Jodi Katz is the Founder and Creative Director at Base Beauty Creative Agency, where a team of seasoned beauty professionals accelerates growth for their clients across all sales channels and marketing touchpoints. Katz is also a consultant member of Women in Retail Leadership Circle! We asked Katz a series of questions to get to know her better.
Tell us about your background. Did you imagine you would start a successful marketing agency someday?
In my early years, I bounced back and forth between jobs in advertising and publishing, with stops for temporary gigs in between, before my first “real” job in beauty at L’Occitane en Provence. After four years — and having risen to creative director at L’Occitane — I began to get itchy. I was ready to stretch myself creatively and experience a work situation that would allow me to start a family without being super stressed, as so many working parents around me were. So, I took the plunge and started my agency. I’m not sure I had imagined myself running my own agency back then, but I did know that I would be in the creative world and that I wouldn’t do things the way my previous employers had. I always believed it was possible to work differently.
What was the most challenging time of your career, and how did you work through it?
One of my first jobs was as assistant to the Editor-In-Chief of two major fashion and beauty magazines, a grunt-and-schlep job right out of “The Devil Wears Prada.” The job was undefined and thankless, but I did my best. After about six months, I met with Human Resources to ask if there might be a junior position with one of this publishing company’s other titles that might be a better fit for my interests. By the time I got back to my desk after the HR meeting, I had been fired. It took me a long time to bounce back from the shock and to realize that if I wanted to work in an empathetic workplace, I would have to create it myself.
What’s a campaign you’re especially proud of?
In 2018, our agency was approached by a respected player in the beauty industry that was about to shake things up with one of the first skincare lines focused on the effects of menopause on skin. We created a multitiered, 360-degree launch campaign for Pause Well-Aging to get this remarkable business off the ground. Through this work, we started a movement to inspire women, physicians and the media to start talking about menopause. As you can see by the interest in the subject lately, we accomplished our mission!
What do you want women working in retail to know about you and your business?
That it’s possible to do things differently. That you can have success without (undue) stress. Perhaps even have joy and serenity in your workday. That you can create a work environment where people feel valued, heard, nurtured and supported. That you can lead from a place of empathy, which creates a loyal and fulfilled team that, in turn, produces excellent work for clients.
Is there anything about you that might surprise our community?
My obsession with everything Disney!
You have a podcast and wrote a book; how do you manage to give proper attention to your business and these projects while still taking care of yourself?
I talk about this a lot in my book, Facing the Seduction of Success. Striking that balance is a major theme of the book. Managing the puzzle pieces of my work and my life is all about my team. One skill I’m blessed with is a “nose” for finding talented people who share Base Beauty’s core values. I trust them to do their jobs and navigate the speed bumps, which allows me the freedom and flexibility to take the long view in terms of planning; business development; hosting our WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™ Podcast; and having time for a life outside of work.
Do you have any tips for leaders who are interested in serving on a board?
Choose an organization with a mission you’re truly, deeply, personally passionate about. I’m on the board of a nonprofit called Girls Helping Girls. Period. When people can’t afford tampons and pads, they skip school and work during their periods. The organization’s mission is to end period poverty.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
I read a lot about mountain climbers. I have zero interest in climbing the world’s highest peaks, but I’m fascinated by those who push these limits, seek adventure on this level and how they chase those dreams. A meaningful book for me on this topic is Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer. The author was on this 1996 climb and his epic account of this tragedy grabbed me and hooked me into this genre.
What trend are you most curious about in the retail beauty industry?
Professional skincare continues to grow as consumers are now willing to invest time and money in products and treatments that actually work and create noticeable results. For those who want the power of these types of treatments in their hands, at-home skincare devices using microcurrent and LED technologies are exciting alternatives.
A fun one: What’s one beauty product you never travel without?
Sunscreen! It’s the least expensive, most effective anti-aging treatment that also protects against skin cancer. Win win!