Fall / Winter 2022 | A conversation with Jane Wurwand

 

Jane discusses her journey, from the grief of losing her father when she was just 2 years old, to building a global skincare empire. She shares how divine timing orchestrated the birth of her book, ‘Skin In The Game: everything you need is already inside you’, and her bigger ‘WHY’ behind her unwavering and continued support of local underserved entrepreneurs.

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A conversation with Jane Wurwand

Who is Jane Wurwand?

 

Jane Wurwand is the co-founder and chief visionary of Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute post-graduate training centers. She is one of the most recognized and respected authorities in professional skin therapy. Under her leadership, Dermalogica has grown to be the leading professional skincare brand, used by more than 100,000 skin therapists in more than 100 countries around the world. She is an incredibly inspiring woman who has had her own journey of healing, business and entrepreneurship and is one of the most highly regarded and well respected women in business.

Background

In January 2011, Jane launched FITE – Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship – a global women’s entrepreneurial initiative inspired by her three decades of work within the professional skin care industry. Since its launch, FITE has assisted more than 106,000 women to achieve financial independence as well as gain access to educational programs and leadership training. In 2012, she was named CEO/Business Owner of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

In 2016, President Obama appointed her a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, one of a prestigious group of America’s top entrepreneurs who helped develop the next generation of entrepreneurs, both at home and abroad. She serves on the Board for the Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business Management. Wurwand’s expertise on entrepreneurship has been frequently sought out by the media, including Bloomberg, MSNBC, Inc.’s “The Playbook” online video series, Entrepreneur magazine’s “Trep Talk”, People magazine, NPR’s “How I Built This” podcast, the “Outspoken Beauty” podcast, and The Telegraph United Kingdom.

In November 2018, Jane launched FOUND/LA, a non-profit dedicated to supporting local entrepreneurs to help them build their business, purpose and community. FOUND/LA offers funding, mentorship, unique incubator programs and educational resources for entrepreneurs who have been underserved or overlooked by traditional systems.

Most recently Jane has published her first book, through HarperCollins, ‘Skin In The Game; everything you need is already inside you’. She shares her story with us today.

How the COVID 19 Pandemic has been a gift

It’s been an enormous two-year, so far, experiment. There’s been so many things that we’ve had to wrestle with. Whether it’s been homeschooling, working from home, being in isolation, being cut off from our social interactions, all of that. I think many of us had discussed, perhaps for years, what would that be like? Or could that actually work? And what if you were the only one working from home and everyone else’s in the office? These past two years, the gift has been the experiment of seeing what happens when we completely change what we do for a lengthy period of time, not two weeks, not like a vacation, not two months, but two years and counting globally. It’s the first time at least, in living history, that we’ve really had that happen.

So, I see all the pain that we’ve gone through during COVID. All the loss; dreadful amounts of loss, and challenges. I have also seen people rising to the challenge and people moving through the pain, and them really having to self-evaluate what is important – not just to me, but what is important to me being here. There’s something also called the guilt of the survivor, which is when you come through something and were not physically harmed by it perhaps, but emotionally, you feel the pain of everyone else. There is a certain amount of well, ‘how come I am okay, why me?’

And I think that there is always a gift because then we have to start saying not just what’s the best thing for me, but why am I here? What’s my bigger ‘Why’? It’s like the age old question, what is the meaning of life? But more specifically, what is the meaning of my life? And so I call this, not the new normal. It’s actually the new abnormal, but I call it, the new next. And I think we’ve had a planetary reset. Like you hit that reset button or reboot your computer, where you suddenly have to say, hang on a minute, when things are going awry. Things are heading in a direction that I feel are out of control. I want to really think, what do I want? Do I want to go back to what I was doing before? Do I want to continue as I am now? What have I truly missed? Some people have said, I never realized my family was so important. I never realized my friends were so important. I never realized I miss traveling and seeing new adventures. I never realized that before other people say I loved being at home, I never realized how much I missed being at home with alone time and time to think. Perhaps people started a new practice of meditation or gratitude journaling, or whatever it might be.

I think every single one of us has gone through a major shift. We’re saying, ‘Okay, so wait a minute, now it seems to all be moving forward in another direction. Wait a minute, before this happens, I have to really solidify what it is my next move is going to be and ‘why’.

