How This Woman Built a Beauty Empire
Joni Rogers-Kante knows the beauty industry is about so much more than lipstick and lotion. Rogers-Kante is the founder and CEO of SeneGence International, a company that develops beauty products with a team of scientists and botanists who curate, explore, and develop authentic ingredients for cosmetics. According to Rogers-Kante, SeneGence is committed to empowering women and making products in the U.S., free of lead and animal testing.
CircleAround caught up with Rogers-Kante to learn more about how she built her company.
CA: How did SeneGence begin?
JRK: In 1999, I founded the beauty brand SeneGence International and was the driving force behind the company’s vision, overseeing new product development and marketing, as well as establishing distributor-training programs. Today, SeneGence is a billion-dollar network-marketing company and international industry leader in luxury cosmetics. We have thousands of distributors doing business in 17 countries. Since January of this year, we have launched over 86 new products, including a men’s line.
CA: What past experiences influenced your career goals?
JRK: I was able to work alongside my step-father and learn many valuable lessons in business at a very young age while he was building a drugstore empire. This, blended with my fascination with products sold in the beauty department, mixed with [my] love of teaching women how to run a home-based business, led ultimately to the creation of SeneGence.
CA: What is most important to you as a business owner?
JRK: We believe in and facilitate inclusion and opportunity, both as an employer and as a company offering opportunities to women, regardless of color, creed, race, education, or background. For over 20 years, we have been committed to these principles and will continue to do so as we go forward. It is these principles and their realization that are at the forefront as the goal of our efforts.
CA: How has your role in this field developed over time?
JRK: In 2002, I founded the non-profit The Make Sense Foundation (MSF), dedicated to supporting women and children in need. My mission was to donate funds and support to nonprofit organizations across the country that are also committed to making a difference in the lives of women and children within the communities where our distributors build their careers. Over the last three years, the MSF has donated over $2 million in grants and scholarships, as well as supported the movement to eliminate systemic racial discrimination.
In 2020, I was installed as a board member of the Direct Selling Education Foundation. The Orange County Business Journal named me one of the area’s most influential business leaders and the owner of the largest woman-owned business in the county.
CA: What projects are you focusing on now?
JRK: In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, SeneGence used its supply chain to manufacture and bottle a 62 percent alcohol hand sanitizer made in accordance with FDA guidelines. The company has already produced 1,000,000 units of hand sanitizer and is planning to continue to produce them and other beneficial products that help us all protect ourselves from germs and bacteria moving forward.
SeneGence has donated thousands of bottles of sanitizer, lip balm, and beauty kits to hospitals, front-liners, and organizations in need.
CA: What advice would you give women looking to pursue similar business ventures?
JRK: My Mantra is “Choose to live life in love and abundance — and then work for it!”
I believe we all have choices regardless of circumstances. It’s a matter of being creative and inventive, finding ways to progress and improve your life and the lives of those around you; being willing to do the hard work it takes to get the job done. And do not even bother unless what you are doing is built upon absolute truth! As only truth stands the test of time.