Joon + Co. and our series sponsors are thrilled to bring you
Remarkable Women - Mom Edition
WRITTEN BY: KELLY BROWN | @KE1BROWN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CHLOEE COMET PHOTOGRAPHY | @CHLOEECOMET
Meet Jenna - a New Orleans gal who somehow manages to have perfect makeup while juggling her career as a business owner and being a mother of a 5 and 10 year old. Jenna is the owner of About Face, located in Grand Rapids, MI. About Face originated in New Orleans (where they have 2 locations) and provides professional cosmetic and skincare services.
Jenna previously interned for About Face when she lived in New Orleans while pursuing her Fashion Merchandising degree. When she moved to Michigan to be closer to her husband's hometown in Jackson MI, Jenna began freelancing and working at Ulta. She began to notice a trend in the retail scene - lack of customer care and service. She knew something had to change and in September 2017 she officially opened About Face in Grand Rapids MI to provide the community with exceptional customer service in the cosmetics and skincare industry.
Meeting Jenna for the first time you’ll notice her makeup right away. On this particular Sunday she is wearing a soft, shimmery eyeshadow, natural base and a light lipstick. Her eyebrows are lightly filled - just enough to give good definition to her eyes but not too dramatic. Her look is timeless. She does not look like the next poster child for what it means to be “Instagram Famous” but rather her makeup transcends time. She could be from any era.
And it will leave you wondering...how does she have such phenomenal makeup while also being a mother, wife and commuting to work an hour each day? For Jenna, it’s because makeup is her passion. “When I was little I wanted to be a makeup artist. I always wanted to do makeup. I said something about it to my mom before I went to college but she pushed me to go and get a degree, which was in Fashion Merchandising. But I always wanted to be a makeup artist,” says Jenna.
Jenna’s personal style ranges from classical pieces to more trendy statements. “I like lots of grey...but, I love everything! When I was little I loved to play dress up. When I get dressed it’s almost like putting together this new person, even the makeup, it all has to go with what I’m wearing. So, if I’m wearing a black shirt I love doing a classic black eyeliner with a red lip. If i’m wearing a grey shirt I like to do cool tones. But, that doesn’t mean YOU have to. I think Instagram is driving everything in the makeup industry to make us feel like we have to be or look a certain way. No makeup or lots of makeup, it’s all fine.”
About Face started when Jenna was returning from freelancing at a wedding one summer and saw an opening the Gaslight Village in Grand Rapids. “I didn’t want to do one of the independent sales things but I knew I wanted to open a store. I drove around and parked, walked around the neighborhood and thought...this is it. My favorite part about being a business owner now is that things are the way I want them to be. The store layout, design and customer service are all up to my standards. I wanted to bring exceptional service and merchandise to West Michigan.”
The mission of high quality pieces over cheap and trendy aligns with Jenna’s passion for providing quality skincare and cosmetics to her customers at About Face. “I like to mix it up now and again, but I would always rather buy high quality that last me longer. I really love the Hackwith Design House Raw Swing Denim jacket.”
There are so many struggles when it comes to opening a brick and mortar store. Location is the first one but passing inspection, setting up your space, purchasing inventory and stocking everything, hiring staff...there are many obstacles for one person to juggle. We all know the saying, “many hands make light work.”
“Getting everything set-up and announcing an opening date was the hardest part because then it was like...we MUST open on this day. I was trying to do everything by myself. My uncle unexpectedly passed away and I had to go down to Louisiana for the funeral. I didn’t want to miss the opening date for the store because we had a deadline. That’s where you hit the point where you say, ok...I need some help.”
Unlike makeup artistry, Jenna didn’t always know she wanted to be a mother. “When I was pregnant I had a friend say “I thought you didn’t want kids.” I had a difficult first pregnancy. I always knew I wanted more than 1 but was scared how the 2nd pregnancy would turn out. But, I was elated when we found out we were pregnant again.”
Talking with Jenna, you realize there are two sides to her - 1 her business minded side. This woman knows how to get stuff done. But, once you see her open up about her children and husband, you see “mom” Jenna come out - someone who loves her daughters immensely and continues to be a bright role model in their life. “My 10 year old loves coming to the store with me. She’s not really a girly girl but more business driven. She always wants to work the cash register.”
“The hardest thing about being a working mother is mom guilt. I feel guilty that I’m not making the cupcakes for a school event. But I also feel guilty if I’m not at the store running my business. I’ve missed family stuff because of wedding season before. I try to, during the summer, schedule two Saturdays where I don’t take weddings and have those to go on vacation or spend time with my kids.”
Just like raising children, business ownership is never a straight line to success. Curveballs will be thrown at you and you’ll face new challenges every day. “I hope to eventually expand into a bigger space, whether that’s in Gaslight village or somewhere else in Grand Rapids. I want more than 1 treatment room and 1 employee. I still want to do weddings but on a request basis. I would like to step back and be more of a business owner.”
And that’s really the dream isn’t it? It’s a common thread amongst many boss babes - being too immersed in the thick of things and not spending enough time working on the actual business. But it comes with time and boss babes like Jenna are just enjoying the process and journey of getting there.
“I hope to inspire other women. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t do it all - just do the best you can. As long as you’re giving it your best, that’s all that matters.”
"We Are the Women" Shirts by our friends at Treetops Collective
JENNA IS OFFERING OUR READERS $5 OFF ANY ONE SERVICE OR PRODUCT WHEN YOU MENTION THIS ARTICLE (AND JOON + CO.). THANKS JENNA!
SHOP JENNA'S LOOK
THE SERIES SPONSORS
Kelly Brown - WriterWebsite | Instagram (@ke1brown)
Kelly is a seasoned, published writer and founder of Writers Under 30 in Grand Rapids, MI. She's also a fitness instructor at Beer City Barre, competitive cheer coach, and avid egg eater. Most of all, she's a beautiful, kind soul, trying to live a conscious lifestyle.