- Rochelle on the parts of her job that drain her
- She sheds light on being an entrepreneur and a control freak
- How she prioritizes being 100% present for her family
Rochelle Jacobs is the Founder of Naturally Serious – a cleanly and ethically developed skincare line that combines powerful natural ingredients with cutting-edge technology. She talks to 35 Thousand about never taking no for an answer, working towards one’s goals, and thinking outside the box.
Describe yourself in 3 words…
“Determined, confident… and always curious!”
Tell us about your work…
“I love what I do! I am very passionate about my work and helping women take charge of their wellbeing through our naturally efficacious, clinically clean skin care. At Naturally Serious, we consider skin care to be a self-care ritual, which is why we are incredibly strict about which ingredients make it into our final formulas. My goal in creating Naturally Serious was to take out the guesswork for time-strapped women like myself, who were looking to enter the clean beauty space. Our products are truly clean and ethically developed, as well as eco-friendly, so you don’t have to second-guess anything.”
Do you work in a spare room, skyscraper, or other?
“I’ve worked in a lot of places, mostly bedrooms, throughout the pandemic. However, now that my kids are back to school for in-person classes, I have more space! I finally work in a true ‘home office’ that is bright and open. I know there are so many positives to working at home, but after such a long time, I can’t wait to be back in the office collaborating with my team. Being a tight-knit, family-run business, I miss seeing everyone’s faces on a daily basis!”
What parts of your work give you energy?
“So many things! The first thing that comes to mind is when someone tells me an anecdotal story about a product that changed their life. It also excites me to watch our incredible team grow! At Naturally Serious, we think of employees as family and it’s important to me that I forge connections with the team and help guide their career paths.”
What parts of your work drain you?
“A Harvard professor once advised me to set three long-term goals, and write them on a whiteboard. If I was not actively working toward one of those goals, I needed to reprioritize. To this day, I still use this method to help me stay on task! However, in real life, unforeseen challenges can throw even the best-laid plans off course. Being a control freak, I feel slightly drained whenever I don’t achieve my daily goals, but I’m learning to be more flexible and allow myself to be human.”
Most pivotal point of your career so far?
“That’s easy. When I left corporate America to join my mother and her business partner in what was then a very tiny, 6-year-old business. I was the eighth employee! My mother had always pushed me to be the best I could be and in her mind, that did not include working with her… until it did! I saw how quickly her business was growing and asked if I could help her grow it. Without hesitation, she said, ‘Absolutely not!’ Unfortunately for her, she taught me to never take no for an answer, so I set up a formal interview with her and her business partner. The rest is history and here I am, 22 years later and loving (almost) every day.”
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others?
“Believe in yourself! While many factors will set you on the path to success, none are as important as believing in yourself. Be confident in your vision and believe that you have the power to accomplish it. When things seem so frenetic that you don’t know which end is up, take a deep breath. Everything always works out the way it should.”
What event or situation is funny now but wasn’t at the time. Please expand!
“Nearly six years ago, my mother and I flew to China for a 45-minute presentation for her namesake brand, June Jacobs. Before the business part of the presentation, we had choreographed a yoga opening with dancers and I was planning to do some fun poses. We had intense rehearsals, but when the big day came, so did an incredible amount of traffic! When we finally arrived at the venue, the dancers were entertaining the crowd and the crew told us I was too late to perform, but I was determined! Nothing was set the way we rehearsed, but I had a huge surge of adrenaline and just ran out onto the stage as if it were the Olympics gymnastic finals and started tumbling like I hadn’t done since grade school. On my final tumble, I jumped high in the air and miraculously landed into a perfect split! The crowd went wild. We went on to finish our presentation and then had all the senior executives come up and dance on stage with us.”
Pets, hobbies, external commitments?
“Oh my goodness, so many! I have a 7 ½ year old rescue puppy, Macky. My family and I are obsessed with him and I can’t imagine life without him. We do everything together. Our favorite hobby is going to the beach and running together. I love being active and when I’m not working, I’m moving. Biking, walking, hiking, swimming and yoga keep me pretty busy! I am also on the advisory board of the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai and AWSM (Advancing Women in Science and Medicine) at the Feinstein Institutes of Northwell Health.”
Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…
“Wake up, workout, make breakfast for my boys, shower, drive one or both to school, go to work, work later than I had hoped to, rush home for dinner and try to be present for my boys (often unsuccessfully). Then, crash the second I put my head on the pillow.”
