Gooder Podcast featuring Jennifer Norman
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Over our “human” history, the ideal of beauty has changed. Changed with times, changed with technology and changed with culture. Jennifer Norman has worked with some of the most iconic beauty brands in the market. But her personal journey has led her to the realization that beauty has been defined by a small group of people who’s definition was only skin deep.
Listen to the life lessons and learnings Jennifer draws on, to develop a fully inclusive beauty movement that includes everyone. And how Ikigai (The Japanese secret to a long and happy life.) is helping steer her Human Beauty Movement mission and personal passion to a world that longs for a truer meaning of beauty.
About Jennifer Norman:
Jennifer is the Founder of The Human Beauty Movement and the award-winning author of The Adventures of SuperCaptainBraveMan children’s book series.
After receiving her MBA from Georgetown University, she went on to pursue a 20-year career in the beauty, fashion, and natural industries working for companies like L’Oreal, Victoria’s Secret, Neutrogena and Derma E.
As an adoptee and a special needs mom, Jennifer realizes that her life’s work is all about inspiring compassion. She has decided to make it her purpose to foster inclusivity and support others with wellness, kindness, inspiration and trust.
The Adventures of SuperCaptianBraveMan – Children’s Book Series: Get to know the first and only children’s superhero book series about diversity appreciation, disability awareness, acceptance, and friendship.
The Human Beauty Movement – A new kind of company founded to support radical inclusion and wellness in the beauty industry and beyond. Our business is built to be a force for good.
Diana Fryc: Hi everyone, welcome to The Gooder podcast. As partner and CMO of retail, Voodoo and award winning branding agency I have met and worked with some of the most amazing women in the naturals industry, food, beverage, wellness, fitness. And as such, I decided to create The Gooder podcast to interview these great people and subject matter experts have them share their insights and expertise to help businesses all around the world become gooder.
Today, we get to have a special guest on Jennifer Norman, and I’m really excited to talk a little bit more about Ikigai; we’re going to talk about leading a brand through the lens of Ikigai. But before we get into it too much, I want to tell you a little bit about her. Jennifer Norman is the founder of The Human Beauty Movement and an award winning author of The Adventures of SuperCapitalBraveMan children’s book series. Let’s talk about that later. After receiving her MBA from Georgetown University, she went on to pursue a 20 year career in beauty, fashion and natural industries working for companies like L’Oreal, Victoria’s Secret, Neutrogena and Derma E. That’s how we know each other. As an adoptee and a special needs mom Jennifer realizes that her life’s work is about inspiring compassion. She has decided to make it her purpose to foster inclusivity and support others with wellness, kindness, inspiration and trust. Welcome, Jennifer. Thanks for being here today.
Jennifer Norman: It is such a pleasure to be here. I love being gooder with you.
Diana Fryc: Thank you. I got to tell you the name comes from a friend of mine that I’ve known for 20 years and it’s an old drinking word that we used to use all the time and it’s kind of like found its way into my everyday life. So here it is.
Jennifer Norman: Oh, it’s like a certain type of tequila, it’s good.
Diana Fryc: So he and I used to drink some whiskey together. We were whiskey drinkers and after the second one we started talking about instead of how great things were, we talked about how much gooder they were than other things.
Jennifer Norman: I like that better than what I used to say which was, that’s not terrible. It’s better to be gooder or than not terrible.
Diana Fryc: I’ll take that. I’ll take that for sure. Thank you. Yeah, I had such a good memory for me. But we can share that over a glass of wine some time perhaps next time we get to see each other in person.
Jennifer Norman: I know. I feel like at least on zoom we don’t have to wear the masks. We can see each other’s faces, but we are apart, aren’t we?
Diana Fryc: Yes, I know it.
Jennifer Norman: Yeah. I’m actually in Los Angeles, California.
Diana Fryc: Oh my goodness.
Jennifer Norman: Yeah, we’re a bit of a distance away.
Diana Fryc: Yeah. Are you on the hill? Are you up top?
Jennifer Norman: I’m on top of the hill.
Diana Fryc: All right, I’ve been there a few times. The views are stunning. I love that area.
Jennifer Norman: It is, especially when you’re drinking whiskey.
Diana Fryc: I’ll have to check that out. I’ll be expecting my invitation. That’s so funny.
Well, I started investigating a little bit more about you; I knew you from our time together and then of course, we’ve talked about projects here and there since your time at Derma E. But I got to know you a little bit in a different way as I was learning more about you to have you on this podcast. And there were so many different things that I could say, oh, let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about this and so I feel like we’re going to try to cover a lot today. Before we get into all the gooder stuff, let’s say start with the good stuff and that is, tell us a little bit about you. Those that have read your website know a little bit about your background already know, but for people who don’t know, Jennifer Norman, who are you and how did you get here? How’s your path to here become?
Jennifer Norman: I appreciate you asking the question and I’m always happy to share my story. And I usually start from the beginning because I think that’s the most authentic place to begin and that was when I was a baby, I was actually an abandoned child and I always say, well, my life could have stopped there, my life could have been so different; I could have died, I could have very easily just been left on the streets, but because of the compassion of some people that found me and took me in, and then ultimately brought me to an orphanage, I was able to be put up for adoption and I was adopted from South Korea.
