Women in Wellness: Empowering women through their relationship with their own skin with Annie from SkinOwl

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Annie Tevelin, the founder of SkinOwl

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“Happy people beget happy people. And if there were more happy people in the world, life would be easier for everyone experiencing it.”

Annie Tevelin

I believe that people are here in order to make a bigger impact in the world — and with my book, ‘Make an Impact’, I had the chance to prove that hundreds of people are using their influence to improve other people’s lives.

As the founder of the Health Bloggers Community, my mission is to support people with growing their passion into a business — and so many women are building businesses empires all over the world.

This series is a chance to spotlight some of these women.

Annie Tevelin began her career as a professional makeup artist and quickly recognized her true passion for skincare. Taking her knowledge of the beauty industry she developed her own natural skincare line devoted to skin health and self-care called, SkinOwl. In 2018 Tevelin launched Off The Record Podcast and The Parliament Project.

Hello Annie, thank you for joining us! Could you please share with us when it all began?

I am a consumer. I am just like you. I struggled for years with cystic acne and after countless visits to dermatologists and tons of money thrown into skincare products, I was left with minimal positive results. I realized I was just like millions of other women who had nowhere to turn. There were a lot of salespeople telling me, “This will REALLY work,” and selling me a lot of products that, in the end, did nothing to help my severe acne and eczema.

It was then that I realized my results were in the ingredients of the products I was using vs. what was being marketed to me.

While working on commercial and music video sets as a professional makeup artist, as well as for a top luxury makeup brand, I enrolled in a post-graduate program at UCLA & received a certificate in Cosmetic Chemistry. From there, I learned the truth about what is truly best for the skin, and more importantly, what works and stays working. From this knowledge came SkinOwl, a skincare company that allowed people to feel as good as they looked.

In creating SkinOwl, I knew I wanted to achieve three main goals:

  • I wanted people to see results overnight.
  • I wanted to provide more than just skincare, but deliver a core component of total self-care too.
  • I wanted people to feel like they had a safe haven to ask questions and receive quality advice about their skin in what can often be seen as a confusing industry.

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

I find the art of disconnecting very important in this day and age. I never fall asleep with my phone on my nightstand and upon waking up, I do not look at my phone until I get out of bed, shower, and eat breakfast. Then and only then am I emotionally available for what my inbox will hold. In making this change, I feel more calm, balanced, and more in touch with my ‘IRL’ life. Additionally, when I leave the office, I love going for a walk before the sun goes down. This allows me to separate my ‘work day’ from whatever comes next. If I go from work into cooking dinner, the stress of my day follows me. From time to time, I will turn off the WIFI in my home. There is a really great feeling that comes with being off the grid and diving into the joys of my life.

Can you share the interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

During SkinOwl’s first year, I remember being in constant contemplation about who to bring on to help take SkinOwl to the next level. An executive assistant? A business partner? I was at a loss. One night, I went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant, Tortilla Republic, in West Hollywood and my waiter asked for my business card because his girlfriend was a massive beauty and skincare buff. The following week, a girl by the name of Rachel Johnson went to the same restaurant and mentioned to the same waiter that she was a beauty and wellness publicist. The waiter still had my card in his wallet and told Rachel to check out ‘SkinOwl’ as it might be of interest to her.

Rachel contacted me the following week, we had lunch (despite me having an awful cold, where I think I sneezed on her 72 times), and the first SkinOwl contractor was hired. We signed our contract at Tortilla Republic less than a month later. The waiter had quit the week prior. Meeting Rachel was nothing short of ‘meant to be’ and she has been my publicist and dear friend for the last 6 years. I couldn’t imagine SkinOwl without her by my side.

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?

During SkinOwl’s second year, I was overwhelmed by the amount of work and skills I didn’t have to grow a business. I didn’t know retailers or influencers or a lot of logistical aspects of growing a business.

A girl, who knew I was ill-educated in these ways, asked to come on as my partner and made me feel very insecure about building SkinOwl on my own. The more time I spent with her, the more I doubted myself. I was at war with myself, because I knew deep down I had what it would take, but I didn’t know how long it would take. My insecurity and inexperience led me to almost give away a piece of my company.

Looking back, I am so happy I didn’t rush the process of building a business.

I’ve always aligned with the sentiment, “Slow and steady wins the race,” and that couldn’t be more true with concern to SkinOwl’s trajectory. Because I’ve given my business time to grow, I’ve been able to grow with it — to pivot, to be more than a skincare line, to be what it was meant to be.

When it comes to health and wellness, how are you helping people making a bigger impact in the world?

