If we had a running list of women-owned and operated businesses that have been killing it throughout the pandemic, Maison Jacynthe would be among them.
Founded in 2014 by Jacynthe René, a celebrated actress, author, and entrepreneur hailing from Montreal, Maison Jacynthe (once an online-only platform called JMagazine) is now a wellness house with a bistro, range of nutritional supplements, and virtual boutique attached to it’s name.
Using the company apothecary, Maison Jacynthe produces its own line of skin care, essential oils, home items, pet products, fragrance, and accessories, bolstered by a brand new collection of all-natural makeup.
Needless to say, René‘s expansion into nearly every sector of the health and beauty world within a few years is nothing short of impressive, on top of raising three young boys.
Here, STYLE’s Digital Editor Anastasia Barbuzzi catches up with the natural beauté about how she got her start, Maison Jacynthe‘s latest product drop, navigating motherhood and entrepreneurialism, and so much more.
AB: Your career has taken you in so many different directions, from acting to education to permaculture. What made you venture into natural beauty?
JR: For 17 years, I was creating natural skincare products without even having an official company. I believe that nature has all the resources to compensate for the toxic ingredients of traditional products. In 2014, I decided it was time to share my beauty tips and launched four products. It just took off from there!
Now, we offer a large variety of 100 per cent natural, pure, active, vegan and cruelty-free skin care products, as well as essential oils, perfumes, tonics, home care and animal products – plus a newly released chic and vegan makeup line conceptualized in Montreal and developed in Milan.
AB: Why is the Trio a la Rose your go-to product regime?
JR: Our Rose everyday beauty ritual is our hero product. It consists of our Cleansing Oil (which purifies the skin and removes makeup), Rose Floral Water (invigorating, slightly astringent, firming, and moisturizing), and our Rose Serum (which protects and regenerates your skin). This has been my go-to beauty ritual for the last 17 years, ever since I was pregnant with my first child. In fact, the Rose Trio is the first skincare treatment we launched on our website.
Furthermore, our Rose Trio features Bulgarian Rose EO which is known to be the queen of oils thanks to its unique anti-aging plant wax.
SHOP IT: Maison Jacynthe, $149
AB: Maison Jacynthe’s skin care, fragrance, and makeup products are designed to respect the integrity of the skin. Why was taking an all-natural approach to formulation so important to you from the beginning?
JR: This is the very foundation of our company: having a natural approach and intelligence with nature. For our customers and to us, Maison Jacynthe is more than just a brand; it is a lifestyle. We go beyond beauty and skincare, and we also advocate a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and everyday practices. We believe this is essential.
AB: How do you juggle motherhood and entrepreneurialism?
JR: It’s not easy but I have a great team and my family is very supportive of all my business endeavours – they are my biggest fans.
AB: There’s a ton of “natural”, “vegan”, and “cruelty-free” beauty and wellness brands that have launched in the past couple of years. What inspired you to press on with the idea of your company when the market you were entering became saturated?
JR: The desire was first to share. In 2013, prior to launching our Maison Jacynthe products, I launched JMagazine; an online platform for all-natural beauty and wellness practices where I shared the tips and tricks (beauty regimens, recipes, etc.) that I had learned and implemented over the years.
Around that time, I was interviewing an owner of an organic skincare company and I asked if the products were edible. She looked at me, very surprised, and said: “It’s better not to ingest them”. I remember thinking, we’re supposed to be able to eat our cosmetics since our skin absorbs the ingredients, right?
The idea to develop my own natural skincare line then began to form, as I had already been using homemade oil formulas that I had developed during my first pregnancy. After years of enjoying these qualities and benefits for myself, I decided it was time to share and launched my first products in 2014.
AB: What sets Maison Jacynthe apart from other brands?
JR: We are 100 per cent natural, pure, and active. We also offer the highest quality ingredients without compromise. Being able to source and attain these ingredients is so important and thankfully, we have great relationships with our producers and distributors.
AB: All of your makeup products are vegan, GMO and chemical-free too. Do you have a favourite or go-to that you’d recommend to first-time customers? Tell me why.
JR: Our cream foundation is definitely one of my favourite products from our makeup line because it contains borage oil, which is a great treatment on its own because its linolenic acid content rejuvenates the skin and makes it look younger. Its soft texture and sweet scent make it an essential to keep by your side on a daily basis. Not only is this foundation 100 per cent natural, active and vegan, it comes with great benefits and was designed to respect the environment too.
SHOP IT: Maison Jacynthe, $35
AB: What was it like working with Québécois makeup artist to the stars, Marco Marsolais, to ensure the highest level of glamour, quality, and longevity for each product?
JR: We are passionate about our brand and working with Marco allows us to bring our makeup to a whole other level of excellence. Marco’s passion often translates into perfection which is what we aim to achieve, making him our ideal partner.
AB: What’s a product STYLE readers must have from the new collection to complete a glowing fall look?
JR: Our Plein Lune Highlighter to enhance the face and eyes.
SHOP IT: Maison Jacynthe, $33
AB: Do you have any advice for people who are looking to build a small business and brand, especially during this time?
JR: Have integrity and be completely transparent with what you are offering. Your customers will appreciate that more than anything.
AB: What are your goals for Maison Jacynthe?
JR: In the beginning, the vision was local. We quickly developed a dedicated customer base in our home province of Quebec. Now, our goal and mission has shifted to becoming known around the world, since we believe it’s important that as many people as possible make a quick turn towards naturalness.
AB: What goals do you have for yourself?
JR: A bit of a difficult question to answer since I am naturally very demanding with myself and I thrive from it. At the end of the day, I want to be satisfied with my days and waste as little time as possible.
AB: If there’s one message you want your brand to send, what is it?
JR: What we would like, is that people start reading beauty and skincare labels as they do in a grocery store. Be conscious of what you buy and make good choices for yourself and your family.