IWM: Jean Eng

We spoke with Jean Eng, president and co-owner of Pure + Simple, a holistic spa with 4 locations in Toronto. We found out what beauty product she swears by, her best advice for female entrepreneurs, and how her staff uses Ayurvedic skincare to promote long-term skin health.

With so many places to go for a facial, why are your clients are so loyal?

I’m incredibly grateful for our loyal clients, many of whom have been with us since the beginning. I believe (and continue to hear from the community) that it’s a combination of our facial experiences, product purity and quality, staff expertise, and our Ayurvedic approach that keep bringing people back to Pure + Simple.

Clients love that they do not have to compromise on quality or care, and love that our skincare is both natural and delivers on the results we promise. Also, our team is trained regularly in the biology of the skin so we are best equipped to solve our client’s concerns such as acne, rosacea, or aging skin. Through Ayurvedic skincare training, our staff can get to the root of the problem to help clients’ maintain beautiful skin long term.

What came first, an interest in beauty or eco?

I love beauty. I suffered from chronic and severe acne from the age of seventeen to my early thirties. Much of it was due to my dermatologists giving me generic remedies of dehydrating my skin, and antibiotics. Holistic health gave me long term freedom from skin problems, but more importantly, general good health. And of course, holistic health includes the well-being of the environment. What we breathe, drink and eat is highly affected by the environment. So my interests in beauty, holistic health, and the environment have been intertwined due to my biography, and my desire to care for people and the environment were brought together in Pure + Simple. We replace disposable items with reusable, choose packaging made from recycled materials, and produce skincare products with natural ingredients.  We also wanted to be more proactive so we introduced a bottle recycling program to reduce waste further and reward clients for participating. (What a fantastic initiative! Here are 50 things Lisa does to reduce.)

What’s your favourite beauty product?

Pure + Simple Collagen + Elastin Plus. Hydration is key to maintaining beautiful and youthful looking skin. No matter the quality of your moisturizer, if you do not have plump skin cells, it cannot do its job to keep your skin looking dewy & youthful.

I love natural skincare and I also want to look my best. Collagen + Elastin Plus was created to give those of us who do not want to apply chemicals to our skin the same anti-aging results as the high end chemical serums. Just not the long term disadvantages. Collagen + Elastin Plus allows me to keep my skincare very simple and still be happy with how my skin looks every day.

Is running a healthy business always good for your health? 

Yes and no. My desire to always do the best for clients and staff can lead me to sometimes be neglectful of my own needs which can be taxing on my personal heath.  But my desire to be the best purveyor of healthy beauty has had me pursuing education and experiences in best practices for skincare, chemistry, and Ayurveda. So I have benefited personally by embracing many healthy habits in my daily life which hopefully counteract any self-abuse (overwork).

Ayurveda has helped me feel more connected to myself and to others.  So I am lucky that I do not mindlessly let the needs of my business, or my need for my business, drive me. While I will delegate my responsibilities to my staff & clients, I recognise it is time to allow others to take over the leadership role by carefully relying more on consultants and hiring a general manager.

What advantage is there to running four bricks and mortar locations? 

The biggest advantage for our clients is the personalized service.  We do complimentary skin consultations so seeing the condition of the skin in-person as well as observe the Ayurvedic Dosha of the client is very helpful in getting to successful solution.  We can also demonstrate our tips for makeup application directly on the client. Clients can also experience our facials.

For our staff, the in-person consultation offers the opportunity to quickly and accurately understand the root of the client’s concern.  Staff can customize their recommendation quickly as clients are able to give direct feedback about their preferences.  The aesthetics of products like scent & feel can make a great difference in client acceptance and success.

What advice do you have for female entrepreneurs following in your footsteps?

Do what you have a passion for because to be successful you need to be single-minded and put in a lot of hours. While I would love to credit my brilliance, I know the successes experienced at Pure + Simple is more the willingness to be all in.  As Thomas A. Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Prepare your personal life so that you can dedicate yourself to building your new business without any emotional conflicts.

Love and care about your clients and staff.  Because they are the foundation of your success. (We couldn’t agree more!)


You can connect with Jean on Twitter and LinkedIn. To learn more about Pure + Simple, visit them online, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and like them on Facebook too.