Founded | 1999
Headquarters | Foothill Ranch, CA
Joni Rogers-Kante, Founder and CEO
Philippe Guerreau, President
Products | Beauty and Personal Care
Around the 20-year mark, most companies are nearing the end of their lifespan—if they’ve made it that far. SeneGence marked its 20th year in 2019 by navigating an intense season of explosive growth, only to be followed by the challenges of a global pandemic. Now, as the dust of massive expansion and logistical maneuvering settles, SeneGence is stronger than ever and ready to take on the world.
Agility Is Everything
When Founder and CEO Joni Rogers-Kante launched SeneGence in 1999, it was meeting two very distinct needs—one had been slowly growing within her for years and the other was more immediate. The first was a desire to build a company of her own, after experiencing tremendous success as a consultant in a direct sales company. The second was the simple desire to keep her makeup looking fabulous, regardless of whatever came her way.
“Since 1999, the inspiration for SeneGence has not changed but it has evolved,” she explained. “It started when my then-toddler son would touch my face and give me kisses. He would smudge my makeup, causing me to have to re-apply several times a day. I thought someone needs to develop cosmetics that don’t come off. That’s what inspired SeneGence and LipSense, the first long-lasting lip color on the market. From there, our inspiration has evolved to providing products which allow women to look and feel their best and provide them an opportunity to live their lives in love and abundance if they are willing to work for it.”
LipSense, SeneGence’s flagship long-wear lip color still hasn’t “budged,” and it continues to be an anchor for the company’s cosmetic line. But SeneGence has grown to offer so much more. Today, the company delights customers and distributors alike with a full range of personal care products, including long-lasting color cosmetics, anti-aging skin care, body care, hair care, sun care and men’s products.
From 2013 to 2017, SeneGence grew by 100 percent year over year. That impressive growth resulted in equally impressive growing pains. In 2016 and 2017, the company had sold out of many products and was scrambling to keep customers happy; but what Joni and her team lacked in supply, they made up for in agility and determination. The team adapted, faced challenges together and emerged from that extreme season with lessons learned and an even stronger culture of trust, grace and patience—all virtues they had no way of knowing they’d need in even larger measure for what would lie ahead.
Just as the business had soothed the growing pains of expansion, 2020 arrived with a fresh set of complications to navigate and problems to solve. But by this time, Joni and her team were experts at adapting and knew how to shift gears quickly.
“I’m particularly proud of our ability to be agile and adapt to needed change,” she said. “COVID-19 proved this. We sustained and, in some ways, thrived during the pandemic; learned new methods for conducting business; and adopted some of those lessons into how we conduct business today.”
“We were ready because we’d fixed our supply chain. We’d fixed our systems by the time the pandemic came,” Philippe Guerreau, SeneGence President, shared. “By midnight on the day of the Governor’s orders, we had dozens of trucks going to Oklahoma with inventory. We duplicated our logistics. So if California was completely shutting everything down, we could still service our customers from our offices in Oklahoma.”
As competitors were slimming down their product offerings, SeneGence continued adapting, adding new products and reallocating efforts to new, suddenly crucial activities, such as manufacturing hand sanitizer for first responders.
“We’d never made hand sanitizer before,” Guerreau shared. “But we made hand sanitizer in less than a month. We started to drop them in every one of our orders and supplied them to first responders in both our California and Oklahoma communities.”
Beauty and Business Are Personal
Just as Joni designed a product and a company around her goals and dreams, SeneGence offers women the chance to do the same, with a range of products that meet the different needs of every woman and a flexible business opportunity where the sky’s the limit.
“The beauty of our industry is that we’re twofold,” Guerreau explained. “One, we offer an opportunity in a career for women to be able to achieve financial independence; to be able to have a social life that they want; and to get to know people, make friends and be able to drive their own business and be entrepreneurs. The second aspect of it is that we provide products that are amazing to customers to help them feel more self-confident; to feel good; and to feel that the products are really working.”
This personal approach to both beauty and business has faced challenges throughout the last few years, as connecting online has replaced many face-to-face activities. And while SeneGence has mostly gone back to in-person selling, meeting and training, the company has encouraged distributors to find the balance that works for them.
“Nothing can replace direct sales. The one-to-one relationship—the relationships distributors have with their friends, the people they know from church or school, the people they actually get to know on social media—that can never be replaced by brick-and-mortar companies,” Guerreau said.
From the Inside Out
As a beauty company founded by a smart, ambitious female entrepreneur, it only made sense for SeneGence to partner with like-minded women. So, the company’s partnership with the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant is a natural fit. In 2021, SeneGence was announced as Miss USA’s official presenting sponsor, and that partnership continues. Much like the SeneGence opportunity, the Miss USA Pageant is about so much more than beauty.
“The Miss USA organization is committed to inclusiveness and allowing women from all backgrounds and circumstances to be the best version of themselves,” Rogers-Kante said. “This is in complete alignment with the products and opportunity offered by SeneGence to our customers and distributors.”
SeneGence will soon share another way that real beauty starts within. The company is preparing for the launch of nutrition products that will build beauty from the inside out. Details about this new product line are expected around the first quarter of 2023.
“When we look at the future, we ask ourselves how can we provide products for people to feel good and help them have good health,” Guerreau said. “That’s why we’re going into nutrition—because we believe in both beauty from the outside and beauty from within.”
As SeneGence continues to adapt, thrive and empower women across the country and around the world, Joni and her team are eager for what’s next.
“We’re open and always ready to learn new things,” she said. “Between our incredible home office team, who keeps us growing and moving forward, to our distributors who keep us on our toes, every day is something new and exciting. We are challenged and excited by looking for ways to be first to market and that’s what keeps us going strong.”
From the December 2022 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.