An interview with... Jackie Bauer, Head of Product Development, Marketing and Operations of Hairstory
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your fabulous younger self?
Listen to your gut! It’s ALWAYS right. Like most people at one point or another I think I pushed my instinct aside, thinking, “I’ll try this just once” or, “I’m sure it won’t happen again” and even, “Well, he’s the expert so he must know what’s he’s talking about.” The little voice inside you or that odd feeling you get in your stomach is your warning signal. As I look back on my life I can honestly say I don’t have any regrets. I’ve made mistakes and there have been misjudgements along the way, but I’ve learned a lot of lessons and for me that is the most important takeaway. I continue to remind myself to stop, listen, breathe and take the time to make the decision(s) that feel right.
What did you think when you discovered Dr. Lipp and realised it was a nipple balm turned multi-purpose beauty balm?
Honestly, I didn’t believe that this nipple balm could actually be multipurpose, how absurd! BUT, it’s amazing! And without a doubt it fits into my definition of natural, because it’s as natural as it gets! Admittedly I have a terrible habit of picking my fingers. And I’ve yet to find a solution to my dry cuticles until that wonderfully cute box of Nipple Balm arrived; it’s been a lifesaver! The formula is rich and moisturizing but not sticky, and within a few hours I could see a noticeable difference. I started using it on my daughter’s chronic dry skin and she turned to me the other day and said, “Where is that little tube? It makes my skin so happy!”
It's been a lifesaver! The Dr.Lipp balm is rich, moisturizing yet not sticky, and within a few hours I could see a noticeable difference.
What does the term Go Natural mean to you?
I could go on forever about the term Go Natural. For years we’ve been flooded with marketing jargon about what it means to be green, organic, natural, clean and the like. The majority of companies that make these types of claims though are actually uninformed. Even worse, they are confusing the consumer! So how are we supposed to know which way is up? The answer is to read labels, know your ingredients, understand the differences between natural, organic, naturally derived, green and clean and use your best judgment. Personally, Go Natural means live clean by making smart choices, and living responsibly, constantly thinking about how to instil the idea of sustainability throughout everything we do. The marketing will continue, descriptions will change, but sustainability will see us into the future.
We’ve heard looads about Hairstory, and Pontine our founder especially loves it! For those who haven’t heard of it what is Hairstory and what was the inspiration behind it?
I could give you a simple answer and say Hairstory is a hair product company, but it is so much more than that. Hairstory is dedicated to helping people re-think everything about hair in a world where the old rules don’t apply. We’re fascinated by how impactful hair is on people’s lives – good, bad or ugly, everyone at some point has a tale to tell about their hair. These stories are so important for so many reasons and they drive us. We’ve been fortunate that our products – in particular New Wash, has garnered such an incredible response from our customers; people submit paragraphs on how after a lifetime of struggle with their hair they’ve finally found the holy grail. It’s an amazing feeling to know that we’ve been able to make such an impact on all types of people by sharing stories and thinking differently.
You’ve worked with other hair brands in the past. What makes Hairstory products super special?
The philosophy around Hairstory products is what makes them unique. The first step was figuring out an alternative to shampoo, which we accomplished with New Wash. The second step was asking ourselves how many products are really necessary? And the answer there was, not many! The best editorial hairdressers in the world rely on five to six products, so why can’t we? So we decided to create a limited line of products, the best of the best in one’s toolkit. The third step was to think innovatively about packaging. This was a challenge, but the idea of refillable packaging was not only timely, it was also an important step on our path to being consciously sustainable.
You oversee soo much for the brand: product development, operations and marketing. That’s a big role! How do you decompress and handle stress?
I take on what I know I can handle and certainly there are days that are overwhelming, but I try to work through my list (mental and physical) as best I can. I can’t start my day without a list; I like to look at what’s ahead and at the end of the day I can see what’s been accomplished. I started running a couple of years ago and more than a workout it gives me a sense of mental clarity as the miles peel away.
Hair can be a woman’s best accessory! Why do you think that is?
Hair is so much fun! Sure, we were all born with different types: thick, thin, curly, straight, somewhere in between, but we have the ability to change it over and over again. A simple hair colour change can reveal a completely different personality; while a dramatic cut can change a person’s career path – it’s really incredible. Hair is such a meaningful part of individuality; for some it’s their statement piece while for others their colour or style represents their place in the world at that moment.
What have you personally done this year to reduce the burden on our planet?
I am constantly trying to improve our packaging. My goal within the next 18 to 24 months is for all of our products to be refillable and subscription based. And in order to do this I am constantly researching, attending packaging conferences, looking abroad at new innovations, playing with different form factors in order to get us to our destination. It’s also an important initiative to instil in my children.
Are you an advocate of natural skincare and beauty products and if so, we must know which do you love & why?
I remember years ago when La Mer launched; I recall thinking, well that’s what they mean by natural! But I think it was their story that really got me, and of course the product was brilliant. I use products that perform the best for my needs. Obviously I am hyper-aware of the ingredients used in different products, so I can discern what I should and shouldn’t be using, but overall I use what I like. And I also try new things, which I think is very important. I still use La Mer from time to time, but I’ve started using a product called Orogold from Israel, which is pretty amazing and effective.
You used to be a professional ballerina – How do you feel what you learned during that time translates to what you do now?
I think my training in ballet shaped the person I am today. It gave me a work ethic and discipline that I would not have received elsewhere. I left home at 13 to go to ballet boarding school where we had academics for three hours followed by six to seven hours of dance class or rehearsal. The days were long and difficult, but it was my passion; becoming a ballerina was the single most important thing in my life, and the only way it would turn into my career was to work as hard as I did. I take these principles and let them guide me every day. For me it’s always about quality over quantity, and I try and instill this in everything that I do for Hairstory.
Do you still have a passion for dance and ballet? – we have a beautiful photo of you in your ballet shoes here.
I love the ballet. It saddens me that I cannot participate anymore due to a career-ending injury, but I also believe that everything happens for a reason. I am where I am supposed to be, and I can look back on my time dancing with very happy memories. It’s always been a dream of mine for my girls to take up ballet, and they did for about a year, and moved on to something else… and that’s okay. I want them to find what they love, and I’ll figure out how to be a dance mom some way or another.
Who would be your dream celeb to fall in love with Hairstory products?
That’s such a hard question! I’d want someone within each genre; Oprah, of course. Pink, because she’s amazing, Cate Blanchett because she must protect that blonde, and Misty Copeland, to name a few.
Why do you think there’s been such a buzz about Hairstory?
I think people are ready to see through the BS, and they want something new that they can get behind. We are a product company with substance. We know who we are, and we aren’t going to waver from that. It’s refreshing in a world with so much noise!
If you weren’t helping to build an empire, what would you be doing?
One of my daughters is in competitive gymnastics and ice-skating, and I spend as much time as I can watching practices and competitions. The one element that all of the girls at a certain level lack is ballet training. It makes the difference between standing out from the crowd and not. And unfortunately ballet is rigid in its class structure, so it’s difficult to get fundamental training without being fully committed. I would love to create a supplemental class that incorporates ballet for grace and core work with yoga for breathing, and Pilates for stretching. Taking the time to learn the quality of the basics can make such a monumental change in their training, and I’d love to be a part of that.