A Letter From Our Founder

Those who know me personally know I tend to have a lot of words, so buckle up!

While other 16-year-olds were getting their first jobs at restaurants, malls, and movie theaters, I had convinced my local Med Spa to hire me as their office manager. I did everything from submitting insurance claims to ordering products, managing schedules, and implementing marketing campaigns. While I was working in what felt like the dream job (hello skincare product discounts, because no there was not “use my code” back in the MySpace and early FaceBook days), I still wasn’t completely fulfilled so I started volunteering as the night shift ER Patient Advocate at my local hospital. During the school day, I found ways to give back through starting a chapter of “STAND” at my high school and organizing a peaceful and permitted “call to action” in front of the United States Capitol Building. Then I joined “Peer,” which felt like the perfect fit. It was a select group of students who worked with teachers to make a more inclusive high school experience for the students. As someone who was heavily bullied, helping to mitigate it happening to others meant the world to me. Leaving high school I knew my two passions – lifting others up through volunteerism and skincare.  

In college at American University in Washington, D.C. while I was studying Journalism and International Studies I was diagnosed with late-stage Lyme Disease. I was lucky enough to find a fantastic doctor that mixed western and eastern medical practices and put me on a holistic regime. As a result of this, I started learning about the ingredients within my skincare products. I started making a coconut oil-based body balm so I knew exactly what I was putting on my body. Sure enough, word got around, so I started selling the body balm in mini mason jars to friends at school.

After moving back to Northern Virginia from Colorado Springs in 2017 where I had volunteered each week at a low-barrier women’s shelter something stuck in my mind that I just couldn’t shake. When we would get skincare supplies donated from Whole Foods for the women to use during bathroom time their spirits instantly lifted. The women started talking and connecting about what they all had in common – their skin. Fast forward to the summer of 2020, when after years of my friends and family asking me for skincare advice, I made a website so people could book and pay for virtual sessions with me. I found that clients would re-book based on lifestyle changes, major events in their lives, wanting a basic skincare routine, and changing skincare goals. There came a point where I had too many virtual skincare clients to keep up with while caring for a new baby and maintaining a full-time, executive-level business development job at a software start up. I started looking for a mainstream solution that delivered the same personal and unbiased support I was providing, so I could recommend it to my clients. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find virtual solutions that weren’t unaffiliated with products, ie. “Book a session then receive personal curated skincare products that the company I work for sells.” As a result, Protea (my third baby) was born. 

My personal life mantra is “I want women to be more confident because I was here.” Protea supports both a woman’s skincare confidence and estheticians’ business confidence.  

– Mackenzie Jorns