Long, long time ago by a wonderful family that lived in New York and so there I was at two years old, starting a brand new life with a new family. Mom was British, dad was Caucasian or come from the Bronx and they already had three children, but they wanted to save more children in the world. They just had such a good hearted nature about them. And then after I was adopted, they adopted two more children from Vietnam, and so we were just a hodgepodge wonderful, crazy, crazy family and we grew up. After that, I think that a lot of adoptee kids go through this period of trying to like figure out who the heck they are, like you’re kind of thrown in and it’s not something that a lot of other people can really understand as much I think. But there is this whole identity crisis like nobody else who looks like me. I’m being teased and bullied for how I look because growing up in a very Caucasian area, you just feel different everything about you and a lot of your inherent intuition is from another place and you’re not really understanding what’s going on inside.
So growing up very good and normal, typical middle class American life. I was provided everything that I could have ever wanted as a child, but yet, there was still – you grew up with just like the sense of low self-esteem and just feeling like, I should be doing more. I’m not really living the life that I should, I really feel like I need to do more. And so I developed this very, like strong competitive nature. I started doing dance class, art class, and piano lessons, accelerated in school joins just about every club that I could and just busied myself with everything trying to kind of see what like, almost like a wardrobe, seeing what fits. Then ultimately after going to college getting my MBA I found myself gravitating towards the beauty industry, I think it’s because I did have somewhat of an artistic background and I liked the idea of aesthetics and the makeup and the fashion and I kind of gravitated towards the creative side. And so interestingly enough, I started a 20 year career in the beauty industry, which essentially morphed into me escalating in different roles and also being kind of responsible for the marketing of these particular brands but also realizing the detriment of the marketing of brands. And so if you think about back in the day where beauty was all about supermodels and you had to be stick thin, and I actually worked for Victoria’s Secret for a period of time and we all know- you know what that marketing looks like. And so yeah from a super official and from a sensationalist standpoint, you really think, oh gosh, I’ve made it, I’ve made it big time. This is really what life is about. But then you recognize, gosh, doesn’t it seem shallow? It just seems like there’s got to be more to life than this.
And so ultimately, I think that I found a little bit of respite in the natural industry because it was more about the ethics, it was more about trying to do things in a better way rather than harming people. And so that started a foray into this idea of more conscientiousness in general. And fast forwarding to the point where I actually had my first son, my first and only child. He was actually diagnosed with a very rare genetic disorder at the age of two. Ironically, we all had these life changing moments at the age of two and he almost didn’t make it, he almost lost his life many times and fought through and we were able to keep them supported through a number of different modalities. And so I started to study health and wellness, and vitamins and antioxidants, and CBD and a lot of the things that are considered more alternative medicine or more holistic types of modalities, Reiki and energy, healing and bodywork and all of that stuff, as well as Western medicine. Things that he needed for seizures and things that he needed for certain things like regulate his body. Today my son is 14 years old and he’s a survivor. And so at first I always say like first and foremost I’m a special needs mom and I really feel that he has given me kind of this conduit into a greater sense of what our purpose here is in life which is about love and health and wellness and being compassionate towards each other.
And so really, I think that I found my life’s calling through a series of steps in iterations in my life from the time that I was adopted to going into the beauty industry to discovering conscientiousness and then also with raising my son, and he’s highly susceptible. He’s one of those immune compromised kids that have to be very careful about with COVID right now and we understand, and we’re of the camp that there are things that happen in this world that may seem beyond our control, but they’re all life lessons and really look at everything about this makes you stronger. This is teaching us something and this is something to be grateful for as we’re going through it.
In the last year, I decided to start the human beauty movement, really, as a culmination of all of that. It was really to focus on radical inclusion. It’s not about the skin color that you have, as we’re seeing now, this is so, so important. It’s not about what your race is, it’s not about your age, it’s not about your sex or gender or who you love. It’s not about your abilities, it’s really giving everybody the equal opportunity to be able to be well, and to understand that they are beautiful, that they are beautiful inside and out, and I want to be able to help shine that light to help more people recognize that beauty. And so yeah, it’s a movement. I like to kind of think about it as not necessarily the old stodgy corporation because I think the idea of the monolithic corporation is kind of a dinosaur right now. It’s really all about human to human touch points about us communicating and being able to see each other truly, and for me as a human to do my best to help another person in the world be the best human that they can be.
Diana Fryc: I think you’re answering a lot of the questions that I was like, how did you know why is the human beauty movement — like why is it important for you now and why is now the right time? I think you already have answered that but in the context of what’s happening within our society right now, it’s very interesting. What’s been happening like with the BLM movement; has that had any influence? Is it accelerating you? Is it giving you a different perspective? Are you or do you feel like you are able to help be that agents of change for certain people talk a little bit about that.
