Beauty Counter: Being the Bright Spot



BY JEN OLENICZAK BROWN

PHOTOS BY JODIE BRIM PHOTOGRAPHY

From left to right: Debbie Koontz, Emily Anne Jones, Jennifer Ertl, MaryKay Rath, Alysia Grimes

 

“Personal care is what makes you feel good and normal in a time when it’s everything but.” – Jennifer Ertl 

There’s a whole mood in that statement from Jennifer Ertl, Founding Member and Managing Director with Beautycounter.

Remember walking into 2020? “This is going to be MY year.” Many of us exuded the optimism that usually comes from a new start – 2020 was no exception! I remember my bright-eyed hope at the beginning, watching on social media how many people “claimed” 2020 as their year – only to slink into 2021 not touching or claiming anything.

That being said, there have been bright spots! That initial statement by Jennifer was the tip of her personal iceberg. “When the pandemic shut everything down, I sort of braced for impact. But ultimately, people spent money on their personal space (home renovation, anyone?) and on self-care.”

Safer Beauty

It makes sense, right? We’re spending more time with ourselves and in our homes, so naturally, we’re going to take the time to care for ourselves. The pandemic put into perspective just how important our personal health and safety are, something that has been at the core of Beautycounter from Day 1 of the brand launching in 2013. If you aren’t familiar, Beautycounter, at its most basic and foundational level, is an American direct to consumer company that sells significantly safer and high performing skincare and cosmetic products. The basic description is hardly indicative of all that the brand is, not just as a product, but also to the hardworking individual businesses run by women just like Jennifer.

“The mission of Beautycounter is to get safer products into the hands of everyone,” said Jennifer. “Notice I didn’t say ‘Beautycounter products’ but safer products for all consumers. That’s what originally attracted me when I met the CEO. The brand, mission, education, and changing the marketplace really attracted me. I had a law background as an attorney,and I was with another company, not looking for a change. But I felt this was something special, bringing meaningful change, impacting health all across the marketplace.”

That was 2013, and Jennifer has been with Beautycounter since then – and they have since become the leader in the clean beauty movement. As one of the founding members who helped grow the company in the southeast, Jennifer’s mom, aunt, and grandmother are all breast cancer survivors. “This is all really close to home for me. The ingredients in our everyday products impact our health. Period. It’s not just about selling lipstick,” Jennifer said. “It goes beyond selling a product or a business. Heck, yeah, I’m selling these products, I love them and I’m betting you will, too. But it’s about moving the almost completely unregulated beauty industry to stop formulating with hundreds of ingredients linked to hormone disruption and health harm.”

Sustainable Business

Beautycounter is also a platform for building a business. “We’re all independent consultants, set up on our own eCommerce platform,” said Jennifer. “That made for less of a pivot in 2020. We leaned on technology to share and continue the structure. When so many other industries and companies struggled, we grew beyond our forecast in 2020.”   “My business is my phone and my home office and sending product samples to customers and new contacts who want to try Beautycounter for themselves. Thank goodness for the USPS that allows me to send samples from my front door to yours.  The offer of free samples is always open, so reach out and take me up on it!”

In November, Jennifer’s team broke a record for the company with almost 23.5 million in sales in the month of November alone – and Jennifer has over 20 thousand consultants on her team. “Everyone on my team is truly an individual. We are always talking about healthier choices in our lives, from household products to nutrition to beauty, but everyone is different,” said Jennifer. “They are marketing executives, designers, physician assistants – from being health focused to being a business leader to all about the pretty and glam, my team is amazing. There are 80 of the top leaders on my team, and I’m truly running my own multimillion-dollar business.”

Most consultants work Beautycounter alongside other full time jobs and responsibilities.  During this pandemic and a time when women have been leaving the workforce in disturbingly high numbers, Beautycounter consultants have been able to continue working flexibly from home while juggling the many demands and distractions of having children at home.

Community 

The community that we have enjoyed as a team has been a lifeline in a time when we have been physically distanced from our friends and loved ones.  These ladies in the magazine with me, as well as many others across the US and Canada, are changemakers, entrepreneurs and friends.  During a pretty difficult time in our world, we have managed to have a lot of fun and stay connected through our friendship and our shared purpose with Beautycounter.

An amazing female entrepreneur story is a glowing bright spot, for certain. Jennifer and the Beautycounter team are charging forward with intensity, change, and success.

Remember that collective mission of getting safe products into the hands of everyone? That isn’t just a megaphone moment – it’s advocacy. “Consumers vote with their dollars. This industry has not passed a major federal law governing the cosmetics industry since 1938,” said Jennifer. “Companies in the beauty industry can do almost anything they want to, and it’s up to the consumer to shift companies with our choices.” It’s more than consumer choice: the company itself is a present and consistent advocate.

“March 4th is the anniversary of the company founding and, in the past, Beautycounter has ‘marched forth’ towards #BetterBeauty. Since part of what we’re doing is education, we want to mobilize clients and consultants to speak up for change,” said Jennifer. Consultants have held hundreds of meetings with Members of Congress at the local level and in D.C. advocating for change – and according to the Beautycounter website, more than 2000 meetings, 16000 calls, and 175000 emails have reached lawmakers.

“I would love for people to join the community. We want more people to have this education and be a megaphone for change,” said Jennifer. “We’re looking to move the marketplace.” Right now, you can help the movement for safer products by texting BETTERBEAUTY to 52886 to send a pre-drafted message to your legislator and make your voice heard.

This feeling of community and leaving the world a bit better sums up Jennifer’s whole persona. “Good comes back to you every day,” said Jennifer. “I love coaching and working with people to help them achieve success. Beautycounter is one of those rare companies where you can be part of doing real, meaningful good in our world, while earning an income. I’m always looking for women who want to join my team and be part of what we have: clean products, a powerful income opportunity and a supportive, connected community.”

To learn more about Jennifer, request Beautycounter samples or information, check her out on Instagram at @NCJennifer or visit her Beautycounter page at beautycounter.com/jenniferertl

With her legal background, of course Jennifer shares the disclaimer that income and success in Beautycounter, as in all business, is not guaranteed and it is based on the individual efforts and abilities of each independent consultant.


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