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Jennifer Brodeur

Taking time to smell the peonies

Jennifer Brodeur, founder of JB Skin Sävvi, is an inspiring female entrepreneur, teacher, and skin strategist with over 20 years of experience in the aesthetics beauty industry. Known for her expertise in light therapy, she created Max+ in 2003, a popular LED light therapy device used by aestheticians. The success of Max+ positioned her as a global light therapy consultant, which attracted an elite clientele. JB Skin Sävvi was launched in 2016 with an inaugural skincare collection, PEONI. We caught up with the vibrant entrepreneur from her farm in Québec.

How did you get started in aesthetics?
I was fascinated by the complexity of skin. The “why” and the “how.” I decided to forgo law school and sign up to the aesthetics course. For the first seven years of my career, I was teaching biology and chemistry skin analysis, and working in an aesthetics salon while completing my bachelor’s.

How are you able to balance an incredibly successful career with your personal well-being?
For me, connecting with nature enables me to stay grounded, nothing in nature is rushed. My life on the farm is translated into everything we do and it starts from within. Therefore, I began with peony root extract. From planting peony roots, to weeding, to the product ideation, to the production, to the packaging. Each product, when created and introduced, is an extension of me. How I view skin, how I view nature and beauty.

You have provided skin consultation and treatments to some of the world’s most influential women; Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. What insights did you gain from these inspiring women?
I am humbled that they sought me out back in early 2013. Ms. Winfrey introduced me to Mrs. Obama in 2014, and after all these years, they still trust me to be part of their skin journeys. I take nothing for granted. During every visit, my main concern is to ensure they are feeling their best in their skin. Over the last 10 years, I have evolved on so many levels and many of the changes have a direct correlation to deep dives with both Ms. Winfrey and Mrs. Obama. A few great classics: Don’t dim your lights, stay in your lane, and never stop learning — always add things to your tool box.

How did it feel to have your product appear on Oprah’s “Favorite Things” list?
It was a whirlwind; it wasn’t planned, and it took my breath away. It honestly changed my life. Nothing can prepare you for something like that. For me, it was my Oscar — a symbol of credibility and a reminder that staying in my lane and doing the work regardless of the ups and downs was worth it. All the paths led me to that moment, and to where I am today.

Why is female empowerment important to you?
Female empowerment is vital — we are stronger together. I have my “female empowerment” on speed dial. The feedback, love, and support I get from them is what enables me to continue. It goes both ways — I am always there for a FaceTime, Zoom, or coffee. For my birthday, I invite them for high tea — and I honour them and thank them for being part of my journey.

What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and stressful. When you create a solution to a problem, it doesn’t mean everyone thinks you’ll succeed. Most often, many people are on the sidelines just waiting for you to fail. When possible, I love giving back — sometimes it’s by giving a conference or mentoring other entrepreneurs. As we start to achieve various levels of success, it’s vital to turn around and extend a helping hand. One of my next projects is to publish my book, for entrepreneurs. My first book, which was published in French, has now been translated into Mandarin.

What words of advice do you have for Canadian beauty products looking to expand into foreign markets?
Be prepared! Make sure your relationship with your lab is solid. Can they ramp up production if needed? Do you own the formula? Is it private labelled? If so, how many companies are also selling the same items under a different brand? Look into shipping; all the logistics can be overwhelming and costly. Some resources I recommend are Investtissement Québec, EDC, and CanExport. Consider getting a consultant. Make sure all your ducks are in a row, like proper certifications and liability insurance. Entering foreign markets is not easy because each country has its own set of challenges. Even within the U.S., each state has its own set rules.

What is the secret to healthy, glowing skin at any age, especially at this time of year?
Sleep. It’s so difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Especially when the seasons change. If you are not sleeping, your body is not repairing itself and you will be dehydrated. If the air is too dry, get a humidifier in your room. It’s a game-changer. Drink a lot of water. Sleep has become one of my favourite things. I even flew to Sweden to visit the Hästens sleep factory and built my research.

What is your personal self-care routine?
Walking around the farm, weeding, and taking time daily to read while masking. And, of course, taking time to smell the peonies.

Jana Manolakos
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