Lead by example and do what you say you are going to do — When I was starting out, I did everything. I would pack up products, write handwritten notes and take them to the post office. I communicate this with my team that I did this with pleasure because we had customers that loved our products. To this day, I still write notes and sometimes ship out products. I always tell my team that no one is ever too good to roll up their sleeves, pack and ship products.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Yen, founder of Purlisse. Jennifer started her career on the hit TV Show POWER RANGERS and now she saves complexions with her award winning beauty line, Purlisse. Jennifer Yen is a single mom who has a goal: to share the Asian Beauty Secrets that cleared up her skin while she was a Power Ranger; the show destroyed her skin! Now women can fall in love with their skin again from tried and true Asian remedies that date back 1000s of years. Going back to her roots and her Grandmother’s Asian beauty secrets, Jennifer was able to improve her skin and her confidence.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Now that I have less time, I’m more productive and a better person overall. I’m more patient. I’m a better communicator. I’m a better mom. I’m less selfish. I’m healthier. I’m sharper. I’m a better time manager. I’m able to take on more work with non-profits. I have a healthy mindset and I workout more.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
10 years ago, I prayed to be where I am today. I thought I would be chilling out and that life would be so much easier and less stressful. Well here I am and it’s just as challenging if not more but the challenges are different. The lesson here is that it doesn’t get easier, you just get better.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe my former career as a TV villainess and my struggles with sensitive skin helps make purlisse and YENSA stand out.
I created YENSA from my heart, heritage and the Superfood Lifestyle that has been lived my generations of women in my family. My last name “YEN” means “Color and Face” in Chinese and “passion” in English. YENSA, means “color” in Chinese and is deprived from my last. Each product is infused with 8 Superfoods (8 is the luckiest number in Chinese culture, which symbolizes good luck, prosperity and infinite possibilities).
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are gearing up for new products, new campaign for International Women’s Day 2020.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
I always tell my team that when there is a problem — to come up with 3 possible solutions before we have a discussion. This forces people to think and problem solve, to take on the burden of the problems and also be part of the success when the issues are resolved.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Build strong relationship with your team members, delegate and empower them to make decisions and constantly communicate goals and strategies.
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?
Yes, my mom. I’m a co-parenting mom to my young daughter. When I have my daughter, my mom is like a stay at home mom that loves my daughter unconditionally and also doubles as a mandarin tutor. With the help of my mom, it enables me to focus at work stress-free.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
When I failed almost 10 years ago, I prayed for a 2nd chance. I made a promise to myself that if I ever got back up that I would pull other up too. When we launched YENSA’s BC Foundation, we partnered with Dress for Success, an organization that empowers women’s economic independence. YENSA featured 8 Super Women to promote “YourHourHerPower” by donating an hour of your salary to help another woman. In addition, for every BC Foundation we sold, we are donating one to Dress for Success. We reached our goal and beyond and this is the proudest moment in my career.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Be true and authentic — I created my purlisse beauty after being a former TV actress and I struggled with sensitive skin. Then 10 months after I launched purlisse beauty, I was hit with the recession and struggled as an entrepreneur. I’m always truthful about my hardships and I believe it helps me establish connected relationships with my team, peers and customers.
2. Lead by example and do what you say you are going to do — When I was starting out, I did everything. I would pack up products, write handwritten notes and take them to the post office. I communicate this with my team that I did this with pleasure because we had customers that loved our products. To this day, I still write notes and sometimes ship out products. I always tell my team that no one is ever too good to roll up their sleeves, pack and ship products.
3. Be nimble, adaptive and always be reinventing — When we first launched, I was so happy we were carried at Henri Bendel and Fred Segal, which have been closed in recent years. This is an example of how fast the world is changing. We almost failed after the recession and I had to reinvent our brand into a digitally native brand and partnered with online subscription power houses like Ipsy and Birchbox. The lesson I learned is you can never be too comfortable with past successes.
4. Empower your team to learn, grow and make decisions — I imagine myself as an employee and I would want to be learning all the time, be empowered and to be a part of the decision making process and this is part of our team’s values. I tell my team that they spend a lot of time getting ready for work, commuting to our offices and they spend more time here than at home and they should be getting something, learning from their efforts. And if they are not, they are wasting their time and life.
5. Be loyal, grateful and appreciative for your employees and people who have helped you become successful. It takes an army to create a successful and sustainable business. When I was starting out, there was no reason to believe in me — I was an actress, young, inexperienced, never worked in a beauty company, I’ve never worked in a company ever but there were a few believers and I cherish them to this day. I will never forget the people who helped me and believed in me.
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. 🙂
I would promote even more women’s economic independence and equality. When women are productive, working and economically independent, the world is truly a better place, a more fair place. Women are pillars and they connect families, communities and values. We want to set examples for children to see the world as equal and fair and I believe it starts with women.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I’ve never met a strong, successful person with an easy past. Every successful person I’ve ever met always has a story of struggle, fight, hard work, persistence then success.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I would have loved to meet Genghis Khan.
About the Author:
Author and business coach, Akemi Sue Fisher, has helped thousands of Amazon sellers scale and grow their businesses to six, seven and eight figures. Akemi has quickly become one of the most trusted and sought after E-commerce consultants in the world. In only three years, her agency, Love & Launch, has helped her clients achieve over one billion dollars in sales through Amazon, Ebay and other e-commerce platforms. Her entrepreneurial spirit and direct approach continues to help elevate not only her success, but the success of her clients which range from startups to fortune 500 companies. Akemi also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column that profiles the lessons of prominent female executives. If you would like to book Akemi for an entertaining speaking engagement, or if you would like to learn if Akemi can help you scale your business, you can reach out to her HERE.