Boss FilesJul 8, 2024

Boss Files: Jessica Walsh

Written by Kelsey Walker

Founded in 2019 by Jessica Walsh and Anita Chan, Formula Fig is a pioneer of experience-led, science-forward skincare that transforms your everyday life. Their immersive, award-winning locations (Fig Bars) offer an innovative range of 30-minute, technology-driven facial treatments, neuromodulators, and IV injections — all delivered by trusted medical professionals in tandem with a curated assortment of skincare products. Uniquely female-founded, owned, and operated, Formula Fig is powered by their deep beliefs in community, design, and service, helping guests #GiveAFig about their skin with locations in Los Angeles, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Keep reading to follow along with this special conversation as we chat with Formula Fig founder about all things skincare and business! Without further ado, Jessica Walsh…

 

a conversation with JJ Walsh…
1

Let’s start from the beginning! Tell us a bit about the journey that led you to where you are now.

I was born and raised in London, United Kingdom. My background is in fashion editorial and creative direction for luxury brands. I worked for Condé Nast for many years under the indomitable Fashion editor Isabella Blow. The lessons she taught me informed much of my creative worldview. One thing she always said was that beautiful, memorable things always combine the hard and the soft. This is something you can experience walking into any Formula Fig!

A key change in my journey happened when my husband and I moved to Vancouver with an 8-week-old and a one-year-old (when we moved, it was the first time I had ever been to Canada!). Vancouver is a wonderful city, but it lacked some of the creative energy I was accustomed to in London. So I decided to combine my talents for storytelling, creating memorable physical experiences, and bringing people together through the business that became Formula Fig. Wooed Anita into joining me and here we are!

2

Can you explain the story behind the name of your business, Formula Fig?

We wanted a name that spoke to both science and nature. A juxtaposition of hard and soft.

Fig speaks to the natural world. The Fig is an internal flower where a female wasp crawls into the fig and fertilizes it. There she dies and is broken down by enzymes (hence the naming convention Stingers). Figs are plump, juicy, and velvety. Once opened and pulled apart, they are luscious and vividly colored (pink like our bathrooms). What’s inside is the interesting part!

3

What inspires you? What factors have played roles in the development of the brand and business?

As I mentioned in my early days in fashion (I worked for Condé Nast Britain for over a decade), I was Isabella Blow’s assistant for four years. It was transformative and Izzy taught me so much. There are two things that I have carried into Fig to this day. 

  1. Jolie Laide – there needs to be a juxtaposition in all you create – hard and soft. This is woven through the Fig Brand.
  2. Experiences should be transportive. Inspiration is important. How can you find inspiration from art? The natural world? How can your inspiration inspire others? How can it shape how you feel and make others feel?

I like experimentation and creativity, but I also like routine. Ultimately, it boils down to a formula. What I find exciting is that you can experiment with the formula to suit your changing needs. I like finding formulas that have an impact and results across everything I do in life. And skincare is just that. There is a huge scope for creativity and flexibility for the best outcomes. 

The three pillars we come back to at Formula Fig are:

  1. SCIENCE-FORWARD SKINCARE. Results-obsessed, we offer best-in-class, technology-driven treatments and products. Delivered by trusted medical professionals.
  2. A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE. We create unrivaled, considered guest experiences that transform the everyday. Design-led, aspirational and efficiently curated, encountering Formula Fig transports you from the world outside.
  3. AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY. We believe in the power of community, creating an emotionally connected, human experience that is authentic, personal, and accessible.

4

What does a typical day-in-the-life look like for you and how do you seek to incorporate balance throughout?

It’s really all family or Formula Fig. Breakfast is sacred in our household. It underpins the day. As a family, we gather around the kitchen table—no phones, maybe a flick through the weekend’s FT. I start my day earlier, and it does start with me checking all lines of communication and prepping myself for the day. I try to be as informed as possible about what is happening in the world, the industry, and within the company. I find this calms my mind. And then into seeking out as much as possible from subsequent hours – it’s pretty relentless right now, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. A sunset hike with the dogs to calibrate — I alternate bringing the children along, finding it helps with opening up and chatting through emotions and by the end I can feel the knots and clenched jaw soften, ready to tackle the next…

5

Formula Fig combines skin services with retail and its ethos focuses on technology-driven treatments and ingredient-focused skincare that prioritizes people and the planet. Could you elaborate a bit more about how these elements make Formula Fig stand out from others?

WE GIVE A FIG. We genuinely care about how we impact those around us. Everything we do centers around the core value of giving a fig. It is about striving for excellence — not perfection. It’s about showing up for yourself. For our guests. For our team. For our community. Every day, in everything we do. We pride ourselves in going the extra mile to make a lasting impression, and we seek out opportunities to do so.

6

What advice would you give other women leaders in the business world?

  • Create!
  • Do it right now and don’t doubt yourself. Maintain a motivation towards action and keep going.
  • Be generous, connect with others, and open your address book.

7

Do you have any everyday skincare tips and tricks that you could share with us? How can we #GiveAFig about our skin?!

  • Be consistent. Cleanse for longer than you currently are — I’m partial to a double cleanse.
  • Apply sunscreen down your neck, onto your ears, and onto your eyelids.
  • And above all, remember that energy is transferable — vitality comes from within and will shine through.

8

What’s next for Formula Fig? How do you hope to see the impact of your work take form?

To become the global leader in aspirational, accessible, and shared skincare experiences.

Rapid Fire with Jessica…
1.

Favorite way to unwind?

I like to enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee with a podcast on, secateurs in hand, and potter around the garden. Or, I love to go out-out — a fun party, which is ideally an impromptu lingering after a get-together with friends. My evening last night was just that… Paris fashion week, plus new friends, plus dancing… equals energy tank topped up!

2.

Current skincare fave?

  • Commune – Makes for a lovely host gift.
  • Hyeja – The perfect lightweight summer moisturizer and my Korean skincare obsession.

3.

Favorite space in your home?

My garden room. The light, textiles, and plants give me all the joy!

4.

One item that’s always in your bag?

Pen and notebook. I have to go to analogue for ideas and then transfer them. The latest addition to my bag is a Dries Van Noten Lipstick — if only to admire the packaging when rifling through.

5.

Currently reading or watching?

Watching – Slow Horses. Reading – Blue Sisters by my friend Coco Mellors.

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