Jennifer Norman: Yeah, I will say that you’re exactly right. When I first started this, it was really that I wanted to build a better beauty company. That was really like the initial thought and certainly things evolve as you recognize the importance of what you’re doing, and I don’t know if I even realized the importance of what I was doing, back when I first conceived of it, which was beauty and wellness for all. It was really just thinking that that was something where I could put my stake in the ground and be as authentic to who I am as a person, and with my story, be able to project what I felt was important. But then over time, understanding what COVID has done, as far as people really starting to understand, wow, a lot of these petty things that I used to care about, a lot of things that used to be important, and I used to stress out over those really important things that I needed to stress out over this is not something to stress out over. It’s like is my family going to be safe, am I going to be healthy, am I going to have a living and like, it really just boils things down on the nozzle hierarchy, if you can try to not stress about it, and we’re all kind of taken to a very base level of just trying to survive.
With Black Lives Matter, absolutely, and it was interesting because as part of my movement, I decided to start a book, to write a book and I started writing this book in March before Black Lives Matter, before George Floyd, before the whole Amy Cooper incident, before this all began. But the book was essentially based on the fact that we are judged by the way that we look from the outside; what our skin color is, whether we’re Asian or not, whether or not we wear a certain fashion or not, people will cast judgments on us and what that does to us from a mental wellness perspective from a self-esteem perspective. And so I really felt that that was important to kind of get into a book and then write about what I had done over time to try to overcome those particular self-esteem issues as judgments and really try to kind of master up the strength that I had from within.
And I thought that that would be helpful to share with others, and then Black Lives Matter happened. And I was like, “Oh my Gosh, this could not be more urgent.” And so the book is called; You are beautiful. The guide to happiness in life falls apart. And it’s in editing right now, but I’m hoping to get it published soon. But as far as the human beauty movement goes, I all of a sudden, almost with every day that has been passing in 2020 have recognized that this is something that is important and I’m hoping that once people hear about that they will be able to align with, be part of the conversation, support. And right now we’re starting small, but we’re on Facebook, we’re on Instagram, I’ve got my website, and we’re starting a YouTube channel as well.
But it’s really all grounded in a spirit of benevolence. And I hope that people to understand the truthfulness behind that because I think that there are a lot of companies; the white washers and the green washers, we’ve all seen them in the National Day, which are doing it because they think it’s going to be lucrative for them. I think the market is there and they think that this is the way that I’m going to make money because the national industry is booming, the ethical industry is booming. But truly I’m in this for the long haul, I set up the human beauty movement as a benefit corporation, which is going to be Corp certification, which is essentially very stringent criteria to make sure that you’re delivering back to society a benefit that is equal, if not more important than your financial model. And so never will a decision be made for the short term gain. Never will I say well, oh, if I cut this corner, then I will make more money in the short end and I’ll be able to deliver on this projection. That’s not even as important as saying, am I doing the right thing? Is this like, help the consumer? Is this honest? Is this truthful? Is this the best thing that I can do? And make sure that I’m giving back not only to the consumer but also to the planet.
Diana Fryc: Is that what you’re trying to accomplish with the human beauty movement?
Jennifer Norman: Yeah, I think about the human beauty movement as a way to help people really work on themselves from within. It’s not about trying to find a lot of external factors in order to complete you. It’s really all about really trying to help build up that person and their feelings of self-esteem and self-worth and self-empowerment from within and doing things in the right way. And so being mindful about sustainability and ecological regeneration, being mindful about the companies that I support with my supply chain and making sure that they’re giving their people fair wages and that they have good practices as far as hiring for diversity, I literally am a pain in the butt with all of my suppliers because I asked them a million questions to make sure that. Because I want to make sure that the economy is propagated by good company, not ones that are going to be shortchanging people or the planet. And so I think the more that other companies can sign on and do this, then we will end up in a more sustainable, long run for our kids and their kids.
Diana Fryc: Well, yeah, I think everybody on the planet is getting a little bit of a lesson in how supply chain like just how and where we get our stuff, whether it’s food or TVs or whatever, how profits have created. That’s part of the reason why we have this illness going on is because, and why the economy is getting so impacted. So really, I like your perspective around the B Corp, we ourselves are just, we’re one step away from that. So I can appreciate the work that goes into going through the B Corp certification. It’s pretty rigorous.
Jennifer Norman: Yes, yes. And I think it’s one that has such high regard for a reason. We do that at the auditing, they make sure that it’s not just certification for sale.
Diana Fryc: You’re going to walk the walk, not just talk the talk?
Jennifer Norman: Yeah.
Diana Fryc: Well, so I feel like this is a little bit of a natural transition. I have done a little bit of work, or a little bit of research on Ikigai and from what I understand like a lot of what you’re already talking about scenes influenced by that mindset, which comes from first?
I’m not quite sure. But let’s talk about Ikigai it. Can you share what it is in a simple way and why you’ve adopted it and how you’re growing your business and coaching people through it?
Jennifer Norman: Yeah, absolutely. And I will say that I’ve only stumbled across the concept of Ikigai this year. So didn’t really move in actually predates that, but I think that once I discovered the concept of Ikigai, I found it extremely practical and helpful. And so I thought that it would be helpful from just a mentorship standpoint to share it with as many people as I possibly could, so that it might in turn, help those people as well. And in doing that, what I actually put together are just a couple of slides, if you don’t mind, I’m actually going to share them with you and your podcast audience and because I think that it’s probably easier illustrated rather than me just kind of talking about it.
