Photo: Maria Malaver
Jana Blankenship (coolest name ever, right?) is the multitasking mastermind behind one of our most beloved brands, Captain Blankenship. Every product she dreams up is inspired by time spent in nature, from the Hudson River Valley where she is based to the coast of Maine where she has spent summers since childhood, and they’re always made from pure, organic and wild crafted ingredients. Jana (pronounced Yah-na) is a super mom, super maker, and super inspiring woman - so much so that we thought a little chat was definitely in order. Read on to learn about why nature is so crucial to her process plus her take on how to achieve the ever elusive work-life balance.
Captain Blankenship's motto is “beauty wild with nature.” That definitely sounds like a club we want to be a part of. Can you talk about the role nature plays in your company?
Nature inspires everything we make at Captain Blankenship. It is the ingredients in all the bottles and jars. We don't use any synthetic chemicals or fragrances. The motto, "beauty wild with nature," seemed perfect to us since it is the essence of what we do - creating beauty products out of the most exquisite organic ingredients that we can source from nature. When you read our ingredients lists, you can understand the beautiful raw materials that are in there. We want everyone to join our club and celebrate the power of nature to inspire and heal.
It seems like Captain Blankenship is constantly evolving. How do you decide what product to make next and which ones to retire?
I usually end up dreaming up new products when I am hiking and can really let my mind go. I don't create new products based on trends, but based on necessity. Products arise out of my own desires or requests from friends, family, or customers. I love the organic nature of this process. The brand started with me wanting to create organic and effective beauty products with experiential scents and that still is our driving force.
It is so tough to discontinue products, they become like friends and they become part of peoples’ rituals. I just discontinued our perfumes to make room for new scents and new packaging, which was VERY hard. Since our perfumes had such a loyal following, it really motivates me to create new scents that people will love. I don't ever feel like anything is ever lost in this process, it is just retranslated.
We’re so excited to welcome the Golden Waves Sea Salt Shimmer Spray to the Follain fam! It’s such a completely unique and fun product that our customers already love. Can you talk to us about where your inspiration came from in creating this spray?
Love of all things gold. :) The suggestion actually came from a friend and I thought it was brilliant. We love a good highlighter on our faces and shimmer body oil for skin, so why shouldn't our hair get some glimmer too? It took me a long time to formulate this one to get the right subtle amount of golden sparkle. I wanted it to be something that could be worn everyday for texture but would also have this added dimension of shimmer and shine. We like to think it is like strolling through a sunbeam.
Ok, so this is a not exactly a brand related question but we just need to know - it seems like balancing being a mom of two littles, running a booming empire, making time for your hobbies, all while not going crazy doing it is something that you're pretty great at. Any insider tips you can throw our way?
You are so sweet and I am glad it looks that way, ha! Balancing is no easy feat. I feel like motherhood has really taught me to be efficient. There is no time to dally anymore, I need to trust my gut and get things done. At the same time, I have learned to be easy on myself if everything I hoped to do doesn't get finished and I just need to go pick my daughter up from school. I try to make sure to take a little time for myself alone everyday, it could just be a few quiet minutes to meditate or a half hour to go running. I feel like this is definitely the key to sanity for me. Everyday really feels like an adventure and an attempt to be my best self, which keeps things exciting.
Photo: Rachel Barrett
Finally, what's in your Follain Five (aka the five products from Follain that you just can't live without)?
Ilia Lipstick Wild Child (it is crazy to admit, but it is the only lipstick I own!)
Join us for a hands-on Meet the Maker with Jana at Follain Nantucket on Wednesday, July 13th from 3-5pm. Learn more and RSVP here!