The doors have opened for me and i feel like i’m stepping in those doors now.
This steadfast work ethic stems from her childhood. “I am from a very normal family in Perth, my mum’s a nurse, my dad’s a bricklayer. It was all about, ‘hard work pays off ’. My parents taught me if you want something, you can’t rely on anyone to give it to you – just go get it yourself.”
However this wasn’t the first time Jess has considered going into business. “I’ve had a lot of people ask me to do businesses with them,” she reveals, “but I’ve said no. I’ve been approached a lot for people to give my design and my brand to, but it was a real conscious decision to say, ‘No, I really want to have something that I call the shots [on] and that I’m inventing myself.’”
Equal Beauty is the product of two years of solid research. “I actually sat in the lab and formulated it with my chemist,” says Jess. “This isn’t about me just slapping my name to something, this is something that I’ve curated, that I’ve manifested.”
When asked if she now considers herself a businesswoman, Jess hesitates briefly before replying, “I guess so, yeah. I feel like I am a businesswoman. I am turning into that.”
She also says authenticity and integrity are central to her business ethic. “As I get older, I’m really conscious about who I surround myself with, who I work with. I’m all about authenticity, about truth. I don’t want you to lie to me, don’t want you to blow smoke. I want the truth. It’s better for me, it’s better for everybody else.
“My biggest learning curve would be knowing who to trust. Making sure that… legally you have everything set up before you go into any talks. I’ve really learnt it’s important to protect yourself as a businesswoman… there’s people who want things for the wrong reasons. It’s really important to have a good lawyer.
“Life is about making choices, and sometimes they’re really hard.” When asked about having made tough calls in her own life, Jess replies, “Well, with people that you work with. You know… leaving my family at a young age, break-ups with people because we’re not going in the same direction, choosing career over personal life. Sometimes the decisions that we have to make to follow our passion, they’re the toughest lessons.
“It was a long process, getting hurt, being vulnerable and getting f**ked over… understanding who’s on my team, who’s not, knowing who to trust, what do I stand for. I spend a lot of time alone travelling so I write a lot and try and be really honest with myself. I like to confront things now.”
These days, it’s a strong sense of self that keeps Jess grounded. “When you have that certainty of who you are, that’s really good. I tell young girls, ‘Just get to know yourself. Don’t try and be everybody else, just find your own… whatever that is, just find it.’ I think for me, when I found it that’s when everything really starting falling into place. I just had to look inwards.
Now, the time has come to share the fruits of tough lessons learnt. “I can’t wait to have a family, that’s the next thing. I grew up in a big family,” says Jess, who is the youngest of four. “So I would love to have lots of kids. I want to leave something behind for my children… Get married, have kids, teach them everything I’d known… Teach them that whatever you put your mind to, you can do it.”
In the meantime, Jess is preparing to jet back to Perth for what will be her first weekend home in two years, ahead of a busy year that will see the release of her line and two upcoming films. And, it seems, she’s more than ready.
“I feel like now is the time for me. I think everything in life is about timing… the doors have opened for me and I feel like I’m stepping in those doors now.”