If you've read my bio, you're likely aware that skin problems are what brought me to where I am today. From about age 12 onward, I had problem skin with stubborn breakouts that affected my self-esteem and my quality of life. After trying hundreds (I'm NOT exaggerating) of creams, face washes, skin care routines and drugs, including Accutane twice, I was at my wits end and decided to explore the link between the health of my skin, the quality of the products I was using and of course, nutrition. While that journey led me to here, it also made me pay much closer attention to the products I use in my home and on my skin. I'm proud to be able to offer our clients this top-knotch skin care line that just happens to be created by one of my good friends. Curious to find out about its humble beginnings and where the company is now, just a few short years after launching? Read on... ~ Mila
Q: Julianne, was acne/problem skin something you ever had to deal with?
A: I only ever had to deal with the occasional pimple here and there (which still happens to this day!), but I did have dry, sensitive skin and eczema. I still deal with occasional sensitivity and dryness. And during both of my pregnancies, the crazy hormonal changes wreaked havoc and I suffered from red, flaking skin on my face. It was awful and uncomfortable, and nothing really helped (staying away from makeup was the only thing that made a difference). Luckily, at this moment in life, my skin is at its best because I finally have a really good skincare routine and I nourish my body with healthy food (the majority of the time).
Q: I remember in high school (fun fact, we've been friends since the eighth grade) you were always very stylish and put together. Was skin care always part of that for you?
A: Well, thank you! :) Even when I was little, I loved playing dress up and getting into my mom’s makeup. I somehow convinced her to buy me a blush when I was about 5 yrs old. Later on, my cousin and I got into teen magazines and we enjoyed trying the DIY beauty recipes- banana hair mask, anyone? (DON’T DO IT!). I think skincare was more of an afterthought to the clothes and makeup, whereas now, it’s my #1. When your skin is happy, you need less makeup and if you do wear makeup, you’ll have a nice, smooth canvas to work on.
Q: Did you always dream of owning your own company, specifically a skin care business?
A: I was into entrepreneurship before I even knew what it meant. In grade six, I discovered I could turn my love of sketching clothing into a job if I wanted to. So, for the longest time, my dream was to become a fashion designer, which, essentially is being an entrepreneur if you create your own line. I briefly attended fashion school in Toronto, but quickly realized it wasn’t for me. I actually ended up working in public relations and communications which was a great learning experience, but it wasn’t fulfilling. Being my own boss was always a dream, so I took a chance and voilà! Here I am.
Q: What or when was your “aha” moment, if you can remember?
A: I had been a stay-at-home-parent for about a year and found myself itching to do something more. My family was my life, fitness was my hobby (she did a bikini competition when her first daughter was still an infant, talk about driven!), but I somehow felt the need to tackle something else. I knew I would eventually want to go back to work someday down the road, so I decided to create the job I’d want.
Q: Before you began Robi Luxury Skin Care, did you experiment with making your own products? If so, how long before you launched the business?
A: I was testing recipes for a couple years before launching. And when I decided to start the business, I immersed myself into the world of cosmetic chemistry. I joined forums, took part in webinars, asked questions, read through textbooks. I spent so much time researching which probably is the most important part.
Q: Why do you feel that natural skin care is so important?
A: Personally, I’m not really a fan of strongly-scented personal care products, especially if it’s synthetic. Fragrance is such a common allergen, yet it’s in in the majority of skincare products. That’s one of the reasons I prefer natural products. Like with my brand, the only scents I use are naturally-derived essential oils, fruit powder extracts, etc. That being said, just because essential oils are natural doesn’t mean they’re all wonderful for use in personal care. As with any other ingredient, some EOs shouldn’t be used on the skin or could cause a reaction. It’s important to remember when using any new product- natural or not- a patch test should be done.
Also, conventional skincare products usually contain fillers- ingredients that don’t really do much other than bulk up the product. I’d rather use a product where 100% of the ingredients are going to be useful. However, not all skincare products are created equally- conventional or natural.
Q: What do you feel sets your business apart?
A: From the get-go, it was important that I keep the prices attainable; all of the products in the current range are under $30 which is super competitive for an indie beauty luxe brand. My goal is to create quality natural products that look and feel luxurious, are effective, and are priced attractively. I really want to be an approachable brand where everyone feels welcome to the party, you know?
Q: You’re a mom of two young girls. I’m sure owning your own business has it’s pros and cons with a young family. Can you elaborate?
A: Oh my gosh, yes!
I’m constantly trying to figure out the best way to manage my time, which is impossible. When I first started the business, I was filling in every free minute with work-related tasks. Now, I consciously try to turn work-mode off in the evenings and weekends, unless something actually needs to be done. I’m getting better at it, but it can be difficult sometimes. That’s just how it is as an entrepreneur.
I definitely feel some guilt now and then- that I should be doing more activities with the girls rather than working. But one of the reasons I started this business was to be a role-model for them. I was raised by a single mom who worked hard to provide, so I think I just always had the idea that I would be a working mom too. I’m lucky I get to do it from home with them.
Oh, and a few tips that make my mom/work life easier are slow cooker meals, going to a gym with childcare, and doing as much work during nap times. :)
Q: What is your favourite beauty product?
A: Ooh, that’s a hard question! At the moment, I’m all about self-tanner.
Q: Of your own line, which product is your favourite and why?
A: I love the Face Scrub because I love how smooth my face feels afterwards (and exfoliating is an important step for glowing skin!). And I love the Glow Face & Body Serum because it’s versatile. I most often mix it with my face SPF or foundation, but it can be used from head to toes (even in your hair!).
We're extremely proud to be able to carry this brand in the clinic. If you would like to try some before you buy, please stop in and test them out. We know you won't be disappointed. :)