Beauty entrepreneur Jennifer Yen spent 15 hours a day in heavy makeup as a TV villainess fighting Power Rangers, which wrecked her skin. She tried everything, and nothing worked to fix her skin until she rediscovered her grandmother’s Asian beauty rituals that inspired her to create her first beauty brand, purlisse beauty.
While she was pregnant with her daughter in 2014, she was fatigued and once again faced with problematic skin. Her mom was nourishing her with Black Superfoods, which made her feel healthy and energetic again, and her skin was radiant. This sparked her idea for her second beauty brand Yensa, the superfood cosmetic.
BeautyMatter asked this two-time beauty entrepreneur what advice she would give someone thinking about launching a beauty brand, and here are her five tips.
1. Be true and authentic – people and customers are intuitive. I created my purlisse beauty after being a former TV actress and I struggled with sensitive skin. Then 10 months after I launched purlisse beauty, I was hit with the recession and struggled as an entrepreneur. I’m always truthful about my hardships and I believe it helps me establish connected relationships with my team, peers, and customers.
2. Lead by example and do what you say you are going to do – When I was starting out, I did everything. I would pack up products, write handwritten notes and take them to the post office. I communicate this with my team that I did this with pleasure because we had customers that loved our products. To this day, I still write notes and sometimes ship out products. I always tell my team that no one is ever too good to roll up their sleeves, pack, and ship products.
3. Be nimble, adaptive, and always be reinventing – When we first launched, I was so happy we were carried at Henri Bendel and Fred Segal, which have been closed in recent years. This is an example of how fast the world is changing. We almost failed after the recession and I had to reinvent our brand into a digitally native brand and partnered with online subscription power houses like Ipsy and Birchbox. The lesson I learned is you can never be too comfortable with past successes.
4. Empower your team to learn, grow, and make decisions – I imagine myself as an employee and I would want to be learning all the time, be empowered, and to be a part of the decision-making process, and this is part of our team’s values. I tell my team that they spend a lot of time getting ready for work, commuting to our offices, and they spend more time here than at home and they should be getting something, learning from their efforts. And if they are not, they are wasting their time and life.
5. Be loyal, grateful, and appreciative for your employees and people who have helped you become successful – It takes an army to create a successful and sustainable business. When I was starting out, there was no reason to believe in me – I was an actress, young, inexperienced, never worked in a beauty company, I had never worked in a company ever, but there were a few believers and I cherish them to this day. I never forget the people who helped me and believed in me.
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