Get micro. Look at the changes you want to make in your life on a more granular level because sometimes going too big makes it impossible to maintain consistency, and then you set yourself up for failure. When you want to start a new workout routine, for example, it’s ok to set your goal at doing it once or twice a week. Forcing yourself to do something new 7 days a week can lead to a pretty quick burn out.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jenny Patinkin.
Jenny Patinkin is a highly sought-after beauty expert, entrepreneur, makeup artist and author known for her earth-friendly and age-aware approach to beauty. Nationally recognized for her broad industry knowledge and expertise, and as an early adopter of “clean” beauty, Jenny appears regularly on network TV and prominent digital media channels. She is the bestselling author of Lazy Perfection, The Art of Looking Great Without Really Trying (Running Press/Hachette).
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Iwas a stay-at-home mommy until I was 40, then kind of fell into being a professional makeup artist, getting signed by an international agency 3 weeks after I finished my training. I started a business teaching women how to apply their makeup, which led me to developing my own line of makeup brushes, which crazily enough led me to being an on-camera Beauty Expert. The recognition I got from that led to a book deal and writing a book, doing more on-camera work including a lot of the national shows like Today, GMA, Rachael Ray, etc., being invited to be a keynote speaker at a variety of organizations and events and now, having an extended collection of Eco-Luxe Beauty Tools that’s sold all over the country.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
The boldest thing I did early in my career was make a cold call to Lily Garfield who is the founder of Cos Bar. They were based in Aspen at the time and we knew one person in common there, so I dropped that name … to which Lily immediately replied that that person had recently been under investigation from some very shady business practices and had essentially been run out of town. I learned my lesson about 1) name dropping and 2) doing my research before name dropping.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was so naive about how to promote my products at retail — the need to give stores testers, send gratis to the employees, run sales incentives, etc. — that I would get myself into inventory crunches over and over again. I was trying to keep my inventory order volume low to control how much I would have to spend at any one time, but repeatedly got myself into a situation where I wound up paying a fortune for expedited shipping in order to keep up with retail demand.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Kelly St. John has been an amazing support for my business. I first met her when she was VP of Omni Beauty at Neiman Marcus — and turned down my product pitch! But we always stayed in touch and a couple of years later she did pick up some of my products for Neiman Marcus. When she left NM and started her own consultancy, we began to work together and my business has absolutely flourished under her tutelage and with the benefit of her incredible connections in the beauty industry. I would not be seeing the growth my business is having without her.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I think it’s the right time to talk about how there can be an intersection of eco-awareness and luxury. For so long it felt like they were treated as mutually exclusive, but I want people who like to shop for beauty products at a luxury level to have more awareness about the impact their beauty purchases have on the health of the earth while still getting a delightful, well made, high quality product.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Be your own myth buster. There’s so much misinformation about beauty and wellness products and what they can do for you, and we are so susceptible to suggestion. It’s too easy to buy into something that’s nothing more than a sales gimmick. The best example of this is the notion that using a face roller will help your products to absorb better. Not true at all. Face rolling feels great and definitely does give instantly visible smoothing results, but you cannot push a large molecule into your skin just by rolling over it.
- One size doesn’t fit all. Not every approach to wellness will work for everyone, so if you want to make real change, you have to look for the methods that you are naturally drawn to and will stick with. I’m not a fan of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Look for the round peg options. The perfect example for me is bone broth. I was convinced it would change my life (and my skin) so I bought a ton of it from an online store. Turns out, I don’t like to drink bone broth, so it’s all still sitting in my freezer.
- Get micro. Look at the changes you want to make in your life on a more granular level because sometimes going too big makes it impossible to maintain consistency, and then you set yourself up for failure. When you want to start a new workout routine, for example, it’s ok to set your goal at doing it once or twice a week. Forcing yourself to do something new 7 days a week can lead to a pretty quick burn out.
- Find inspiration. Whether it’s a mantra you repeat over and over in your head or someone you follow on social media who posts motivational quotes, the journey to wellness is grounded in inspiration. I admire @fatgirlfedup to shares in a very open way the ups and downs of her weight loss and wellness journey while also being an encouraging supporter of anyone going through the same thing.
- Listen to your instincts. There are so many experts out there offering an array of wellness tips and tricks, but experts are not always the right expert for you. It’s great that so many people are educated about wellness these days, but it’s not one size fits all. It’s a total blessing to find someone who can keep you motivated and inspired but if you have a gut feeling that the advice you are getting isn’t quite right for you, honor that feeling.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I think age-acceptance is so important. We’ve been programmed to think of aging as though it’s an ailment that needs to be cured, but the standards of beauty we are expected to keep up with are exhausting, and unrealistic. Beauty is in every line that we’ve earned, in the wisdom and perspective that come with time and experience. It helps me to remember, and to remind people, that no one can escape the passage of time and life is short, so we need to embrace the now.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- You can’t do it all by yourself. Even if you can’t afford to bring on employees or consulting services, you have to find a way to get help. From a friend, a family member, an intern in need of class credit … there are lots of resources available.
- Not everyone will recognize how hard you are working. I used to get so disappointed when my friends and acquaintances didn’t understand how hard I was working and that I was taking my work seriously. Because I spent many years as a stay at home mom, when I first started my business people used to say they loved that I had a “hobby”. I didn’t find anything more insulting.
- It’s harder than you could ever imagine. This goes without saying, but building a business is a 24/7, 7 day a week effort. I literally dream about work.
- You’re not always on your own schedule. It’s hard to remember that it takes a community of people to move things forward in any business, and to a greater or lesser extent you are at the mercy of all of their schedules as well. Things always take longer than you’d think.
- You are never away from your own business. Not a weekend or vacation goes by when I get a total break from thinking about work, if not actually working.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
My line is heavily focused on eco-awareness, particularly on limiting the amount of waste, which is particularly high in the beauty industry. All of my products come in packaging that is intended to be reused, repurposed or recycled.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
@jennypatinkin on Instagram
Thank you for these fantastic insights!