Santa Barbara native Jennifer Jaqua and her two sisters founded Jaqua Beauty out of their mother’s kitchen 11 years ago, putting together packages of beauty products they had created for women to hold spa nights at home. Though her sisters have since moved on, Jaqua continues to run the company as president, selling a brand known for its beautiful packaging, effectiveness and delicious scents like raspberry buttercream frosting, pina colada and peach parfait.
LN: How did you and your sisters get started?
JJ: We were on a hike one day talking about going to my mom’s house and doing what we call Beauty Parlor night, where we bring all of our favorite beauty products and share them and do facials. We thought if we could just get that feeling out in the world, it would be great, to get women to gather.
LN: You traveled extensively before starting Jaqua Beauty. Did any country in particular really inspire you?
JJ: I spent some time living in Bali and when I was there, I would go to this place, they didn’t call it a spa, it was just this room with a single light bulb hanging down, and the woman there gave facials. She would mash up fresh fruit, nuts and coffee, all these fresh ingredients, and mix them up in a bowl and put it on my face. And I would just glow for days.
LN: How does a product go from an idea in your mind to an object on the shelf?
JJ: We literally would just mix stuff up in my mom’s kitchen and say to a chemist, “Figure out how to make this work on the shelf.” They would say, “Can’t you just add these ingredients to our stock formulas?” And we would insist on having our own formulas. In the end, we always felt the chemists enjoyed working with us because we kind of pushed the envelope and asked them to try new things.
LN: What was one of the most interesting things you made in your mom’s kitchen?
JJ: I think the coffee body scrub that we did, before anybody else was using coffee in their products. We also did a pumpkin papaya face mask.
LN: What was it like working with your family?
JJ: There were so many different dimensions to that. It was really fun and really challenging and pushed all of us to work through some of the ‘sister dynamics’ we would never have had to work through if we weren’t in business together.
LN: What’s an example of something creative you’ve done with your packaging?
JJ: I went to the box company to look at the paper that’s used to make the body butter boxes, and it’s all shiny. I turned it over and the inside had kind of a matte feeling, and it felt so much more sophisticated. I said, “Why can’t you just turn this around and print on the inside?” So our boxes are actually turned inside out.
LN: What is your favorite product?
JJ: I love our pina colada shower cream, hand cream and body butter. If I had to pick one product that I couldn’t live without, it’s our body polish. And our lip gloss ring. I wear it every day; I’ve got three small boys, I play polo, I’m very active, I’m at the beach a lot. I can go anywhere, and I’ve got my lip gloss.
LN: What’s the best part of your job?
JJ: Innovating. Making ideas come out into real life. My office is just a huge explosion; I’ve got fabric, ribbon, hats and purses hanging everywhere for inspiration. For me, it’s that creative part, that process of having a blank slate and filling it with ideas, shapes and forms and then translating that into an actual product.
LN: What are some misconceptions women have about their skin or how to care for it?
JJ: I don’t know if it’s a misconception, but I think it’s something that all women struggle with and especially as they get older: the idea that their skin isn’t good enough. Celebrating the skin you’re in can lead to an amazing transformation. Just accept it, relax into its flaws, take care of it from this point forward, and don’t worry about the bad stuff you did before. Don’t try and make it look like somebody else’s. I always pull one side of my face back and ask my sons, which side do you prefer? They always pick the side with the wrinkles. That’s my skin, and I’ve earned it.
LN: What is the most important beauty advice you can give our readers?
JJ: Use sunscreen, and exfoliate. Get your skin glowing and then protect it.