INTERVIEWS: JENNA LEVINE - PLANT ALCHEMIST + FOUNDER OF LINNÉ SKINCARE
FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR – JENNA LEVINE – PLANT ALCHEMIST + CREATOR OF THE INNOVATIVE, NATURAL AND BEAUTIFUL SKINCARE LINE, LINNÉ
This etherial beauty is one to watch.
Not many people can say they were crafting facials, and skin care concoctions at the tender age of ten. I didn't even know that such things existed at such a young age. I'm sure I was still using dove, main and tail, and lots of icky chemical filled scariness.
It goes to show Jenna's devout and religious dedication to not only formulating the most divine, and effective potions, serums, scrubs and oils, but also her deep seated passion for helping others find their glow, like she did for her sister who was six!
Her drive, inspiration, and quest for healing the skin naturally is innate, and rooted in much more than just another set of skincare products. With her background in botany, and medical plant chemistry, this glowing beauty is the real deal. Each formulation is crafted with the wildest, and most potent plants, seeds, and oils, and it's anything but just a skincare brand.
It's a lifestyle, and a brand you want to be apart of. She lives and breathes what she creates, not only the physical product, but that of her own health, environment and inner workings - body, mind and soul.
Her potions are plant based and results driven, this alchemist is out to give you a glow.
She's also insanely inspiring, in both business, and personal life. So get ready to light that fire within. We all have the gifts within, Jenna is proof of using them, moving past fear, and sharing them with the world, whether she was ready for it or not.
Here is Jenna, LINNÉ and golden nuggets galore...
First of all, thank you so much for doing this interview with me!!! Second before we dig in, tell us a little bit about yourself and why you felt compelled to start your business + skincare line?
I had been making skincare from edible natural ingredients since the age of 10. I used to prepare masks for my little sister who had perfect pore-less 6 year old skin, just because that was my kind of play. I loved learning about the nutritional properties of produce and coming up with experimental combinations of beneficial ingredients. Fast forward 15 years and my sister had terrible cystic acne. She went through Accutane and her skin was left dry, inflamed and tender. Doctors wanted to continue to prescribe her products with a heavy toxic load, but I, now a student of botany and herbal medicine, was determined to work with my sister to find a natural solution. We iterated until we had a beautiful, balanced anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, healing face oil that has since restored health and radiance to my sister’s skin. The rewarding process of research, ingredient sourcing, formulation and experimentation organically evolved into an eight piece product line designed to safely and effectively feed the skin. After a year and half in beta, LINNÉ botanicals launched in April 2016.
What’s LINNÈ ‘S vision + mission?
We want to provide safe and effective products that bring health and radiance to skin. We hope to facilitate feelings of confidence, wellness and self-care. We also aim to empower customers to make healthier choices for themselves and the for the planet by learning more about what they are putting on their body.
How did you know you wanted to start LINNÈ and become an entrepreneur + business owner?
I’ve been freelance my entire life, and whether I was a farmer, cook, stylist or designer I was always a maker so becoming the founder of a consumer product made from plants was simply an organic evolution.
How do you stay motivated on a daily basis?
I feel really passionate about this work so its a thrill to have the privilege of running my own business each day. There is so much to do, and its a long road, so I try to just have reasonable expectations and make lists of priorities. Organizing and dividing tasks helps make things more manageable.
Are you always thinking about your business, career, releasing new content and growing?
Yes! Well maybe not every moment, I like to be present when with family and friends…though my boyfriend says that I occasionally will snap back into work-mode. He is mostly very impressed and totally supportive of my unwavering dedication, though Im sure it can also be a bit annoying.
On that note, is this a 24/7 job and commitment? (I think this is what people are fearful of!)
About two years ago my mother heard on the radio that a true entrepreneur wakes up and goes to sleep thinking of their business. At the time of the broadcast I was not operating that way, but now, I think its fair to say, its always in the back of my mind. With that said, Im about to go on an 8 day ski vacation because taking a break is vital. Im sure I’ll do a bit of work every day while out there, but I will make exercise in the great outdoors among good friends the priority.
Where do you find your inspiration to continually stay relevant and authentic to your vision?
I live in New York City where there is so much stimulation and inspiring activity. My exposure here and the incredibly ambitious people I meet keep me on point. Having a mission statement and brand guide allows me to explore new ideas while maintaining true to my message. We are still in the early days and experimenting a bit but as we grow it will be important to maintain strong brand definitions and remain authentic in a world of short lived trends.
I know so many entrepreneurs who have all these ideas and desire to start a business / release a product, but they are fearful and have no idea where to start! It can be overwhelming. How did you move past this and what obstacles arose from the process? What would you tell someone in this place?
Find mentors, advisors, like businesses and learn whatever you can. Listen to everyone and make your own decisions from there.
Are you ever really ready to go solo and become an entrepreneur? Or are the people who are actually doing and living it simply taking action? (as you did with LINNÈ !!!)
I think as long as you are incredibly passionate, committed to hard work and see a need in the market, there is no reason to not give it a try. You can start small, with little financial commitment, and test your idea/project/product. Allow it to shape accordingly and be open to the opinions of others- you may set out with one task and find another one to be a lot more viable. Being open and flexible is exciting and it allows doors to open that you didn’t even know were there.
