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How She Carries On with Rachel Behm

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself - there are lots of “right” paths

  • Rachel on how she juggles the many responsibilities as CEO
  • How Rachel manages remote working and loneliness as an extrovert
  • How there are many different paths to getting you to your goal

Rachel Behm is the Founder and CEO of Layers Probiotic Skincare. Rachel talks to 35 Thousand about juggling her role as head of a skincare brand, being an extrovert and why she is so passionate about the gut-skin connection that gives us our inner glow.

Tell us about your work…

“I’m the Founder and CEO of Layers Probiotic Skincare. Layers harnesses the power of probiotics to boost the body’s natural ability to bring your best skin to the surface. Our potent supplements + topicals are developed by experts and fuel the gut–skin connection to reveal dramatically renewed skin that glows from the inside out.

As founder and CEO of the brand, I work on everything from website optimizations to marketing messaging, forecasting and budgeting.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other

“Spare room-turned-office in my house.”

Layers skincare
What parts of your work give you energy?

“Hearing positive feedback from people who use and love the products.  It means the world to me when people take the time to write thoughtful and thorough reviews or DMs or emails about how much the Layers products have transformed their skin.  This will NEVER get old!”

What parts of your work drain you?

“I’m an extrovert and I’m used to working in a bustling office environment.  So going the entrepreneurial route without a team and an office means many hours working by myself, which can feel lonely at times.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“I’m a strong believer that a career is made up of many small moments rather than big break moments.  So in the vein, I’d have to say the diversity of positions I’ve had is what’s prepared me to lead Layers.  From corporate finance at General Mills to marketing, sales, and Mergers and Acquisitions at Johnson & Johnson, the varied experiences are what I consider most critical to what I’m doing today.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?

“There’s almost never only one ‘right choice,’ so take some of the pressure off of yourself because many different paths can be the ‘right choice.'”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day… 

“7:15am wakeup

7:15-8:15am get ready: hair, makeup, styled outfit

8:15-8:35am commute to office

8:35-6:30 work in the office

6:30-6:50pm commute to gym

7:00-8:00pm workout

8:15-9:15pm make and eat dinner

9:15-11:00pm catchup on work

11:00pm-12:30am TV time!

Pre-pandemic, I was still working in corporate America and living in Carlsbad, California with my husband. I worked in Los Angeles and stayed there during the week, so my schedule during the week was very work focused.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“My new normal as an entrepreneur during the pandemic is very different from my corporate, pre-pandemic life. My new normal excludes getting ready (most days), excludes a commute, excludes the energy of an office full of smart, engaging, energetic co-workers. Instead, I work from my home office, trying to remind myself to look away from my screen and stand up every so often.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“The challenges I’ve faced pale in comparison to so many people. Personally, it’s meant sacrificing time with family (they are all plane-distance away), travel, and hosting dinner parties (both passions). Professionally, sourcing raw materials became more difficult, getting line time with a supplements manufacturer took more effort, and investors are more cautious. But in contrast to the challenges, I think consumers more than ever, are seeing how their overall wellness plays out on their skin. Which is exactly what Layers is all about.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“As a founder and CEO, I am solely responsible for the performance of my company. Which also means I am accountable to employees, customers, and investors that have put their confidence and money into me.  In a crowded skincare category, I’m constantly thinking about how to differentiate, how to break through the clutter, and how to provide customers with the BEST skincare and brand experience.” 

Layers probiotics
Layers probiotic supplements
What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or gym?

“I bookend my workdays with beverages I love.

Every day begins with a half-caf, whole milk cappuccino that I make with my at-home machine.  Before the pandemic, my husband wanted to invest in a high-end espresso machine, and I was hesitant because I love the ritual of visiting local coffee shops. Needless to say, we bought the machine, and when Covid hit, I was so thankful to have this little slice of indulgence each morning.  (side note, we have a Rocket Apartmento and it AND it’s espresso are works of art)

At the end of each day (which on a good day includes a workout), I indulge in a craft cocktail or glass of wine…always seeking new recipes and infusions, or the latest wine recommendation.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“I think the insanity of starting my skincare business has kept me sane from the pandemic, but that still doesn’t mean I’m sane.  I have plenty of new gray hairs from the past year to show for it.  Isn’t there some version of this for us all?”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“2020 gave me a deeper appreciation for my husband. Pre-pandemic, my husband and I lived apart during the workweek for 2 years, and now we’re now together all day every day.  Perhaps it was the challenges of long distance that make us so grateful to be enjoying each other’s company in the day-to-day monotony. It’s a reminder how lucky I am to have this partner.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I’m almost ready to get back to travel (my first vaccine was 4/12)

I got lucky in the fact that I travelled to Africa and Europe for the last 3 months of 2019, right before the world shut down.

