SDH 235: Learn to Follow Your Intuition as a Business Owner with Karen Behnke

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Where do you begin to create an industry? How do you convince mainstream retailers to take a chance on you? How do convince manufacturers to take a chance on you? Where does your uniqueness lie? 

Hey, She Did it Her Way Listeners! Today we get to meet Karen Behnke, the founder of Juice Beauty, an organic beauty product line! She started her first company in the fitness industry right out of college and has since become a serial wellness entrepreneur, with her business ventures spanning 20 years. But she said despite her submersion in the corporate health and wellness industry, like so many other women, she never paid attention to the ingredients that went into her beauty products. Her curiosity about her beauty product’s ingredients was peaked when she became pregnant for the first time in her 40’s. She said she was completely devastated by what was in the average beauty product. She saw ingredients like formaldehyde, and petroleum, and was shocked that she never noticed them before because she had worked with so many experts on quality ingredients in health and wellness products for so many years. Seven or eight years later, she bought the name Juice Beauty and took it upon herself to radically transform the chemistry of beauty. Since her collection has expanded to skin care and makeup, gained Gwyneth Paltrow as a creative director, has been picked up by retailers like Ulta Beauty, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales; and has been up and running for over 12 years!

To begin to surpass the conventional chemical standards of beauty products, she had to learn about its current state, so she brought in an in-house group of chemists and product development experts. She said they found that a lot of them start out with glycols, which are petroleum waste products that act as a hydrating ingredient as dense as Vaseline. They also found that natural products start out with water, meaning consumers are paying the top-notch price for a diluted product. Her concept was to start out with organic botanical juices, aloes, shea’s, grapeseed, and guavas; and pack all the products with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. As of a couple years ago, they also released a photo pigments makeup collection, which is plant derived with plant pigments, and no artificial colors or fragrances.

Though she was a seasoned entrepreneur when she launched Juice Beauty, she had never dived into the world of cosmetics, so she wasn’t exempt from the turbulence that is early entrepreneurship. She said she had forgotten how hard running a start-up was, and how much she’d have to be involved in every aspect of her business. She said she spent 75% of her time leading product development in the beginning, along with one chemist and analyzed every single ingredient to make sure it was clean and healthful for consumers and the planet. When it was time to bring in more people, she said she also struggled with attracting professionals in the organic beauty industry, because she was so new, and didn’t have the allure of big name brands. Once she became a household name and attracted teams of in-house experts and executives, she said had to learn to transition into a leader and teach her new staff how to convey her message and vision on a daily basis. 

One of her goals from day one was to make it hard for consumers to tell the difference between Juice Beauty and another big name commercial brand. She said she wanted her stem cellular CC cream that was made zinc (for SPF coverage), and coconut alkenes, and grapeseed (for beautiful slip and feel), from chemical sunscreen made with oxybenzone, or silicones, and dimethicones. It was very difficult in the beginning, and she said they had problems with their zinc being too heavy, and things turning blue. But through trial and error, trusting her women’s intuition, she navigated the choppy waters of early entrepreneurship, and was able to add Juice Beauty to her repertoire of successful businesses!

Get comfortable and enjoy today’s episode as you learn more about Karen and Juicy Beauty’s story! 

In this episode you will…

  • Know how to change and upgrade the standards of an industry

  • Be able to go after big commercial brands

  • See what it’s like to start over as the founder of a start-up if you already have an established business

  • Be able to define your company’s goal

  • Start to follow your instincts as a business owner

  • Learn the best way to land investors for your company, and invest in yourself


“It’s kind of a win-win-win. You win with high [ethics] skin care, and vibrant plant makeup. You win with what you’re putting on your skin is healthful, and for the people that care, you win with supporting a company that is really supporting organic farming, supporting the planet, and building a sustainable company from top to bottom.” -Karen Benkhe 

“If you have a wrong hire in a very small business, that can set you back a couple of years. Every single hire has to be right…and then sometimes you may have amazing people in the beginning, but they might not make it through with all the change. When it’s a great transition, it that’s wonderful. But when it’s a bad transition, that can really be hard.” -Karen Behnke

“I was the lead investor in Juice Beauty…but I’m still surprised when young entrepreneurs come in to talk to me, and they don’t want to put any of their money at risk, [but they] want everybody else to invest. I always say you’ve got to put your own money up…f you’re not going to risk it, nobody else is going to.” -Karen Behnke 

“Passion has fueled me. I love business, and I love mission-driven businesses, that’s what I’ve always done. I’ve never been not motivated to get up and go at it every day.” -Karen Behnke

This year’s summit is all about creating a profitable business in the digital age. We’re covering everything from the building an email funnel that converts, writing copy for your digital outlets that converts, how to streamline your content and what systems to use so you can create more of it, how to refurbish your content and more. All of this is so you can create a profitable business. Some of the speakers include Ashlyn Carter from Ashlyn Writes, Abigail and Emylee from Think Creative Collective, Maya Elious and others!

Two full days with a welcome kick off on Wednesday evening to get us started and a Friday closing celebration. We’re also offering a VIP ticket option this year where you get exclusive interaction with some of the speakers, coached by the speakers as part of the 4-week accelerator post the summit!

You can learn more about the speakers, ticket options and schedule of events at

Be sure to sign up for the email list on the She Did It Her Way Summit website for exclusive updates and a code for 10% off your ticket.


Juice Beauty Website
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Juice Beauty Twitter