 

These past two years, the gift has been the experiment of seeing what happens when we completely change what we do for a lengthy period of time, not two weeks, not like a vacation, not two months, but two years and counting globally. It’s the first time at least in living history that we’ve really had that happen.
– Jane Wurwand

 

 

How do you reset your life?

I didn’t realize it when I started writing the book because I actually got my book contract signed in January with Harper Collins as the publisher, in January of 2020, pre-COVID. COVID was just getting started. But we didn’t know it then. We went into lockdown in California on March 16th of 2020. And my book deadline was September and I thought the gift was, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m going to have this time to write”. All my travel plans just went out of the window or my work commitments just sort of stopped and we went virtual. I have time to write, which I did. And what I hadn’t realized, as I was writing a book, I was really writing a book about how do you reset your life? How do you reset your relationships? How do you reset your parenting style? How do you reset when you get to a point in your life, that you say, ‘You know what, this is not working’? This is not the best, biggest, healthiest I could be. How do you actually reset?

The book is about how I, through my life, have reset relationships. Where I lived, my work, what I did, pretty much everything and provided the kind of tools of how I did it in case those could be useful to others. And the things that helped me, the things that were cringe worthy, that were important. And then when we came through, and we published in October of 2021, I realized the book was written for exactly this time, this moment. And I feel so grateful for the gift of that, of that timing, that I hadn’t realized the book I was ultimately going to write and the time I wrote it was actually going to be the perfect time for me to write it and hopefully for people to receive it. And so the gift I received was the time to write it. And the fact that I really feel very proud of the timing, and I hope it will be helpful.

The core through my career

Everything we live through prepares us for what we’re about to go through. I’ve learned to trust that. It’s not some kind of thing that kind of came to me. I’ve learned to trust that because I’ve seen that played out in my life. My father died suddenly, when I was just a month short of my third birthday. And my mother was left to age 38, to raise four girls on her own. I am the youngest of four. And she managed to do it because she was a qualified nurse. And even though she hadn’t worked since she was married, which had been many years, she went back to work. She fell back on her training. So, she instilled in us this idea of learning how to do something. To always be able to have a skill set in your hands that you could provide for your family. Which of course, was my North Star through my whole career. I went into training as a skin therapist, did an apprenticeship, became an instructor. My life’s career has been about teaching others to have a skill that can support them. And products that can also lead to revenue and lead to outcomes for your clients’ skin that will keep them coming back and keep you supported. So that’s been the core ‘why’ for me all the way through my career.

 

Everything we live through, prepares us for what we’re about to go through.
– Jane Wurwand

 

A magical childhood

When I was coming home from school, we lived in Scotland. You start school in Scotland at four and a half. So, it’s a little bit younger than England, which is really five or five and a half. My next sister up is seven years older than me. So, they were all quite a bit older than me, and they were in middle and high school. I used to walk myself to school in the morning. It sounds crazy but I did walk myself to school and work myself home. My mum had to go to work, she worked seven in the evening till seven in the morning. And then she would go to sleep when I was at school.

Once I started school, she started doing day shifts from seven in the morning till seven in the evening so that she would be home overnight. Turned out that I was coming home in the afternoons and I was on my own for about an hour or so before my sisters got home. And I went to school with the backdoor key around my neck and hid it. It was my secret with my mum. She told me never tell anybody that you have this because I think you know, someone would call Child Services. When I got home, I had what I saw as a magical hour. I could play dress up. I could run around the house. I would take one of my sisters’ half -slips, waist petticoats, and put it on my head and put the elastic around the top of my head. And then the slip hung down my back and I had long hair. And I would run down the stairs like Rapunzel. And then at some point, we went to see the sound of music and I must have been five. I was one of the Von Trapp Family Children running away from Maria. I mean, there was no end to my imagination. And I’ve always looked back on that as a magical childhood. And now I’m an adult. I’ve gone through and have a little bit more perspective, I realize that distraction was also distracting me from the fact that I was all alone in a big house and not to be scared. So, you can always tell a story in a dark way. Or you can tell it in a light way. I’ve always chosen to look at the light side, there is always fun, no matter how hard it is. There’s always that little sort of like a yin yang symbol. There’s always a spot of light in the dark and a spot of dark in the light.

