Tell us a little about yourself, and what you do?
I have been in the spa industry for almost 18 years. I owned a namesake spa off Madison Avenue in NYC and also worked as an aesthetician. I have performed over 12,000 facials in my career. I launched Jillian Wright Skincare in 2014 and rebranded in November 2016. I became the co-founder of the Indie Beauty Expo in 2015.
What was the inspiration to start Indie Beauty Expo and explain what IBE is for those that don’t know.
IBE is the largest professionally curated exhibition of independent beauty brands. Indie brands are among the fastest growing product categories in the retail market and we are delighted to showcase some of the best indie brands in skincare, hair care, nail care, ingestibles and beauty devices. (IBE) started two years ago when I couldn’t find a trade show to showcase my brand. I consider my line luxury indie beauty and all the shows were geared towards bigger, more established brands that I did not identify with. I wanted a platform to do serious business with retailers, the press and the public. It didn’t exist so I created it. I asked Nader Naeymi-Rad, a facial client of mine at the time if he would partner with me and he said yes without any hesitation. Here we are, about to do Dallas, May 9-11th, 2017. Our Dallas show will be our 5th show to date.
What’s your favorite part about your “job”? What is your least favorite?
I love meeting all the brands, retailers and press. I don’t like wasting time or money and by having the IBE platform, it is a win-win for everyone involved. At this point, IBE is growing so fast that we went from a one-day event in 2015, to a 3-day event in 2016. In 2017, we have three IBE’s in three markets (LA/Dallas/NY) and we are adding another one in 2018. We have created an educational track called Connect Indie to help exhibiting and non-exhibiting brands and entrepreneurs scale their businesses. So with each IBE, we are adding new classes based on the feedback. We always send out surveys to find out what our attendees and brands want so, in essence, it is a collaborative work in progress that is building the community authentically.
My least favorite is the backend, office stuff that makes IBE possible. I’m the dreamer, the visionary and the connector of the group. The mundane data entry drives me crazy, but it is necessary. My brain isn’t wired to think that way but I have been forced to grow and learn. I’m a better person for it, but it is struggle.
What are your must have beauty products? What can’t you leave the house without?
I always take care of my skin, wear sunscreen and a little bit of make up. By spending the time to perform my skincare ritual, it keeps my hands away from my face. Touching your skin is the #1 culprit that causes unnecessary acne. In my purse, I carry concealer and lip balm.
What do you think defines beauty?
As an artist, I see external/physical beauty in abstract ways. I look at the negative space, the curves, lines and shapes and shadows that make someone look interesting. I don’t let the media define what beauty means to me. Internal beauty is intelligence, creativity, kindness, humor, confidence and a deeper sense of selflessness.
Who are some of your icons, or people that you look up to in the beauty industry?
My inspiration comes from other categories including fashion, literature, music, art, food, travel. I really don’t have a “beauty industry” icon except maybe Carmen Dell’Orefice. I love strong, interesting women who inspire others to be better versions of themselves through their art including Madonna, Frida Khalo, Georgia O’Keefe, Yayoi Kusama, Elizabeth Gilbert, Iris Apfel, Ina Garten and Cate Blanchett to name a few.
What is one piece of advise that someone told you when starting out that you felt was valuable and stuck with you?
There is a solution for everything.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Traveling. I was born to explore. I’m taking my daughter to Hong Kong and Thailand this March. It will be the first time for both of us.
What is your favorite thing to do on downtime?
Enjoy entertaining my friend, fine wine, pedicures and massages. I love hanging out with my kids/family.
Do you have a “must read” book recommendation for young Entrepreneurs?
There is no “go-to” book that’ll answer all the questions a young entrepreneurs may have. I’m pretty scrappy. I am a “do-it-yourself” kind of person. I do believe that one must have some basic ideas of how business works, maybe some classes but the journey is different for everyone. I can only speak about my experiences and they are unconventional. If I followed a “book” or a “path”, IBE would never have come to life. I am a risk taker, I push the boundaries or create new territory but there is no book that can teach you that. My one bit of advise is be very careful who you partner with. Your first business partner is the IRS so make sure whoever else you bring into the mix in complimentary to your skill set and has the same work ethic and values that you do.
What’s next for you and IBE and/ or Jillian Wright Skincare?
IBE is growing. We will announce a 4th market for 2018 soon. Our team is growing as well. We are developing advanced classes for Connect Indie and building our databases. My job is retailer and press outreach and relationship development. We are also moving our office to DUMBO Brooklyn!
Jillian Wright Skincare just went through a rebrand. New design, new website, packaging etc….I’m excited to grow distribution and partner with the right retailers and educate consumers on healthy skin habits. My 18+ years as an Aesthetician is the main component to my collection. It is result oriented, streamlined and concise. It’s easy to use at home and in the treatment room. I’m excited for it’s growth.
IG handle: @jillianwrightskincare