Born in New Jersey to Uruguayan parents, Jennifer Revello lived most of her childhood in Montevideo, before moving back to the US at 18. She had no idea her return to the US would eventually lead her to open a French soap business.
Jennifer focused on hard work and succeeding in the corporate world until 2007 when she met a French man, who not only became the father of her child but also gave her the idea that she had what it takes to open her own business. The business was to be called Averal, meaning authentic, genuine, natural, original, real, true in a dialect from Occitania, a region from the South of France.
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Table of Contents
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Jennifer Revello: I come from a family where being successful means working a corporate job with great benefits, growing up the ladder, until finally retiring after a lifetime of work. Entrepreneurship was not on my mind until I met the father of my son. He gave me the confidence to believe I could do it, the courage to venture out on my own, start my own business, and know that no matter what comes my way, I could handle it. He inspired me and gave me faith to keep going.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Jennifer Revello: Not trusting themselves and not having a support system are definitely the top two common mistakes most entrepreneurs make. As an entrepreneur, sometimes you just have to trust your instinct and go with that gut decision or take that leap of faith that’s keeping you up at night.
Yet it’s very easy for people to doubt themselves in those moments because there’s so much riding on it so we want to make sure we’re not making a mistake. But in the end, mistakes are there to teach us to be better next time, to learn, to find a different path. And when we do make a mistake and something falls apart, it’s important to have people in our corner who can support us, encourage us, maybe even help get us up when we’ve fallen down.
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Jennifer Revello: It’s definitely been an interesting and challenging time. The pandemic has brought both good and bad things to the business. On one hand it has taken away human interaction and as a brand that focuses so much on the sense of smell, we’ve definitely had to get creative. At the same time, for a lot of people, it has brought into the foreground the idea of self-care (which a lot of people had been putting to the side for a while).
COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on every single person out there. It has changed our lives for the better and for the worse, but one good thing that has definitely come out of it was that most people rediscovered the important value of self-care, or making sure their physical and mental health is in good standing. Averal is all about self-care, using scent and high-quality soaps to provide a relaxing experience for every single person which benefits their physical health and their mental health at the same time.
Scent is our most primal sense and it’s been proven to trigger sensations in the brain that are unavailable for the other senses. Being able to take a relaxing bath that smells like the fields of lavender of the South of France can bring a moment of tranquility and joy. Another thing that’s very important to us is that each customer feels valued. They are not just a number in the system. We treat them like friends and family, as new members of our global network, all working together to create something better.
When you think of your company, 5 years from now, what do you see?
Jennifer Revello: My business is a vessel towards a goal and that goal is to help women who are living in a domestic violence situation and have no way out to have financial independence. The statistics on domestic violence are shuddering: 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases. Not to mention that between 21-60% of victims of intimate partner violence lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse, which in turn makes it even more difficult for them to leave the abusive situation.
Having had to deal with domestic violence myself, I understand the need for not only financial freedom, but also a support system that allows people living in a violent situation to leave. Unfortunately, a lot of people continue to stay in a terrible situation because they have no other alternative: they are financially dependent on their partner and a lot of times they don’t have the job, education, or support in place to be able to leave, while still providing for their family and knowing they will be taken care of. Building a successful company like Averal was one of those pillars in my support system that allowed me to not only have the courage to get away from a difficult situation but also have the means to do it.
My dream is to create a network where we can provide jobs, education, and eventually see these women running their own businesses and living in freedom. That way no woman would need to continue living in a domestic violence situation because of financial reasons.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Jennifer Revello: The courage to take the leap of faith and just do it. I had to have the courage to just go for it, to take one step at a time even if I couldn’t see the entire staircase. To look fear in the face and still do it. Consistency is another trait that’s very important. Customers want to know they are getting the same value and quality over and over again. For me, it was important to bring French soaps of the highest quality and keep that quality going without cutting corners.
Resilience to keep going no matter what life brings my way. My business and my life have been filled with ups and downs. Sometimes I think it would have been easier to just give up, but being resilient has given me a lot more than walking away from everything would have done.
Faith that everything will work out for the best. Resilience might help me get back up when I fall, but faith keeps me grounded and keeps me believing that things will always work out for the best.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Jennifer Revello: Definitely. Who I am as a person is reflected in every detail of Averal. From the way I pick new scents to the packaging, I want to make sure my values are reflected. Averal is an instrument of self-care, of self-love, of slowing down and enjoying a moment of pampering and bliss.
How would you define “leadership”?
Jennifer Revello: I really like Warren Bennis’ definition of leadership: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” It reminds me to not get lost in the details, to keep my sight on what’s important, yet at the same time stay grounded.
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Jennifer Revello: I think the best advice I could give anyone is to trust themselves and invest in people. You can have the best product, service, or technology, you can even have the greatest idea, but your most important asset will always be your people. Find people who are not only skilled, but that you can trust, that can keep you grounded while at the same time lifting you up, who are open to new ideas, yet know when they need to temper something that is too out there. There’s nothing more important than someone who can support your wildest ideas while at the same time making sure you’re keeping things real.
What’s your favorite “business” quote and how has it affected your business decisions?
Jennifer Revello: The quote is from my favorite book “Changing Reality” by Serge Kahili King and it’s more of a life quote than just a business quote. “We can either do something to modify reality in some way in order to change our experience of it, or we can modify our experience in some way in order to change the reality itself.”
I’ve guided my entire life based on this quote and that has allowed me to get back up no matter how many times I’ve fallen or failed. Being vulnerable, showing my true self, knowing that I am enough has allowed me to grow and change my reality into one of my dreams.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Jennifer Revello for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.