Jessy Furniel: My Journey into Creating Adélie
It’s 9 AM, and I’m drinking my dark french-press coffee. My two daughters are chattering away in the next room, the dog is vying for my attention, and I have a to-do list a mile long (like any mother, entrepreneur or not). I’m not a morning person at all—I can practically hear my husband and kids saying “no, she’s really not” as I type this. But this morning, I’m on a mission: to take you along on my journey towards seeing my dream—my brand, Adélie—come to life. As I count down the months, weeks, days, and practically hours, I want to share with you a bit about who I am as an individual, as a mother, as a military wife, and as the sole creator and businesswoman behind Adélie skincare.
It’s not hard for me to share, because I’ve always been an open book. I’m a very spontaneous and transparent person. What you see is what you get. I carry this with me in my business always. It’s so important to me that my product and my brand have the same transparency.
I’m Jessy Furniel. I love cooking with plant-based recipes for my family and have a weakness for a daily dose of dark chocolate (sometimes two). I am passionate about traveling. The beach is my Zen, which I attribute to my Caribbean roots. I love a good glass of dry red wine. I am the proud mother of two wonderful daughters and the wife of one incredibly supportive husband, my biggest cheerleader.
I was born in New York, NY, but my childhood I mostly grew up in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, my parents’ home city. My childhood memories are vivid and fresh: weekend trips to the beach of Sosua, Puerto Plata, the occasional time in the countryside picking at guava trees, breathing fresh air and splashing around in the river. Growing up on this paradisiacal island influenced me greatly. My maternal grandma, for instance, incited in me a love of herbs. Growing up on the island, natural remedies were a first intuition. I still am a firm believer in the power of nature, and this has inspired me throughout the creation of my own line of skincare that is truly 100% natural and organic using carefully selected potent botanicals from around the world. But more about that later!
At age 4, I planned my first party at preschool and delegated all the tasks, including requesting financial sponsorship from my classmates of $100 RD pesos (at the time 1:1 with the USD). Meanwhile, I excused myself and simply took charge of bringing a beverage. It was my first and my best deal to this day (though admittedly not entirely equitable). I like to think that my entrepreneurial spirit was always there.
When I was 15, we moved back to New York. I graduated from high school early (2 years of high school on the island exceeded the 4 years of credits required to graduate in NY, plus ). I intended to pursue a career in Fashion Design just like my father, but when I was denied admission to the Fashion Institute of Technology, I found myself in a tough spot. At the age of 16, I chose to move back to the island, leaving home for the first time but to the capital, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where I earned a Bachelors in Hospitality Administration. This was not the career I had ever imagined as a kid, but my aptitude test showed this would be a career where I could merge administration, learning different languages, and traveling. It sounded fun, and so I did that. (I told you, I’m spontaneous.) That experience turned out to be such an important piece of my journey, one that makes me stop and think about how amazing the universe is, bringing us the right life lessons at the exact right time, keeping us on the path to our destiny. Sometimes even when we feel off-course, we’re actually right where we need to be.
My background in Hospitality Administration with major in Sales & Marketing prepared me for creating my business. I became accustomed to anticipating others’ needs while meeting the highest standards. I trained and worked with chefs in gourmet restaurants and five-star luxury hotels, which greatly influenced my interest in optimal ingredient sourcing and outstanding service.
Fast forward a few more years: I got married to the aforementioned super supportive husband and we became first-time parents to our eldest daughter. Shortly before her first birthday, we moved to Germany for our next adventure together as a family. My daughter suffered from eczema, and it ignited my interest in formulating organic skin care. I felt so frustrated with everything we had tried and wanted nothing more than to ease her discomfort. Thinking back to the power of herbs and our cultural reflex to turn to natural remedies, I was sure that I could help her using natural ingredients, along with some important lifestyle changes for a more holistic approach. That’s when I discovered the therapeutic power of essential oils. My interest in essential oils became so all-consuming that I was compelled to travel to their origins. I visited various small farms, essential oil distilleries, and cold-pressed oil farmhouses in multiple countries. Seeing these ingredients in every stage of their development and being able to experience them with all of my senses firsthand was magical. It taught me how to identify top quality ingredients, which as you can guess is how I ensure the best possible sourcing of both essential oils and carrier oils for my product formulations. Undoubtedly, my product is far more than just my formulation, but an ovation to all the hands that originated each ingredient in order for my final product to come alive.
I did end up discovering how to control and care for my daughter’s skin condition through a combination of lifestyle changes and my own natural formulations. While I was thrilled just to have seen my daughter’s skin finally look healthy and comfortably smooth, I strove for much more (as is usually the case with me). After moving back to the U.S., I began selling my formulations as a hobby. As more and more positive feedback came rolling in, I noticed that I was also receiving more and more custom orders for anti-aging skincare products. What began as a hobby in my kitchen almost 7 years ago has now turned to a small laboratory in my house.
By now, you can see how my life’s calling was to formulate and my dream was formed, like many tiny threads woven together to make a strong fabric. But I still didn’t know what that fabric was meant to be used to create. That passion was in me, but without a purpose, I was still full of uncertainty. Sometimes we just need a stronger push. And that’s exactly what came next.
It was time to briefly move back to Germany, and I took what was supposed to be a temporary break from selling my formulations. I started to think about how I could still follow my passion while living abroad, but I knew I was missing the very important professional education in order to move forward how I wanted. I decided to take advantage of this time in Europe to attend Formula Botanica, the top worldwide accredited school in Organic Cosmetic Science. Equipped with the scientific knowledge of how to professionally formulate organic cosmeceutical skincare products with the highest quality ingredients and performance while legally meeting the standards of Global Cosmetic Compliance, I was ready to embark on a new adventure: creating my own organic luxury skincare line.
I chose the name Adélie, a combination of my daughters’ names, Amélie and Adèle. I thought it only fitting to name my brand in their honor since I would never have dared to dream this big without them. As you’ll see, every single detail behind my brand has been chosen with deep sentiment and mindful intention.
That brings me to this part of the journey. I’m also a solopreneur, the only person behind my product and brand, and I work from home over the soundtrack of my daughters’ inevitable mischief. My day-to-day life is a bit unpredictable, but I like my life. It’s mysterious and fun embarking on each day as a new adventure and discovering new things. Through every obstacle, I’ve been thanking the universe for yet another lesson, knowing each challenge along the way has its purpose and brings me closer to seeing my dream become a reality. I couldn’t be more excited to share these experiences with you while I work towards Adélie’s launch. Thank you so much for joining me on this wild journey!