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Design Thinking: Jenny Patinkin

(Image courtesy of Jenny Patinkin. The image depicts the Cyro Glow Globes.)

In Graduate School, one of the buzzwords professors love to discuss is “Design Thinking.” Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding (Dam and Siang). Design Thinking enables companies to understand consumer needs to serve their audience better. For this project, I contacted different companies to learn how organizations applied Design Thinking and spoke to Jenny Patinkin, founder of Jenny Patinkin, to learn more about her company.

(Image courtesy of Jenny Patinkin.)

1. What makes Jenny Patinkin different from other companies?

Beyond our focus on limiting waste in the beauty industry and working hard to look for sustainable ingredients, packaging, and manufacturing processes, Jenny Patinkin is very much about meeting our customers where they are. We know that not everyone is an expert or a professional makeup artist, so we make friendly and easy tools that spell out those uses very clearly. Something as simple as printing what a brush is to be used for on the handle is what our customers particularly appreciate. No one other than a professional (or very experienced makeup user) knows what a brush is for just by looking at it, so having a number instead of a name is not helpful. What would you prefer? Having a brush that says 172 or one that says Brow/Line. Also, Jenny Patinkin is about transparency. We don't want to sell products to make a sale, and we don't want to overpromise what our products can do for you. There's a ton of hype and misinformation in the beauty media, and we work hard to keep things factual.

(Image courtesy of Jenny Patinkin. The image depicts the Uplifting Gua Sha Heart and other products. )

2. What inspires each of your products?

All of my products are really inspired by personal needs or desires. I didn't start working in the beauty industry until I was 40, by which point I had started to see some age-related changes in my skin. My tools are all intended to enhance the performance of your beauty products, which becomes all the more necessary as we age. I'm also really inspired by finding ways to do things in a better, more sustainable way. Our new makeup brushes that launch in April are made with recycled plastic bristles, and I don't believe there are any others out there made from the same materials. Our bamboo products all have global organic and non-toxic certifications and are made through a no-waste, closed-loop manufacturing process. There are other similar tools, but we take extra steps to see that we limit our impact on the planet while elevating the beauty experience.

(Image courtesy of Jenny Patinkin.)

3. How do you incorporate your mission and vision into your products?

Our four pillars are sustainability, ease of use, luxury quality, and product transparency. I'm hands-on in the design and production of everything we make and am the direct point of contact with all of our manufacturing partners so that I can ensure we support our mission in full. And also, by working directly with our partners and not going through a third party, I can keep our quality at a luxury level without having to charge luxury prices.

(Image courtesy of Jenny Patikinin.)

4. What advice would you give to students and young professionals who want to enter this realm?

Beauty is a massive $80B industry, constantly changing, so there are many possible paths to get into it. I urge anyone interested in beauty to think about what fuels them - is it the artistry? The sales and marketing? Product development? Chemistry? Then I would urge them to take risks in their employment outreach. Make cold calls, try to connect on social media, and have informational meetings. The more people you talk to, the better you can determine exactly what you want to pursue.

(Image courtesy of Jenny Patinkin.)


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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