Photo: Art + Commerce
Need evidence that beauty indeed begins from within? Look no further than Jodie Patterson. The Brooklyn-based entrepreneur and mother of five brims with positive energy; she’s savvy, ambitious, and stylish. The former PR director at Zac Posen, she’s now the co-founder of DooBop, an e-shop that keeps women with brown skin and textured hair front of mind.
Featuring everything from exclusive Parisian nail brands to eco-friendly curl care, DooBop has the welcoming feel of a meticulously curated boutique. And, says Patterson, that’s precisely the point. “We don’t focus on, quote-unquote, ethnic beauty,” she says. “Our goal is to provide a strong selection of products from all over the world.” The focus on personalized service is a plus, too — each order comes with a handwritten thank-you note. (Maybe that’s why Oprah is a fan.)
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Patterson is gorgeous, yes, but it’s her personality that really sparkles. Here, the “beauty gladiator” shares her inspiring thoughts on self-esteem, glowing skin, and why facing fear is such a powerful practice.
AT: Who were you thinking of when you came up with DooBop?
JP: It has been an uphill battle for women with brown skin to find products, enjoy the process, and really nail our beauty regimens. A brown-skinned woman might go to five different places to get beauty products: a department store, an apothecary, a mom-and-pop shop, maybe an off-the-beaten-path spot in Harlem or Brooklyn. Maybe a friend will bring a product back from Paris, or whip something up from the refrigerator for our hair. Another woman with straight hair and a different skin tone might just go to Sephora for everything. So that woman with brown skin — we have a soft spot for her. I am her!
AT: We’ve talked before about how women don’t shop based on their ethnicity. It seems like you don’t always carry a full product line—instead you stock the few formulas you really believe in.
JP: Exactly. A lot of brands aren’t thinking about the “ethnic” consumer. They have amazing, innovative ingredients, but the entire line is not always relevant to our customer, so we cherry-pick the products that work specifically for her. For example, with brown skin, hyperpigmentation is much more prevalent than fine lines. That’s not to say that brown-skinned women aren’t concerned with aging, but it’s not at the top of the list like dark spots are. So I look at the lines to see which products will target those needs directly.
AT: Women of color haven’t always heard that they’re beautiful from a marketing or mass-culture standpoint. Is this changing?
JP: There has been a dialogue going on in my head for several years now, and it started with my dislike of the micromanagement of the female body. Everyone is measuring our eyelashes, the size of our hips, the length of our hair. The companies are micromanaging us, but we are also micromanaging ourselves. When you’re under this microscope, it’s hard to really appreciate yourself.
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AT: Especially when there are visibility issues in the industry.
JP: Brown-skinned women have not been darlings of the beauty industry. Both it and society often tell us that we are not good-looking. Magazines show a right way to look: tall, thin, straight hair, petite. If you took all that micromanagement and all of those subliminal notes at face value, we would just shrivel up. But we recognize our own beauty. We look in the mirror and say, “Well, damn, I look good today!”
AT: Where do you get your confidence and your motivation?
JP: I don’t feel much more confident than other people. I have insecurities and doubts, as we all do. But I committed myself to being relentless. If you find something scary, lean into that area and keep doing it. Fight the fear and the lack of confidence. The instinct is to go in the opposite direction, but if you just start doing it a couple of times, it becomes a practice.
AT: You wrote that one of your goals is to say “yes” more. Is that connected?
JP: I’m specifically talking about saying yes to the things that matter most. So yes to people and seeing more of them. Yes to writing assignments because I love to write. Yes to my children’s wants because I can always find a way to turn what they ask for into more time spent together. Even yes to more sex with my husband! But I’m not saying yes to more of anything that disconnects us.
AT: You’re an entrepreneur and you have five children. How do you find balance?
JP: I’m really not balanced. And for me, balance isn’t the goal. I try to do what I like and find important to my soul. Family, work, writing, praying, being healthy — these things are a part of my DNA, so I do them all the time. But I never measure how much of each, so as long as I touch them each day.
AT: You have gorgeous skin. What is your routine?
JP: With my face, it’s “more is more.” I wash my face with Nuhanciam, which is a brand from Paris that was designed for brown skin tones. I also use their Pure Radiance cream for its brightening effect. I use a serum and day cream from Verso, a brand from Stockholm. They have retinol, which sounds medicinal, but it’s the best thing that’s happened to me in skin care. I’m 44, so my eyes show my age, and I need something to keep them hydrated and soft; I use Philosophy’s Time in a Bottle for Eyes. I use Vichy toner and a rosehip oil from my line, Georgia. All of the women in Buenos Aires use it on their hair, skin, and nails. I use it religiously.
AT: Are there any hair products you swear by?
JP: With hair, it can be tricky. I have a very specific routine. I always shampoo with a no-harsh-detergents shampoo. Right now I’m using DevaCurl No Poo Shampoo. I think most women have it backwards — we strip our hair with harsh shampoos and then we wait for the conditioner to work magic and put all that stuff back in. So I start with a great shampoo that doesn’t strip my hair. With the DevaCurl No Poo, I almost don’t need a conditioner, honestly, which is unheard of for curly hair. Then I use the DevaCurl One conditioner, a dime-sized amount. That makes my hair super moisturized. When I get out, I use their Light Defining gel when my hair is wet. That helps lock out humidity. Then I rub a dime-sized amount of Leonor Greyl Eclat Naturel through my hair. One more thing: I use Davines Energizing Superactive tincture for my scalp that helps grow hair. With five kids, I’ve had a ton of hair that I’ve lost with each regnacny. As I get older, my hair is thinning, so I use this — I see less shedding and thicker strands.
AT: Where do you want to be in five years, professionally and personally?
JP: My goal is to be the most relevant beauty brand for brown-skinned women with textured hair — and to do that by making personal decisions about what brands we need to bring on, and having smart content that speaks to women as mothers, wives, young women entering the workplace, techies, creatives. I want our brand to continue to understand women on a complex level. Personally? I aspire to have more children and a life that is much more international.