How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?
“In addition to becoming a short-order cook for my boys, my new normal is less chaotic and probably more productive. I’m also 100% more present for my family. There is a lot of my new normal that I hope to carry on with in my day-to-day when things start to normalize a bit more. My love of nature has really flourished throughout the pandemic. I have no plans of ever leaving NYC, but I do plan on stopping to smell the roses each and every day.”
Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?
“It’s hard for me to put into words the emotional impact this crisis has had on me both personally and professionally. I can’t believe it has already been a year and a half. I value everything that’s still in my life, higher than I valued it before. I went into the Corona crisis strong and even though it beat me up, I wasn’t about to let it win! Each day, I try to find something positive to help make me stronger. The profound global impact of the Corona pandemic feels overwhelming at times, but I try to focus on the small everyday victories. Even little things, like taking a refreshing walk outside, can have a positive effect on my mood and outlook.”
What, if anything, keeps you up at night?
“As long as I don’t watch the news or get on social media at night, nothing is going to keep me up! I know that I need my beauty rest in order to put my best foot forward the next day.”
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?
“As someone who likes to be in control, routine and discipline have helped me cope over the past year. Setting daily goals for myself has helped me to stay focused on what I can control, instead of what I can’t. I find that accomplishing even the tiniest, simplest thing can ‘spark joy.’ For example, I’ve been using a double-size Swell water bottle that I received after completing a nearly 100-mile hiking program. It reminds me how strong I am and helps me achieve my goal of staying hydrated… I refill it at least three times a day! I’m also getting on quite well with ‘Alexa’ and my Apple Watch. Alexa always plays my favorite uplifting music and my Apple watch makes sure I keep moving and meeting my exercise goals.”
What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?
Laughing. When there’s nothing to laugh about, find something. Even if it is laughing at yourself, which I do often. Hugs are important too. I give out lots of hugs, even though it occasionally embarrasses my teenaged boys! I also make a point to have family meals together as much as possible. It’s the perfect opportunity to talk and reconnect! Outside of family time, focusing on self-care has helped me to stay sane during these challenging times. Eating healthy, exercising, meditating and getting enough sleep have all contributed to my overall wellbeing. And, of course, I always make time for my morning and evening skin care rituals!
Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?
“In every way! I have learned to slow down and savor each moment. I needed to learn this. Being a very active person who likes to stay busy, I never thought slowing down was possible! 2020 has also placed increased importance on the need to give back. Giving back has always been incredibly important to me, but I feel that responsibility even more so now.”
Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?
“I’m ready to travel, but I’m just not feeling the need to. I did manage to sneak in a weeklong trip to France with my family over the summer. It was nice and I’m sure I’ll travel again, however, I’m very happy staying home for the time being.”
Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”
“Hand sanitizer, air pods, lip balm and flossers.”
What are your work from home saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)
“I try to get up every day by 7 a.m. so that I can get outside and bike and swim or on rainy days, practice yoga or hop on my Peloton before I shower and have breakfast. Starting out my day on an energetic note helps me stay motivated. I also love listening to upbeat music while I work from home—usually, cheesy ’80s love songs!”
Describe your style?
“Bright, cute and comfy.”
Name your 5 essential items of clothing?
“Pre-COVID, I could be found in a bright flowy dress and a great pair of wedges. These days, my essentials are good leggings, mantra t-shirts and comfortable shoes… plus, a bathing suit and swim goggles!”
How do you see your business or career in two years from now?
“My hope is that I never stop learning and growing! I always strive to think outside the box, even if it means making some mistakes along the way. In being more open-minded and not being afraid to try new things, there will be some trial and error. However, opportunity lies in correcting your mistakes, learning from them, and not making the same mistakes again. If you don’t think outside the box, you may believe you are playing things safe but in truth, you will always be stuck.”
What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?
“I’ll be 50 on my next birthday so I have had plenty of time to conquer some crazy and fun stuff. However, I have yet to do a Half Ironman, which I would like to do! While I won’t run 13 miles, I do plan on doing my classic ‘walk/run.’ I’ve come close to unofficially doing a Half Ironman on some weekends, so it might be fun to actually participate in one!”
What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?
“Slow down, you’ll still get there. My grandmother used to watch me do things and would always tell me, ‘Rome was not built in a day.’” It wasn’t.”
Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?
Never. Give. Up.
Take a look at the Naturally Serious website here.