Finding your passion and walking down the path of self-employment requires the right timing and the right person. Nolan Bushnell said, “The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer,” but I said why not be both? Take that dream and run with it. That’s what January Olds did.
January, 39 years old living in Los Angeles, is the founder and CEO of January Labs. Even as a child, January had a passion for creating her own skincare products and slowly turned that into her livelihood. It may not have always been obvious that this passion could turn into something profitable, but her drive and mission to provide women with clean, effective products won her over. January Labs is an all-inclusive skincare line designed to simplify your daily routine and treat your skin right.
Founder and CEO of January Labs
Let’s start from the beginning. What was your first job after school? Did you know that entrepreneurship would be your calling?
I was a hostess at a restaurant. I loved it, actually. Connecting with people was my favorite part. My least favorite was not being able to take a vacation whenever I wanted to. I learned after my first few jobs, there was a freedom I desired. To be honest, I really learned working for people wasn’t going to work out, because I operate best in control. I like to control my schedule, my work, etc.
What prompted you to start January Labs? Have you always had a passion for skin care? How did this passion start?
Since I was very young, I’d make facial products at home. That was literally my idea of a really good time! I also loved fashion magazines and the whole idea of beauty and making people feel beautiful. I’ve always had an affinity towards self-care. It started at a young age and as I got older, I learned there was value. It was an enlightening thing to have a hobby turn into a valued career. It’s hard at times to think about who could care about something that felt so “easy” and “fun” for me. But here I am, living a life centered around my passion. It’s a good feeling.
What is your biggest piece of advice when it comes to beauty and skincare?
Eat healthy. And simply, if you don’t feel good about yourself you won’t achieve your goal. There’s this saying, “The happiest girls are the prettiest” and I really believe that. I also believe, the simpler the better. The idea of having 20 products overwhelms me. I believe the more you can get in one product that is multi-purposeful, the better. My line definitely represents that model (for example, the night cream solves three problems if not more). You shouldn’t have more than 4-5 products in your daily regimen! I’m also not big on diet fads or skin care fads. I’m more into traditional products — and making it easy. Overall, don’t complicate it.
What steps did you take to make the transition from taking this thing that was a passion and huge part of your life, and turning it into a business?
I’ve had my seasons of discouragement in running my own business. For some time, I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to entertain ever starting anything. It was scary because I lived at home with my parents at the time. So as I started the process, I knew I needed funding. When I got my first offer, I actually turned down funding and wanted to be purposeful and to feel “right.” Thankfully, soon after I got investors who saw my vision and believed in me. And liked me! But receiving a generous investment reminded me to always try and be the biggest steward of what’s been given, especially when people put blind faith in you. That was a huge turning point. It felt like a personal investment since my business is personal.
Tell us more about January Labs. What’s your favorite part about your company and how do you think that it positively impacts your clients? What about it brings you the greatest sense of joy and fulfillment?
Seeing a customer on my website or going into a store and ordering (and reordering) my product is the best feeling ever. It is so crazy there are fans of our product. When I hear people say the product has changed their skin, that is everything to me. Feedback and seeing the company grow is encouraging for me. I also love the idea of creating jobs for people presently and in the future too. I just like the idea of reaching more people and creating a community around this mission that instills beauty. Also, taking on a business partner recently has been amazing and a game changer. Our skill sets complement each other and it truly feels like someone has your back. It’s a joy.
As a business owner, what is the most challenging part of running your own company? Any secret sauce you want to share with future lady bosses considering making their side hustle dream their full-time reality?
I think the hardest part is the chance of inconsistency. You’ll have one good month and then you’ll stress every other month over whether you will meet your projections for the year. I do have to say though, I like that type of energy–I like fire under my tail. But I think there’s a weird little voice we all have, “Who are you fooling?” and doubt can creep in. Negative talk is the worst. You have to ignore them if they get in the way of your goals. Speaking of, a secret but not-so-original idea I’ve personally benefited from is writing lists on everything! It really helps me be productive. It’s an ongoing list like in an email. I’ll even voice dictate (both of which my biz partner yelled at me about till it finally clicked). Getting your thoughts on one page is the way to go. Lastly, surrounding your life with like-minded people like entrepreneurial centered groups. That kind of support is invaluable. It’s a huge amount of support that has helped me feel less lonely, too. Simply, create your own nucleus of supporters. These are my not-so-secret secrets.
We absolutely love the way you styled your Body Bark piece. How would you describe your overall look/style?
I’d say classic black and chic. Simple Is better. Also, I can totally attest to the fact that Body Bark is the perfect travel top! I bought it with me on my Vacation in Mexico and absolutely loved the fact that it was perfect to throw on after a day at the beach.
One thing about me that may surprise people is…
I’m over six-feet. And I’m like a huge dork. Health and fitness and living by the beach, being fabulous is what it might all look like, but sometimes I just want to listen to the Beauty and The Beast soundtrack on repeat and sing at the top of my lungs (then I would have to apologize to anyone who had the unpleasant experience of hearing it).
My dream vacation destination is…
African Safari. It’s just magical. The vastness of the lands and how magical it feels is the dream. It’s like, how is this coexisting on the same planet I live on? I like feeling small too. Plus, the look, style, and lifestyle seems very rad and chic too.
My all-time favorite lady boss is…
I’d say Emily Weiss (Glossier). I love the way she disrupted the whole market and I think how her company is run is smart and innovative–coming up with things that haven’t been done before, especially in the specific market. Plus she is just so cool. I’ll have to say, in general though, Michelle Obama is my ultimate lady boss.
Thank you to January for chatting with us about her journey and giving all of us future #SheShines women out there an extra push toward our passions. I personally agree that the easiest business to start is one you believe in with a passion-driven mission. If you’re obsessed with your dream, others will be, too.