Currently on the travel/stay home plans: Providence Rhode Island in May, California and Minnesota friends visiting us in NJ in June/July, us traveling to Minnesota to see family in August.  Then keeping our fingers crossed for Germany wine region in September and Japan in December.”   

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“What handbag? Pre-pandemic, I was known amongst my friends for my eclectic assortment of clutches (which always has a travel size Santal 33 from Le Labo).  Now, I rarely leave the house, and when I do, I only grab my wallet, keys, and a mask (hand sanitizer lives in the car).  I AM dreaming of dusting off my wardrobe and clutches so they can get back out in the world!”

What are your work-from-home saviours?

“As I mentioned, I bookend my day with my favorite beverages, so here are my FAVES

  • Morning Coffee
    • Trade Coffee – mail delivery coffee beans, customized to my preferences
    • Steady State Coffee – my favorite local coffee shop when I lived in Carlsbad. We have beans shipped on the regular to get a taste of our CA life.
  • Evening Drink
    • In addition to my favorite cocktails (The Last Word, Rye Old Fashioned, Negroni), I LOVE Aplós: a plant-based, non-alcoholic spirit that calms and uplifts.

In addition to beverages, my skincare routine provides me with an indulgent ritual that also checks the “self care” box nicely. Of course I use the Layers regimen, complemented with Nuria SPF.”

Describe your style?

“Rags and riches. You’re equally likely to find me in a stained college sweatshirt doing yard work as you are in a Alice + Olivia leather midi skirt and crop top. Oh, and in sky-high heels despite my 5’ 10” height. I was born and raised in Minnesota and have also lived in New York and Los Angeles.  I like to think of my style as bouncing around across all three! My covid style is MUCH less interesting.  Most days include Hurley workout tights, a Nike sports bra, an Amazon tank top, and various sweatshirts thrown over the top.  If I’m still wearing this outfit when it’s time to go to bed, it means I skipped my workout.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Brow pencil (I know it’s not clothing, but if I could only choose one makeup item, it would be this)

Gray leather jacket that can be thrown over ANY outfit, fancy or casual

Ribbed, fitted black sweater that can tuck into high-waisted jeans or a skirt for completely different looks. It’s also equally likely that I would wear it to an investor meeting as to a friend’s dinner party.

A red & black plaid jacket with faux sheep wool collar from Scotch & Soda.  I love that this jacket somehow says lumberjack and fashion at the same time.  Plus, it’s my campfire go-to. A pair of hybrid Sorel boots where fashion meets function; these were my pandemic go-to ALL winter long”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“In two years, I want Layers to be known as the most trusted probiotic skincare brand, and expanding distribution into stores like Sephora, Bluemercury and Ulta.

We’ll also have an expanded product portfolio, so everyone can find the right products within Layers for their specific needs…all rooted in microbiome science.” 

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“A press-up! God knows I’I want to successfully grow a business from the ground up.  I started developing Layers in January of 2020, it’s launching April 2021, and I have A LOT to do over the next few years to grow it into a known, respected, and loved skincare brand.” 

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“In life, there isn’t typically only “one right choice” in a given situation, but rather a lot of different choices that will all feel “right” once you’ve made them.  So, don’t put so much pressure on yourself when big decisions come up.  There are lots of “right” paths.” 

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“‘Everything in moderation, including moderation’ – Oscar Wilde. I generally believe that moderation is our best friend, but every once in a while you need to go all out; whether training for an iron man (not me), working crazy hours (is me), or partying all night with friends.” 

Pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“No Kids. No Pets. Hobbies: cooking (came in VERY handy during the pandemic), travel, HIIT workouts, wine & cocktails (questionable if this can be called a hobby), gardening” 

Take a look at the Layers Probiotic Skincare website here.

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of retail beauty brand founder, Paula Floyd, founder of Headkount.

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