LaVonndra Elle Johnson

As Told By: LaVonndra Elle Johnson

Last updated on: 2019

As Told By

LaVonndra Elle Johnson is the founder of botanical based luxury skincare brand Elle Johnson. With a background in retail, she decided to launch her own line after dealing with years of issues with oily skin and blackheads. Keep reading to learn more about a day in the life of Elle, the challenges she faced when starting her business and her advice for other female entrepreneurs in the industry.

1) Tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get involved in the beauty world?

My background is in branding, which I absolutely love. Prior to launching my beauty brand, I owned a women’s boutique in Charlotte, North Carolina for many years, while still assisting clients with their individual brands and branded events. The time commitment with the boutique was a bit much for me being a single parent, and I wanted to switch gears to use my branding expertise to actually create something instead of retailing mass produced garments.

2) What inspired you to launch your botanical based skin care line, Elle Johnson?

Skincare was always something that I was passionate about under the radar because I always had issues with oily skin that resulted in blackheads. I took a hiatus after closing my boutique and began researching products and manufacturers to assist me with developing a line because many of the products and regimens on the market were confusing to me. I’m typically on the go and I wanted something that would be effective, yet simple to use. Early on I read blogs and watched tutorials that showed these multi-step approaches with as many as 8-10 products being used and I was completely lost. I needed something simple, a 1-2-3 format, and that’s where our CLEAR 3 regimen was born. CLEAR 3 is a bundle within the line that gives our customers the essentials to a healthy skincare regimen: a cleanser, toner and moisturizer, all specific to their skin type.

3) What were the biggest challenges and rewards you faced when you first started your business?

My biggest challenge, as with many other brands, was sales. As a new brand in a sea of many, you have to figure out how to convert the interest into an actual sale. With so many brands in the industry, I knew from the beginning that I’d have to have something that set me apart and something that connected with my potential customer. I found this through my simple 1-2-3 step approach and the packaging. I believe that people like pretty things and that your skincare should also be pretty. I wanted to create a product that people would be proud to display. Regarding rewards, my biggest wins would be any press mentions and features. It’s a tough industry and when you’re recognized by your peers, it’s rewarding to know that you’re going in the right direction. Plus, press lends credibility to consumers, and sales increased as a result.

LaVonndra Elle Johnson quote

4) What does a typical day in your life look like?

A typical day for me starts around 5 a.m. as I begin shipping packages and responding to emails. I’m definitely more of a morning person, so I’m most efficient during this time. This allows me to get a lot of the “business” stuff out of the way so that I can then dive into social media which feels like a job within itself, but a fun one. I try to spend time throughout the day on Instagram checking out influencers, other brands, events and trends within the beauty sector. I structure my day around my planner, which I absolutely love because I get to write and goal set with pen and paper. Electronics are great, but part of my day consists of me sitting, thinking and writing. I write pitch emails for media placements and even try to come up with captions for social media posts, which I find difficult to do at times, but it keeps me sane because writing is my outlet. I try to have the majority of my work and business meetings and calls done by 4 p.m. so that I can enjoy time with my daughter and live somewhat of a normal life with a healthy balance (something I did not have before). I take some time in the evenings to incorporate my daughter into my business as well. We stage and shoot products together. Thereafter, I’m fulfilling any additional orders and stalking Instagram like any other beauty boss.

5) Can you share a few tips and tricks from your skincare routine?

The one piece of advice that I share with anyone regarding skincare is consistency. Nothing will work if you aren’t consistent in your approach. What has made the most difference for me, aside from being consistent, is exfoliating. Having prior issues with oil and blackheads, making sure that I exfoliate 2-3 times per week has been critical. One tip that I use since I’m typically on-the-go, is to mix together my Chamomile Facial Wash with the Sugar Rush Facial Polish for one application. It feels great, and combines 2 steps into 1 which saves me some time. There’s nothing like that fresh glow after you exfoliate, tone and moisturize your skin. Another key factor is a great toner. As I’ve met women who are just starting their skincare journey, I didn’t realize there were so many who did not use toners. Toner for me is a saving grace because it’s helped to evenly balance my skin tone.

6) What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs or someone interested in pursuing a career in the beauty industry?

My advice would be to have tough skin and be ready for all the times you’ll hear no, but prepare for that eventual yes. Also, be aware of what’s going on within the industry. Take an active role in attending events and putting yourself out there. You should definitely pitch yourself beyond your local market. Ultimately, you have to have the confidence to just go for it.

LaVonndra Elle Johnson quote

7) Okay, we have to ask — what’s in your makeup bag?

Ahhh, in my makeup bag is Elle Johnson Co. (of course). I always carry our 15ml sizes of cleanser, toner and moisturizer, but I also carry Rimmel Matte Mousse Foundation, a Chocolate lip gloss (no particular brand – I actually have a $3 one from the beauty supply store right now) and my favorite makeup item, which is blush – I’m trying out Juvia’s Place right now!

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Interested in learning more from professionals in the digital marketing and beauty industries? Check out the rest of our As Told By series.

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Ciera is a content creator, social media strategist and world traveler currently exploring Southern California. With more than six years of experience developing content, Ciera combined her love for writing, traveling, photography and creativity into her lifestyle and travel blog, Life with Ciera. In her free time, she loves going to the beach, cooking new vegetarian recipes and playing with puppies. To see more of Ciera, visit her blog at