You pronounced it correctly Ikigai is pronounced like with a smile, Iki and Gai. And this is a word that actually came out of Okinawa. The concept of Ikigai was discovered because Okinawans have the highest concentration of Centurions on the planet, there are more people that are happy, and feeling fulfilled in their lives and living well past 100. And so, all of a sudden, they became the focus of a lot of study. The study of the concept of Ikigai was one of those things that actually came out of studying the Okinawan culture and way of life in this part of Japan. And so, essentially Ikigai is the joining of two words, which doesn’t translate perfectly well in English, but essentially, the Iki is to live or it’s your reason to live, and then Gai is your reason for being. And so I boil it down to Ikigai being your life’s work.
Now, a lot of people will debate about whether or not Ikigai is all about your career or whether it’s something more? I like to think about it more on the fundamental level of career and the work that you do to make a living. Because I believe that from a spiritual perspective, our reason for being is so much greater than our work. It’s really more about our purpose of love and light and all of those things. But right now, especially with so many people being displaced because of COVID-19 and for a number of different reasons where there are college students coming out and not having jobs and not being able to know where to go, where to turn what to do. I think that this is helpful to many people just enabled, kind of map out where they could potentially find fulfillment. And so there are four key elements of Ikigai. The first is, what do you love? What do you love doing? Or what are the things that you love? And the second one is, what are you good at? Or what could you become good at. The third is what the world needs and then the fourth is what you can get paid for. And so when you combine all of these things together, you kind of create this Venn diagram, if you will. And you can see where the shapes are moving. Smack dab in the center, is where you’re going to find Ikigai. And so it is the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for.
What happens is that some people will be, focusing more on one or two of these things, maybe three if they’re lucky, but very seldom do you get to all four or recognize and realize that you’re getting to all four. And so I just wanted to kind of walk through what happens when that occurs.
The first thing is that if you are able to find what you love and what you’re good at, we call that a passion. It’s like I have a passion for sewing or I have a passion for music or I have a passion for art, I have a passion for this. But you may not necessarily be getting paid for that and it might not necessarily be what the world needs. So the key here is how do I figure out how to make money doing this because money is also an element of wellness because if you’re not financially well, then it’s hard to be well in other ways, isn’t it? And then if you are able to discover what you’re good at, and then what you can get paid for we call that a profession.
And so it may not necessarily be what you love or what the world needs, but it’s kind of what you’re doing. And so the key here is what can we do to try out new things and find something that you love doing?
The next thing is if you’ve discovered what the world needs, and then what you can get paid for, we call that a vocation. So perhaps that is, you’re a nurse, you’re a teacher, or something to that sort, or what the world needs. But there might be a sense of honor here, you might feel bored, you might feel stale, because it’s not really what you love, or maybe not necessarily a good at. So, the nice thing to do here is to challenge yourself, keep yourself stimulated and see if you can start gravitating or pulling in what you love and what you’re good at or before you turn it into what you love and what you’re good at so that it’s more fulfilling.
Lastly, if you’ve discovered the intersection of what you love, and then what the world needs, then you have a mission. And the thing here is that you can get better at this craft so that you can get good at it and that ultimately it’s something that you can also become paid for. So it’s nice to kind of think about these little quadrants here, as different aspects of where you might just intuitively be situated within this Venn diagram no matter where you are, in your career right now. And then you’ll notice that there are these little tiny subsets you’re so close to your Ikigai, but there are like, there is this like, I’ve numbered them 1, 2, 3 and 4, because it’s like you are just scratching the surface and unfortunately, some people get so close and then they give up they have no idea how close they are, and they feel just like that then they kind of give up right at the finish line. So I just wanted to talk a little bit about these areas, because sometimes people can relate more to the sentiment or the feeling that they have on their faces and be able to identify them there.
The first area is you’ve got what you love, you got what you’re good at and you’ve also got what you can get paid for, but you’re missing what the world needs. And so you’re satisfied, but you feel useless because you feel like nobody needs what you want or you just feel like there’s something the bigger picture is missing there. So if that’s you, that’s where you’re sitting and, and maybe there’s a way to kind of bring back in like how the world can use what you have or make it more apparent either through word of mouth or any way of awareness for people to recognize and for you to gain that recognition and for you to actually be able to expand what you’re doing to more people. So if you feel satisfied, but feeling of uselessness, focus on what the world needs and then you might get there.
Okay, part two, you’ve got what you love, you’ve got what you’re good at, you’ve got what the world needs, but you’re not getting paid for it. It’s the starving artist. And so you feel really good, you love what you’re doing but you’re poor, you’re broke. So if that’s you, finding ways to actually get paid and it’s interesting sometimes in the conscious community I find sometimes in the natural space, when people look at money, almost like a dirty word, and I can understand that because it tends to be the root of all evil, but it is a necessary thing within the 3d world, within the life that we’re living in. So do not feel I would say, don’t feel shy about declaring your goodness and what your value is. A lot of people just they’re shy about what they’re worth and so that’s where this game can be stepped up.
