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Founder Spotlight: Christin Powell

18 April 2022

A Conversation with the Co-Founder of Kinship

As moms to Gen Zers and experienced leaders in Beauty, Christin Powell and Co-Founder Alison Haljun know how tough it can be to find clean, effective skincare that reflects their kids’ generational values. This firsthand experience inspired them to launch Gen Z skincare favorite, Kinship. Within two years, Kinship was praised by the likes of Vogue and the New York Times, and the brand is responsible for eliminating six tons of ocean waste — and counting.

Kinship’s culture sets it apart in a competitive industry. The Kinship community is fondly referred to as the brand’s “kin”, which is comprised of its customers, team members, and broader following. Co-Founder Christin shares insights on building and maintaining a strong culture in this edition of Founder to Founder.

1. How would you define Kinship’s culture? What are your core values and how have they influenced the way you operate?

My co-founder Alison and I launched Kinship at the end of 2019 with a mission of making clean skincare accessible to all people. At the heart of Kinship are three core values: 

  • Self-care
  • Care for each other
  • Care for the planet

While we are in the business of making and selling clean skincare, our mission is much larger than that –it’s about lifting people up.

These values guide how we lead and how we operate, whether its a team member, a customer, an investor, or a manufacturing partner. While we believe that culture starts with the founders’ values, it lives in each and every one of our team members. Nowadays it’s more about building a community versus a top-down approach. Some of the personal traits that are valued in our organization and that we do our best to model our vulnerability, transparency, open-mindedness, and compassion, for ourselves and for others.

2. Any tips on maintaining culture as the business scales?

Hire slowly, meaning take the time to understand a candidate’s motivations and values before you hire them. Most people want to make a difference; they want meaning and purpose. My advice would be to take the time to find the people who care about what you care about, and they will be your most loyal team members. It took us a while to figure this out and to find the right core team.

Make sure your team members share not only your values but your work ethic. Startups require a lot of heavy lifting, patience and adaptability. You want your team to be able to handle whatever comes at them without crumbling, and to have the vulnerability to say to their manager “this is too much; can you help me prioritize”. 

Continue to re-emphasize company values at every touchpoint within the company–at staff meetings, board meetings, in 1:1 touchbases. The first layer of team members is the most important since they will be the ones to carry the company’s values over to the next layer, and so on

3. How does the culture influence the HR lifecycle across recruiting, onboarding, career development, etc.?

Culture should flow upwards, downwards, and across the organization; it should be the feeling that you get when you come into work each day.

4. What methods have you found to be most effective in hiring for open positions? What’s your perspective on bringing on an external recruiter?

We have had a lot of success through word of mouth, specifically from referrals that come from inside the company. Additionally, we have hired people that we’ve worked with in past roles because we know their work ethic, they have a track record of success.

5. Any additional thoughts you’d like to share?

It’s important to be current with the macro trends influencing workplace culture. Leaders should be adapting to the changes going on with respect to work-life balance, personal well being and wealth creation. What we have found at Kinship is that while people need salaries that will allow them to thrive, more and more they value experiences, being present, and finding meaning and purposes. Understanding these shifts will help us as leaders build lasting companies with happy people at the heart of them.

About Kinship

Kinship is science-backed skincare that’s good for your skin and good for the planet. Christin Powell and Alison Haljun launched the Kinship skincare collection in 2019 with a goal of making clean, high quality, sustainably packaged skincare accessible to all. Kinship is currently distributed at Ulta Beauty, Credo Beauty and on Kinship is rooted in the belief that skincare is self-care, and that when you take care of yourself, you are better able to show up for others and the world around you

In under 2 years, Kinship has…
  • Earned 23 product awards & brand honors
  • Achieved 300% YoY growth
  • Removed over 6 tons of plastic waste from our oceans through its OceanWastePlastic collection program

About Christin

Christin Powell is the Co-Founder and CEO of Kinship Skincare. Christin launched Kinship with business partner Alison Haljun based on her extensive experience as a beauty and wellness entrepreneur. This encompasses 2 decades developing and launching clean, science-backed products for world class brands including Juice Beauty, PerriconeMD and Stella + Dot / EVER Skin.

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