10 Minutes With: Sophie la Girafe Cosmetics CEO, Jonna Jalkanen
Meet magazine editor turned mumpreneur, Jonna Jalkanen, the woman who launched a safe skincare range inspired by iconic children’s toy, Sophie la Girafe. Oh baby!
30 Second CV
Name: Jonna Jalkanen
Location: Oulu, Finland
Current Title/Company: CEO and Co-Founder, Sophie la Girafe Cosmetics
The Real Deal
Brief overview of what you do:
I work at Sophie la Girafe Cosmetics, a skincare and hygiene brand I have created with my team from scratch for the iconic 54 year old French baby teether and toy, Sophie la Girafe, sold today in more than 70 countries.
Can you describe your job in 3-5 words?
What I was born to do. Interesting, varied, challenging.
Do you have a weekday morning routine?
I try to avoid too many routines at work, as life with small children at home is all about routines. But most mornings I start my day by opening my e-mail and checking social media – I just love looking at pretty images!
What does a typical day at your desk look like?
My desk is usually quite a mess, but somehow I find everything! Most of my time is spent beating the keyboard of my computer frantically.
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
I really can’t name one moment. I had great success and satisfaction in my previous jobs, with premium French skincare brands and as a magazine editor. And obviously it was a dream come true to be able to create this skincare range for such an iconic item. I feel so honoured for the trust I have from France, and from families who like the products and experience real relief for several skin issues from our creams. I am also incredibly proud that in our first year we sold the range with zero reclaims. I like the idea that something great happens every day.
Your job – the good, the bad, the ugly:
The good – I am able to focus on what I’m strong at: creating concepts and strategies, developing new skincare products, coming up with new ideas, focusing on design. It’s also great to know I am making difference – to the environment and in people’s lives, by offering them safer, non-toxic products.
The bad – I’m quite a workaholic. I have spent most of my working life loving what I’m doing and have maybe worked too much, but with great passion.
The ugly – I don’t believe everyone should do everything. I have a clear, strong vision and I believe we need to follow that.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My parents telling me it’s important to always be myself. That never fails, and leads me to the right places.
What would you say to your twenty year old self with the benefit of hindsight?
Don’t do anything different: enjoy being you, enjoy being young and wild, listen to your heart. There is time for everything!
Who are your role models?
People who are honest to themselves. It’s not about what they do or have achieved, but how they live their lives and treat the people close to them.
How do you relax and recharge?
Watching movies with my husband, or reading. I am quite gifted with sleeping, too. Haha!
What are you listening to at the moment?
My kids chatting in the kitchen. They can be noisy.
If you could have lunch with any woman in the world, who would it be (and what would you order)?
My late friend Leena. We would cry a bit, laugh a lot, and eat Finnish confections “Bebe”.