Beautytap Founder Spotlight: Casey Georgeson of Saint Jane
Jul 20, 2023
The lauded brand-builder on the importance of storytelling, supporting women and creating products that heal skin.
From reporting for CNN to developing best-selling wine and beauty brands, Casey Georgeson is the consummate brand architect and storyteller. Driven by her passion for helping women, she is the Founder and CEO of Saint Jane. You may recognize this luxury brand for its award-winning Luxury Beauty Serum and Luxury Sun Ritual Pore Smoothing Face Sunscreen along with the eye-catching plaques that grace their sleek black bottles.
Georgeson sits down with Beautytap to share the story behind Saint Jane and offers words of wisdom for aspiring beauty entrepreneurs.
You have such a dynamic background in both TV (having worked for CNN) along with brand development for Cupcake Vineyards and top Sephora brands including Marc Jacobs Beauty, Kat Von D, and Disney. How did those experiences help in launching your very own brand, Saint Jane.
Brand development is really more about how you're making people feel than what you're saying. What I learned from CNN was that storytelling is so powerful, and you have to do it in a very succinct way. This was one of the reasons why I felt Saint Jane was important to be very soulful, to stand for something, and to give back as part of the mission.
The brand is inspired by the actual Saint Jane who dedicated her life to healing women; women that society shunned - the very old, very sick, unwed mothers, and this was 500 years ago, so it was pretty breakthrough at the time. I wanted to create a brand that looked different and felt so elevated, but really stayed laser focused on helping and healing the skin. I knew I needed to create a lot of storytelling in a small amount of time and space. That's why our packaging looks the way it does, because it communicates quite a bit.
I feel really grateful that I've had this incredible career. Saint Jane is the distillation of all those experiences and is deeply personal for me. We believe in empowering women because I have three daughters and empowering women always been really important to me.
Your Luxury Beauty Serum is one of your hero products and positioned as “The Face Oil to End All Face Oils.” Face oils have become such a popular part of skincare regimes. Why is yours so special?
The more years that go by, the more special I realize it is. We've heard everything about our Luxury Beauty Serum from “it’s literally like drops of gold,” “it's a miracle in a jar,” “it's borderline medicinal.” Each ingredient reduces inflammation in the skin. I knew that skin stress and inflammation are at the root of all evil with skin, whether it's acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, even aging - and skin inflammation is at the heart of that.
So every ingredient, every floral, every botanical that I put into Luxury Beauty Serum potently targets inflammation. There are florals in there that have been known for centuries to really calm the skin. I also needed this to be antibacterial because I didn't want people to be afraid to use it when they have acne prone skin. Acne and oils tend not to be a natural combination, so having a bit of antibacterial function in the formula was important. We did studies with doctors to see how the serum performed in a clinical setting, and it really works.
CBD is a highlighted ingredient in the Luxury Beauty Serum. What would you like people to know about CBD?
We really love CBD as a brand. There has been hesitancy to use CBD out there in the market, but Luxury Beauty Serum broke down a lot of those barriers. I think because it looked so thoughtfully made and so luxurious. It allowed people who would never have tried CBD to want to try it, and realize the benefits of it.
I believe in using CBD thoughtfully where it makes sense. CBD plays an important role in Luxury Beauty Serum. It’s also in Bright Repair Eye Cream, Luxury Body Serum, and Sacred Sleep Overnight Repair with retinol. CBD balances out some of the actives in those formulas. We would never put CBD in a cleanser. It also didn’t need to be in our Vitamin C Drops or Lip Oils.
How did your passion for creating wine intersect with your passion for beauty products?
They're both incredibly saturated. I wanted to create wines that targeted women. There weren't brands that were speaking to the primary audience of wine purchasers, which was women. I wanted to create brands that felt different and shook up the wine aisles. We walk down the wine aisle, and there are 5,000 options, just like when you walk into a Sephora and have 5,000 options. So it’s back to that storytelling - creating brands that connect quickly. You only have that little tiny wine label to explain what you're all about, what you stand for and what you're delivering to the consumer. And in beauty, it's similar, where you really don't have a lot of time to explain who you are.
Saint Jane has really unique branding - it’s simple yet luxurious. How did you come up with the company’s branding and all of its components?
I wanted to create something very elevated. There was a big movement towards minimalism and I wanted whatever I delivered to have a bit more specialness to it. I wanted it to look very elegant on your vanity because the formulas inside were very special. The influence of using a plaque on my packaging was because I worked with Marc Jacobs back in the day developing his beauty collection, and I loved how he used plaques on his handbags. We were the first to do it in skincare.
There are so many new skincare launches; it feels like there’s something new almost everyday. How do you stand out and make noise today in the beauty space today?
I believe so passionately in authenticity and having a purpose in what you do. For me, it's about helping people's skin. That's the reward that I get. And being an example to my three daughters, doing good in the world, creating things that help people, giving back, and creating jobs.
What has been the most rewarding part of founding Saint Jane?
The most rewarding part is that we've helped people’s skin. I get the beautiful reviews, the testimonials and the emails from clients. And then I think the second most rewarding part is the example it's setting for my family.
What has been the most challenging part of founding Saint Jane?
One of the most challenging parts is underestimating all the things that go into creating a brand. In addition to creating the products, getting the products on the shelves and having retailer support, there’s HR, legal, and all of the back end - the things you never thought a lot about. I've learned how to rely on my team. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart because every day is different. It’s very difficult to celebrate the wins because you're just so focused on the overall success of the business. It's a roller coaster, but it's worth it. It's so rewarding and fulfilling.
What are you most proud of?
I took my oldest daughter's volleyball team to Sephora for a tournament. They're 13 and they love beauty products. They got to the Saint Jean endcap and were all crowded around it. All of a sudden my 13-year-old peaked her head over my shoulder and whispered in my ear, “I'm really proud of you, mom.” I thought, Okay, this is it. This is what I've been waiting for.
From a business perspective, I’m proud of our Sephora partnership and seeing the success of our SPF, which has really catapulted our business. We're working on continuing to build off of that product.
Any fun teases you can share with us about new product launches?
We have a really fun one - a collaboration with a brand that shares our values around supporting female founders and lifting women up.
What advice do you have for people looking to launch their own beauty brands?
Make sure you're ready for how busy and all consuming it will be. It's so much fun and so rewarding but as a founder, it’s your baby. You're nurturing it as if it's your little one, making sure that it's steady on its feet and growing up right. You have to make sure you're very passionate about that purpose because you live it every day. There are really no breaks as a founder. Make sure you love what you are about to do and that you also are ready to force the balance, because that's where I struggle. Having balance as a founder is something only you can architect.
Charlotte Kramon is a journalist and Duke student whose work on a variety of topics including housing and criminal justice has appeared in publications such as the LA Times, the Charlotte Observer, Indyweek, and The 9th Street Journal. Aside from her academic pursuits, she loves music and has always been a skincare junkie who enjoys learning about what goes into building the latest and greatest products.