Ahead of Jennifer Rock, aka The?Skin-Nerd, coming to Brown Thomas in Galway on October 21st forwhat is due to be TWO sellout sessions, we sat down with her to talk breaking into the industry, her career in beauty and her advice for up-and-coming female entrepreneurs.
1. Can you give us a brief history of your career in beauty?
I started off as a clinician working in laser clinics and dermatology clinics and have worked in salons, spas and in makeup artistry. To be honest, I tried a bit of everything before settling into lecturing. I worked as a lecturer for brands and accrediting bodies such as CIDESCO and ITEC all of the world. After that, I was in the media, marketing and PR side of things, as the Image Skincare ambassador and brand manager. The Skin Nerd, my online consultation company, started from my passion to give educated as opposed to opinion-based information in regards to skin.
2. How did you take theplunge to starting your own business?
The Cleanse Off Mitt started very much as the cart before the horse with the physical Mitt driving itself without a lot of time to prepare in terms of marketing and brand. The demand was beyond what I had ever anticipated. While my parents were at home assisting my business, I was working for someone else. Gradually, it became the most obvious and logical decision to solely focus on my own business.
3. Is there much you've learned from working in the industry that's helped in your own start-up?
I've learned more about business in the last seven months than I have in my whole life, in terms of content, social media, accounting, customer service, advertising, legal situations and IT. The skincare industry taught me about being a professional and being a skin expert; that's definitely the fundamental basis of both The Skin Nerd and the Cleanse Off Mitt. However, going out on my own and diving headfirst into the world of entrepreneurship is what has made my businesses successful up to this point.
3. What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I love the satisfaction of seeing projects come together, guiding people in their skin journey and helping with their confidence. With the Cleanse Off Mitt, I take great pleasure in convincing people to bin the wipes with a view to promoting long-term skin health.
5. What would be your number one piece of advice be for young, female entrepreneurs in Ireland?
I never realised the difference between being female and being male before this year. Because the skincare industry is predominantly female, I've only noticed in the last few months that I have to conduct myself differently. I have to be more concise, less emotional and not dwell on some points. These are not necessarily female qualities but it's how I've personally interpreted it. What really matters though is believing in yourself, just do it, plan and go for it. You'll get a job'doing something else if you don't make it! If you have the hunger for it, if it's viable and if there's demand for it, just do it.
6. Where did you get the idea for the Cleanse-Off Mitt?
I wanted to create an affordable reusable alternative to facial wipes. There was a gap in the market for a microfibre based makeup removal tool that was inexpensive and accessible and I decided to fill it. The Cleanse Off Mitt is specifically designed to appeal to a broad demographic and be as attractive to teenagers as it is to people in their mid-thirties.
7. Tell us about your new website
The Skin Nerd offers online skin consultations, meaning that you can take your first step to skin health from the comfort of your own couch. We're the first company providing this service in the world. The primary aim of The Skin Nerd is to provide the actual consults but we also have an online cosmeceutical department store. We stock more than thirty brands so our product suggestions are unbiased and impartial.
The products we recommend are chosen for each client dependent on their specific concerns and we follow up with a repeat consult to ensure the success of the prescribed regime. Our philosophy is one of the things that makes us different and stems from my own beliefs - a thorough consult must take a 360º approach, meaning that it should deal with the inside, the outside and on top.
8. How do you carve in free/family time when you're so busy?
My son is currently thirteen and sometimes scheduling can be difficult but we make a huge effort to make the most of the time we get to spend together. When I get home to Matt, we put our phones on the hall table until he goes to bed? most of the time. If I have an opportunity to bring Matt somewhere interesting with me, I'll take it.
I recently took him to Tayto Park when I was filming for Ireland AM and he's also appeared on Ireland AM as my model. He reads my articles, he gets facials every Friday and texts me after important meetings. As I spend so many Saturdays being piddled on by the rain at his soccer matches, he understands that support is a two-way street. Spending time together as a family is easier than it seems, to be fair - we just base it around each other's priorities.
If you follow The Skin Nerd on Instagram (if not, why not!), you will know that her entire vibe is one of keeping it real. She completely'de-mystifies, not only the beauty industry but also skin itself, frequently talking about how to break through skin conditions and what products and techniques to use to help. All delivered with her trademark wit and wisdom.
For her two sessions in Brown Thomas, Galway, Jennifer will be talking about a huge range of topics, including hero products for Irish complexions, the importance of cleansing, the benefits of serums (and which are the best ones), and how we should be caring for our skin throughout the winter.
Attendees will be armed with newfound skincare knowledge, and a long Santa list, after this event.
What: Jennifer Rock Skin Masterclass followed by Q&A.
When: Saturday, October 21stat 12pm & 2pm.
Where: Brown Thomas, Galway, for a beauty event, followed by a meet and greet and goody bags.