BEAUTY is business for LALICIOUS founder Jessica Kernochan, and for 12 years she’s been the driving force behind the bath and body line she and her husband created. In an industry when products are here today, gone later-that-day, it’s truly a feat. Kernochan’s biggest focus with LALICIOUS is on the quality of ingredients — like macadamia nut oil, cucumber, honey, and shea butter. This is one of the main factors that separates them from the other bath and body beauty brands and has been one of their keys to longevity. Even though LALICIOUS has been successful and even been featured on QVC (the big guns!), Kernochan isn’t done yet! While she’s mum on her new developments, she has something up her sleeve that we will all be watching and waiting for. Lady Clever had a chat with this bath and body babe about the challenges of working in the beauty business, building her brand and being a supermom.
What inspired you to start LALICIOUS?
Over 12 years ago, when the marketplace was full of dense and oily scrubs that were a mess to use, I decided to create something new – an indulgent, yet efficacious, body scrub that leaves the skin incredibly moisturized, polished and glowing. The result was a product formulation that was so unique no manufacturer could replicate the innovative texture and unbelievable performance, so we opened up our own manufacturing facility.
How do you balance your creative duties with the business side of your company? Does one side tend to overtake the other?
I believe my business is my outlet to showcase creative flare, and it’s this creative thought process that has made the business successful. You have to have equal measures of both, creativity with a business savvy mind-set. There are so many bath and body lines out there, if you don’t bring something different or unique to market and continuously evolve, then there is a bigger chance of getting lost in the crowd. This is where creativity is important. Luckily for me, my husband has an astute business head and is heavily involved in the brand; together we have a great formula for balance!
You work closely with your husband at LALICIOUS. Does your professional life ever cross into your personal one or vice versa? What are some challenges and benefits you’ve had working with your spouse?
There are always challenges and benefits when you are living AND working with your spouse but, because we started this adventure of ours together, from the very beginning, we have always been excited to see what comes next. One day we are trying to figure out how to fit the 100,000 pieces of a new component in our overstocked warehouse and the next day we have QVC wanting to sell our products! We never know when our day is going to be filled with amazing possibilities. To answer your question, yes, our professional life always crosses into our personal and vice versa because LALICIOUS is part of of who we are, enjoyably!
Is LALICIOUS your first entrepreneurial endeavor?
Prior to LALICIOUS, my background was within operations in various industries. When I started LALICIOUS, I knew the basics for running a company, which enabled me to embrace my first entrepreneurial endeavor — and I haven’t looked back! I had no idea I was going to end up developing and running a successful bath and body company. Every day presents lessons and learnings, even though I try and live in the moment I have also learned is to adopt a “life-long learning” attitude. I don’t dwell on the negative, I truly believe in positive thinking!
What has been the biggest challenge starting and running LALICIOUS?
There are many challenges to starting and running a company! Space was certainly an issue in the beginning. When we first started this business in 2002, the products were all manufactured out of my house. When we got our big break it was our first $50,000 order and we just about fell over. We quickly had to find a warehouse large enough for manufacturing needs, hire ten people to help fill orders, and get enough ingredients and components to fill the order in 3 weeks. It’s inevitable obstacles will present themselves at one point or another, but we have had great success with our products — people truly become addicted to LALICIOUS once they have been introduced to the brand! Fundamentally, if you have a great product, I believe you can work through any challenge.
What has been LALICIOUS’s biggest success to date?
So many things! Our first account, buying our 5,500 sq. ft. warehouse, having a spread in Lucky Magazine with my picture, being in Oprah Magazine, being on QVC, my kids coming to work with me, having a flexible schedule, having amazing people working for us and of course all the smiles LALICIOUS puts on people’s faces! Priceless.
What are your current goals for LALICIOUS?
When it comes to goals, I like to start by acknowledging the present and appreciating what you have right now! Seeing and digesting what’s immediately before you, I believe, helps to shape your future goals. LALICOUS has some incredible innovation in the works! All I can say is “watch this space,” because it will be a game-changer. I cannot say anymore… for now.
What qualities about LALICIOUS are the most important for you to maintain?
To always use the highest-quality, naturally-derived ingredients in all of our products. I am very passionate about the power of scent, which is why I have to love every fragrance that is brought into the line. We also manufacture our sugar scrubs in-house and it’s very important to me that we have that quality control.
What is the biggest misconception about working in the beauty business?
It isn’t a fluffy, wishy-washy industry. The beauty industry is devised of intensely creative and intelligent individuals. The beauty industry is actually one of the only industries that didn’t suffer dramatically during the economic dip a few years ago. What this tells you is that the business of beauty is truly a woman’s vice! We don’t want to live without our beauty products, and I am proud to be a part of this powerful industry!
What is the best piece of advice you received as a woman starting her own business?
You better believe 1000% in it because you will have to be out there selling it!
Have there been any gender-specific challenges you’ve faced being women in business?
Actually, no. Working in beauty, I think being a woman plays very much to my advantage! I know my field and I know women! We all want great-looking skin that feels nourished and healthy. I maintain this goal always — when devising business plans to product development — always linking back to the LALICIOUS product philosophy: offering women the luxurious tools to beautiful-looking skin.
What to you is the most fun part of your job?
I’m at my desk most of the time but I really love getting testimonials or emails from random people telling me how much they love LALICIOUS. That’s when you know all the hard work has paid off! In an oversaturated industry like the beauty industry, how do you stand out among so many products? We have been a “word of mouth” company since the beginning and what that tells me is that we have some amazing products that people don’t want to run out of. We also hired a PR firm that understands our brand and company goals. 13 years later we are still around with a fresh new look which helps keep things updated and exciting!