Janna Ronert of IMAGE Skincare on becoming a leader to create change and innovation (and why it’s never too late to run a marathon!)
Describe your business in a few words?
IMAGE Skincare is a professional, clean, clinical skincare line designed for licensed professionals and devoted to helping individuals “Age Later.” All products are tried, true and tested by a team of clinical professionals to help individuals feel confident in their skincare, and most importantly, their skin. Today we are the #1 leading professional skincare company in the global market.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
From a very young age, I have had an entrepreneurial spirit. Throughout my life I had always struggled with rosacea, a common skin condition that causes redness and irritation to the face and I couldn’t find any skincare products, especially clean ones, to help. This was when my frustration turned into action. As an esthetician and skin care professional, I began researching specific ingredients and products to understand why some are successful and some are not, and found that many of these products are formulated with unnecessary chemicals that are ultimately harmful to your skin. So, in my small Houston apartment, I began to formulate my own products with safe, proven active ingredients and smart botanicals, which led to the start of IMAGE Skincare.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I was working for Fortune 100 companies in sales and marketing. My love was always skin care. So, I worked in every channel of this skin care industry from a hands on esthetician, to education, to being a distributor for a professional brand, and then ultimately founding my own brand. The many years of experience and relationships was the secret sauce to our success.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes. I always wanted to be the leader to create change and innovation. I wanted to change skin health and more importantly change lives. What also sparked my interest was to have a female led company that empowers women to achieve great things. It all started with one woman, but over half of our team is composed of licensed estheticians and passionate women in the skincare beauty world.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
My marketing strategy was built on our first pillar: education. I led educational seminars and symposiums that propelled the knowledge of a professional to build their business. Today, we educate B2B and B2C in our marketing efforts to grow our brand .
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I have had so many, but if I had to choose one, it would be the failure of believing that you can hire someone great on paper that does not fit with the culture and values of the company. Early on, I relied so much on education, pedigree, experience; and overlooked passion, pride, loyalty, and most important the hustle factor. The core values of team members that help you grow your business is the most important thing I have learned about building a world class global brand.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
When I first started Image Skincare, I was able to finally secure a loan from a local bank in Houston Texas. After being rejected from 12 other banks, I knew the president/owner of this bank was taking a real chance on me and the business. The loan was for 5 years, but I paid it in full within 24 months. From that day on, I have sent the bank owner (now retired) my PL sheet in a christmas card. He said it was his best loan success story of his career. That day I knew there was no turning back, and that IMAGE Skincare would be the #1 professional skincare company. That was a memorable day!
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
Now I have learned to “inner” view, not “interview.” The core values of your team members need to mirror the core values of the company. What you learn from their history of working at an early age, truly determines the work ethic moving forward.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
This year was especially challenging as spas were closed and in-person treatments were halted. This was a learning experience for all, and our team strategically pivoted, offering virtual consultations, new features to our website and updated content on our social platforms, giving professionals and consumers a platform to stay connected.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
The past few years, we knew at IMAGE how important we looked at every formula to make sure they were clean and clinical, so we are focusing on that for both existing and new innovations in the next year. IMAGE has always been the leader in innovation; and it will continue in the future.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Time is my most valuable asset. Faith, family, friends should be the priority. When life shut down around the globe, we realized that our customers were truly part of our family. Families stick together in good times and in bad. Our company has come out of this pandemic stronger than ever because we took the time to build those relationships.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Surround yourself with dedicated, loyal and determined people. If you want to be successful, you need to empower those involved, giving them the support they need and deserve to keep going.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I have two children, 11 year old twins Milana and Zurich, and after a crazy day or week, I love to spend time with them and my husband, as it’s the perfect way for me to unwind. I love to cook with the family, especially my favorite homemade pasta. I’m addicted to my Peloton trainer, yoga, swimming and anything outdoors in the Florida sunshine. I’ve committed to reading 52 books in 2021.1 per week.This has really helped me unwind at night.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Yes, of course. For me, having a great work/life balance has not only allowed me to be more productive during the workday, but feel excited for my plans after work. Whether you’re hanging out with your family, exercising or just enjoying the outdoors, that change of pace is crucial for our mental health. My best tip is to schedule my “cut-off “ time for emails and business phone calls. When that alarm rings, I’m done for the day. Period!
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I was the big winner on Wheel of Fortune in college, and I grew up on a farm in Nebraska and milked cows every morning before school. It’s also never too old to run your first marathon at the young age of 54!
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Exercise every day- MOVE- do something to get your body balanced.
- Review your day- what can you delegate to maximize your time.
- Do more listening than talking.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista is so exciting and empowering! It was always my dream to create a skincare brand that changes lives, for both the professionals and the clients, so to see it come to life and succeed is incredible and extremely rewarding. And what’s even more special to me is that we started with just one woman leading the way and now our team is composed of over 90% women, showing women that it is possible to explore your dream and become an entrepreneur.