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Mar 11, 20215 min read

Beautycounter founder Gregg Renfrew on finding a work/life balance and leading with empathy.

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by Klarna

This month, as the world celebrates women, Klarna is spotlighting a selection of female business owners and industry leaders within the Klarna network to share their stories of entrepreneurship, challenges and growth.
Gregg Renfrew is the Founder and CEO of Beautycounter.

Hi Gregg! Tell us your story. How did you get to where you are today?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, I watched An Inconvenient Truth and connected the dots between how what was detrimental to the earth was also likely detrimental to our health. I started making sweeping changes in my life and in my home, like swapping plastic for glass and using safer cleaning products. When it came to skincare and color cosmetics, I couldn’t find any products that met my needs of being both high-performing and made with safer ingredients. I saw a huge white space in the consumer marketplace for a beauty brand that made products that were efficacious and inspirational, but also made with ingredients significantly safer for health—which is why I started Beautycounter.

Has being a woman empowered you to make any bold decisions in your career?

I’ve learned that it is okay to be both vulnerable and feminine, while still being an effective leader. In general, I think women lead more with empathy. Because we are on a mission to put the health and wellness of others first, this is a critical attribute. From day one, I have felt a sense of urgency to help others so I make bold decisions every day to push our movement ahead. At Beautycounter, our entire leadership team is made up of diverse women and I am very proud of that.

How does your brand empower women? How does this compare to where your industry is in terms of gender diversity and inclusion?

We have a community of approximately 65,000 independent sellers, mostly women, that are passionate about our products and our mission. We’re able to provide them an opportunity to build their business, be a part of our clean beauty movement and earn some extra money on the side. For some, especially in the last year when women have been leaving the workplace due to the pandemic, it’s been an opportunity to help support their families and pay the bills.  

What is a challenge you’ve experienced as a woman in a leadership position?

Finding balance has been one of the biggest challenges for me. Trying to balance family and work and time to take care of myself is a constant balancing act. Having the peace of mind knowing that I’m working toward something that will help others helps me to keep going and keep things in perspective. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring young women or other female business owners? 

Be ready to put in an incredible amount of work and commitment, and be prepared to lose a little sleep over it. Your success will not happen overnight, so be patient and persistent.  And, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice along the way.

Share one business tool, tip or trick that has changed your life. 

My parents said to me when I was young that I can be anything I want to be, but you have to work really really hard. That has always stuck with me.  Also, I have created routines that help balance how I get through each day and carve out time for those I work with, my family and myself.

What are two products that have helped you be creative and productive this year?

Zoom and zoom. And, meditation!

What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?

Community comes first. When the pandemic first hit, it was scary and overwhelming. But it was my responsibility to help support our community and let them know I was there for them. Keeping an open line of communication and maintaining a connection throughout these challenging and often isolating times has been crucial. Taking care of our employees, customers, and independent sellers, as well as our own loved ones, was the most important thing I could do.  

What about your business or industry are you most excited about in 2021?

Eight years in and we are still continuing to pioneer the clean beauty movement and push the industry forward. We set the highest standards of clean in the industry – from safer ingredients, to responsible sourcing and business practices, to sustainable packaging initiatives and beyond. We really capture this in our current campaign that I am really excited about—We Mean Clean, where we are setting the record straight on what clean means in an unregulated beauty industry.  

Read more Women’s History Month interviews here.

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