I believe SkinOwl is a brand that leads by example. Because my clients know that I started SkinOwl without any business experience, I think a lot of people find the story of SkinOwl to be inspiring. E

ssentially, a 28 year old with acne left her job in sales to create a non-toxic, vegan skincare line that would heal the most stubborn skin concerns.

This skincare line focuses heavily on recyclable packaging, sustainability, and minimal waste. With the inclusion of a podcast and dinner collective that urges people to dial down and dig deeper into their own psychology, I truly think SkinOwl is a good influence on today’s world as a whole.

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?

Absolutely! I have so many people to thank. Jeannie Jarnot, the founder of Beauty Heroes, introduced me to the senior buyer of Credo Beauty, one of our largest accounts.

My publicist, Rachel Johnson, has put SkinOwl on the pages of Vogue, O Magazine, Allure, with features on The Today Show and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Lastly, Meredith Powell, a business savant out of Vancouver, BC has always been my hero in terms of building a business with integrity and grace. She is smart as a whip. She has always believed in SkinOwl. She wrote me a check during SkinOwl’s first year, in the amount of $2500 (SkinOwl’s only funding to date) and it knocked my socks off. Her belief in SkinOwl begets my belief in SkinOwl.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

It would have to be SkinOwl’s dinner collective, The Parliament Project. This was my way of helping people re-establish their connection with themselves, something very near and dear to me. I have always felt that self-work is the basis for healthy and authentic relationships, balance, and success. These dinners give people time to remember what it’s like to connect IRL, reignite their faith in the kindness of strangers, and talk about the things they wouldn’t normally tell someone upon meeting them for the first time.

I’m not sure if this experience would have been as impactful ten years ago, but now, with how disconnected and chaotic we all are, this is truly a transformative space for everyone who comes. I have dreamt of The Parliament Project since SkinOwl’s second year. It launched at the perfect time and has truly given people a place to share, heal, and start anew. To me, that is the highest form of wellness.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Oy! That’s a good question. I think the bottom line is that SkinOwl is a good influence on people. Be it their skin or soul, SkinOwl gifts people the opportunity to turn their shame into shine.

Whether it’s a 25-year-old man with cystic acne or a 65-year woman who is afraid of aging, SkinOwl offers people real results. When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you look good. SkinOwl helps people feel and look their best with everything we put into the world. That in itself makes me incredibly happy!

What is your “I Thing I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.

That formulating, bottling, labeling, shipping, and handling all logistical operations, social media, and customer service out of my HOME would be a massive feat. SkinOwl has always been run out of my house. We do everything in-house, from shipping retailer orders to Hong Kong to hand-bottling and labeling every skincare product in existence.

A lot of people don’t know how much 5 people can do until they are put in a position to do it. My team is my family and I’ve never seen a more well-oiled engine than #TeamSkinOwl.

We create hundreds of products every week and there’s something really special about making something with your hands with people you love. While this is the hardest aspect of SkinOwl, it is the most gratifying. Our work ethic creates our culture and our culture inspires integrity.

Do you have any “girl-crush” in this industry? If you could take one person to brunch, who would they be?

I would love to take Brene Brown to dinner. She is my girl-crush without question. We’d order salmon, get mocktails (she’s sober and I’m pregnant) and we’d talk about the human experience. While she isn’t in the beauty industry, so to speak, she is absolutely a woman in wellness. She helps people embrace shame, vulnerability, and has helped so many people find joy and happiness.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

I would have to say mental health. While SkinOwl is a vegan line, I am more concerned with animal cruelty than veganism, as a movement. But above all, the mental health and wellbeing of people is my greatest passion.

Happy people beget happy people.

And if there were more happy people in the world, life would be easier for everyone experiencing it. As simple as it sounds, life isn’t fun when you feel insecure or depressed or anxious. If SkinOwl or I can help people tackle some of that stuff by way of skincare or a podcast, I’ve done what I set out to do.

Are you looking to connect with Annie? Make sure to follow @SkinOwl on Instagram. You can follow SkinOwl’s podcast, Off The Record, via @offtherecordwithyou, and the dinner collective, The Parliament Project, via @theparliamentprojectla. Also, go and check out their website: www.skinowl.com.

About the author:

Fab Giovanetti is a business mentor, published author, influencer-specialist, best known as the founder of the Health Bloggers Community and co-founder of the Register of Health and Wellness Influencers. Serial start-up founder and professional troublemaker, she is obsessed with avocados and helping people making an impact in health and wellness. Sounds like you? Get daily tips on how to grow your influence via the HBC magazine.

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