 

You can always tell a story in a dark way. Or you can tell it in a light way. I’ve always chosen to look at the light side, there is always fun, no matter how hard it is. There’s always that little sort of like a yin yang symbol. there’s always a spot of light in the dark and a spot of dark in the light.
– Jane Wurwand

 

 

The power of visualization

I really learned to trust that my imagination can see me through. My thought process can take me to a place where I can visualize something as if it’s happening. And I think it made me articulate in that way and informed a lot of my career. I felt very easily able to connect to my clients. I learned to become feral. I could spot someone who was lonely. I could spot someone who maybe didn’t have a lot of money, we had no extra money. I could spot someone that was trying to be brave. I’d seen all that, I’d been all that. And I also then learned, as I started becoming an entrepreneur, I truly believe in the power of visualization. I think if you can see something as if it’s completely finished, completely finished, you can live in that. I think it’s interesting because we’re now talking about artificial intelligence and how do we capture artificial intelligence. Like we’re all using chatbots when we might think we’re talking to an expert on a chatbox; asking about where’s my order? But it’s actually artificial intelligence and we’re only just at the start of that. But I think my goodness, that’s all hell summit manifestation. We’re going to live in the metaverse where you are literally living in a virtual world. I don’t think anything’s really new; I think it’s always been around us. And we’re able to harness it when we, when we need to.

 

I really learned to trust that my imagination can see me through. My thought process can take me to a place where I can visualize something as if it’s happening. And I think it made me articulate in that way and informed a lot of my career.
– Jane Wurwand

 

The well is already inside you.

It’s like an energy. It’s like a well. You may have a well under your garden, you don’t know it until you tap down and find out if it’s down there. I think if we tap down into it, sometimes people genderize this and they say, ‘women are more intuitive.’ And I say, ‘you know why? Maybe. But I also think it’s because, for whatever reason, we’ve learned to trust it. I think we all have a gut feeling. But do you trust it? And will you act on it? That’s the thing. Do you trust it enough that you will literally form your actions around what your gut feeling is telling you? Or do you later say ‘I should have listened to it; I should have listened to my gut?’ Because that was right. I didn’t realize it at the time. Listen to that. That is you, plumbing down into that energy, that well, that is always inside you.

 

You may have a well under your garden, you don’t know it until you tap down and find out if it’s down there
– Jane Warwund

 

Finding and living your purpose

When you tap down into; ‘what do I really love to do?’ And in the book, I have this chart of circles, concentric circles, which I have always used. You join up what you love to do. What are you good at doing? What do people need in the world and can you get paid for it? Because it’s all very well to say; find your purpose. But for most people, what you do every day, and you do it for a significant number of hours, needs to put food on the table and feed your families. So, I’m not for one second saying, you should not be working in a job. The point is, is that job, that thing you’re doing, that career, that work – does it tie in to something that speaks to your heart? I have the chart in the book, which is really simple. And I’d say to people just photograph it and carry it around on your phone. But if you can make those circles intertwine in the middle of it all, you found your purpose. Something you love doing. Something you’re good at doing, that people need you to do, and will pay for it. Now, you’re living your purpose in doing your work.

 

My most impactful self-care tool

It is like that cliche you know, you’re on the aeroplane, you put your own oxygen mask on first before you can put even your child’s on. In other words, if you’re not in a position to maintain your own health, you’re not in a position to ever share with someone else how they could be healthy. I don’t see how you could do it. For me, and it’s different for everybody, I know that what’s important is I need alone time. I need to carve that out. It doesn’t matter. There were times when my children were little and I was working full time, flat out building the company. Sometimes that alone time was just being in the toilet, or closing the door. Honestly, I remember vividly saying to Molly, when they were about a year and a half, maybe 18 months. I said, ‘Molly, mommy’s just going to the toilet. I’m going to close the door. I’m just behind the door.’ And I remember closing the door, and she was right outside. And these little fingers came under the door and I just sat there. I wasn’t going to the toilet. I was just sitting on the toilet. And I looked at these little fingers. I thought ‘Oh my goodness, I just need a few minutes.’

