18-year old Entreprenista, Joann Zehenni, on Launching Gemini Beauty
Hi Joann! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:
Hi! My name is Joann Zehenni, and I am the founder of Gemini Beauty. I am 18 years old and am based in Los Angeles. I began creating Gemini Beauty when I was around 15, with the influence of my family, my borderline lupus and sensitive skin. Gemini Beauty is a representation of my identity and outlook on self-care. The significance of the name is twofold: First, the astrological sign of Gemini is often represented by The Great Twins, Castor and Pollux. My twin sister, Katherine, is a big part of who I am and has greatly inspired the brand. The second revolves around a gem of knowledge that was passed down by my grandma: the idea that beauty is two-sided. It requires a holistic perspective where daily care is just as significant as the specific, instant gratification solutions. Also, a percentage of profits are donated to Lupusla, an organization close to my heart.
So Joann, what excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
I am so excited to meet new female entreprenerus who will inspire me. I would love to learn from the success from others and grow as an entrepreneur.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I have always had a passion for skincare. I could not imagine waiting until after college to curate a brand that I could use for my skin. I felt tired and frustrated with not finding products I could use, so I was eager to begin the process.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
As a student, I was constantly eager to learn more about different subjects. I spent my time studying dermatology and skincare. I spoke to experts and did my own research. I still continue to learn and always look for new breakthroughs in the skincare industry.
So Joann, did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs so the ideal of being an entrepreneur has been in my mind since I was young.
When first launching a business, your initial marketing strategy is so important! What did your initial marketing strategy entail?
My first marketing strategy was promoting Gemini Beauty through my school. I am so grateful for my friends as together, we spread the word of Gemini Beauty organically. Also, I posted on our instagram account daily and worked with skincare influencers. I also did lots of giveaways to raise awareness. I am still learning and trying out new strategies.
Entreprenistas are resilient. What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way?
The biggest challenged I have faced is balancing my personal life and work life. There have most definitely been major obstacles in my personal life that discouraged me to work on Gemini Beauty. However, seeking help and support in my friends and family has made the greatest difference. Also, I have made mistakes through trial and error. Even a small mistake of not catching a grammatical error in the secondary packaging of a beauty product can make the biggest change. I have learned to always ask for advice from others and learn more my past mistakes.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I am so proud to have launched with the retail store, Thirteenlune. With them, Gemini Beauty is now in 600 JCP stores. They have taught be so much, and I am so proud to be part of the Thirteenlune family.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Absolutely! I like to plan my next day everynight before bed. It is important to save time for yourself, and to be very productive during the day. I like to plan lunch breaks with friends in between classes and set aside time for meetings.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Shipping can seem like a very simple task, but it becomes very complex. I wish I would have looked more into fulfillment houses earlier in the process. It would have made shipping more seamless and simple. I am currently still shipping from my dorm room but all of this is changing soon!
What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
Gemini Beauty is now in 600 JCP stores through Thirteenlune!
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
The relaunch and rebrand happened this June. From there, I will continue to expand the line consistently. Perhaps, we will even expand to more retail stores. Very Exciting!