Overcoming Trauma to Find Beauty Industry Success

The inspiring story behind Francesco Clark’s skincare line, Clark’s Botanicals, begins with a tragic event.

“I dove into the pool thinking I was diving into the deep end, but I dove into the shallow end. The second that I dove in, my chin hit the bottom of the pool and my head snapped back with such force that it shattered my C4 C5 vertebrae,” Clark tells FBN's Jo Ling Kent on FoxNews.com LIVE. “As soon as that happened, I was paralyzed and I knew it … I could see the bubbles floating up from my mouth and I couldn’t do anything about it.”

After he was rushed to the hospital, doctors told Clark’s family he had an 81 percent chance of dying that night and if he did survive, he would never breathe, speak or move on his own due to the extent of his injuries. But Clark defied the odds and was able to move his shoulder.

“My mother looked at me and in Italian she says, ‘Move something. Just move something,’ and so I twitched my shoulder a little bit,” said Clark.

In the months and years that followed, Clark underwent extensive physical therapy and controversial surgery. Initially, Clark could not feel or move 98 percent of his body, but today he is able to move his upper body.

Loss of mobility was not the only effect of the injury, however. Clark is unable to sweat or react to hot or cold. As a result, his skin doesn’t release toxins, creating clogged pores and breakouts.

“It felt like the perfect storm of anything and everything that could go wrong with your skin went wrong with my skin,” said Clark. “I tried $300 creams, $10 creams, prescription, anything I could find – and nothing worked.”

Finally, Clark asked his father, a medical and homeopathic doctor, to help find a solution to his skincare problems. The duo investigated 78 different essential oil and botanical extracts until settling on Jasmine Absolute, and they developed botanical products that cleared up Clark’s skin.  A new business was formed.

“I didn’t think I was going to sell it,” said Clark. “I just wanted to look better myself. I was selfish.”

But as Clark’s skin began clearing up, his family members and his father’s patients began using the products. People discovered the products through word-of-mouth, and in 2005, Clark began selling Clark’s Botanicals online.

The line is now available in stores in New York City and internationally in the U.K., Japan and Australia. Clark's Botanicals will soon be sold in Canada as well.