JUDY + BEAUTY
Senior Vice President and General Manager, JAFRA USA JAFRA Cosmetics
In 1956, Jane Day and her husband Frank launched JAFRA Cosmetics (JA + FRA = JAFRA) in Malibu, California, determined to be an innovative and inclusive beauty label for everyone. Still a thriving US-based business, today Jafra carries fragrances, skincare, makeup, suncare…and even baby care products.
Judith Sanchez Lopez joined JAFRA USA as SVP and General Manager, following a successful 28-year career rising through the ranks of JAFRA Mexico and JAFRA Global. She knows the products and brand inside-out and outside-in—and shares what makes the brand so unique and special.
What was your childhood like?
JS: I was born into a wonderful, loving family in Mexico City, and my biggest passions since then have been to teach and create. One of my fondest memories is of mixing different lotions and creams my mother had with her eyeshadows to make new types of makeup to beautify my dolls.
But besides this, several bullies in school made me realize the importance of loving yourself, placing boundaries, and believing in yourself. This has led me to believe self-respect, empathy, and open-mindedness are essential. These experiences overall strengthened my character and defined my aspirations, which to this day haven’t changed as I love to help people achieve their goals, formulate, and positively impact the leaders of the future, and help people feel beautiful and empowered.
What drew you to JAFRA in general–and how long have you been with the brand?
JS: JAFRA is a brand whose values I can resonate with in that the foundation believes in the power of the people. JAFRA is more than a makeup brand; we help you discover your inner beauty, the “freedom to be you.” We respect and honor people, empowering them by giving them quality products that they can be proud to represent and enjoy. I’ve been working for JAFRA for 30 years, the most recent 4 years being in the United States.
Why are JAFRA products so popular in Mexico?
JS: I believe that JAFRA is popular in Mexico due to its breakthrough in the perfume market. With over 500,000 consultants and many accounts of success, JAFRA is well recognized among many other countries like the United States, in which I am currently the SVP General Manager. Without a doubt, the signature US product in our skincare line is Royal Jelly, as we offer a variety of different products for skincare and directly cater to our client’s needs.
My personal favorite product would be Royal Jelly Defy.
What are some new and exciting launches from JAFRA?
JS: At JAFRA, we are always innovating our products to be more eco-friendly, like our new reef-friendly Sun line of sunscreen. In the United States, we’re taking it a step further and releasing fragrances that are not just for you but for your home as well. We are about to release a new perfume with sustainable packaging that could even be reused as a flowerpot. And there is plenty more on the way, including new products for children. We have the best perfumers around the world helping us tell many stories with our fragrances.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
JS: Someone once told me “leadership is serving,” and it truly resonated with me. Once I understood that leadership is a service to others, I started searching for methods to better approach how to market products to clients and thinking of better incentives for the sales force. I understood that it was my job to not only be an example to our employees but to also make sure they had everything they needed to thrive and shine in their work environment. It helped me understand that success isn’t just my success, but everyone’s success. This advice also made me realize that with every victory comes a new challenge. But when we overcome those challenges, we grow. To be a respectable leader, I believe you should focus on refining yourself as a person, broadening your knowledge, and developing patience. Keeping calm and handling difficult situations by taking a breath, ruminating before making a decision, and making sure you don’t let your emotions control your decisions shows a degree of self-control that I admire and strive to continue to show going forward. The last piece of advice that resonated with me was one from Bill Gates, where he mentions you should take small breaks throughout the day to reassess yourself.
Tell us more about the JAFRA Foundation and why its mission is so meaningful to you.
JS: I’ve always believed in giving back, which is why in Mexico we created a foundation to help students from all sorts of backgrounds, (including special needs students), to finish their education. I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish and thanks to our foundation, I got to see many children continue their studies and become professionals in their fields. I believe in the power of education, and in my free time, I’m a part of the Board of Directors of California Lutheran University and also a part of the Board of Governors at The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley. My mission is to help inspire and form the leaders of tomorrow.
What is the best beauty secret a relative or a colleague ever gave you?
JS: Something very simple: never go to bed without cleaning your face. I learned this from another leader back in Mexico who’s a dear friend to me. “No hay belleza, sin limpieza,” which means cleanliness is necessary for beauty. Furthermore, always use sunblock even if you’re inside because the blue lights emitted from screens, such as from our computers and phones, contribute to premature aging.
What does it mean to you to be a role model for Hispanic women?
JS: I don’t know if I am a role model but I know I’m a Mexican woman who’s had the opportunity to work in different positions and various regions around the world like Brazil, Central America, Europe, and Indonesia. In JAFRA Mexico, I was in charge of commerce strategies and I came to the United States about 4 years ago, where I was hired as the Chief Marketing Officer and am working as the SVP General Manager present day.
What I feel defines me most is my drive to do what I do well. I think of ways to do more and put myself in others’ shoes so I can help out in a much more personalized and empathetic way. I’ve always been drawn to learning and am naturally curious and love asking questions. I don’t believe in the impossible and instead, believe in asking “how”.
The only person who can define you is yourself and that’s why you have to value yourself and learn not to listen to harmful unconstructive comments directed at us. Have a clear image of what you want, work hard, share what you learn, and live and enjoy your life as much as you can. And don’t forget to be bold and take risks, life may surprise you.
Learn more about everything JAFRA at: www.jafra.com