Lets Hear it for the Girls

March is women’s history month, so what better way to celebrate women, than to celebrate women in one of the most unique, dynamic and challenging industries, the skincare industry. Skincare may be something you inherently link with women, but it has not been all glamour and glitz for the amazing women I was able to interview. Here are their stories, their secrets and their advice for the next generation…beauty entrepreneur wannabes, listen up!

Karen Behnke, CEO, Juice Beauty & Melissa Jochim, Director of Product Development, Juice Beauty

Juice Beauty, founded by Karen Behnke and Melissa Jochim in 2004, offers innovative organic beauty solutions masterminded by a team of women who are passionate about organic and healthy lifestyles and whose products are backed by powerful science. Karen Behnke, deemed “head juicer,” has spent 25 years pioneering healthy lifestyle companies, while Melissa Jochim, the “product juicer,” has spent 18 years pioneering organic beauty formulations – these two women are the organic wellness innovators driving Juice Beauty’s success. Based in San Rafael, CA, these women embody the typical California lifestyle New Yorkers like me envy; they believe that a healthy, organic lifestyle not only applies to what you eat but also to what you put on your faces and bodies.

BN: What served as your inspiration to start the company?
Karen: The inspiration came from the drive to complete the whole wellness circle that I had worked for years in: I’d focused on fitness, nutrition and wellness, but never really extended those beliefs to what I put on my body.

BN: A question every busy woman wants to know is how do you manage the work/life balance?
Karen: I balance my life MUCH better now than when I was building businesses in my 20’s and 30’s! I have two great kids, a great husband, and we all make it work. I believe my high fitness level (I workout every morning from 6-7AM) gives me the greatest ability to work and play hard.
Melissa: As partners, Karen and I can count on each other to meet the challenges that come with having Juice Beauty. This commitment allows us each to have a life outside the office! Work is actually a positive component of my life and helps keep me balanced.

BN: What advice do you have for women beauty innovators of the next generation?
Karen: Think Organic!
Melissa: Be Organic!

BN: What do you think has helped foster your success?
Karen: I think I was born with an inherent drive to do things but my 50/50 goals drive me on a daily basis. 50% of everything I’ve done is driven by my mission to create a better wellness/organic future for the world and my kids; and 50% is driven by hard business goals.
Melissa: The strong, intelligent women that have mentored me over the years – my Mother being the most important role model I have had.

BN: What’s to come for your brand in the future?
Karen: Our goal is to become the highest efficacy, most authentically organic, largest beauty company in the world.
Melissa: Organic skincare that you can eat!

Some of Karen and Melissa’s favorites, which after trying them for the very first time, are now regulars in my own routine, include the Cleansing Milk, an organic soap-free formula that blends antioxidant-rich red raspberry and white grape juices with soothing aloe vera and grapeseed oil which perfectly cleanses my skin in the morning for a moisturized, dewy complexion. In the evening I’ve been using the USDA Organic Moisture Concentrate, which with every drop delivers the perfect amount of hydration, thanks to antioxidant cranberry seed and essential fatty acids like carrot seed and geranium.

Juice Beauty products are available at Sephora, Whole Foods and http://www.JuiceBeauty.com

Dr. Audrey Kunin, Founder & President, DERMAdoctor

Dr. Audrey Kunin, a board-certified dermatologist, author, clinician, educator and the founder and President of DERMAdoctor, believes that consulting with a dermatologist should be convenient, informative and economical. It was her understanding of consumers needs and desires in skincare that led her to create DERMAdoctor.com in 1998, a website that offers unbiased advice on skincare. From this popular website, Dr. Kunin began to realize that a variety of skin care niches were being overlooked by the cosmetics industry. This prompted Kunin to create a customized prestige skin care line (in 2003) to address the unmet needs of the consumers on her site. DERMAdoctor is a cutting edge problem/solution skincare line devoted to solving problems like antiaging, acne, and melasma. The clinically tested formulations empower the consumer with products that actually provide real results, without the prescription.

BN: What inspires you today?
AK: New technology, medical and scientific discoveries inspire me and combine with my continuing love of being able to offer help to those who have been otherwise unable to find solutions to clear their skin concerns. It is extremely gratifying to know that I am helping others.

BN: How did you get the word out about your company?
AK: Initially online we had the search engines to work through, then word spread virally throughout the online world about the availability of free advice coming from a dermatologist and within a few months, I had as much as 26 hours of consumer email to answer. We of course took it to the next level with national print advertising to reach other consumers. I also made contacts within the media and became the voice of Midwest reason for the magazines with respect to being a dermatology expert.

BN: What challenges have you faced as a women who owns/runs her own business? What advantages?
AK: I think like all women who have young children, the time management and also the guilt associated with the high level of travel that I have been required to do over the first years of establishing the brand have been extremely difficult for me. I do believe that my ability to be creative and establish a business on the magnitude of DERMAdoctor is something that my daughter accepts as the norm and that she sees that anything is possible. My generation did not see women become doctors or entrepreneurs and that is now something that is accepted. More than encountering prejudice because I am a woman, I found a lot of people were skeptical on how a physician without an MBA could run a successful business.

