“I really want to have a bigger reach than just the Gemini Beauty community–it’s always growing,” sophomore Joann Zehenni said, illustrating her passion for expanding her brand, Gemini Beauty. As founder and CEO of Gemini Beauty since 2021, Zehenni has wished to elevate her skincare products since the start of the company, hoping to give the brand a new look. Gemini Beauty was finally able to launch a rebrand this past June.
For Zehenni, skincare has been a lifelong passion. She pitched the idea for Gemini Beauty to her mother at 16. Zehenni, along with her twin sister Katherine, worked at a winery during the pandemic, and she was able to save up money for the initial steps. “I said this to my mom as a joke, and she was like, ‘Why not? Of course you can start now while you’re at home,’” Zehenni said. “We assumed it would take a few years, but it actually only took a year.”
As somebody with sensitive skin, Zehenni was motivated to create a brand that catered to others with similar skin. “My dad had lupus, my sister has lupus, which is an autoimmune disease, and a big part of that disease is having really sensitive skin to the sun, so I wanted to create a brand for people who have sensitive skin,” Zehenni said.
Zehenni donates a percentage of Gemini Beauty’s profits to Lupus LA, a non profit health organization dedicated to lupus healthcare and promoting awareness. Spearheaded by Dr. Daniel J. Wallace, Lupus LA has been an integral part of Zehenni’s life through treating both her sister and father. Zehenni reached out to the organization through Wallace for an ongoing collaboration. “I talked to him, and I was like ‘I really want to support your cause in any way that I can,’ so I donate to them monthly, and sometimes we do events together which has been really fun,” Zehenni said. In 2022, Gemini Beauty was able to provide $30,000 worth of donations and products to Lupus LA.
Zehenni also integrates ingredients rooted in her Russian and Lebanese background into her products, such as green and purple tea. “All these fruits and vegetables I use are based on my heritage,” Zehenni said. “Fruits that my Russian grandmother used, or still uses, or what my Lebanese grandma uses.”
While Gemini Beauty has found massive success and expansion, with over 650 locations nationwide, Zehenni has wanted to launch a rebrand for a while. However, timing for a rebrand proved to be an issue. As Gemini Beauty launched new skincare products, few opportunities arose for the brand to update their original products and design.
“It took about eight to nine months to do the rebrand…. We had to turn away a lot of really cool opportunities, but it was so worth it.,” Zehenni said. “I really wanted to launch these new products. My team helped me kind of sell out of the old products and integrate the new ones through instagram and through events.”
After initially focusing on fragrances Zehenni has shifted to cutting synthetic ingredients out of her products. “I knew there was risk with fragrance and sensitive skin, but we use such minimal amounts it didn’t affect anything,” Zehenni said. “This whole new line is fragrance free and color free–anything synthetic is cut out.”
In addition to fragrance, Zehenni has altered many of the natural ingredients in the products. Before the rebrand, many of them centered around common fruits and vegetables, such as orange or cucumber. Now, many of the products derive ingredients from fruits such as hibiscus, beetroot, quinoa seed flower, and more.
Gemini Beauty’s growing popularity has also helped Zehenni in pushing for a rebrand. With more resources, the brand has been able to not only grow their team, but implement different perspectives into developing their products. “We were able to do more research, work with more people in the lab, and we had a lot more people cultivating the products, so I had a lot of help,” Zehenni said. “I had a lot of new perspectives coming into the arrangement of the new products, so that really helped.”
Now we finally have our rebranded look, there are new products, but the mission is the same, the story is the same,” Zehenni said. ”Just an elevated look.”