Beauty Store Business

AUG 2018

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50 August 2018 | BEGINNINGS IN BEAUTY At 19, Jackson wasn't seeking much in the way of employment, just a gig to pay rent and save for college. In fact, she was headed to an interview to be the receptionist at a portable toilet company when she landed an administrative job at Estée Lauder–a stroke of luck that would change her life's direction. "Needless to say, the admin job at Estée Lauder sounded a lot better," Jackson says. "I started working for Estée Lauder at a regional office in San Francisco, ultimately staying about seven years, ending up in New York City in marketing. The company is incredibly supportive of their employees and the experience gave me an incredible oppor- tunity. In turn, I wanted nothing more than to make my time there as meaningful as I could, and contribute and learn as much as I could. When I left, I felt like I was leaving family." Like many forward-thinkers, Jackson never quite made it to college full-time. Instead, she attended a program through a private university close to her office, attending class after work at night for a couple of years thanks to Estée Lauder's tuition reimbursement program. But Jackson found her job more meaningful and eventually dedicated all of her time to that–until a recruiter called one day to discuss a new concept called Sephora. All it took was for her to hear the concept and meet the pioneering team–including the late Shashi Batra, who was ultimately her boss at Sephora and later cofounded Credo with her. Jackson jumped at the chance. "It seemed too intriguing to pass up; even better, it was based back home in San Francisco," she remembers. "I was 26 and there were only a few of us on the Sephora team in 1997. The years that I was with Sephora back then (I actually returned 10 years later to join the Sephora-inside-JC Penney team) … were some of the best of my career: fun, exhausting and super challenging because we were able to wear so many different hats at that time. Even Sephora was a small team and super scrappy at one point!" It wasn't clear to Jackson herself back then, but her driving motivation was a love of entrepreneurship, or as she puts it, "the challenge of knowing you can do something a better way, and though you may not see it clearly, you're determined to work until you figure it out." She left Sephora in 2003, shortly after having a daughter, and moved on to different roles in beauty–working on the floor in retail and owning a retail store, which she describes as humbling, physically exhausting and financially terrifying. Jackson says, "To make those four walls profitable, every product needs to pay its rent and every penny you spend needs to be highly scrutinized. So, for me, Credo is this very fortuitous coming together of all of these experiences." THE COMING OF CREDO Despite a wealth of experience, Jackson's early days at Credo were challenging, to say the least. With only three people on staff, the team squatted at an investor's office for the first 18 months. Packing web orders and receiving brand shipments caused a stir–not so conducive to a quiet office setting. They eventually moved into a shared townhouse in Pacific Heights, California, close to the current Fillmore location in San Francisco. "Shashi was good friends with the founders of La Boulangerie, a chainlet of artisanal baker- ies and cafes, and their team worked in the living room, while we were literally in a bedroom," Jackson says. "We slowly added to our team, until there were seven of us in a bedroom, before we moved to our current headquarters." Jackson laughs now at the humble townhouse beginnings: Only one employee could talk on the phone at a time, during which everyone else had to remain completely silent. Toting Trader Joe's shopping bags, they'd head over to their San Francisco store every day and pick up products to fulfill web orders, then walk them back to the townhouse to "Engaging with our customers on social media and doing events with the makers from the brands in makeup application or skincare consultations are a really rewarding part of what we do." Visionary and Credo Beauty cofounder, the late Shashi Batra. Credo Beauty customers are free to explore independently or book an in-store service or consultation. Courtesy of Credo Beauty

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