BN: What’s to come for your brand in the future?
AK: I have many exciting plans for DERMAdoctor and foresee us as the number one brand that addresses all things dermatologic for the consumer. Taking us to the next level, we will be opening our first, and flagship store, within the building in May 2009. Building upon Dd’s strength as the recognized leader in skin health and beauty education, this store will be the first of its kind, featuring interactive learning and educational purchasing.

BN: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
AK: Actually, there’s no looking back and no regrets. Had I realized how challenging this process would be, how time consuming, how costly and how many walls I’d hit, I am not certain I would have taken on the challenge, but I think the entrepreneur in me has the “never give up”, practically obsessive tendency that keeps me going.

One of Dr. Kunin’s favorites, and now mine, is the KP Duty Body scrub. This scrub is part of the line that has the KP Duty lotion, probably the only one on the market that helps those red, dry irritated bumps some women have on their arms. The scrub got rid of every inch of dry skin on my legs and arms and the best part is it also prevented the dry skin from coming back. Another shared favorite is the Ain’t Misbehavin sulfur acne mask, it does wonders if you leave it on overnight for current blemishes, but also helps to eliminate future eruptions.

DERMAdoctor products are available at Sephora and http://www.DERMAdoctor.com

Kate Somerville, Founder & CEO, Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts

Kate Somerville is the founder and CEO of Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts, the renowned Medi-skin Clinic in West Hollywood, and the skincare line that carries her name. Kate has devoted almost 20 years to addressing skin wellness, starting with her work with top dermatologists and surgeons, providing skincare support to patients before, during and after treatments. It was here that Kate developed her natural talent and intuition for advanced skincare. Kate was a pioneer in the field of Paramedical Estethetics and helped lay the foundation for the Medi-Spa industry craze. Kate and her team treat some of the most high profile celebs in Hollywood, a true testament to how trusted and dedicated she is to providing the best concepts, products and treatments in skincare.

BN: How did you get your start/what was your first beauty job?
KS: I had a friend in the dermatologist business that got me thinking about doing a skincare line in doctor’s offices before it was popular. I then went to school and got my esthetics license and put a business plan together and started going around to all the dermatologist offices in San Luis Obispo, CA, proposing an esthetics partnership with them to complement their medical services. I started working with a well-known plastic surgeon, learned so much during this time – and really began to understand the skin.

BN: What served as your inspiration to start the company?
KS: I have always been entrepreneurial, but my line started with Dr. Steven Hoefflin. I was using 10 different lines and always wished this product had a little bit of this or a little bit of that, and finally the doctor told me I needed to use these ideas and invent a new line. I met a chemist at a dermatology convention and began to create my line. That was the inspiration, and today I am really into design as much as skin care and health. I went to Design School, so my packaging is very important to me as well.

BN: How did you get the word out about your company?
KS: Word of Mouth! Building each client… giving them our all, our knowledge and changing their skin one by one, the business grew.

BN: How do you manage the work/life balance?
KS: This is difficult and I’m still learning how to balance. I used to do every little event and worry about every detail and I would just run myself ragged, I don’t do that anymore. I pick my own strategy and make sure my family gets what they need first. I also take time for myself in the mornings. It’s so important – I try to eat healthy and work out and meditate and read when I’m on airplanes.

BN: What challenges have you faced as a woman who owns/runs her own business? What advantage?
KS: I don’t care what anyone says, most of the time I do feel it’s still a man’s world and we are changing that every day. Some days are harder than others, but I work hard to stay true to who I am and why I started this business.

BN: What do you think has helped foster your success?
KS: The Don’t Quit Attitude! I’m fearless: I’m going to do it. Also, my compassion, especially compassion for someone with skin aliments; I’ve personally had them so I understand.

BN: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out?
KS: That at the end of the day, everything will be OK; nothing can completely wipe you out or take you down. Your family, friends, health and relationships are the most important things in life. Don’t be so scared or afraid of failure. I now know, that if you work hard – everything will come.

Some of Kate’s products she uses daily include the Total Vitamin Anti-Aging supplements. These awesome little pre-packaged vitamins have all the nutrients you need for the day, including those needed to maintain healthy hair, skin and nails. A favorite of mine is the ExfoliKate, an intensive exfoliating treatment that contains fruit enzymes to remove dead skin cells, eliminate bacteria and get rid of stubborn blackheads. This scrub made my skin unbelievelabley smooth and glowing, unlike any other scrub I’ve used before. I also noticed in a matter of weeks the blackheads on my chin were almost non-existent.

Kate Somerville products are available at Henri Bendel and http://www.KateSomerville.com

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