Renée Rouleau of Renée Rouleau Skin Care on celebrating 25 years in business this year and how she makes a positive impact

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Describe your business in a few words?

Renée Rouleau Skin Care was created to provide solutions for all skin types and concerns. I realized there is more to skin than dry, normal and oily so I created the Nine Skin Types Quiz to help clients find the right products to give them the best results. As experts at acne, breakout and sensitive skin concerns, we avoid the use of irritants and harmful ingredients to keep skin healthy and balanced. Plus, we never test on animals!

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I think like anyone who owns a business, you have an idea that keeps you awake at night and you have a driving force to make the dream happen. Luckily, it all worked out and we are celebrating 25 years in business this upcoming August. As an esthetician working hands-on with skin, I knew that every person’s skin was complex and the product lines were only catering to the standard dry, normal, oily types so I created a line that is curated to all the unique needs someone has going on in their skin. Ultimately, they get better results when they are using products just for them.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Other than some odd and end jobs in high school, I got into the beauty business shortly after I graduated by attending esthetics school (over 30 years ago) and started my a skincare spa outside of Boston when I was 21 years old. I sold that after five years and moved to Texas to start Renée Rouleau Skin Care in Texas.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

No, I never really thought about it but my grandmother owned her own hair salon (The Powder Puff Beauty Shoppe) so entrepreneurship and hard-work is in my blood. However, when I started working for someone else, I quickly realized that I was more suited to calling the shots instead of taking orders from someone else. I guess you could say I’m a “my way or the highway” kind of girl.

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?

Initially, I gifted products to friends and family in hopes they would spread the word—and they did. People love sharing things they love and others get very influenced by that. A few years later, I started my skincare blog. I was an early adopter to pushing out skincare content and we were a trusted source by Google who sent us so much organic traffic. Today, our blog is still our number one marketing strategy and our growth has always been earned.

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?

When you own your own company you wear every hat there is but some of those hats I wore, I had no knowledge of how to do the job correctly. Case in point, the numbers/finance. I had no education on how to understand my P&L and balance sheet so quite a few times I almost couldn’t make payroll. It was clear that I needed to hand that over to a proper professional and so I did. It was one of the best early-on business decisions I made.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

That I’ve grown a business that is still thriving after 25 years! They say that most businesses fail within five years so I’m grateful that my determination, hard work and ability to stay relevant has paid off. I am so proud that in 2020 we were recognized as a “Best Place to Work” by the Austin Business Journal. We have an amazing team of 19 people who show up with such positivity every day.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

Everyone wants to go to work every day enjoying the people they work with and loving what they do. After all, we spend more time with our co-workers than our friends and family.

My go-to interview question is, “For every job you have, you walk away learning something about yourself in your quest to find your dream job. You know what you don’t want in your next job and what things you do like and want more of. Based on what you know about this position, tell me why this might be a closer fit to your dream job?”

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We were impacted very positively during the pandemic due to several reasons. We sell exclusively online and everyone was shopping this way for their skincare. People were not wearing makeup so they were more focused on what was going on under their makeup–their skin! “Maskne” set in and we have a lot of products that cater to adult acne so those products skyrocketed. Skincare is self care and people were looking for ways to make themselves feel better during the challenging times. My team stayed very healthy and we didn’t have any disruption in our operations.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We are growing at a rate that we like as we’re not looking to take over the world. But as always, we will continue to deliver our best content to our blog and social channels to help others learn how to best care for their skin. Additionally, we’ll continue to innovate with new problem-solving products to add to our extensive collection.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

What I learned most is that due to our amazing team and good processes and communication within our organization, we can weather any storm that comes our way. Despite a pandemic, we realized we didn’t have any blind spots that caught us off guard. It was an amazing validation for the strength of our company from inside out.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

What I learned most is that due to our amazing team and good processes and communication within our organization, we can weather any storm that comes our way. Despite a pandemic, we realized we didn’t have any blind spots that caught us off guard. It was an amazing validation for the strength of our company from inside out.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Prior to the pandemic, I was traveling 2-3 times a month. Once that all came to a halt, it was challenging to have my busy world come to a stop. Like so many people, the pause was really beneficial in that it gave me time to reassess my priorities, both personally and professionally. I made my physical and mental health a greater priority than ever before with new goals and I couldn’t be happier in how I’m showing up in this world for those I love.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

No. As for work/life balance. I have none. I think it’s simply that I love what I do in my career, and making that thing happen is just so much more interesting than anything else. However, I will say that exercise and taking time out to pursue my personal passions (such as motorcycle riding and exercise for stress management) are the gifts I give to myself so I can be better for others.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I don’t drink any coffee (have only had 3 sips in my life) or rely on any stimulants to keep me going. I just love life and my joy (and plenty of beauty sleep) is all I need to keep me energized.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Before I go to sleep, I list out the two most important things I need to get done the next day and I’ll knock them out first thing in the morning before the onslaught of emails and text messages come in.
  • Get in a sweat with a good workout. If I’m short on time, I’ll put on a 12 lb. weighted vest and run up and down the stairs in my house for 30 mins and then get back to work.
  • Rely on technology for daily productivity: Slack, Evernote and Otter make things super efficient for me.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being an Entreprenista means doing what I love, with people I love while making a positive impact and leaving a legacy. I am so proud that in 2020 we were recognized as a “Best Place to Work” by the Austin Business Journal. We have an amazing team of 19 people who show up with such positivity every day.

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