There’s something disarmingly real and warm about Credo Beauty‘s VP of Merchandising and Planning, Annie Jackson. With a resume that boasts over two decades in the beauty industry (beginning at Estee Lauder before joining the team responsible for launching Sephora in the United States), one might expect the cutthroat corporate experiences to have jaded or weighted her tone, but surprisingly, she exudes lightness; laughs often; speaks openly and warmly of her children and firefighter husband; and her belief that Credo Beauty, the clean beauty startup she’s been instrumental in growing the past few years, will change how women shop and think about skincare and makeup.
While you may or may not have heard of Credo Beauty, we’re pretty sure it won’t be long until this startup becomes the next Sephora. Green beauty version, of course. What began as an e-commerce shop has grown to include two brick and mortar locations. (The flagship store can be found on Fillmore Street in San Francisco and their second newly launched shop resides in New York City’s Soho neighborhood.) To get a glimpse into one of the driving forces behind this tightly curated platform, we chatted with Annie about the brand’s dedication to sniffing out the creme-de-la-creme in luxury, green beauty; what shifts are happening in the clean beauty landscape; and where her drive stems from. Read on for the full interview.
“I come from a very middle class, very normal family where money was very cognizant. My mom stayed home and took care of the kids and my dad was the one who worked. The expectation was always that I would get out of school and work so I’ve always had it ingrained in me to not rely on anybody for anything. I think my work ethic comes from my dad. He was always very entrepreneurial. Growing up I worked summers for him and he exposed both my brother and I to a lot of different ideas and ways of doing business that I still think back on today.
At one point my dad and I went into business together for a short period before Credo. I think I needed to get out of cosmetics for a little bit and see if I could do something different. I had a really beautiful independent children’s home furnishing store, but we opened right before the recession hit so it wasn’t the best timing. But the whole experience of starting my own business was very humbling. I was accounts payable, sales, and merchandising. I was everything and retail never stops. It’s every single day. Now that we have Credo stores and staff in them, I definitely am more sympathetic to them having had retail experience myself.
When Shashi approached me about starting Credo I had just decided to take a year off to be with my kids. So I was kinda helping him when I had a free moment while he was initially plotting things out. But as I started to read more and more about beauty ingredients, I literally sat in front of my laptop with my mouth hanging open. I was shocked at the underbelly of this conventional beauty world that I had spent so much of my time in. I was always in the more consumer facing side so I didn’t really understand the ingredients and the burden they have on human health. It was extremely eye opening.
When I was at Sephora, we had a lot of brands almost fifteen years ago that would present to us products that were natural or organic. At the time, that didn’t mean a lot to me as a buyer and I don’t think it was meaningful to customers then either. But I think now as people are becoming more conscientious of what they are putting on their bodies and realizing the accumulative effects of using a lot of products with harmful ingredients, they’re attuned to this whole new clean beauty movement.
And manufacturers are scrambling to be able to develop products that meet these wants. They’re now sourcing high quality ingredients: certified organic ingredients, wild crafted essential oils, or raw materials that have a lot of nourishing vitamins and minerals. And finally, formulas, pigments and packaging have caught up with real efficacy. It’s given women an outlet. If you’re jumping from a beautiful brand like La Prairie and want to switch to a brand with cleaner ingredients you are still going to want a beautiful scent, nice package and efficacy. And I don’t think until the last couple of years having it all was readily available to women.
We are seeing a lot of beautiful clean brands out there right now. The creativity out there is so crazy good. Right now we carry about 100 brands at Credo. And when it comes to vetting products, we’re very selective so what we carry in-store isn’t confusing or overwhelming for customers. It’s our job to curate the best. We have our dirty ingredient list, which every brand we bring in has to comply with, but we take into account so much more than that – the packaging, efficacy, what does it smell like, is the price something our customers will accept, and last but not least the founder of the brand is really important to us. Their story and why they created their brand is something customers connect with so we take all of that into account.
When was the last time a product “wowed” you?
I try out so many different products, but the most recent time I had a ‘wow’ moment trying something was probably Plume Science Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum. Every morning I go through Instagram, Facebook, The New York Times and I cruise through everything as fast as I can to get a feel for what is going on out there. And I saw a bloggers before and after of Plume. I literally, sat up and started reading it. Back when Latisse was going crazy and everybody was using it women were coming into the office with the most gorgeous full lashes, but slowly this crazy hyper pigmentation line started showing up on everyone’s eyelid. In some people it didn’t go away and others it actually changed the color of their irises. I think because I’m a mom I’m always more cautious when it comes to trying stuff like this, but Plume caught my attention because it uses all natural ingredients. A bunch of us in the office have been using it and are seeing a noticeable difference.
For my skincare routine, I’m currently using the Goop Luminous Melting Cleanser at night and I love it. We’re also big fans of anything that involves a muslin cloth so that one is a favorite in the office right now. Aurelia is a new brand we recently launched and I use their night moisturizer. In the morning, the one product I am obsessed with is from a little brand called January Labs based out of LA that has a restorative mist that is very hydrating. I’ll just mist that on my face in the morning. There’s another brand we are about to launch called Josh Rosebrook. He has a beautiful tinted moisturizer that I’ve been using every day and it is totally universal. I think anyone of any skin tone can use it. For makeup, Studio 78 is my favorite color brand. They are based out of Paris and have beautiful formulations. My favorite go-to eyeshadow that I have been wearing for two years now is called coffee break. Jillian Dempsey has been a friend for years and I use her rich brown eye liner, which is a beautifully formulated coal liner. Lola Lash is my favorite mascara. For hair, I’ve tried a lot of different shampoo and conditioners, but my current favorite is Evolvh. It smells incredible and the performance is fantastic. I love them. And for body oil I’m currently using Maya Chia Supercritical Body Oil. We launched this brand out of our New York store and it’s a beautiful brand. It smells incredible, has chia seeds in it, and is a really beautiful formula.”
-as told to BOND EN AVANT; Image source: Credo Beauty