And then I jump to number four. But this is what you can get paid for, what you’re good at and what the world needs. But you’re missing what you love and so it’s like you feel empty. Some people are really rich, but they feel like, gosh, there’s just this hole in their life, they’re devoid of love of what they’re doing. Yes they’re comfortable; they’ve got all the money that they need in the world and so it’s kind of like, what can they do to operate what they love.
And then three, the reason why I left this one, even though it’s number three, I left this one to last is that what the world needs, what you love and what you can get paid for is a really good place to start. Like if you are a new person just coming out of college or if you’re deciding to start a new career, and if you were thinking about using Ikigai as a tool, this I’ve discovered, is a really, really good place to start.
And the reason why is that, number one, it’s fact that more millionaires are made through entrepreneurship than any other way and the entrepreneur mindset is what does the world need? What can I bring out that the market is; there’s a new gap out in the market that I can fulfill with what I love, what I get and what I’m good at, and therefore get paid for it. And so I think that if you’re really looking to try to start, it’s always helpful to start with what the world needs, and then what you can get paid for because what you’re good at is something that you develop over time. These are skills that you are essentially able to perfect and refine and with the speed, with which the world is changing, sometimes skills become obsolete very quickly with technology and so you have to constantly refurbish and renew and replace that. And so it becomes almost like a lesson in adaptability, to be able to say, okay, what I was doing before, is not going to take me where I want to go. And so you know, being able to say, gosh, this is a step change in my life, I’m going to have to change something, it might be time to take a new course, there might be time to kind of DIY and teach yourself something new. There are plenty of opportunities online to like, learn a whole new skill or a new profession. And then what we’ve discovered is that you can fall in love with what you’re doing when you become good at it and so, that’s why it’s kind of like if you kind of start with what the world needs and go counter clockwise around the curve, that tends to be almost like a shortcut hack to success, if you will and so hopefully that was helpful.
Again, Ikigai; what is your life’s work? What would you like to do that would ultimately help you feel the most fulfilled and accomplished with what you’re doing. And more and more what I’m seeing the world needs is more companies that are doing good for good bye goods and so yeah, as far as Ikigai and how I’ve kind of become reflective of using that for to what I’m doing. What I’m doing as far as my Ikigai is inspiring compassion and so everything that I am doing to focus around beauty, wellness, kindness, inspiration, trust, all of those things that you kind of mentioned at the very beginning, is really a result of me being able to find my Ikigai and blaze a path. And, yeah, like I said, it’s a process. It’s not like you discover your Ikigai and boom! Everything is happy and wonderful. It is a lifelong journey. It’s something that you have to kind of enjoy the ride while you’re going through it. You can’t like continuously look at to like, well, gosh, I’m only here and I know I need to get there and I’m giving up because it’s just too hard. It’s enjoying every moment as we go along.
Diana Fryc: There’s a couple of things that I saw, first of all, I love that Ikigai does something different than I have seen with other kind of now grounded, I’ve not seen other like every philosophy underneath a planet or every kind of just kind of way of being but what I love about is the acknowledgement of the feelings as part of it, because most other things are very tactical. You do this, this is the outcome, you do this, and this is the outcome. And the Ikigai incorporates the feelings because I think that’s where most people get hung up. That’s when the quitting happens because they don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. Am I supposed to be feeling like I’m making progress and we all know that change is really hard. And oftentimes, the road of change is challenging. Like because you’re learning new stuff. You’re challenging the way you think about things, the way you feel about things, what you believe about things. So I’m inspired by that, and I would love for you to send that over to me because I would like to introduce it to my team if that’s all right.
Jennifer Norman: I will be more than happy to and you’re right. I think that in business in particular, a lot of times we are taught to put feelings on the wayside. It’s all about just being very pragmatic, very empirical, very cut and dry and I think that the world is shifting and people. I often talk about it as like bring your whole self to work, all of the innards, all the heart, the soul, the emotions like that is when you can truly be yourself. And I feel like too many times in the past have people been boxed into corners because they weren’t enough this or they weren’t enough that that needs to fit a mold.
I don’t want people to fit the mold, I want people to feel that they are who they are and that they don’t have to, the fact that they are uniquely themselves and have these feelings and emotions is so important and vital to their own happiness and their wellness and what they can bring them bring to the table. And so what happened in the past and I’m sure it’ll continue but we’ll feel something and we don’t really know how to put our finger on it and so we rationalize why we feel that way. So it’s kind of like, well, obviously my boss doesn’t appreciate me or you kind of feel these things and look for kind of boilerplate reasons as to why you might get happier why you might feel unsettled or dissatisfied and things like that. And so, let’s honor those feelings for what they are. Let’s not try to rationalize them, but let’s work through them in order to get used to a place where you can kind of get past the dark clouds.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, or the other way. I mean, like, there’s exciting change too. And sometimes we can let that drive us more like, “Oh, I’m excited about this, therefore, I need to keep going in that direction.” And I think we give feeling so much power and because they physically impact our body versus rational thinking, rational thinking, doesn’t make our body feel a particular way, but feelings do. And so I really appreciate that Ikigai approach. And what’s so interesting to me is, we worked on a brand called Loma Linda, and I believe and the diet was all based off of Blue Zone. It’s got to be possible that Okinawa must be a Blue Zone but we looked at the longevity through the lens of diet, but not necessarily philosophy. So it’s really fun to see that overlay. Like it’s not just the diet, it’s the philosophy and how people approach life and that the diet is a part of it, but it is not the whole of it.
