Women in Beauty You Should Know is a series on inspirational and entrepreneurial female beauty business owners and industry experts.
Founder of Activist Beauty and, most recently, LUXE Botanics, Jené Roestorf has transformed her growing beauty brands into thriving global businesses. She’s spent the last 7 years growing the mission-driven skincare brand into a globally recognized green beauty brand. She founded Activist Beauty to give back to the international beauty community by working with mission-driven brands that want to expand and scale their businesses internationally through efficient and ethical business practices.
Below, we caught up with Jené about her biggest successes to date— including how to have massive success while still doing good in the world.
She also shares how she went from studying architecture in Australia to becoming an international player in the beauty industry.
1. SO, WHO IS JENE ROESTORF?
I’m Jené, the Founder of both LUXE Botanics Skincare and Activist Beauty. I’m South African, but I’ve lived in Australia, Singapore and now I’m in sunny Lisbon, Portugal. I studied architecture, then biotechnology and bioethics in Australia, which led to a 10-year career in global pharmaceutical clinical trials before I moved into the beauty industry.
2. HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY?
After 10 years in clinical research, and having lived outside of Africa for over 15 years, I longed for a return to my nature-loving roots so I went on a life-changing trip to Tanzania. I found myself sitting on the edge of Ngorongoro crater, the birthplace of mankind, feeling deeply rooted to the earth and the nature I so deeply loved, asking myself “What do I value in life?”. This humbling experience helped me to reconnect with my why, who I am and how I wanted to positively impact the world. It led me to combine my love of nature, my scientific expertise, and my passion for socially conscious innovation to start LUXE Botanics Skincare in 2015.
Since 2017 I’ve been utilizing my foundation of scientific training, project management skills, my clinical and regulatory experience, and my experience in the beauty industry to provide strategic advisory services to my fellow beauty founders to help them expand their brands globally, through Activist Beauty.
3. WHAT’S ONE THING THAT YOU WANT BRAND FOUNDERS TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY?
It’s possible to have a successful business that also does measurable, meaningful good in the world.
4. WHAT CAREER SUCCESSES ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? BRAG AWAY!
Through Activist Beauty I’ve been able to work with brands like 8Faces, Activist Manuka, Corpus, Hynt Beauty, Luma & Leaf, Monastery, and Plantkos to expand their brands globally while also connecting meaningfully with some of the most influential founders in the indie beauty industry.
My skincare brand LUXE Botanics is sold globally across the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australia, and to date, we’ve positively impacted over 10,000 people in local communities in Africa and India through our harvesting communities and charitable partner, Buy1Give1.
As an extrovert, I struggled during the pandemic to stay connected to the beauty industry and my fellow founders in the US, so I was surprised and genuinely thankful when I was featured by Byrdie as one of their 15 Women in Beauty and Wellness that Inspired Them in 2021. It showed me that people do genuinely care about the good that you do in the world, even when you’re achieving your goals quietly and without being face to face.
5. WHAT ARE SOME KEY TRENDS OR SHIFTS YOU’RE SEEING FOR 2023 IN YOUR SPECIALITY?
Brands are realizing that to have a sustainable business model you need a global footprint. Without this your business is at the mercy of one market, which can shift quickly and suddenly. This was particularly noticeable during the pandemic – brands with a global presence were able to thrive in various markets at different times compared to those at the whims of a single market.
6. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOUNDERS FACE WHEN THEY’RE SCALING TO MULTI SIX AND SEVEN FIGURES?
Without a solid foundation in operations and compliance, it’s nearly impossible to have a successful business that’s scaleable. Processes, policies, and regulatory compliance may seem tedious, but without them, your business will not be able to scale, nor will it be of interest to serious investors.
7. WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D LOVE TO SHARE WITH FOUNDERS WHO ARE LOOKING TO LEVEL UP?
Review your products for global compliance. You may be able to quickly and easily access external markets to vastly increase your revenue across multiple channels.
8. WHAT’S ONE BOOK YOU RECOMMEND FOUNDERS READ AND WHY?
There are many fantastic books about entrepreneurship, but if you intend to have a successful global beauty brand, it’s essential to stay in touch with global business news. You need to understand the markets you’re in, their politics and business policies, and how they affect your business. There are many beauty industry newsletters, but I recommend Cosmetics Design and Retail in Asia.
9. WHAT’S ONE THING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD NEVER GUESS?
I’m absolutely afraid of the dark. It probably comes from staying in tents/ small chalets in the bush as a child, lying there in the dark listening to the animals walking by, sniffing the tent, maybe munching the grass, and wondering if it wanted to eat me or not..!
10. BRONZER OR BLUSH?
11. TRAVELER OR HOMEBODY?
Traveler – I have constant wanderlust.
P.S. Do you have the infrastructure, plan, and support in place to reach your next-level goals? Are you a beauty brand founder hovering around six figures per year and who’s looking for a group of like-minded entrepreneurs to learn, grow, and scale with? We’d like to invite you to apply to our mastermind. Check it out and apply today.
P.P.S. If you do not yet meet the six-figure criteria then consider getting on our waitlist for Conventional to Cult Status, it is our LIVE signature group program that helps early-stage founders build the foundations, visibility, positioning and brand awareness to reach six figures.