Project Blue Beauty: The Making of a Blue Beauty Brick and Mortar
She’ll be the first to admit it: the world doesn’t need another beauty store. But when Jeannie Jarnot, founder of Beauty Heroes, signed the lease in downtown, Novato, she was clear about one thing: this wasn’t going to be a run-of-the-mill retail shop with nothing more to offer than a bunch of shelves lined with product. Instead, she had a vision for bringing the thrill of discovery to life and creating an in-store experience that was filled with surprise and delight, just like her monthly subscription service. That vision has come to life this month with the grand opening of the Beauty Heroes Novato Store!
The Beauty Heroes Flagship Store is becoming buzz-worthy conversation among Novato locals, clean beauty influencers and the Beauty Heroes community. A common theme is around sustainability. Is it possible to build and operate a truly zero-waste store? If there’s one thing to know about the pioneer of Project Blue Beauty, it’s that she takes sustainability seriously. From ingredient sourcing to packaging suppliers to building with environmentally-conscious materials, every decision for the Beauty Heroes Flagship Store was run through Jeannie’s discerning vetting process, and she’s more than happy to share the efforts, and the challenges, that come with such high standards.
As a friend, colleague and fellow clean beauty entrepreneur, I have had the distinct privilege of watching this process unfold, and witnessing what vision, stamina and uncompromising standards looks like in action. I sat down with Jeannie to ask the questions that I was most curious about. Her answers revealed a level of grit, humor and vulnerability that’s unmistakably Jeannie – a visionary entrepreneur in the trenches.
Girl. You been busy. As of today we’re exactly a month away from the opening of the Beauty Heroes flagship store. So checking in business owner to business owner: How do you feel?
You know me well, and you know I wouldn’t move forward with a project this big unless I felt deeply about it. So I feel really good about what we are doing with this new endeavor. At the same time, what we are doing is different and hasn’t exactly been done before. So I am really conscious of how much we still need to figure out, and it can be overwhelming. We want to create an educational, memorable and transformative experience in store. I feel the pressure!
So let’s begin with beauty…not just beauty products but the BEAUTIFUL renderings of the store. Who is your designer and what was your design inspiration?
This store probably would have been done 3 months ago if it didn’t take me so long to find the right designer. But, everything happens right on time, and it was worth the wait to find Gracie Turner, a local woman and indie designer who was able to translate our bright red and teal brand colors into a concept that communicated our Live Lighter. Love More. approach to beauty and lifestyle. When I started Beauty Heroes, I knew that I didn’t want it to feel like traditional beauty. The red and teal brand colors are a slight nod to the classic superhero and are both not your traditional beauty colors – which are black and white, pink, green, etc. Like the rest of the brand, I want it to feel bold but elegant. Beautiful but not conventional. Luxurious but approachable. My passion for the environment also is an inspiration, so you’ll see a lot of natural, recycled or recyclable materials used throughout the store. The mandate was definitely to select materials that are light on the planet.
I also wanted the space to feel playful and fun. When you come into the space, you should feel like it’s light and vibrant.
Any favorite design elements you’re super excited about?
The front desk, which is still under construction, is going to be a feature of the space. We developed this concept, inspired by my background in hospitality, to create a complimentary Flights of Heroes service, where customers can come in and experience a ‘flight’ of beauty products and discover how they might layer and work in tandem to deliver results. It’s like a mini beauty ritual that is educational in nature. The front desk also functions as the “Flight Bar” with four barstools for customers to relax and touch, feel and experience beauty. Gracie designed the bare beautifully, and I simply can’t wait to see how it comes out.
I found this gorgeous aluminum cups that are made in Mexico. I fell in love with them and bought a bunch of samples. I envisioned them in the store as the vessels in which we would serve infused waters or mocktails. We ordered them in three gorgeous colors for the store, and I can’t wait to see them in action.
And, at the front of the store there is a beautiful black and white lacquer inlay piece of furniture where we will showcase each month’s Hero product & monthly beauty discovery. It’s the focal point of the entryway. I can’t wait to place our first monthly Hero product there….it’s going to be a special moment, for sure.
Rumor has it there’s a wellness component, a spa component and of course, a huge focus on sustainable, zero-waste beauty, or Blue Beauty. Tell us more about this unique concept. How is Beauty Heroes different from any other clean beauty retailer?