Jennifer: Yeah, that’s fascinating and I’ve been like studying up a lot on to your point nutrition and diet and Ayurveda and a lot of the things, what are your dishes and whatnot because I think that these are all very interesting concepts in order to arrive at self improvement, frankly, it’s really not so point out, “Oh, I’m terrible here and terrible.” It’s really, “Okay, this is the type of body I have. This is the type of sensibility that I have. And these are things that I can work on.” And becoming really in tune with why organic nutrients are important, why super foods are so important because these are living things and you’re bringing into your body and so, even a lot of Hindus won’t go to a restaurant because they don’t know the intention with which the food was cooked because they believe that energy transfers into the food. And so depending on the level of your belief system and all of that and it’s a wide range certainly some people don’t care and they’ll just have the closest fast food that they want and they’ll survive, but really kind of having more intense and understanding about what you’re surrounding yourself like putting in your body, the energies or the way that these things make you feel, the music that you’re listening to, the people that you’re hanging out with, it all has a real impact on your wellness, on your healthfulness, on your outlook and your own feeling about yourself.
And then certainly with social media, I often say no, there’s that dopamine serotonin aspect of like, “Oh, how many likes did I get?” And then you start getting hungry and feeding on those sorts of egoistic types of things which are more, like I said, it’s more physical than really like, like your true self and your emotions. And so, yeah, it can be a little dangerous when you start, like, taking feelings at face value for like those impulsive things or somebody made a mean comment and now my life is over and I feel depressed and I like my day is over. And so being able to kind of recognize those highs and lows in between and be able to kind of dismiss what isn’t important because they have no basis on you as a person, it’s really just people in their own feelings amongst themselves. It becomes a real almost like exercise in navigating in what you’re doing today.
Diana Fryc: Yeah, that’s really great. I’m going to spend a little bit more time learning about now is such a great time for people to be doing this anyways.
Things are changing. So like kind of follow the energy if you are able and willing to just kind of go, “Oh, here’s a tool that might be able to help me determine, am I at the right place? Am I doing the things that really bring me joy? Am I doing things that make me happy or are helping my community or my family, whatever?” So I love that set of tools. Thank you for sharing that with us.
Jennifer: Welcome. Yeah, I think about people who, maybe in life were dictated what their occupation was going to be or even beyond that, it’s like, who they’re going to marry, who they’re supposed to be, and it’s like typecasting and it’s not really intrinsically who they are or what they love, or what they want. And, I feel compassion and empathy for those people because they’re living a life that’s not their own necessarily, and so the more willing and able that we can be to support others back to themselves, frankly, is I think a better way to be.
Diana Fryc: So this is kind of a new phase of your life, this Ikigai influence. Have you seen it change the course of the human beauty movement at all? Or do you feel like you actually you’re in alignment? You were surprised or can you marry those up a little bit?
Jennifer: Yeah, for sure. I definitely have recognized that the nice thing about being an entrepreneur and not having like this massive company is that it’s very easy to adapt. And so fortunately, once I discovered Ikigai, which is a personal journey, as well as one that is going to kind of shape the way that the human beauty movement interacts with other people and the way that our messaging happens and the way that we’re communicating what our values are. There’s more incorporation of that. And I think it’s truer, I think it’s definitely something that I feel very confident is fundamentally right. And it’s something that is going to help create more success and sustainability for the company in the long run, because it’s founded on real core principles that I believe are going to help make a difference in the world. So yeah, I think that it started out as me wanting to find a way to do the beauty business better. And the way that I’ve been able to discover that through these tools and these different elements that I’m able to kind of adapt into.
Diana Fryc: Now I’ve been writing notes. That’s my new thing now doing podcasts, I just writing copious notes about everything because I’m learning so much. There’s so much that I learned ahead of time and then I learned even more during the call. So that’s fun. I have a couple more kind of off Ikigai off human beauty movement questions that I thought, well, first of all talk a little bit about super captain brave man children’s books.
Jennifer: Thank you for asking, yes, I started to write these books about four years ago. We have the last one for a year. And these were inspired by my son to essentially help teach kids at an early age about kids with disabilities, and help normalize the fact that kids may have physical or neurological differences. And so we wanted to do it in an entertaining way and so kind of taking a cue off of the kind of like our superheroes. We like to think about kids with disabilities as all sorts of superheroes rolled into one. And so that’s why we called it The Adventures of Super Captain Brave Man because he’s like all these different heroes rolled into one yeah. And so the sweet part about it is that you actually see the boy in his state, which is like his normal state, which he’s in a wheelchair, he’s got a ventilator, he’s got a tracheotomy, he eats out of jitsu. And so automatically your protagonist is somebody that’s different, but he recognizes that other kids are treating him differently. He wants to find a way to be friends with those kids and to help other kids be friends with kids that that aren’t the same. So when he dreams, he kind of goes into this dream state and alter ego which is the Super Captain Brave Man character and help other kids and interesting it’s kind of like at the end of each of the story he kind of wakes up and is like a little hint that what he would be dreams was actually true.