Sometimes it’s just a few minutes. Sometimes you’re walking down the stairs, carrying a load of laundry and you just pause halfway down and say take a breath. Take another, center and go. That’s when you’re snatching time. Even that will help. Now I’m in a position in my life and in my career that I can actually make time. I can choose the time, that’s the greatest gift of everything I think, as well as health. And so to me what that looks like is, I think 10 minutes of self-awareness every day. Now people call it meditation. You may call it prayer. However you define that moment, you could go for a walk, you could just be in the shower. Whatever speaks to you, 10 minutes. Where really all you’re doing is just being present. And kind of absorbing what’s happening and feeling the temperature in the room. Feeling the wind or lack of wind on you, and just sort of centering your brain. I give some exercises of how I do that in the book. And that’s always important to me.

I think 10 minutes of self-awareness every day. Now people call it meditation. You may call it prayer. However you define that moment, you could go for a walk, you could just be in the shower. Whatever speaks to you, 10 minutes. Where really all you’re doing is just being present. And kind of absorbing what’s happening and feeling the temperature in the room. Feeling the wind or lack of wind on you, and just sort of centering your brain.
– Jane Wurwand

 

 

I need my alone time. I also need to be physically, as well as I can be. To be strong enough, mentally and physically to do what I want to do. So, for me that looks like pretty much a plant-based diet. It’s not for everybody. I’m just saying for me that works. I know that if I have too much caffeine, it’s not great for me, I know that if I have too much alcohol, that’s not great for me. But I think everything you know, in moderation. I also like my form of movement is Pilates. I love it. I’m going to a class this afternoon. I do a Pilates class at least five times a week. I do it with a group – in a group class, because I like a group setting. I’ve learned I don’t like one on one or privates. I like a group setting. You figure out what you’d like to do. Some people do a walking group, some people do it alone, walk it, whatever it is, I need to do that. And you know, trying to get sleep and trying to stay in that focus. You find out whatever works for you and try to reset yourself back there as much as you can. I think it’s important because otherwise, without our health and without our mental, when I say health, I mean physical and mental. Without our physical and mental health, I don’t understand how it’s possible to live our biggest life. And I’m not saying you have to be in perfect health your whole life, I don’t know that that’s possible for any of us. But it’s your optimum health at that moment of your life, your best that you can be then

Without our physical and mental health. I don’t understand how it’s possible to live our biggest life. And I’m not saying you have to be in perfect health your whole life, I don’t know that that’s possible for any of us. But it’s your optimum health at that moment of your life, your best that you can be then.
– Jane Wurwand

 

It starts with resilience

It’s not even about balance. It’s about resilience. All of those habits help you build your resilience. And in having that resilience, you are then able to balance out; ‘Okay, you know what, that’s not as important as I thought, I can do that tomorrow’. You know what I can, if I have to pick up fast food tonight for takeout. It’s okay. Everyone will survive it. In order to have that ability to balance out anything, let’s call it that you have to be able to feel strong and resilient in yourself. So it really starts with resilience. And unless you have that, you just become overwhelmed with what is happening.

My book – Skin in the Game

Well when we had Dermalogica, we had a nonprofit initiative there called FITE- which was financial independence through entrepreneurship. And we made a commitment at Dermalogica to fund 25,000 women into their own business within a two-year period. We started that in 2010. And I partnered with the Clinton Initiative and the UN and that was really successful. Right now, we still do that program at Dermalogica. We funded over 115,000 women around the world to start or grow their business. I learned in my career in the salon industry that entrepreneurship is critically important in our industry. 98% of all salons are owned by women, and we put more women into their own business than any other. So pick up that thread of my mother’s training, learn how to do something, my belief is that if I educate people to upskill their skills, they can support their families, that thread through the fight. And it’s really when we moved into our acquisition of Dermalogica. And I now play a role as a visionary for Dermalogica. That’s actually my title – Chief Visionary. I like that as much as I do ‘The woman who started a cult’!

