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Meet Annie Jackson of Credo in Westfield

Today we’d like to introduce you to Annie Jackson.

Annie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have been in beauty for most of my career. My first “real” job was at Estee Lauder, and over the years held a variety of positions in the field and ultimately in their New York HQ. It’s an incredible company that cares deeply about their employees and I still feel extremely lucky to have been given that opportunity. Eventually, I moved home to San Francisco and took a position at Sephora in 1997 when it was just starting, we had not even opened a store yet. It was very scrappy and grassroots back then. I wore a lot of different hats and learned that all the unexpected challenges you have to face daily in a start-up environment is where I thrived. I also worked for Benefit for a few years – which in a strange way reminded me a lot of Estee Lauder. Both brands have a fierce brand identity and incredibly inspirational founders. While I enjoy working as a retailer more than a brand, I am so glad I have that depth of experience so I can see both sides and hopefully be a resource to the brands we work with at Credo. Shashi (our late founder of Credo) was my boss during my time at Sephora. We saw the tidal wave of indie brands that needed a platform to showcase their products. The catalyst for Credo has been a second generation of entrepreneurs and creators who are passionate about the same category but are conscious and informed about the harmful ingredients that exist in most conventional products. The brands we currently work with are different from the first generation of natural/organic/green brand visionaries because they focus on beauty and efficacy as a critical part of their brands – in design, packaging, texture and scent. Starting Credo with Shashi will forever be one of the most humbling and meaningful moments of my life.

Has it been a smooth road?
I would say the business side of Credo has been smooth, yes. We certainly have had our challenges and will continue to have them, but we have never had a “why are we doing this?” kind of day. We learned a lot from the mistakes we made at Sephora – particularly when it comes to opening stores quickly and in a multi-brand concept. We vowed not to move too fast with Credo. We have been opening stores with a measured pace in markets we feel align with who Credo is. Personally, this has been a very hard year for me, our team and Shashi’s family having lost him in May. It’s not something I think any of us have fully processed yet. We are inspired daily to bring Shashi’s vision to life for what he saw Credo to be – which is to provide a space in neighborhoods for brands that are good for people and for our planet. Our stores are part of wonderful neighborhoods on main streets and shopping centers with experiences that are more connected to the community.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Credo story. Tell us more about the business.
Credo’s mission is to change the way people think about what they put on their bodies. Our goal is to do that without forcing the customer to sacrifice their style or the performance of the products. We think providing a destination where there is a comprehensive collection of clean beauty choices is an important step forward to drive this movement.

Credo offers the widest assortment of clean beauty brands in skincare and makeup. We also have a variety of services in the stores that you can book online. Our staff knowledge in the space runs deep, so if customers are seeking information they are a resource. Above and beyond all that, we are a beauty store. Engaging with our customers on social media and throwing events with the makers from the brands via makeup application or skincare consultation is a really rewarding part of what we do.

Our criteria for selecting brands begins with two fundamentals: authenticity & transparency. From there, we look for creators that have a holistic vision for what they have created with a focus both on the inside (formulation: ingredients and efficacy) and the outside (experience: packaging, texture and scent).

Our staff is made up of licensed estheticians and makeup artists. We really wanted to create a place where people excited about skin and skin physiology are able to counsel people on their skin concerns from a place of confidence and trust. We offer on floor mini facials, waxing, and makeup application in every Credo store and have a Tata Harper Spa in-store at Credo locations in SF, LA, Chicago and Dallas (opening in Jan).

One of our unique features both in the stores and online are our Clean Swaps. A customer can either share with our staff the products she is using or even bring in her entire makeup bag and we can recommend a healthy alternative to it. Education is a cornerstone of what we do – so whether you are visiting Credo with your friends looking for a lip gloss or you have skin concerns you want to address 1-on-1, our staff is ready and waiting to talk to you.

We see a Credo presence in any community that has the critical mass to support this conscientious demand. However, we realize that we are at the front of the movement that has to educate and be an integral part of building that demand.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Consumer demand for transparency and better ingredients is growing fast. There is a wealth of information out there today that empowers people to know what they are consuming. The existence of similar parallels in other consumer categories in the industry where sustainability, ethical sourcing, environmental impact, and health are already key factors in consumer decision making – food is one obvious example. The overall shift to conscientious consumption and healthy lifestyle that is innate to the millennials. Conventional brands won’t be able to rely on fancy marketing and synthetic bs ingredients for long. There is a big risk for those who assume this movement is a niche. It is more a risk for the conventional brands and retailers who don’t adapt. They have more to lose than the disrupters and start-ups. The conventional brands and companies that are open-minded and accept this change is coming and make changes to meet consumer demand will rise to the top, and others who are complacent will likely suffer the consequence of a significant loss of market share because by not adapting to a better way. Consumers are speaking, they should listen.

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