There’s a little bit of like dream escaping supernatural kind of stuff in it. That first book was on kind of general disability, we did a second book which was on like the signs and symptoms of awareness of Autism Awareness season, which is called the Spectrum of Love and then we also did a book to help people learn what nurses do, especially essential workers these days. This book is a really good one because it tells all the amazing things that different kinds of nurses do. So I highly recommend this one, especially now. And then we just released last year in the fall this book, which is called Down on Safari, which is about Down syndrome. We try in a very simple straightforward way, that’s for kids between the ages of three and eight years old, I would say, learn about different things to be, again to lead to a more inclusive world because when you teach them young, I do book readings at schools and things like that, and we’ve been finding that kids really are interested. They asked so many questions, they want to know like, “Well, if I come up to this person, and if I say this, is that okay?”
And it’s good conversation with their parents, because their parents would never know to bring up anything like this until it comes to a point where we’re walking down the street or somebody who says like, they’ve got a child with cerebral palsy, and people just look at them strange and tease or say something or ignore and run away because they’re scared and they don’t know what to say. So, rather than creating this situation where it could have been such a learning opportunity right then and there to be like, it was so nice to go to that person and say, “Hey, I see that you have a walker or something like that, I just wanted to say hi.” How much nicer is that to feel like they’re accepted and that you’re seeing rather than that, people are going to run away from you or be afraid to talk to you. So I think the earlier that we can teach kids about those things, the better.
Diana Fryc: Well, I love how it really connects with actually the human beauty movement. I mean, there is a natural relationship there about, we’re as different as we are the same and everybody wants acceptance, and I love how you’re addressing it at such a young age that my kids go to. Well, not anymore. My youngest is now just moved on to middle school, but the grade school that we’re in inclusivity of everything has been such a driver with the librarians, librarians in the Seattle area in particular have been both at a public and then at schools and then private schools and then also Seattle Public Libraries have been getting together and talking about the fact that representation isn’t showing up in libraries. And so there’s been a significant push to find these kinds of books, find these kinds of books for kids, because kids are interested and they want to ask questions. You look different than me, you behave differently than me, I think as adults, we have predominantly at least what I grew up with, my mother was always like, “You don’t ask people why they’re different. And so you grow up with this. You don’t ask people why they’re different.” And yet that’s the best part.
Jennifer: Yeah, there’s a feeling like, “Oh, am I just being rude?” And even people will ask me today like, “I don’t want to be rude, but can I ask you about your son?” It’s not rude. It’s totally fine. And certainly some people are different. Some people may have different tolerances for what’s considered. But my opinion is it’s better to just get it out there and say it like it’s on your mind, say it, or ask it. And don’t be afraid, you can always learn something afterwards and say like, “Well, okay, that did go over very well. Yay, I feel really good about myself because I actually engaged and I interacted.” But tell me what the name of that library is after the podcast, we are eager to try to get these books in as many schools and as many libraries, I also send them out to hospitals so that they have them in the children’s reading groups in the pediatric or ICU and things like that so that there’s some these kinds of books available for kids all over the place.
Diana Fryc: Oh, wow. Okay, that’s super fun. I didn’t expect that. Okay, I have a couple more questions. Tell me, I want to go back to the human beauty movement here?
Jennifer: We are about to launch a new brand. Knock on wood. It’ll all happen in August because COVID unfortunately, halted a lot of production and whatnot but we’re going to be launching a brand called Humanist Beauty which is going to be in May. I’m so excited about these, too proud of it. It’s going to be this amazing facial skincare line. The first products that I’m putting out are called Urban Wisdom. CBD it’s all about full spectrum whole hemp the best of the best kinds of CBD that you can get. And adaptogens plus amazing ingredients like various antioxidants omegas from your coconut oil, from your avocado, then we’ve got argon in there, we’ve got rose, and she just incredible fermented Korean oil that are in there which provide this amazing skin benefit. And so super power packed products the first item that’s going to come out is a facial oil. I am super, super excited about those. If you want, I have some samples of them here. I don’t have [inaudible 00:51:15] yet but again I’ll keep them here because I’ve got everything on my shelf on the side here.
It became extremely important for me as you can imagine to be conscientious. And so we have packages are all corrugate on the outside, and on the inside here is the oil, this is one ounce and its 500 milligrams of CBD in the sky, which is a lot. Some brands will only give you 100, sometimes it’s just seed oil, and it’s not the real stuff to begin with. So this is really, really good. And the other nice thing about this is that it’s already Leaping Bunny cruelty free, certified, non GMO, there’s lots and lots of organic and fair trade ingredients. Everything is 100% naturally derived. It’s glass, aluminum, recyclable rubber, very minimal. I’m trying to do like no plastic, I’m moving to the place where because in the beauty industry plastic it’s too many places and it’s a problem. Yeah, so we are doing our best to be as plastic free as possible even in the shipping. We also have a mini size which is adorable, it’s a half size. And then if everybody goes over right now to humanistbeauty.com, then they can sign up to get a free Deluxe sample which is like five ml and so they can get this completely free before we launch in August but if you sign up now even the shipping I will pay for the shipping. I would encourage everybody to go there.