Who are your biggest mentors / sources of inspiration?
Scientists, chefs, artists and my super talented friends.
Favorite book on business?
Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger (ed note: I have this on my shelf, and yet to read it! You've given me the push Jenna!)
Favorite podcast for inspiration / business / living your dream? (I’ve become obsessed with podcasts since the New Year)
Gosh, I’d love to hear your recommendations! (ed note: Yes, of course!!!
Top 5 Favorite Foods you eat daily?
I start my day with a smoothie, that includes an arsenal of superfoods including a combination of raw and frozen organic fruit, at least a few sources of blue-green algae, homemade activated seed or nut milk, and several powders including moringa and maca.
I would love to eat a perfect avocado everyday but sometimes I dont, and sometimes they aren't so perfect ;) I also like to eat of lot of greens and the variety changes based on whats in season. Other than a smoothie and a daily quota of greens I try to keep a lot of variety in my diet.
Are there any foods that you try to stay away from?
I try to avoid processed sugar, but occasionally enjoy a dark piece of chocolate.
Top 3 favorite foods to indulge in?
Pasta! Pasta!! Pasta!!!
Favorite way to sweat?
I love skin and I'm fascinated with how people maintain their 'glow' (which you have!) What are your Top 5 favorite skincare products or procedures (facials, treatments, etc.)?
Quality diet including frequent hydration with water and vegetable juices
Bi-weekly dry brushing to promote circulation and lymph drainage, and then a bath with epsom and dead sea salts.
Weekly face exfoliation with Scrub Face Mask to dislodge dead skin cells that clog pores and leave skin looking dull.
Head to toe coverage in oils (Repair face oil and Smooth body balm)
Yoga and other sweaty exercises
Do you take supplements? If so, what are your favorites and do you find you’re consistent with them? (In my practice, I find this the hardest part for my clients)
Yes, very consistent:
I start the day with one vial of Quinton Mineral Plasma
I take turmeric in the form of oil soluble capsules in my morning warm potion or smoothie.
I also like Vitamin D, Hyaluronic Acid, Ashwaganda, Milk Thistle, Astaxathin, Pearl, Pine Pollen, Chaga and Reishi. Some I take in capsules others I blend into drinks throughout the day.
♥ ed note: love that combo Jenna!
5 non-negotiables when it comes to your skin and self-care routine?
-No shaming allowed! The skin is an eliminating organ and we are bound to get a blemish from time to time. Thats okay! Just try to avoid picking your face- i love playing aesthetician but I have to try to avoid extractions as I can get easily carried away!
-Listen to your skin - what works for someone else might now work for you.
-Use clean, green products whenever possible - even just olive oil from the kitchen is best in a pinch over most things available at the local drugstore.
Drink plenty of water and eat lush, juicy fruits and vegetables to support skin health and radiance. Get your beauty sleep!
Weirdest thing you do in the name of beauty?
My boyfriend thinks its funny when I use things from the fridge on my face (including expired yogurt)- but I’ve been doing it since I was a kid so I don't think its so weird at all!
How do you practice glowing from the inside out?
By eating well (lots of fresh produce, fiber, fermented foods, lots of good fats), avoiding excessive alcohol (though if you are going to do it I recommend biodynamic red wine and high quality small batch tequila/mescal), getting good sleep and exercise (I love pilates, dance, barre, yoga). But no one should be dogmatic, sometimes naughty things make us feel good and that can make you glow too ;)
Favorite plant, herb or oil for your skin?
Too impossible to choose so I’ll just say Rose Hip. The seed oil possesses a unique nutrient profile that includes Vitamins A (retinol) and E. These vitamins, in conjunction with its content of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, demonstrate scientifically-proven benefit to the skin. Most notably rose hip seed oil is known to regenerate skin cells, reduce the appearance of scars and wrinkles, and improve skin color and tone. We use a spectacular cold pressed, virgin organic rose hip seed oil in our Repair Face Oil and we use rose hip seed extract in our Renew Serum.
If you could only use one oil for the rest of your life what would it be?
How do you practice self-love?
By making beautiful meals, practicing kundalini yoga, taking long baths and by spending time outdoors.
What would you tell your younger self?
Go with the flow.
What is your true passion + purpose?
Making things, whether they be a meal, a bottle of skincare, a ceramic bowl or a handwritten note, thoughtfully crafted and with intention.
What do you do when you feel stuck or start to feel fear creeping in? (self-worth, uncertainty, financial, physical, all areas).
I try to put things in perspective and realize how far I’ve actually come, and remember all the people, and experiences for which I am thankful.
If you could only give 3 pieces of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs + people who are stuck where they are, about life, love, business and living your passion – what would those be?
Stay focused, authentic and honest
If you could wave a magical wand, what would it do?
It would resolve the climate crisis, and reset our political system.
What is greatness to you?
Being among friends and family and recognizing the mutual love, respect and admiration.
THANK YOU JENNA !!! YOU’RE SUCH A GEM AND GLOWING BEAUTY INSIDE AND OUT !!! XOXO