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E-Commerce Business Profile: Protea

mackenzie jorns

In This Post...


Welcome to this e-commerce business success story! In this profile, we interviewed Mackenzie from Protea – an inspiring skincare brand that we think you’ll love. Our hope is that you find this interview to be enlightening and inspiring as you seek to start and grow your very own online brand!

Interview with Mackenzie Jorns

Thank you for joining us for this e-commerce business success story! We’d like to start by getting an understanding of your backstory. How did you come to own your business?

I’ve always had a passion for skincare. My first job was actually at a MedSpa as their receptionist when I was 16 years old. While in college at American University in Washington, D.C., I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lyme Disease. For those who may not know, Lyme is a dangerous vector-born disease that can cause all sorts of issues if untreated. Battling Lyme gave me a new sort of awareness and appreciation of and for my body. This was my catalyst for learning about the impact consumer products, including skincare have on the body. In 2017, I listened to my first podcast – Sara Blakely’s episode of NPR’s “How I built this” and learned that entrepreneurship was a true career option. I always kept this in the back of my mind and continued to reading, listening, and learning as much as as possible about business. Before the pandemic I joined a startup and served as their Vice President of Strategic Growth. When the U.S. closed down in March 2020, I was just coming off maternity leave from having our first son. Coping with my own postpartum experience led to a reawakening of my interest in skincare. I wanted to help other women feel beautiful no matter what stage of life they’re in. So, I did what any (in)sane new mom would do – started a side hustle. I built a website and began providing virtual skincare routine recommendations and fell in love with it. Two kids and two years later, I launched our skincare products with our buy one, donate one business model. 

Terrific! Now, this article is about profiling successful e-commerce businesses. So – can you share your top 3 keys to running a successful online brand?

  1. Building a successful e-commerce business isn’t about all or nothing – it’s about consistency. Put one foot in front of the other and show up each day to move the needle just a little more. 
  2. Accept iteration, and don’t get too set in your ways or mindset. Look at the data then make decisions. Being in e-commerce it’s easier than ever to make effective and efficient data-backed decisions. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to outsource. Your time is so valuable. Find people who share your vision and work as a team to execute it. 

Excellent. Now, I’m sure it hasn’t always been that easy. Can you tell a story about one challenge, setback, or mistake that you’ve had to overcome on the road to success? How can others learn from your mistakes?

The first week of December 2022 I knew I mentally and physically couldn’t keep my full-time corporate job while running Protea. I sent a quick text to my husband during the workday, saying how burnt out I was, and, God bless him, he texted back, “Go for it.” Within a few minutes, I reached out to my fabulous boss and started planning my transition out of the company. I know I make this decision sound simple, but I struggled with it. I thought through different game plans, worrying about finances, and generally battled with imposter syndrome. It was tough. But I spoke to family and friends, and my aforementioned husband, and realized that this was a jump I needed to make. I wasn’t about to take my foot off the gas with Protea. 

Thanks for that. Now – we want to know what’s next! What new initiatives are you rolling out at your business and what results are you hoping to see? 

We’ll be launching a virtual skincare consultation platform on our site that makes it easier for people to connect with product-agnostic estheticians and spas for educated & vetted skincare advice. 

Sounds exciting! Any final words of advice for our readers?

Life is too short not to try.

Brilliant! We want to thank you for participating in today’s interview. Hopefully our readers agree that there is a lot to be learned from your brand’s story. What links can our readers use to follow along with your journey?

My pleasure! Our Instagram or Facebook page.


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