And again, just in the spirit of inclusivity, it became important for me to try to do something above and beyond. So I decided to create these. These are biodegradable, compostable, but usable, Real ID bands that you can snap on here. They have grade two Braille on them so that if somebody is visually impaired, they would be able to know what they’re using. And then they could use this on that size and it also fits on to the mini like that. So, yeah, again, trying to be radically inclusive.
Diana Fryc: You’ll have to listen to a podcast that I recorded a few weeks ago about a packaging specialist because I asked specifically about plastics and she said in development right now are biodegradable plastics that will biodegrade within two weeks after going into a landfill.
Jennifer: That would be amazing. It’s hard. I mean, I think that if you’ve got an oil, if anything has water in it…
Diana Fryc: Yeah, that’s a little bit different for sure.
Jennifer: Outer packages, no problem. I mean, that would be amazing. I know that there are certain companies, I think [inaudible 00:54:17] is one of them that are working on some really great technologies and like, bring it on. The full entire beauty industry, I think a lot of industries are hungry for better solutions to the waste problem for sure.
Diana Fryc: Tell me interesting fact about the beauty industry that maybe those of us that aren’t in the beauty industry would be like, “Oh, I want to share this at my next cocktail hour.” Do you have something fun that you can share?
Jennifer: Wow. Yeah, it’s definitely an interesting question. I mean, I find it very interesting that the beauty industry is run by a lot of people that don’t know beauty.
Diana Fryc: That’s kind of interesting.
Jennifer: I’m sure you’re familiar with it, but I mean, there are a lot of really big companies that I have worked with that are at the top levels are people that came from other industries. They look at the beauty industry more as a commodity, rather than for the artistic appreciation and for a lot of those other qualities that we have. And so I think that if you look at past advertisements, I often noticed working in the beauty industry that there was such a difference with ads that you saw in fashion or in editorial, and then beauty because beauty was always so photo-shopped, and it was only so like, everything just looks so fakery perfect. And I think that there was this obsession, just like this idea and this notion of, what ideal beauty would look like or those people are scrutinizing the face like God forbid you see a fold or a wrinkle, I’m so happy that that has been changed now but it really started from the bottom up, not the top down. It started from people like Michelle Connor on YouTube and people just like doing these before and afters and being able to be okay and vulnerable showing their skin.
And so it was like, it was the young, it was the democratizing of the beauty industry that finally kind of fold down this idea of supermodel beauty and now things are changing. But yeah, I always was fascinated when I would walk into a meeting and somebody would have to say, like one of the executives would be like, “Oh, my wife doesn’t really think that and I’m going to refer to what my wife says.” And make a big decision based upon what their wife thought because they didn’t know any better.
Diana Fryc: That happens in this world too as you probably have known. I’ve been in a number of conversations where we’ve had marketing leaders come in and said, “Well, I ran this past my spouse and they don’t like this color.” Okay, that’s interesting.
Jennifer: That’s a very important one.
Diana Fryc: Okay, well that was crazy. That’s crazy to know. And probably maybe if I was to think about it, it probably is no surprise, but it would be nice if more of the V P and C suites or people who came with that kind of background and love of beauty.
Jennifer: Yes, I agree. And luckily I think more and more and I am really recognizing more like homegrown Indie brands that it’s their soul and I think once it’s to a certain size that becomes a little bit different, but perhaps not, perhaps we can keep the dream alive.
Diana Fryc: Banking on millennials now we have to bank on Gen Z. Come on Gen Z. We got to kind of do this.
Jennifer: They’re going to save us.
Diana Fryc: Oh, man. Before we end, I would love for you to be able to share if people wanted to reach out to you about anything that we’ve talked about today, what’s the best way? Do you want them to email you or do you want them to approach you through the website? What’s the best way?
Jennifer: I am on LinkedIn an awful lot, so they can certainly find me Jennifer Norman on LinkedIn. If they want to send me an email, I can be found at Jennifer@the-hbm.com, I’d be more than happy to field any questions answer any inquiries there. And yeah, I’m on Facebook, I’m on Instagram, I’m on Snapchat, I’m on Tik Tok.
Diana Fryc: You’re on it all.
Jennifer: I got my toe dipped in a lot of social media.
Diana Fryc: Very good. Well, thank you so very much and just to everybody, there you go, another really wonderful, amazing guest and leader in the naturals and beauty industry, maybe the other way around, however you want to define it. But thank you so much for joining us today. And please feel free to share this podcast. I think this one is a really great one to share with people right now. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to this channel and make sure you stay tuned to all the other great guests that we’ll be bringing on board and till next time, be well and do gooder.