As part of my series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Daisy Jing, a YouTube vlogger and a mompreneur who founded and bootstrapped a now multi-million beauty product line named Banish.
Her business is ranked #152nd fastest growing company in INC500. She was also included in Forbes 30 under 30 in manufacturing. Just recently, she had an opportunity to share her passion for authenticity at a TEDxTalk.
She realized that many current skincare ingredients, such as fragrances or fillers, break out her skin so she created her own skincare products in her kitchen. She documented her struggle on her YouTube channel, which now garners over 70M views. Eventually, her followers saw great results on her skin and encouraged her to launch her own business. Now she and her diverse team focus on inspiring confidence in others. Together with the Banish Warriors and Soldiers, Daisy joins the acne community in their skin journey.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I went to Med School because I was planning to take Pre-Med. Duke University has an outstanding Pre-Med program and so I studied there, hoping to be a dermatologist someday. I took the required courses like biology or chemistry but then I realized that I don’t want to spend 15 years in school anymore and I’d rather be hands-on with my career.
I have always suffered from skin issues and because I already tried a lot of skincare products, I became picky in what to apply next. I decided to make a skincare product for my personal consumption. My intention was never to start a company that sells the perfect formula of everything, I just need something that works and I want it to be different from the others.
There was never really a moment when I decided to start a skincare business, I never read entrepreneurial books or made a business plan. It kind of just happened because I wanted to solve the problem for my own skin and I couldn’t find the solution out there. I already built a dedicated following on YouTube, so it was fairly natural to start selling my own products.
I always say that if I haven’t had acne, my bad skin, if I didn’t suffer with my appearance, then I would have never started Banish. It’s a blessing in disguise. I’ve always suffered with my skin, even to this day. I became obsessed in researching every single ingredient and reading clinical trials and studies about ingredients and certain products. I have over 700 videos on YouTube with over 70 million views about skincare, so I know quite a bit about the beauty industry and skincare in general.
My very first step was to look for help from plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and also read through a lot of clinical studies. We worked with chemists in labs and manufacturers for beauty and skincare.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
People think that a person’s value depends on his price/rate — the more expensive the better. I had a chance to work with really expensive people but they don’t perform well. If you compare them to others who actually fit in your team, you’ll realize that an employee’s expensive rate doesn’t necessarily define his value. Whether you’re attracting an agency or employee, the right kinds of people that get you and your message, core value, relatability, authenticity are the valuable ones. A person could come from a prestigious agency or the employee could be working in beautiful buildings; but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good for your company.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Oprah — even if I don’t know her personally, she has been a great inspiration to me. I trusted her intuition for she didn’t show fear. I had a lot of worries and anxiety in my head when I was starting, but because of her, I pushed them away then eventually trusted my gut. In the beginning, there were some signs I should have seen, some warnings I should have noticed. I came to my breaking point but Oprah motivated me to move on.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
Banish is all about encouraging people to experience and appreciate the best version of themselves, it’s still true today. I say, “It’s not the way you look but it’s the authentic way you FEEL that matters.”
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?
Do not share stuff when you are in very stressful times or emotional high. There are days when I’m in so much stress and pressure, I know the worst thing I can do is take it out on my team. I never attend a meeting nor send an email or even talk to someone when I feel intense. If I need to delay a response and think things through, I do it. We must have control over our emotions and be careful when we say or do things during extreme stress. Let’s practice filtering our words more. Our tongue has the power to build or to destroy, choose to be a booster!
Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?
Yes I did! I won’t say all the time but in the beginning of my business journey, I thought of giving up all the time. There are definitely hard challenges every single day but whenever I feel overwhelmed, I step back and take time to breathe and be in sound mind before doing things.You CANNOT go down that rabbit hole! Sit on it, do not overreact and keep on moving.
To see people continuously order products and give good feedback, that’s what keeps me going. The repeated orders are overwhelming given that there are a lot of skincare brands out there but they deliberately choose to order from us which is actually more expensive than what others are used to. Because of them, me and my team give our best to make this a long lasting company for those who need us.
What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?
If you can control your emotions, you can do anything. Let yourself feel your emotions but do not allow it to control you. It is only when we allow our emotions and worries to control us that we lose the battlefield. Feel your pain to experience healing then give yourself some time to be alone. Talk to your team only when you are ready and in a healthy state of mind and emotions. Your team can sense stress and negative vibes — it is always important to share positivity and be solution-oriented instead of focusing on the problem
When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?
Always go back to your core — ask yourself and your team what motivates them. My personal story is all about going through hard times and not giving up. I want my story and my actions to continuously be an inspiration to my team. Anyone who knows me will say that I’m the most determined person they have met. I’m somebody who fixes my mind on something, then I make it happen. I have a clear goal and I don’t lose focus or get distracted by other things. I have a constant anxiety of whether I’m gonna achieve that goal or not and because I am anxious, it drives me further to do more than somebody else will. I see to it that I communicate well with my team and they too will have the same drive and motivation in moving forward.
What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?
Always have the video on, talk to them according to their personality and love language. Gather all the details necessary for you to communicate to the person and rehearse what you’re about to say. Do not drag other people’s names and issues but as much as possible focus on the main objective of the “talk.”
How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable?
It is like leading an army to war, change is constant. A leader should be attentive, flexible, and expectant (the best and the worst). It is only when a leader leads by example that his team also learns to prepare for the worst and be excited for the best.
Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?
Be flexible — whether it’s good or turbulent times, to be flexible is like understanding that life is like a wheel, you’ll never know where gears may take you despite thinking that you are in control of things — that is why your spirit should be ready to responsibly accept what is good and readily fight the good fight of faith.
It has been my goal to hire flexible people for that is how you’ll determine whether the heart is at the right place or not. Flexibility, whether in schedule, role, or behavior is like a preview of how someone can actually cope up with changes, different circumstances and difficulties. It is a blessing to have a flexible team!
Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?
- Not being flexible, can’t adapt — you should have a solution-based mindset, stop wallowing
- Don’t dwell on negativity — be positive, don’t append time during difficult times
- Procrastinating, not planning ahead. Things will get better so plan well on external stuff. We don’t know what the future holds — accept reality. Plan for the existing and unseen circumstances
Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Be realistic and never live in a fairytale world thinking that someone will sweep you off your feet. See all the expenses you have, categorize and allocate budget according to needs and priority.
Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Be flexible — it is not just about adjusting when there’s a need, it’s about boldly dealing with unexpected challenges without getting stuck to your old routine/ways
- Be solution-oriented — don’t get sidetracked with other issues or even the emotion it comes with, focus on finding the solution and coming up with the ideas and having the guts to solve the problem
- Accept reality and be adaptable — live in the now, anticipate disruptions and find ways to overcome hurdles with new solutions to meet extra-challenges.
- Learn how to control your emotions — focus on the things you can control and what’s important now. Don’t try to make the problems feel light and invalidate other people’s emotions (even yours); but have the wisdom to deal with the things you can control
- Be inspiring — Leaders must have a heart while leading his team. It is the perfect time to listen and let people know they are heard. Acknowledgment and inspiration are both needed during this time of crisis.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Nothing is forever, everything comes in cycles. Downtime doesn’t last forever. Life will put you back up. That’s why when you’re in a great time, prepare for downtime and when there’s a downturn, have hope that you’ll go back up so keep the faith and move forward.
How can our readers further follow your work?
Website : https://www.banish.com
Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/user/daiserz89
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/banishbeauty
Instagram : https://instagram.com/daiserz89
Linkedin : https://il.linkedin.com/in/daisyjing
Twitter : https://twitter.com/banishacnescars