Karen Behnke started organic eco-chic beauty company Juice Beauty after developing a keen interest in personal care products upon becoming pregnant with her first child at the age of 40. She had already enjoyed a long and successful career in the health-related business sector, including a long stint leading the healthy lifestyles investment strategy for a private equity firm that was the majority shareholder of 24 Hour Fitness. She ultimately joined the Board of Directors and became an Operating Executive for 24 Hour Fitness during a seven-year period of growth that saw the company go from $75 million to over $1 billion in revenue. She’s a top Mover and Shaker (so says the San Francisco Examiner) and a Woman Entrepreneur of the Year (per multiple sources), and was named Glamour Magazine’s “Top EcoLeader” in 2009. She and her husband are triathletes who live in the Bay Area with their very active son and daughter and Labradoodle.
What three words best describe your company? Clinically Validated. Authentically Organic skincare and makeup. (I can’t do just three words!!)
My office would not be complete without… Juice Beauty’s Hydrating Mist, which I am constantly spritzing throughout the day.
I wish someone would have told me… To stay out of the sun when I was frying my skin throughout my teens and twenties! But without all that sun damage, I would not have been inspired to start Juice Beauty.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be… Doing another eco/wellness/organic mission-driven business.
I gave up ________ to pursue my dream. Hmmm….I think I tried to not give up anything and instead cram it all in. I pushed child bearing to the limit having my babies at 40 and 42. I’m thinking the one thing I ever truly gave up was free time.
My best asset is _____, my worst trait is _____. My best asset is my drive. My worst trait is my drive because sometimes I “drive” people crazy!!
Five years from now I see myself and my company… Leading the industry as the authentically organic (yet clinically validated results-oriented) beauty company.
If I had to do it all over again I would… Surround myself with the best people possible right from the start of every business and not wait until we could “afford” them.
Name a woman who inspires you, and why? Hilary Clinton and Christiane Amanpour. They are both intelligent, outspoken, fearless women that have certainly paved their own paths on earth.
The most important thing I have learned so far is… To follow my passion and pay attention to my gut feelings.
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
What are three words that best describe you? Passionate, Mission-Drive
What’s on your playlist? Adele, Coldplay, all my old Motown music, and I sure love that Happysong by Pharrell Williams (it does just make you happy!)
My favorite book is… I love books by Amy Tan.
My favorite candy is… Sees White Chocolate
Heels or flats? Mid-heels… after so many years of triathlons, I can’t even wear flats because it kills my over-used Achilles tendons.
Right now, I can’t get enough… Time with my family and sleep.
Lately I’m inspired by… My inspiration has always come from within; however, I fuel my inspiration with my amazing team, conversations with my husband, and our mountain bike treks up Mt. Tam in Marin.
Being a working mom has meant… Having little free time! But I’m lucky – as an entrepreneur, I was able to establish our corporate offices between our home and our kids’ schools, and right next to Whole Foods (so we’d always have great and healthful take-out if necessary). When the kids were younger, I could scoot out of a meeting, serve hot lunch or see the gymnastics skit, and get back in time for the next meeting. Being a working Mom also means setting a great example for both my son and daughter. I hope I’m showing them that women can have a career and a family and that women can be powerful in the work world.
The key to balancing it all is… It’s different for everyone, but for me it’s having a supportive husband. It’s challenging because my husband is an interventional cardiologist and we never quite know our morning schedules his lab procedure schedule is finalized the day before, so we generally decide who is driving carpool (for our youngest) at 10p the night before. The other key to balance is having an amazing team at Juice Beauty!