Along the Way with Rebekah Jensen, founder of Sanara Skincare

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This week, as part of my Along the Way Interview Series, I’m talking to Rebekah Jensen. As the founder of Sanara Skincare, a plant-based skincare line, she shares with us the ups and downs of turning your passion into your business.

The Along the Way Interview Series features kick-ass women who are putting their heart and soul into achieving their dreams. Rather than talking to those who have already “made it,” this series focuses on learning from those who are right next to us in the daily hustle of life.

Without further ado, let’s chat with Rebekah about how she pursues her vision.

You are self-taught when it comes to creating skincare products. How did you learn everything you needed to know? Was it overwhelming?

There are so many DIY skincare groups these days it’s just a matter of choosing one that fits your needs and personality.

When it came to soap making I wanted to learn about using all natural ingredients so I purchased Jan Berry’s “The Nerdy Farm Wife” natural soap making book. She is an expert and has really inspired me in using all natural ingredients.

It’s interesting that once you get deep into DIY skincare and turning it into a business everyone has an opinion of what natural is. It can get a little heated. Because I’m cognizant of others opinions I say my products are naturally derived because they are. Just like anything when learning you start out with recipe’s but then you begin to learn to formulate your own with the knowledge you gain.

I wouldn’t really say it was overwhelming. It was a curiosity that turned into a passion, then hobby, then business. The most overwhelming thing I think is thinking you have to do it all and offer every product or take in everyone’s requests. I’ve learned it all, soap making, scrubs, salt soaks, perfumery, bath bombs. I’m finally at a place where I offer what makes sense from a business standpoint.

My product line will continue to grow but for now, I’ve settled in on the 6 products that make sense for us.

What was the last time you dealt with self-doubt and how did you get yourself through that?

Last week? Seriously, last week.

The beauty and skincare business is so competitive and crowded. We launched our rebrand to Sanara in February and while I’ve been at this for years it feels like I’m starting new again. This business is not easy and my dreams are big so I know it will take time.

What gets me through it though is simple. It’s my belief in Sanara’s voice, our perspective and most importantly our products. Having a quality product is number one but if you don’t have a way to share that and gain people's’ trust and loyalty it’s for nothing. I just have to keep sharing it.

How do you stay focused?

You won’t believe it but I just recently started putting “to do’s” on my calendar to keep me on track. If I’m not able to get it done that day I push it over the next day until I get it accomplished. Being a solopreneur things pop up all the time that need my immediate attention.

Being an entrepreneur can feel like a 24/7 hustle. How do you relax and rejuvenate?

Naps. I’m known by my friends and family as a napper. I hate when people say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I’m like seriously? I’ll sleep now and look fresh and rested.

One of the best compliments I have ever received from someone was “You look so rested like you’ve had 12 hours of sleep.” I was like, “Well thank you, maybe I have?” Seriously naps are underrated.

When are you the happiest?

When I’m home with my husband and cats watching Real Housewives with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I’m pretty simple.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The best advice I was ever given was from another women entrepreneur. When we were coming up with names for our rebrand we had decided on “Lev Vel” which means live well in Norwegian. My husband is Norwegian and I really wanted to include him as my co-founder.

Well, there was another skincare company called “Level” so I asked her opinion if she thought our names were too similar. Me being stubborn I was like, it is clearly different. Looking back I knew the answer but didn’t want to admit it to myself. We had already filed for a trademark but were waiting for approval. Our labels were just about to go to print the very next week when I put it all on hold until I came up with a new name.

I was devastated, in tears actually because that name meant so much to me. My friend said, “Rebekah, you have to take the emotion out of it, it’s business and you need to change your name or you’ll regret it later on.” So, I sucked it up and changed it to Sanara which is derived from the Spanish word “sanar” which means to heal.

Honestly, Sanara is the name I was supposed to have. It makes so much more sense for my story, my culture, my perspective and our mission. And most important my trademark was approved so now I can go on without worrying that someone will file a lawsuit later on. That kind of peace is priceless. And kudos to my friend who gave me honest truth and advice even when it hurt.

Along the WayRebekah Epstein