In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re proud to shine a spotlight on the female entrepreneurs who have come through (or are currently participating in) reSET’s Impact Accelerator program. Sami Jensen created florapothecarie after reading the ingredient label on her favorite body wash, only to find out she had no idea what was in it. Her research led her down a dark path, realizing how many toxic chemicals were in her personal care products and how many animals were tortured in the name of beauty.
Meet Sami Jensen of florapothecarie
Sami Jensen is the Founder & Chief Skincare Maker behind florapothecarie, a line of 100% natural and vegan skincare, bath, and body products, handmade in small batches in Connecticut. florapothecarie is Leaping Bunny and PETA certified as cruelty-free and vegan, which means neither the final products nor the ingredients within are tested on animals, and no animal fats or by-products are used. Sami also uses Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified ingredients in her products, and environmentally-friendly glass and paperboard packaging.
reSET: What are some challenges you’ve faced and overcome as a female business owner?
Sami: There have been several instances where men are surprised that I’m running this business, that I’m not employed by a man. I would tell my boyfriend, Dave, these stories and he was incredulous until he witnessed it happening at trade shows or markets where he helped me out. A few times, he watched a man approach my booth — where I’m always standing more prominently than Dave — and they would skip right over me and direct their questions or remarks to him. To his credit, he always politely directs them to me, saying I’m the woman running the show. But it happens. A LOT. Once, when I was competing in a pitch contest, I had a man really shake my confidence right before I pitched. Not only did he introduce himself to Dave first, he told me I couldn’t make it in this industry unless I was a celebrity (“and you don’t look like a celebrity to me”) and challenged me with industry-specific questions, daring me to give him an incorrect answer (I didn’t). I got a bit angry, sure. But the best thing was placing second in that pitch competition. The dissenting guy’s hand was one of the first I shook. And firmly.
reSET: How did participating in the reSET Impact Accelerator program help you and your business?
Sami: Having not attended business school, I lacked certain business know-how and strategy before participating in the reSET Impact Accelerator. I went to school for marketing, worked as a graphic designer, and studied herbalism, so I had many of the creative skills down. I knew how to make and sell my products, and I generally knew the direction I was headed, but I was awful at knowing my numbers. Both the programming and the mentors at reSET really helped me get clear on my numbers and helped me give much more structure to florapothecarie. Plus, I met so many wonderful fellow entrepreneurs I now consider friends, who I can talk to when I’m struggling and they can relate. That is invaluable. reSET also gave me the courage to pursue my long-dreamed-of self-employment. Now, I spend my days working on florapothecarie, but also helping other small businesses — including reSET — with marketing and branding.
reSET: Who are some of your female role models?
Sami: Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon, co-hosts of the Being Boss podcast. Their book is also phenomenal. Brené Brown. Elizabeth Gilbert. J.K. Rowling, not only because I’m a big Harry Potter nerd, but I love all the good she’s done with her fame, and how she’s given most of her money to charities. Buffy the vampire slayer. My good friend Rachel DeCavage, founder of Cinder + Salt. Ali Lazowski, my fellow 2018 Impact Accelerator cohort member because she took her illnesses and turned them into a beautiful business. My sister Suzi, who is raising an equally kick-ass daughter and mostly raised me, too.
reSET: What’s one piece of advice you have for fellow female entrepreneurs?
Sami: Ditch toxicity. That seems to be the running theme of my life! When I realized I was putting toxic chemicals into my body through personal care products, I ditched them and made my own. When I realized I was in a toxic relationship with a man who didn’t believe in me or my business, I ditched him. (Don’t worry, not Dave!) When I realized I was surrounded by incredibly negative “friends” who only seemed to enjoy being around me when I was miserable or when they were draining away my positivity like Dementors, I ditched them too. Surround yourself with positivity because, girl, running your own business is hard. You need people, things, and thoughts in your life that build you up, not bring you down.
reSET: Anything else we should know?
Sami: I just released a bunch of new products, just in time for spring, including my often-requested Brightening Eye Balm and gently exfoliating, gluten-free facial grains. Check them out at florapothecarie.com. If you’re new to natural skincare and looking for a daily routine, try my Essential Facial Care Set in travel-size. 🙂