When Rochelle Jacobs decided she wanted to join her mother, June Jacobs, in running her skincare empire she prepared and presented a PowerPoint presentation at her formal interview. “My mother said, no,” Rochelle laughingly recalls. “Thankfully, her business partner said When can you start?” This was in 1999, and mother and daughter are now partners in June Jacobs.
Grew up in the beauty biz
Rochelle’s professional background was on Wall Street, but the beauty business was in her DNA. “I grew up in beauty. My mother has been involved since I was born. I was very involved from being a product tester as a young teenager all the way up until I was actually employed.”
Impressed by Mom’s achievements
While working at Viacom, she would stop at her mother’s Rockefeller Center office after work. “She was doing everything by herself, and I was just blown away at how hard she worked, but also at how small the business was and how much potential it had.”
Jumped right in with new innovations
Rochelle was immediately able to translate her business skills to the beauty industry. The year she joined, they set up their own manufacturing facility, June Jacobs Labs, where they make all of their own products. “We stole all the chemists from the labs where they were working, big organizations catering to the L’Oréals and Estee Lauders of the world. And we were such a small brand, no one wanted to fill orders for us because there was always a bigger run ahead of us.” She found it very exciting. The facility gave them the agility to bring their cutting edge ingredients to market quickly.
More successes launching in hotels & Sephora China
Along the way, Rochelle spearheaded projects that led to the company’s growth, such as entering the competitive spa industry with June Jacobs products in high-end oasis such as Canyon Ranch, Pebble Beach, and in all Grand Hyatt Hotels worldwide. 2015 was an extraordinary year, with June Jacobs cosmetics launching in Sephora stores across China. Rochelle had to build teams there to make sure it all rolled out smoothly and learn what Chinese consumers want. “Having 200 doors in one country, it’s definitely a different business model.”
She also oversaw a rebranding of the full product line, organizing them into eleven collections based on their benefits, such as hydrating or anti-aging and updating the packaging. June Jacobs drives the innovation, and daughter Rochelle takes over from there. “Once we have a product, I am then of course the guinea pig. I make sure everything feels good and does what it’s supposed to do.”
Working with Mom is challenging
Working with her mother is “horrible half the time,” Rochelle jokes. “She’ll give me a list of let’s say 20 things. ‘Did you do this, where are we with all these different things?’ And then she’ll look at the time. ‘Why aren’t you home with your kids?’”
Charity, family, daredevil
Rochelle is an active board member for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and the Dubin Breast Center at Mt. Sinai. She has two sons, Jake and Luke, loves outdoor activities like skiing and hiking, and is something of a daredevil. “I was in Austria for a wellness summit a year ago and I jumped off a mountain, and it was probably the highlight of my life at this point. I went paragliding. It was so much fun.”