Creating Representation and Building a Business From Scratch with Jenn Harper

By: Bart Egnal
In this episode of the Inspire Podcast Bart interviews the CEO and Founder of Cheekbone Beauty, an Indigenous-owned and founded cosmetics brand. Despite having no background in the beauty industry, Jenn had a vision to create a brand that gave representation to Indigenous youth and started the business from scratch in 2016. As she built her business she worked hard to invest in and give back to her community, and today has donated more than $150,000 to a variety of organizations support Indigenous youth and the environment. Jenn tells Bart about how her own personal journey to overcome substance abuse and to authentically represent her Indigenous identity fuelled and shaped her entrepreneurial spirit. Her story has lessons for anyone with the dream to start something from scratch, and anyone who wants to support voices who are underrepresented in the world today.

01.13  Teaser    

26.28 Series intro      

01:04 Welcoming Jenn       

01:18 What is cheekbone   

04:12   Bart talks intersectionality 

05:04 20 years in hospitality        

06:09 The importance of detail in customer relationships        

06:27   Food industry  

07:02  Creating solutions and solving problems      

07:17   Not just another lipstick brand   

07:30  Lack of representation in the beauty industry       

08:21 Healing and shame   

08:50 Authenticity    

10:05   Life after the epiphany      

10:53  Challenges for mixed race identities    

11:23 The beginning of Cheekbone      

12:07  The dream that inspired the business  

13:08  Crash course in entrepreneurship        

14:03  Truth and Reconciliation Commission 

14:45  Cheekbone - part of generational healing     

15:17 Beauty industry highly competitive     

16:17  Feeling a true connection to the product and the mission       

17:39  The power of relatable marketing       

18:16  Bart - representation at the top matters      

19:00  How did you start the business? 

20:03  The indie brand space       

21:01   Developing their own formulations and packaging etc...

21:55  Life cycling thinking  

22:14  Being more responsible to consumers and the planet    

23:51  Not here to greenwash      

24:08  Successes and trials  

24:28  Letters from customers     

25:57   Feedback from the indigenous communities?       

26:55 Success about giving back to community      

27:54  Throwing money at things isn't the answer  

28:12  Show what is possible by way of entrepreneurship        

29:00. Biggest setback along the way...?

29:11  Death of her brother

31:55  The principles that help     

32:07  Remove ego as much as possible

32:29 Consistency     

33:55   Tenacity

34:20 Toughest rejection   

34:44  Tenacity comes from purpose    

35:40 Where to follow Cheekbone + find products

36:27 Many supporters from non-indigenous people     

37:04  Thank you