To say that Jane Park's got beauty and brains doesn't even begin to cover it. As the founder and CEO of Julep, an innovative beauty brand that's changing the cosmetics game, she obviously knows about the makeup biz. And with the Julep Maven subscription program, she's bringing all of the label's goodies straight to your door with customized monthly beauty boxes. Not bad for a business that started out as a nail parlor just a few short years ago!
And trust us, Jane knows exactly what she's doing—she's picked up degrees from Princeton and Yale, plus she's got drive and dedication like no other. But let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Read on to hear from Jane herself!
How did you get started in your career?
I started Julep because I'm passionate about giving women a voice in beauty. What's exciting about starting a company today is that we can connect so directly with the women who enjoy our products. My dream is for every woman who experiences Julep to feel like she is part of our product innovation team. I also love encouraging women to explore outside their comfort zones, the way my best girlfriends have always done for me. Julep is about beauty as connection and fun— NEVER about trying to be supermodels or adhere to a set of rules created by others.
What is a typical day like for you?
What I love about my career is that there is no typical day! I actually travel a lot— meeting with retail partners, speaking at conferences and hosting "Maven Meetups" at locations voted on by our community (this week I'm headed to Dallas!). When I'm at home, I'm up by 6 to get my kids off to school before heading into the office. I spend most of my time at work meeting either one-on-one with key leaders or in teamwork sessions. I love group brainstorms— I don't feel like I'm thinking unless I'm bouncing ideas off of one of my teammates. Unless I have a special event, I'm home for dinner with my family. We have a policy of e-free dinners, so for that brief time it's just the four of us. I'm usually back online after they go to bed for my "third shift"— but with a glass of wine, which makes it so much better…
Describe your work environment.
I love wide, open spaces and natural light, so there are no walls or offices at Julep. As a growing startup, we prioritized infusing our common spaces with fun and our unique Julep personality. We are in open rows of desks, and I love moving my desk a couple of times a year so I can sit near a different group. I believe in the importance of seeing each other face-to-face and running into each other at the coffee machine. Assuming positive intent" is a core value at Julep, and that's much easier when you start with the human connection first.
Tell us about your office décor or creative inspiration.
Our main common space is painted with our Julep fuchsia, and the hanging exposed light bulbs are a nod to our Julep parlors, where I was the electrician and installed them all myself. We have pops of color and an open kitchen area where people can gather and connect. We really tried to create spaces for conversation when we were designing our office.
Describe your office style. What do you typically wear to work?
Really anything goes at our office because we are home to beauty mavens and software engineers. On Thursdays we have lunchtime yoga, so you'll see a lot of yoga gear all day. I'm almost always in heels, but you can catch me in anything from designer dresses to cruelty-free moto jackets to Uniqlo basics.
Where do you shop for work clothes?
I'm a super decisive shopper, so I'm basically ALWAYS shopping. I've been known to have a cab stop in front of a window I'm excited by in New York City, and I can be in and out with an outfit in less than 10 minutes. Almost all of my shoes are from Nordstrom's or Nordstrom.com— the service is incomparable.
What are your favorite brands of accessories?
I love indy jewelry designers. I get almost all of my accessories at either Twist or the Queen Anne Dispatch— I don't really understand that store, but somehow every time I go to mail something I end up with spectacular earrings by a local designer.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
When I was at Starbucks, Howard Behar (the former COO) once told me that I had to "wear one hat" – just be who I was consistently in every context I think up until that point, I thought that that "work Jane," "girlfriend Jane," "daughter Jane," "spouse Jane" and "Mom Jane" were all different, and I had a hard time keeping them straight. What a relief that it was not only okay, but actually essential to be who you are at all times. So now I'm more vulnerable as a CEO and as a parent, because that's who I am in real life, across all aspects of my life. My parents were immigrants and had a convenience store when I was growing up, so I had never really stepped into a corporate office until I started my first job as a lawyer. My first six months I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything. I hid my humor, my perceptions, my observations; basically everything that makes me who I am. Which makes it incredibly difficult for anyone to connect with you. If you prioritize connections, then you have to be honest and vulnerable— and that's the best stuff in life, at work and at home.
What are your travel must-haves?
I never travel without my Luxe Repair Serum. It's a decadent makeup remover, cleanser, and moisturizer. And perfect for long flights.
What are your beauty must-haves?
Lip color and mascara are my must-haves. Lip color expresses how I feel, and I have super short Asian eyelashes, so I created our Julep Length Matters because eyelash extensions were too time consuming.
Can you share some advice for aspiring career girls?
Mistakes are essential! Just know that nobody has "the answer." We're all just trying to figure out our lives the best we can, making loads of mistakes along the way. Please, please, please give up on the idea of perfection. It's the single most destructive word for young women everywhere. The idea of perfection is the enemy of growth, learning and vitality. Choose alive, imperfect and growing! And p.s. wine is yummy.
Finish the sentence..
My favorite thing in my office/on my desk is… a card that my daughter wrote me when she was 3 that says, "I love you Mom and love is the most important." I agree entirely.
The best part of my job is… seeing what happens when people take risks outside their comfort zones. I love watching young people experience that freedom. When you can walk away from the fear of failure, you open up to life in a fundamentally different way.
I never leave home without… my Julep Plush Pout in Almond Nude. I've always loved lip color, but my lips are so dry that I stopped wearing lipstick for almost a decade. I love having a lipstick that has fantastic color but feels amazing to reapply. I really smile every time I put it on. If I wasn't doing this job, I would be… trying to write the great American novel. Jhumpa Lahiri meets Fresh Off the Boat.
My guilty pleasures are…Wine, Olivia Pope and Rayna James. Also singing Taylor Swift at the top of my lungs with my 10-year-old daughter.
The websites/magazines/books I read daily are… I love Instagram and Pinterest. And I'm a voracious reader of fiction, mostly women writers. Right now I'm loving Amy Poehler's Yes Please. I have a HUGE girl crush on her.
My favorite work gadgets are… my orange Moleskin notebook and my purple Pilot fountain pen. Also my Surface Pro 3 is a godsend. I was always sad that I couldn't have a MacBook Air that ran our business software, until the Surface Pro 3 came along. I love the touchscreen, the pen and my purple keyboard. I'm a little worried that I'm sounding like a Seattle nerd, but I have to speak the truth.