The #GirlBoss Behind NolaSkinsentials.
A 22-year-old Gemini living in Queens, she loves parks and art museums, going restaurant hopping with her boyfriend and playing with her two cats—Teeny and Tiny—who, despite their matching names, are not related. Born and raised in Long Island, she recently moved to the city to continue her education—Jane’s on a pre-med track, majoring in biology and minoring in business. She’s also the visionary and powerhouse behind Nolaskinsentials, having created and launched the brand in February of 2017.
In and out of jobs she didn’t feel particularly passionate about, Jane was ready to take matters into her own hands late last year. Struggling with acne and tired of wasting money on the traditional, chemical-laden products prescribed by dermatologists, she knew she wanted to focus on skincare.
“It felt like a money-making tactic, rather than products you should be using on your skin,” she said of her previous pursuit to heal her acne. “If you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t be using it on your face; toxic chemicals aren’t going to give you a good payout.”
This informed her decision to create entirely plant-based, cruelty-free products that she could use herself. Finding that her usually oily, acne-prone skin was improving tremendously with her all-natural, hand-crafted concoctions, she felt confident selling her goods to others. Though she currently eats a pescetarian diet, Jane is transitioning to veganism and finds it apt to her lifestyle.
“We don’t use anything animal related, we don’t test on animals and we don’t buy from suppliers who do,” she said of Nolaskinsentials’ commitment to being vegan. “We want to be as transparent as possible with the ingredients and we would never betray the trust between our customers, especially those who are vegan themselves.”
Excited to release a set of lip glosses during her first product launch, but confused by one of the ingredients in the base, Jane spent days hounding the product’s customer service team to get more information. The ingredient in question was derived from the blubber of a dogfish shark—and Jane, though disappointed, dropped it immediately. Besides wanting her customers to actually trust her, she doesn’t want her products to cause allergic reactions or harm skin.
Jane’s focus on biology and the mechanisms of the skin also helps inform her ingredient selection. Above all, this builds her ability to tailor products that effectively target a wide-array of skin conditions and skin types. Jane is also qualified to offer skin consultations to anyone with questions about their skin, or how it will react to the ingredients in Nola products—she wants to help beforehand so customers don’t have to waste their money.
“Just by looking at your skin, I know what oil or toner would be good for you,” she said.
Though she wants the business to grow and extend to people who normally wouldn’t try an online business or vegan company, Jane doesn’t want growth to overshadow her values. She likes keeping things homemade and small batch. Avoiding factory-line production keeps her confident about what’s going into her products as well as their quality and effectiveness. For her, the customer comes first.
“After you buy our products, the relationship doesn’t stop there,” she said. “We want to follow up with you and we want these products to make a difference in your skin. We want you to wake up within the next two weeks with glowing skin and decreased acne.”
Read Jane’s Q&A below:
Do you feel empowered, running your own business?
Absolutely. There aren’t a lot of black-owned or black-owned female businesses out there, so in a way I feel unique because I’m doing this all on my own. I fund this company on my own and I’m not getting any outside help. I get really jittery inside when I see people buy our products, and then write us ‘oh my gosh—this is really working for my skin!’ I just think… Wow, I did that. I handmade this stuff, I executed it and people actually enjoy it.
Where does your boyfriend come into the equation?
He’s in the back, unfortunately. He helps with production—I come up with the ingredients and he executes it. When we first started, he was one of the funders, so I thought: why not have him be a part of something he helped create? He’s transitioning to veganism as well. Plus, he uses the products. Beforehand I would catch him using water and pure coconut on his skin. Now he’s actually taking care of his skin. He loves to do masks with me.
What’s the product you couldn’t live without?
The Witches Brew Toner. It has tea tree oil, witch hazel, rose water and calendula water. We brew everything in-house, so it’s really gentle on the skin. The tea tree oil just give your skin that final oomf. I leave mine in the fridge—I like it cold—and I spritz it in the morning and at night to give myself a nice glow. If you use it on a pimple, I guarantee that the next day it will be gone, or decrease in size.
How did you think of the name ‘Nolaskinsentials’?
My middle name is Noemi and my sister’s name is Lauren, so kind of a play of words on that. And ‘Skinsentials’ is a hybrid of ‘skin essentials.’ A lot of people think we’re from Louisiana, but we’re not. We’re from New York City.