Let’s talk side hustles, the search for balance, and building the thriving CBD-infused skincare brand, Fitish. But there’s nothing “ish” about Jenna Owens’ career or success.
You might recognize Owens’ name as the former cohost of the renowned nationally-syndicated radio show, The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show, where she served as an on-air personality for 12 years.
The entrepreneurial venture Fitish, which Owens launched in April 2017, began as the Fitish30 fitness program, and has since become known for its CBD-infused skincare line, which is sold on Fitish’s website as well as at major retailers like Neiman Marcus and Urban Outfitters. Since launching with Fitish’s debut products, the “Tone Down” CBD facial mist and the makeup setting spray, “Don’t Sweat It,” the “Dew It” moisturizer has become an instant classic.
“The entire concept was born out of a word — the name of the brand and my own personal journey to find more balance in my life,” Owens shares. “On the radio, I often got asked by our audience what I did to stay in shape and I always just replied with, ‘I’m not in shape, I’m just fitish.’”
As Owens was juggling a broadcasting career with her side hustle, finding the time to squeeze in a workout was proving to be a challenge.
“As I’m sure many women do, I was comparing myself to the Fitstagram girls. I couldn’t keep up with those workouts and I hated being preached to about always finding the time to work out for two hours a day. It wasn’t possible. I was getting up at 4am every day for a morning show and barely had the energy to do 30 minutes, a few days a week. I thought, maybe there’s actually an idea here and I can show people that it is possible to work out effectively and have more balance.”
This search for balance eventually blossomed into the Fitish workout program and then the thriving skincare brand, when Owens had an “aha” moment in the gym locker room:
“I knew I wanted to develop a product and spent over a year thinking about how I could seamlessly incorporate the Fitish lifestyle into that. It dawned on me at one very specific moment post-workout class in the women’s locker room. We were all coming from work, sometimes still in makeup, and going out for drinks or meetings right after. We were simply freshening up post-class. It was the lightbulb moment I had been seeking for so long. We needed help with a seamless transition from work, to gym, to social life. Athletic beauty needed to be a thing. Why wasn’t there a line of products geared towards this mentality? I knew I had to make something that was easy to use on-the-go and affordable.”
For Owens, authenticity has always been a key part in her personal brand’s success, and now in her products’ success. “Hosting a radio morning show for over a decade, it’s impossible to fake a personality. I had been told women would be hard on me in terms of accepting me when I joined the show,” she explains. “So I learned a trick a long time ago. Disarm other women by revealing something super personal about yourself — embarrassing even. It immediately makes people feel at ease around you, and close. Over 12 years of sharing my life, I revealed a lot about myself.”
Although Owens left morning radio to manage her business full-time, fans of her voice and candor can now catch her on Fitish: The Podcast, with former radio cohost J-Si, where they bring their passion for mental health awareness to the podcasting airwaves.
Find out how she found the courage to pivot, how she found her purpose, and why keeping Fitish accessible is critical to her.
Karin Eldor: Why did you make the products CBD infused?
Jenna Owens: I had been a huge proponent of CBD for quite some time already at this juncture. However, it was when only a few tinctures were on the market. I had been using it for anxiety and muscle soreness successfully. Then the farm bill passed and it was epic timing. I thought, if CBD can be this anti-inflammatory internally, I wonder what it could do topically.
Eldor: I love that you pivoted from morning radio this past February, after nearly 12 years! So basically right before quarantine hit in March. How did this leap make you feel? I know there was fear, of course…
Owens: It’s funny because in my retired-ish announcement as I jokingly referred to it on the show, I was candid and said I sat on the decision for a long time hoping to get that 100 percent feeling of certainty. The reality is I don’t think any career leap is going to be easy or certain. It feels more like a cliff dive! I ended up with a 75 percent certainty, 60 percent on some days. Regardless, I felt it was important to follow my instinct. You can’t get to second base with one foot still on first. I still wake up in the middle of the night racked with entrepreneur anxiety, but I do not regret the decision at all. How would I know what Fitish could be without taking that leap?
Eldor: I love the art of the pivot when it comes to women changing career lanes. What advice do you have for other women looking to do the same?
Owens: We all make time for the things we want to do. I hear so often from women that want to start a side hustle, that they don’t have time. It’s not easy to find the time, but if you want it bad enough you can do it. You don’t have to go all-in at once and quit your job. The hard part is starting and then straddling both. Days where you get run ragged from having to do both, the job that pays the bills and your passion can make you question if the side hustle is even worth it. Fear is really the biggest enemy here. The “what ifs” that haunt you.
Once you decide you are okay with failing and you don’t want to live thinking, what if I had tried that?, then you know your answer.
Eldor: I also love that it’s important for you to maintain accessibility, with a reasonable price point (your most expensive product so far is “Dewing It,” priced at $47), while still maintaining an elevated look.
Owens: I think as a business owner, it’s vital to know your customer. Especially when the business is built around D2C. I knew my radio audience and what they were looking for, and what they wouldn’t want to spend. I don’t relate to the super unaffordable luxury market because I’m not that. Thinking about the situation we are going through, the luxury market feels even more unrelatable.
Eldor: What was the first big moment for Fitish beauty, when you knew you were going in the right direction?
Owens: I’ll never forget the first wave of real customer reviews we got from the Tone Down CBD mist. I woke up for the show one morning and had been inundated with emotional messages from women about what Tone Down alleviated for them. One woman wrote about her mom using it on her severe burns from radiation treatment for breast cancer, and how much they subsided overnight. I suddenly realized that this had another level of purpose and potential that I never could have anticipated. I wasn’t just in the beauty / wellness business anymore. I was in the business of healing. It was also the moment, in hindsight, I knew I had found my purpose.
Eldor: What else are you working on?
Owens: Working on scaling. What an immense challenge in terms of business but also exciting! We are launching in another national retailer soon and have 10 new SKUs set to launch this year alone. I can reveal Fitish Pet is one area I’m particularly excited about. CBD has made a hugely positive impact in our pets’ lives and as an animal lover, I fervently believe in the pet market. We also have some more elevated dermatological clean beauty items coming, including a dry shampoo. Chill packets for on-the-go relaxing are also dropping soonish.
Eldor: While Fitish is scaling and you are growing more and more as a skincare entrepreneur, I love that relatability remains a priority for you.
Owens: I prefer the candidness of what life is really like, not the perceived perfection. By pulling back the curtain on my own struggles, I organically and unintentionally created a community of supporters who were excited to follow along on my business endeavor as a result. I also show customers what we are working on, and potential fails or disasters. The struggle is far more interesting than the success.