Yes! We wanted our brick and mortar to encompass everything that Beauty Heroes stands for, education, truly healthy beauty and lifestyle products, conscious consumption and regenerative, blue beauty. The flagship store will be a place to come, learn, discover and play. I feel really lucky that we are opening our space in a small, Marin County town, because we have more space to play with than we would in a big city.
On the first floor, there we have a lot of space to inspire discovery – from the Flight of Heroes bar, the main Beauty Discovery display, a private room for makeup, a vanity with a sink where you can actually experiment with product on your skin in a semi-private setting and a small lounge where we can host small groups or one-on-one consultations. The front of the store can be transformed into an event space, holding up to forty people, so we can host educational events on clean beauty to holistic wellness.
The second floor has a generously sized treatment room where we will offer skincare and possibly even hair care services. My spa background lends itself well to this, and I’m excited to dip my toe back into services. The focus will be on delivering the highest quality skincare services, leveraging our diverse range of truly healthy brands and products. I’ve always wanted to have a facial that could incorporate all of my Hero products and then some. This will be available at Beauty Heroes, and I simply can’t wait.
Beauty Heroes’ monthly subscription service is all about Discovery. How will this element of ‘surprise and delight’ play out in your store?
I think the real opportunity to surprise and delight our customers will come through the Flight of Heroes experience. There’s no better way to discovery product than getting on your skin and we intend to do just that in a very intentional way. I think that customers will be completely surprised that we will invite them to sit down and just take it in.
Also, I believe that the products we carry make our lives better, while being light on the environment, and without sacrificing luxury. I think it will be eye-opening for some, to see that you can have a beautiful lipstick, or fragrance, or mascara, without harmful ingredients.
Last, I hope that our community is surprised and delighted that we decided to open in my home town of Novato. There’s nothing like this here, so my hope is that they will be as delighted that we are here, as I would be myself, if I were a customer.
You’ve put so much intention behind Blue Beauty, and the movement is really gaining momentum. How will a brick and mortar help drive this movement forward?
Blue Beauty is about encouraging the beauty industry to be regenerative towards our environment. Our company recently signed on to be a 1% For The Planet company, which means that 1% of our top-line revenue goes to environmental causes. That includes both our online and in-store business. The flagship store will enable us to give more to great causes, and that is one key way that we will continue to drive forward. Our customers should know that by shopping at Beauty Heroes, you are automatically giving 1% Of Your Purchase to an environmental cause. This adds up – as it is top-line revenue, not profit. We want our contribution to be significant.
Beyond that, my favorite section of the store will be the zero-waste section. Every product that is purchased that is zero-waste, displaces a product that creates a lot of waste. We have a keen focus on making this area as robust as we can, without sacrificing experience or quality.
Also, as a means to support brands who are making strides in going blue, we will have educational cards throughout the store, indicating how a brand is helping to regenerate the environment, so customers know that when they are supporting a specific brand, they are supporting a company that puts the environment first. We only expect to find more ways to embrace blue beauty in the store. My ideas are endless. But we’ve got to get the store open and operating first, and then continue to have this conversation in as many ways as we can. It feels like industry is slow to react to the pressures of the environment. My hope is that Beauty Heroes will make it easy (and fun) to be a conscious consumer.
Tell us about your facials! And BTW, can I just go ahead and sign up right now for a facial membership?
Well, hold on tight, because I’ve been working on this treatment offering for a year. I told you about my dream facial, the one that leverages all our Hero products, and then some. We call it the Hero Worship facial, it was just so fitting. It will be available in 30 -, 60- and 90 – minute durations. If it were up to me, I would only offer 90 minute facials because I personally don’t think a facial should ever be less than that, but I realize that customers come in with different needs, budgets and expectations. I am also working on an original facial protocol with Josh Rosebrook for a pure JR Facial. I affectionately call it “The Josh”. I find his line so accessible and effective, and we are working on our fifth collaboration to showcase a Hero product, it just made sense. Next, I am designing a facial with my friend Kapua Browning, Founder of Honua Skincare. I feel very proud of our work with Honua Skincare and the warmth our customers have given to this brand. We can’t keep it in stock. The products are effective, price accessible and so beautiful. Plus, Honua Skincare is a true blue beauty brand that actively works with farmers to regenerate agricultural land in Hawaii. This facial smells incredible and will incorporate some cold stones and lomi lomi massage strokes. Our team has been trained by Kapua herself. I also approached Alexis Rose with LILFOX to collaborate on a luxury, results-oriented, high-level aromatherapy facial. That’s how I think of it, because this ain’t your mama’s aromatherapy. This is LILFOX, and Alexis’s scents are decadent. I was inspired by both her scents and her incredibly potent powder mask collection (along with my Hero product Jungle Glow), that really deliver for me. It’s rare that a product line can be as effective, and as decadent all at once. In dreaming about this facial, I had just one name for it; The Radiant Fox. And, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to offer an Ayuna facial treatment at Beauty Heroes. Ayuna was designed for the spa environment and their back bar has products that are not available for purchase. The facial is incredible! It’s called The Ceremony, and it is just that; a ceremony connecting the mind and the skin, that when aligned give you results beyond treating the skin alone. It’s a way of bringing mindfulness into the treatment room.
