Meet Jennifer Brodeur, Teacher-Turned-Entrepreneur and Founder of JB Skin Guru
Jennifer Brodeur has had a hand in many different areas of the skin-care industry. First, she started as a teacher of skin chemistry and procedures and then she helped co-create the LED light therapy machine Max+, all before founding her brand JB Skin Guru. Ahead, we learn more about her career evolution over the years (including the VIP client she gained in the process), how her holistic lifestyle influenced her brand and what her daily skin-care routine is (which might surprise you even more than the VIP client).
Can you tell us a little bit about your career path and background?
When I first decided to get into the skin-care world it was never to give facials. My curiosity was always from a more scientific perspective. I wanted to understand the causes of skin issues and how a topical ingredient could actually make a change, if at all. I started my career as a teacher and taught physiology of skin chemistry, skin analysis and various skin-care procedures for seven years before embarking on this crazy journey of being an entrepreneur. In 2003, I co-created the Max+, a non-invasive LED light therapy machine that works with skin, not against. Once I began offering facials with Max+, my career changed completely. The success of the machine led me to launch my JB Skin Guru and my inaugural skin-care collection, Peoni, which debuted in 2016.
What inspired you to start your own skin-care collection, JB Skin Guru?
Being a minimalist, I wanted to see what I could create for women like me who didn’t necessarily want to use a 12- or 15-step skin-care regimen. I also wanted to work with ingredients that I felt were not truly explored. My first rule is not to cause harm to the skin, and all of my products follow it. Through my skin-care collections, I feel I am telling my story and connecting with like-minded women.
What was the hardest part about transitioning your career from teacher to entrepreneur?
Being a teacher with all the security that came with it was a true blessing. To leave all of that behind and start a business in 2003 with three daughters was challenging and extremely bizarre for many people to understand.
You’ve worked with some pretty big clients. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
As the collapse of the economy was affecting Max+ in 2009, I made some big decisions. One of those was opening a skin-care clinic to ensure we could pay the bills. We had three major distributors go bankrupt within days of each other, so starting business at that time was not for the faint-hearted. Opening Bella was instrumental as it got me back into the treatment room. We had a skin bar, Max+ LED facials and no skin-care menu, only one facial, the Bespoke that was tailored to your needs. I brought in so many skin-care lines that were not available yet in Montreal from Tata Harper, Odacité, Ilia, Soapwall and Vapour. This is back when the Detox Market was still a popup in Toronto.
All of these moments brought me to my clients. I never sought them out, which I think makes a big difference. I was approached by a colleague in L.A. who told me that a VIP client wanted to meet to discuss the Max+ machine. When the call came, even I was surprised to learn that the VIP was Oprah Winfrey. She has been a huge supporter of the Max+ and the JB Skin Guru collection — even putting our first at-home skin-care regimen on her favorite things list during our first year of business. I am honored to take care of all of my clients, however, I don’t define myself by them. I never wanted to be known as “the Facialist of…” but rather as the facialist they choose and keep around for my knowledge and integrity.
How does your holistic lifestyle influence your beauty routine and your brand?
Having been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2002, I have been green and gluten-free for years. My holistic lifestyle affects every decision I make, from the clothes I purchase to the bed I sleep in. It has also opened me up to a different way of approaching skin-care. The beauty industry is one of the most damaging to the planet and I don’t want to be part of the problem.
I am constantly questioning how we can do more, essentially it starts with education. Educating women on the importance of sleep, ingredients and how the skin has so much to say. When we better understand, then we can make skincare choices that are not based on the fear of aging for example. Aging is inevitable, we cannot stop it from happening. We need to change the narrative.
Can you tell us a little bit about your skin-care routine?
And if you had to pick just one, what’s your favorite JB Skin Guru product?
L’extrait – the peoni face oil is the heart of the Peoni line!
Photo: Andréanne Gauthier