June Jacobs has created three global skin care lines. Continuing her commitment to innovation and quality, June set out to alter the skin care landscape within the spa market through the creation of her namesake brand, June Jacobs. In 2018, she expanded her expertise to create Naturally Serious, an all-natural skincare line that is cleanly made, ethically developed, and clinically tested. To maintain the highest levels of quality and standards in manufacturing, June also opened an independent laboratory, June Jacobs Labs, where all of her products are manufactured.
From letterhead to launch, Rochelle oversaw the creation of skin care brands June Jacobs and, most recently, Naturally Serious Skincare. Rochelle is responsible for the day-to-day management and execution of both brands – ensuring that each stay true to the original vision.
As a mother/daughter duo, Rochelle and June join forces to not only pioneer new products, but also share a common vision of company growth, worldwide.
- How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I was essentially born into beauty – in fact, my namesake skin care line, June Jacobs, was inspired by the generations of women in my family who taught me how to create homemade skin care products from as far back as I can remember—these included ingredients like gogi berry, grapeseed, pomegranate, and green, white, and red tea which now make up my 20-year patented blend and included in every one of my June Jacobs products. Working hand-in-hand with my daughter Rochelle, we love being able to bring natural and effective skin care products to market which women can incorporate into any skin care regimen, helping to give the confidence they need that starts with beautiful skin. Being passionate about achieving my goals, and working in tandem with others who live the company’s values, gives me the energy to surmount any obstacle I might encounter along the way.
- How has your previous employment experience aided your current role? R
I started my career on Wall Street and then moved into corporate finance. At the time, transitioning into a very entrepreneurial spirited business with just a handful of employees was actually pretty challenging for me. Over time, using all my past professional experience, I was able to set up the proper structure and back-end operations to allow the business to flourish by avoiding some of the typical growing pains and pitfalls small businesses typically face.
- What have the highlights and challenges been during your current role? R
Attracting the right individuals and then ensuring they are constantly growing and learning has been both the most incredible and inspiring yet demanding part of my job. Most recently, launching our newest brand, Naturally Serious in partnership with Sephora, would have been significantly more challenging without our dedicated team working alongside me. It was imperative to find the right personalities, talents, and attitude to bring the new brand to life. We designed a working environment where everyone felt empowered to run with creative ideas. Since we have a more niche team, we wanted a structure which fostered superior communication across all levels and departments; that way, everyone shared input more efficiently and we could execute ideas most effectively.
- What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry? R
While many more factors will set you on the path to success, none are as important as believing in yourself. Following your passion and arming yourself with industry knowledge and fundamental skills will make for a fulfilling career. Be confident in your vision, and believe that you have the power to accomplish it. If you can figure out how to follow a career path closely aligned with one of your passions, your day-to-day won’t feel so mundane and will most certainly make attaining your goals that much easier. Remember if you love what you do, it’s more than a paycheck, it’s empowering you to achieve your dreams.
- What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date? R
I’d say the most important lesson I’ve learned in my career thus far is not taking myself, my business, or anyone else for that matter, too seriously. Additionally, the more senior you are in your career, the more people look to you for final decision-making and alignment.; However, I set out each day to make sure that I listen to what others are telling me and often times hearing what they are saying to each other, to help make the best decisions. We are all always learning and what worked yesterday may not work today so you better be ready, willing, and able to adjust to those variations.
- How do you maintain a work/life balance? R
My mother loves riding her bike and I practice yoga as often as I can everywhere and anywhere. This helps keep me grounded, as well as relieving some unavoidable stress. It’s also a keen reminder of how lucky we are to wake up each morning and I am blessed to call NYC my home. I believe that beauty starts from within, and a healthy body = a healthy mind (and healthy skin!) Having said that, as a new mother I struggled with a work/life balance. In 2006, when my boys were 3 and 4, I really felt the pressure for the first time and I suffered from tremendous guilt, especially when I was away from home for work. I had to learn to accept a lot of help from the people I work with and from family and friends, which was actually more difficult than it may sound, especially when you are used to being able to manage and control different situations solely on your own. I was inspired by a video I watched of Meg Whitman, who, when asked this same question, said “it is less of balance and more of a trade-off. The key is to make intelligent choices and ideally, over-time, they do balance out.” I am very conscience of this each and every day.
- What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Role Models—there are few powerful examples of women role models in workplaces. You can’t be what you can’t see. The clear lack of senior or visibly successful female role models is a major obstacle towards career advancements. As women leaders, we are intentional about appointing highly qualified women to our executive teams, corporate board, c-suite, and chief positions. Currently, 72% of all our executive and chief roles are occupied by women with diverse backgrounds both culturally and professionally.
- How can we encourage more women to start their own business?
Listening, learning, and acting. As women leaders, we have an immense responsibility to foster connections for women that lead to a successful professional path. Being not only committed, but available to our team and other women that have been loyal to this brand and devoted their lives building and growing it with us. The best course to do this is to communicate consistently and carefully in order to build trust and cement our own credibility as company leaders to hopefully inspire them to do the same in their careers.
- How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life? R
Watching my mother create something from absolutely nothing at age 40 and seeing her work tirelessly and relentlessly each and every day, no matter where she is, was all I needed to know that I too, can do the same.
- Which other female leaders do you admire and why? R
While it is easy to admire someone who has made a difference in this world, I often find it hard to relate directly to them. Some of the female leaders I admire most are my colleagues and co-workers throughout my career. Watching some of these women persevere through so many obstacles to get where they are physically motivates me to do more every day. A woman I’ve worked with for over twenty years who came to this country from the Caribbean without the ‘proper’ credentials went from cleaning homes to a reception job and continues to take on new responsibilities including running global tradeshows and customer service. She did all this AND managed to have and raise three beautiful, kind and respectful kids, possibly the most happily married women I know and is always willing to help out anyone in need personally or professionally – hard to beat that.
- What do you want to professionally and personally accomplish in the next year? R
Over the next year, we really want to grow the Naturally Serious brand by continuing to spread our message of letting women know they too can have beautifully radiant and healthy skin without using any harsh chemicals. Personally, I want to continue on this current path I am on-bringing wonderful, real product to the market, working alongside my inspiring and hardworking team and being a mother to my sons. Also perhaps taking a little bit more “me” time each day, because I believe we can all use more of that.
- What are the top three tips you can offer to an entrepreneur starting out?
– Never stop building meaningful relationships with customers and other people in your industry. Choosing to instead view competitors as potential partners and collaborators can positively impact your business in a big way. Networking is highly underrated and will forever be the major key to your success.
– Focus on setting & achieving small incremental goals rather than trying to start a business and instantly build your vision of what the company should be in the years to come. Setting realistic goals and milestones.
-The best leaders learn with a team.