Beauty Heroes highlights and celebrates sustainable beauty and lifestyle brands, and you champion the brands who are really trying to be zero waste. Has it been difficult to figure out how to build a physical store sustainably? What has been your greatest challenge?
We really did have a focus on selecting materials that are light on the planet. It wasn’t a challenge to only use materials that are sustainable, but, often like buying organic produce or sustainably made products, it’s a little more expensive. That was the biggest challenge. We worked with Gracie to constantly look at material and cost. She was a master at helping us work through any challenges. Using sustainable materials is not challenging, it is fun, exciting and inspiring. I love all the natural elements, textures and materials you will find in the store.
I know how much you love to gather people in the same room for good conversation and intimate connection. Tell me you’ll be doing that regularly now that you have a storefront. Are workshops part of the vision?
If I had my way, we’d be holding an event in the store once a week. There are so many conversations I want to have. Right now, we want to figure out what works and what our community wants. Our event calendar is still in the works, but people can expect master classes, panels and intimate conversations on a whole range of topics, from skincare, to ingredients to health and wellness. I definitely recommend being signed up to our specific Novato store newsletter list to stay up to date. Or, follow us on Facebook if that’s easier where we will also post all the events.
Tell us more about your relationship with TerraCycle and how can local residents get involved?
It’s coming to light that not everything that we put in the recycling bin is actually being recycled. Also, there are a lot of products that can’t be recycled at the local level, but can be recycled thanks to a company called TerraCycle, that finds the ways to recycle almost anything. Beauty Heroes will accept common items, Gilette Razors, Colgate Toothpaste tubes,Toothbrushes and their associated packaging and miscellaneous beauty product packaging that is hard to recycle – think eye shadow palettes, mascara and lipstick tubes, you name it, it will be sent back to TerraCycle, sorted and processed to be recycled. We view having this available in store as a starting point. We expect to learn a lot about our customers and continue to evolve as technology and access to solutions to our environmental issues present themselves.
What’s the best part of building your business in Novato?
I try to keep it on the down low, but I think Novato is the best kept secret in the Bay Area. It’s a spectacularly beautiful place to live with a great community. I never imagined ever opening a business here, let alone a store in the downtown. Right now, it feels good to create something that I want to exist here. That if feeling very fulfilling. I imagine seeing a lot of familiar faces in the store and sharing a moment. I want the store to feel welcoming and comfortable. Like, pop on in on your way to the coffee shop to get your favorite deodorant. Bring your daughter or son in to find a few products that will work for them. Stop and pick up a quick gift for a friend. Come in and try six different eye products to find the one that will work best for you. Pick up a new lip gloss. You know it will be a good product.
Many many local Members will be so happy they can come shop IRL. Do Members (subscribers to the monthly discovery service) get any special perks in store?
Yes! As you know, Beauty Heroes members get an exclusive 15% discount when they shop online, and that will extend into our store. Members will also get 15% off our services as well. We are working on a way to sign up to pick up your monthly discovery in store, which is a greener option as it will minimize packaging and carbon footprint. And we would give our local members a gift for picking up in store.
We are planning exclusive Beauty Heroes member events and gifts with purchase. I can’t wait to meet more of our members in person. Whenever I meet a member I just want to say thank you. Thank you for finding value in a service I hoped would do it was doing today, but wasn’t sure would ever gain adoption.
How can people find out more about the grand opening?
We are planning a grand opening event in October to give us a few months to get open and settled. If you are located or often in Northern California, definitely sign up for our Beauty Heroes Flagship Store newsletter, so you can get all the details. All are welcome!