I was raised on a 100-acre farm in New Jersey's Pinelands. There were virtually no neighbors to speak of, and certainly no fancy stores to buy beauty products and other niceties. We were an outdoorsy, natural family who grew their own foods and created their own remedies.
As far back as I can remember, my mother created her own formulas for natural oil blends for her nine girls. Her oil blends had multiple purposes – cleansers, moisturizers, hair conditioners and even medicines (castor oil, anyone?). The natural organic remedies were fine with me until one day, an older fashion model sibling started sending me glossy fashion magazines featuring high-end makeup and skincare products touting outrageous promises. Being of entrepreneurial spirit, I'd wanted to design and create my own brand of makeup and skincare ever since then.
After spending 25-plus years in the high-end beauty industry as a beauty consultant, counter manager and brand rep for stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Ave., Macy's NE and Bloomingdales, I decided to revisit the idea of creating my own cosmetics company. I'd trained with most of the top designer brands. I'd tried and tested the best products on the market. I purchased the most expensive and the most colorful. Still, something was missing. Some were too fragrant, some were using dyes and petrochemicals, and some were just plain questionable. Many had expensive looking packaging, (albeit, cheaply made) and the product inside was made of poor quality ingredients. I wanted to create great products from natural elements, like the ones I grew up with.
Following my dream
I established my company, Jersey Shore Cosmetics, in 2009 and set forth with R&D. It quickly became apparent that formulation samples were very expensive and out of my reach, so I shelved the idea with the hope of revisiting it again after I'd saved some money. The next few years were spent raising my family and raising capital for my company. I saved and I sold all my designer goods on eBay for start-up money. Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Chanel, Gucci and Goyard all had to go for a fraction of what I paid. But I was on a mission.
I started with natural sunscreen because commercial sunscreens are the worst offenders with regard to petrochemicals in beauty products and personal care. My first purchase order was for 100,000 units of sunscreen. There was no Chanel worth that much money in my closet, so I had to turn to family for help. The sunscreen was sold and the money paid back in full.Credit: Instagram / @JerseyShoreCosmetics
Organic hand cleanser was the next product I developed because my young son has sensitive skin. Organic lip balms were created soon afterward. It took 14 tries for the formulator to achieve my first Mongongo Lip Conditioner, per my specifications, because it couldn't just be another lip balm – it had to have real features and benefits. It had to be nourishing and nutrient-rich. It had to be naturally scented with essential oils and organic flavors. It had to be original and authentic. Today our Mongongo Lip Conditioners are our hero product with more than two million sold.Credit: Instagram / @JerseyShoreCosmetics
I began to add to the product line – vegan eye cream, whole body moisturizer, vanilla bean hand cream made with real vanilla oleoresin, and numerous other all-natural vegan products. All are petrochemical-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free and paraben-free.
Once my company took off, I worked around the clock, 24/7, with two kids in school. It was a tremendous challenge and I questioned my motive for doing this many, many times. Just when I became stretched too thin and exhausted from working virtually alone, I'd get a "God-wink" that let me know to keep at it.
My company has grown exponentially year over year since I created it, thanks to word of mouth and in part to the subscription Glam bags, which placed our products in front of millions of their subscribers. But what truly makes my company successful is transparency, good quality ingredients and giving back. I know how to create healthy, radiant skin and keep it that way. I'm going to share that knowledge with millions of consumers.
Credit: Jacquelyn Quattro
About the author: Jacquelyn Quattro is the founder and CEO of Jersey Shore Cosmetics, a cosmetic line providing effective, high quality natural products using only the highest quality, toxin-free ingredients.
Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Fallon.