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Annie Tevelin: “I am the sky. Everything else is the weather”

In my experience, the beauty industry lacked storytelling, vulnerability, and transparency. Additionally, products that I had fallen in love with would disappear without any communication or notice. For an industry that was supposed to make people feel good, there was a lack of trust. As a part of our series about women who are shaking things […]

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In my experience, the beauty industry lacked storytelling, vulnerability, and transparency. Additionally, products that I had fallen in love with would disappear without any communication or notice. For an industry that was supposed to make people feel good, there was a lack of trust.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Annie Tevelin. Annie began her career as a professional makeup artist on the set of music videos, red carpets and as a member of Lancôme Paris’s Pro Artistry team. It was during this time she began experiencing symptoms of cystic acne and while fortunate to have the ‘skill-set’ to cover the physical marks; the emotional scars were not as easy to conceal. Annie was inspired to create a private Facebook group called, The SkinOwl offering professional insight into skincare, makeup and a platform for driving home the importance of self-care. As membership grew, Annie recognized the need for a beauty destination that not only informed the consumer, but also satiated the need for results driven skincare with a conscience. With a desire to learn more, she enrolled into UCLA’s Cosmetic Chemistry program to discover many common ingredients found in our everyday cosmetics cause inflammation and irritation to our skin. Combining knowledge as a makeup artist and skincare authority, Annie introduced a curated collection of clean, results driven skincare called, SkinOwl with a relentless mission to nurture the complete wellbeing of her consumer. As a result of these global ‘customer connections’, Annie recognized a pattern: that people desired more than skincare to heal their bodies. They craved a brand that would heal the skin, but also care for their soul in the process. It was through this revelation that Annie allowed herself to showcase vulnerability in a new and notable way, ultimately inspiring Off The Record, a podcast dedicated to meaningful dialogue and storytelling through humor, heartache, and hope. Always in search of new heights, SkinOwl is blazing the trail as a skincare company with cathartic customer service and ‘we’re in this together’ principles with no end in sight. On weekends, you can find Annie connecting with her husband, son, and dog Monkey or hosting a table of tastemakers at SkinOwl’s dinner collective, The Parliament Project. Annie currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I began my career as a professional makeup artist on the set of music videos, red carpets and as a member of Lancôme Paris’s Pro Artistry team. It was during this time that I began experiencing symptoms of cystic acne and while fortunate to have the ‘skill- set’ to cover the physical marks; the emotional scars were not as easy to conceal. I was inspired to create a private Facebook group called, ‘The SkinOwl’ offering professional insight into skincare, makeup and a platform for driving home the importance of self-care. As membership grew, I recognized the need for a beauty destination that not only informed the consumer, but also satiated the need for results driven skincare with a conscience. With a desire to learn more, I enrolled into UCLA’s Cosmetic Chemistry program to discover many common ingredients found in our everyday cosmetics cause inflammation and irritation to our skin. Combining knowledge as a makeup artist and skincare authority, I introduced a curated collection of clean, results driven skincare called SkinOwl with a mission to nurture the complete wellbeing of my consumer.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I think so often in business, especially in the beauty industry, we are taught to keep pumping out beauty products to sell to retailers. The bigger the retailer, the better. I’ve always had a hard time with ‘sales’ being SkinOwl’s sole focus. In my experience, the beauty industry lacked storytelling, vulnerability, and transparency. Additionally, products that I had fallen in love with would disappear without any communication or notice. For an industry that was supposed to make people feel good, there was a lack of trust. It was through this revelation that I decided to showcase vulnerability in a new way, with the creation of Off The Record, a podcast dedicated to meaningful dialogue and storytelling through humor, heartache, and hope. Always in search of new heights, SkinOwl is now a skincare company with cathartic customer service and ‘we’re in this together’ principles with no end in sight.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I was at a crossroads when starting my own business. There were so many people telling me the beauty space was overcrowded and that green beauty was a passing trend. My mentor Meredith Powell told me to always be open to other’s insight, but at the end of the day this is my own journey and that I should follow my passion and intuition. I was in a place where I wanted to grow my business overnight. I wanted a publicist, an assistant, a photographer, a website designer, a bookkeeper, a graphic artist all at once. She told me, “Annie, slow and steady wins the race. Add them when you can afford them. When you need them. Not because you want all of your bases covered.” I heeded her advice and it was the best advice I’ve ever had. While SkinOwl has grown slower than a lot of other brands, it has been intentional. As I have changed, the brand has changed and that intuitive response has been priceless.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

I have received some amazing advice along the road, but there are a few that standout.

1. Curate a stellar team you trust: Delegation can be tough as a small business owner. You feel like you need to do everything in order for things to get checked off the list, but the truth is you don’t. Hiring the right people is the key to success. The reality is that one person can’t do everything and bringing pros in to help with operations to marketing can take a business to new heights.

2. Be Intentional: Running a business you are always trying to please many different people from your customers to the retailers and beyond. At the end of the day you need to be true to yourself, your mission and purpose of the brand. Every single decision we make we ensure speaks to who we are as a brand. We recognize that the decisions we make affect others and we want to do our very best by all.

3. Slow and steady wins the race (as my mentor Meredith Powell says): In a competitive space like beauty there is always pressure to launch a new product, engage with a new retailer and hire a new employee. I learned early on to take things day by day and to take my time when making larger decisions that impact our business. This also goes back to being intentional with all steps we take.

How are you going to shake things up next?

2020 is the year of change for SkinOwl. After 7 years in business we decided to make some big changes to SkinOwl.com by incorporating an accessibility platform to make online shopping easier for those with disabilities. We are also introducing in the spring newly designed packaging and removing all boxes. This is the first changes made to our packaging in 7 years and we can’t wait to showcase to our clients, friends and retailers our fresh new look.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

Off The Record, my podcast, has gifted me the most impactful conversations. In times of chaos and confusion, I lean on the inspiring stories of my guests. I was never a huge podcast listener, but in having a podcast, I see the value in listening to someone tell their story. It is incredible relatable and healing. The book, You Are A Badass’ allowed me to see my own uniqueness. I was ashamed of a lot of the things that made me different for so long, but now it’s those same things that make me shiny 🙂

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The Parliament Project is SkinOwl’s quarterly dinner collective. This experience is not just about networking. We created this intimate dinner series to aid and reestablish each individual’s connection with themselves. Through breaking bread, we break through. We believe that self-work is the basis for healthy and authentic relationships, balance, and success. I always tell people to expect to converse, engage in group and solo mediative and psycho/physio work, and leave enlightened and alive. We’ve done workshops on active listening, on overcoming judgment, and gauging one’s comfort with intimacy. People keep their phones to the side and dig in to the IRL connecting. It’s an incredible thing to watch and so good for society, especially in today’s day and age.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

‘I am the sky. Everything else is the weather.’ As a business owner, mother, wife, or ‘human being’ experiencing the ups and downs of being alive, I try to remind myself of my sturdiness. How my perceptions and fears can change a scenario single-handedly. Do I want to be scared? Or hopeful? These are the questions I ask myself and the answer is simple: I am the sky. Everything else is the weather.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I am @SkinOwl for skincare and soulcare and @OffTheRecordWithYou for all things podcast. You can see everything we’re doing on SkinOwl.com and can always email us for skincare advice at [email protected].

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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