A morning with Jane Wurwand

| August 30, 2011 | Comments (0)

Jane Wurwand is the Founder and Owner of Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute post graduate training centers, and recognized worldwide as a key innovator who not only developed the industry’s number one professional brand, but who has changed the nature of the skin care profession itself through her example and leadership. Today, Dermalogica has grown to become the leading professional skin care brand, used by more than 75,000 skin therapists in over 80 countries around the world.


Two core concepts guide the growth of the brand, as embodied by Jane herself: the transcendent power of human touch, and the far-reaching effects of education. These dual qualities have not only shaped the success of Dermalogica, but also provided a social blueprint for women’s financial success in every country and economy.


Les Nouvelles Esthetiques had the pleasure of attending the Jane Wurwand seminar and caught up with her for a brief interview thereafter.


What is Dermalogica’s philosophy to success?


Our unswerving focus is the key. We have resisted the interesting temptation of diversifying into fragrance and colour cosmetics, or a hair care line.


Our focus also has kept us as authentic as possible to our entrepreneurial roots. In some sense, my mantra is one of minimalism. I appreciate economy, not just in the financial sense. We try to run our business like a martial arts exercise: the fewer moves the better, no wasted energy, and no showing off.


What is your personal philosophy for a successful life?

It gets back to authenticity. Sometimes it takes awhile to find it.


Placing yourself into activities and a way of being which reward you on a deep level, in your work and your relationships, is key.


The other key is meaningful engagement. American society, and perhaps urban, industrial society in general, is extremely isolated and isolating. We are now, as a civilization, removed from our families, from our extended families, from our clans, from our tribes, from our original places.


My definition of success involves engaging and connecting, and perhaps building your own “family” which may not be related to you genetically. This process of connecting only happens when it is fed by authenticity and self-knowing.


The FITE project is quite incredible – congratulations.  What was the initial concept and how did you chose the charity with which to be linked?


I am passionate advocate for mentoring and entrepreneurship, especially about the specific financial needs of women. Within the context of the skin care profession itself, with comparatively low set-up costs we offer many women unusual access to financial independence. This experience is further enriched, socially, culturally and politically, by the fact that 98% of all professional skin therapists are women, and that these professionals attract a clientele, which is 92% female—literally creating more woman entrepreneurs than any other industry in the world.


The future for world-economy depends upon the ability for women, especially marginalized women, to financially support themselves and their children. In January 2011, through the Dermologica foundation and in partnership with Kiva.org, we launched a global initiative to empower women worldwide called FITE – Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship.  FITE will help a minimum of 25,000 women to start or grow a business in over 57 countries around the world.


FITE draws upon this heritage of empowerment through the provision of global microloans to women entrepreneurs who otherwise would not have access to capital or credit. Dermalogica has partnered with the non-profit microfinance leader Kiva.org to help facilitate the loans through a unique website – www.joinfite.org.


The initiative will first become visible to consumers through special FITE-themed packaging for retail sizes of the brand’s five best-selling products: Daily Microfoliant, PreCleanse, Skin Hydrating Booster, Total Eye Care and Intensive Eye Repair. When the consumer goes online and enters the special numeric code printed on the FITE sleeve packaging, Dermalogica will contribute $1 USD toward the microloan for a specified, qualified recipient.


Additionally consumers may choose the world-region as well as the particular type of industry which they wish to support with their purchases, and will be able to track the ongoing business activity of the specified woman entrepreneur, as she establishes a self-sustaining stream of revenue, and ignites a multiplier effect of change that benefits families and entire communities.



Historically the spa industry has not be a focus for Dermalogica, do you think this will change in the future, considering the current wellness trend.


Dermalogica is focused on healthy skincare, and we will always support our spa stockists.  However, statistically, one has a greater chance of selling retail with a facial treatment, than a body treatment or massage.  Although we never close doors, in the immediate time frame, we are continuing our focus.


My recommendation to spas is to relook their business model and revisit their approach to retail, as they are not reaching their true full potential.


Lastly, a sneak preview of what we can expect from Dermalogica in 2012


The biggest trend of a decade ago was the use of hydroxy acids, to encourage skin cell turnover and smoother skin. These acid-technologies changed skincare. Now there is some push-back, as we discover that prolonged, heavy or reckless use of acids can sensitize and damage the skin, actually accelerating the aging process. Still, acids such as Lactic Acid are key ingredients in the modern skincare assortment.


The newer partners to these acids, along with the array of peptides, are botanical actives. These plant actives are generally soothing and calming, making them perfect formulaic partners for more aggressive ingredients in a product, such as peptides used in anti-acne and age-smart products.


The biggest trend in skincare formulation is that products used in professional treatment and homecare must complement medi spa and surgical procedures. There is no turning back: women everywhere are going far beyond their own bathrooms to confront and reverse signs of aging. This will continue to grow as a phenomenon well into the next decade.


What legacy do you personally hope to create?


Through my work in many areas of philanthropy, education and women’s business development, I wish to duplicate the skincare model, to create and support similar opportunities for women in other professions through a hand up, not a hand out.


Jane actively participates in several organizations, which serve to empower women and girls. Among these is the national non-profit 501.C.3, Step Up Women’s Network, a coalition of businesswomen dedicated to mentoring young women into self-determinism and professional success.


Other honors include her recognition by American Spa magazine as ‘The Most Influential Industry Leader’ as well as named Beauty Industry West ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2010. The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Los Angeles chapter, named Jane “Business Woman of the Year” in 2009, and in June, 2010. Jane’s leadership was documented in the company’s profile in the Harvard Business Review and was invited to become a member of the C200 [Committee of 200], a nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most influential female entrepreneurs and leaders dedicated to the advancement of women in business.


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