Meet Joy Johnson of Joy of Beauty
THIS BRAND FOUNDER IS REDEFINING INCLUSION AND EXPANDING OPTIONS FOR EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SKIN.
This March, we welcome newness.
We embrace the feminine.
We explore the depths of ourselves.
We realize that we are storehouses of magic.
I’m always biased about March, because not only does this month represent the rebirth of nature and renewal of life, but it represents the Divine Feminine essence as we celebrate International Women’s Day, we prioritize mental health, and we celebrate ClothesPetals’ fifth birthday.
I know, I know. I’m biased. I’ve realized.
But as winter ends and we shift into spring, this time is actually the perfect one if you’re thinking of beginning a brand. Why? Because all of nature comes alive. Energetically, it’s the best time for a new year's resolution because in nature, this is the time when all things blossom. Here is the actual marker of all things new.
Here is the birth cycle.
Here is where we welcome life.
But, starting a brand can be challenging, however rewarding the experience. Just ask brand founder, Joy Johnson, who started her product line, Joy of Beauty, after she had created and grew her services as a licensed nail technician and esthetician.
And while starting a beauty brand can certainly feel a lot like embarking on a journey, (no real guidelines, no roadmap), it can also be one of the most satisfying experiences. As the founder of a beauty brand, you have the opportunity to bring your unique vision and creativity to life, while also making a positive impact on your customers' lives.
Which is exactly what she has done.
Having worked with immune-compromised patients and seeing firsthand the effects of compromising illness on our self-esteem, Joy dialed in and spoke directly to a niche group of consumers who are often not spoken to. She coined the term, “diabetic-friendly,” and created products that everyone could use, primarily those who were overly cautious due to sensitive skin from varying illnesses.
And while it does take a lot of hard work, dedication, and passion to make a beauty brand successful, with the right mindset and strategy, she is an example of this feat definitely being achievable. It's important to stay focused on your goals and always keep in mind the needs and desires of your target audience, especially when so many consumers are excluded from many brands due to their specific needs.
Many of us don’t fall into this category. Because so many people are able to use most of the products on retailer shelves (whether or not they should is another conversation), we often don’t consider how more of these products should be tailored to promote true inclusivity.
And we throw around this term a lot lately, as brands focus on what that really means, and how more of them can make their products friendly to all consumers.
Which is how Joy grew her audience.
She recognized the pain points of the diabetic and cancer community. Why were so many products on shelves too harsh for their use? Shouldn’t everyone have the ability to look and feel their best? That is the point of the beauty industry–so what about those who weren’t able to indulge in most of the available beauty products?
A much larger issue she set out to tackle.
And so on this journey, she went from service provider to brand owner to published author, and as she continues to break barriers and sail uncharted waters, Joy remembers to stay true to her brand's values and mission; a key for any founder. With determination, perseverance, and a little bit of creativity, she is an example of how we can create a beauty brand that truly makes a difference in the world.
Would you mind providing a bit about your background? i.e.) What is your name? Where are you from? When did you become interested in entrepreneurship centered around beauty/skincare?
Joy A. Johnson, Born in Washington D.C. and raised in Prince George's County (PG County), Maryland, I have known since I was 16 years old that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I just did not know what. I sold Mary Kay while in College at Fordham Univ. In later years, I got into Makeup artistry and attained my state makeup artistry license. As time passed, I expanded into nail technology and got my license and then aesthetics. Over the years, I opened several nail salon and then spa locations, specialized in diabetic pedicures, and worked very closely with the cancer community by volunteering. I have always been interested in beauty because I grew up watching my mother mix her IMAN and fashion fair lotions, potions, and foundations to find her perfect hue as a dark-skinned black woman. She was a fashion model in her younger years and later an American Airlines Flight Attendant until her passing at 46 years old. She had breast cancer that metastasized, although passed from an unrelated car crash. I just remember her always looking fabulous and I would say the majority of it was because it was a part of her job. Being a little girl admiring her burgundy lipsticks, long red nails, and well-sculpted brows made me fall in love with beauty.
What was your career path prior to starting your own business? Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I have been an entrepreneur for 16 years and full-time for 13 years, so I have been an entrepreneur for most of my working life. But at my last traditional 9-5 job I was let go as a staffing specialist for a home health care agency. I loved the patients I spoke to on the phone but hated my job.
We are starting to see more owners of color creating brands that are being popularized by mainstream media, but this is new territory. What has your experience as a female founder of color been like?
As a Black female founder, I feel like we are finally getting recognition for what we already know, which is that Black women get it done. My brand, Joy of Beauty, is focused on marginalized demographics, so my expertise in the field as a licensed manicurist and esthetician helps to validate my brand's position as I have worked in the field directly as a salon and then spa owner over the years. So, because people don't look at their lifestyle being a direct correlation to everything that happens to their bodies, my brand helps them realize that everything you do to yourself matters. And so far, my messaging has been well received because everyone knows someone affected by diabetes and cancer...Everyone. So I am grateful for the willingness to learn and listen to me when I explain my brand to others.
What does your daily work schedule look like? How do you prioritize self-care?
Make sure my kids are out the door for the school bus
Check to see which business is a priority for the day by reviewing my calendar of events
Grab a Starbucks if I am out and about
If it's Tuesday, go to my tennis lesson
Check-in on my 92-year-old grandma
Get back to my laptop to go through my ever-growing to-do list
Check my Trello list
Send follow-up emails
Cook dinner or order it
Help 6-year-old with homework
Check-in on 12-year-old to see if she is on task
Talk to my honey once he is home
More computer work and then
Watch House of Dragon if it’s Sunday
Self-care is weaved into my life constantly, I have private tennis lessons; I see a chiropractor. I am a manicurist that gets her nails done so I try to get in spa time…especially if I travel. I always try to book a spa appointment. I am also an esthetician that gets facials every 6-8 wks and has her own esthetician, I take random Tuesdays and Wednesdays off and use the DO NOT DISTURB feature on my phone...(Laughs).
You also are a published author. What was your motivation for writing the book?
The book was cathartic. I was starting the process of a divorce and was becoming a single mother. I was losing my house to foreclosure, I was as busy as ever with my business, traveling all over the world for brands, and had to move back into my old room at my grandmother's home with my baby. I was a hot as* mess, but writing made me feel like I was releasing all the things that were happening or had happened to me.