more. She faced the challenges all on her own but has grown Emogene & Co. to a small team, with plans to hire more in the future.

Brennan learned every single angle of her business, and if she had to do it all over again, she would do it the same way.

“I am so very proud and grateful for the growth of this company in only a little over a year,” Brennan said. “I feel like I have been able to use every bit of education I worked so hard to achieve, and have been able to tap into a creative side of myself to find something that makes me feel so inspired and truly passionate about what I do every day.”