FOUND/LA

And when that happened, Raymond and I, my husband and my partner, talked about putting together our own foundation, which is, the woman foundation and our initiative is FOUND/LA. And FOUND is all about supporting small, invisible entrepreneurs in entrepreneurial businesses. I call them invisible entrepreneurs, because these are the businesses people sometimes don’t see. I live in an area between Brentwood in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, and between my house and four blocks up the road where there’s a Starbucks, I say to people, how many salons do you think are between like my house and a Starbucks, and most people can say, one because they think of the one on the corner, there are nine. There are nine salons between my house and Starbucks; nail salons and massage studios, three skincare centers, they’re not on the street, they’re upstairs, they’re behind the medical building around the back of the bank. So these are our invisible entrepreneurs that are the glue of our community. The bakery, the small shoe mender, the florist, the dog groomer, the mechanic, all these small businesses that also employ 50% of the population. Most of us got our first job in a local business. I did. It was in a local hair salon when I was 13.

So FOUND is about finding those small businesses that may be somewhat invisible or taken for granted. And I’m happy to say that also one of the gifts of the last two years has been the whole shop local movement, which is perfect for our FOUND entrepreneurs. Because if we don’t have our local communities, shopping our local stores and businesses, we don’t have a neighborhood or community. And we all take advantage of shopping online. But I personally don’t want to live next to the Amazon shipping warehouse, I want to live next to the bakery down the road from me here called Mercy that’s owned by a lovely French woman who is a divine Baker.

I want to be able to go down to the local shoe repair place and take my shoes that I want to go up the road to the local garage, and have them look at my tires. So shopping locally is a huge movement and FOUND is really all about that. So, Raymond and I decided we know the value of local entrepreneurs to a community that is our industry or 1000’s of small businesses, big entrepreneurs, small businesses, built Dermalogica into a global brand. And we want to give back to that specific area. So you can go on to FOUND/LA, it’s a nonprofit, and see the work we’re doing.

KCET just did a series of documentaries on television profiling some of our entrepreneurs, please go look at their stories, check them out, go to their businesses. It’s also on our FOUND/LA website.

You can also find resources for yourself as an entrepreneur, linking you to access to funding, access to education and access to support of the community. And we really invite everyone – it’s free, please go to foundla.org and check it out. And yes, 100% of all the proceeds of my book are going into our nonprofit.

Advice from my own journey of healing

Well, I have always believed there’s something bigger than myself here. If there isn’t, it doesn’t really make much sense to me, I don’t believe. But here’s the thing, I believe that everything is random or nothing is. It can’t be sometimes random and sometimes not. So I take my cue from nature and I say, okay, so if spring comes after winter, which comes after autumn, which comes after summer, that is every single year, there’s never really been a hiccup in that. At least not yet. We know those seasons. It’s not random. It’s very specific. Nature is not random. Tides come up, they go down, we understand how that works, but it’s never random. We can predict what’s going to happen. I look at that. And I say, well therefore I believe nothing is random. And I must believe then that there’s something bigger than myself here. Now. What you name that is completely up to you. It depends on what your belief system is. You may call it the Universe, you may call it God, you may call it you know, your lifeforce, whatever you want to call it.

 

I have always believed there’s something bigger than myself here. If there isn’t, it doesn’t really make much sense to me. I believe that everything is random or nothing is. It can’t be sometimes random and sometimes not.
– Jane Wurwand

 

For me, I believe strongly that that bigger element of energy in the world has the ability to help us. Because otherwise, why are we here, and therefore really for healing, I try to tap into that deeply. That, that is inside me somewhere already a piece of it, because I can connect to that piece. But through that I connect to the world and, and simple exercises, like when I breathe in, I’m thinking I’m breathing in oxygen, which is healing and cleansing. I’m exhaling carbon dioxide, which I need to get out of my body. And every time I’m thinking of that circle of health of everything we do with our bodies, from nutrition, to exercise, to thinking to breathing, to elimination, all of that, I just think I have to put my trust and my faith in this bigger thing I can draw in and tap in somehow. I don’t have to understand how it works to know that it works. I don’t know that I completely understand how tides work but I know it’s to do with the moon and waxing and waning. I’m not sure I completely understand it. But I know it happens. So therefore, I trust it. I don’t understand exactly how my car engine works. I’m going to kind of know a little bit but I couldn’t take an engine apart, put it back together, I can still drive a car and trust it will get me there. So I don’t have to understand everything in order for me to trust it.

So for me, healing is part of that discipline. I have to trust that somehow for some crazy reason, it’s all meant to be happening like that, happening for us, not to us. Connecting, trusting that it will all work out. And everything that you need is already inside you.

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