Lessons in Cool: Credo Co-Founder Annie Jackson

  • Written By:Alexandra Perron, Managing Editor
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Welcome to Lessons In Cool, a new series all about the people we’re constantly inspired by. They are tastemakers, curators of style, thought leaders, and well, just cool.

When it comes to clean beauty, Credo gets it. The multi-brand beauty destination has become synonymous with the clean beauty movement ever since the doors first opened in 2015. And it’s all thanks to the work of co-founder Annie Jackson. She began her career in beauty at Estée Lauder when she was just 19 years old. As the years went on, she climbed the ranks and became part of the team that launched Sephora in the United States.

When you work hard your whole career and then you are able to pull a little part of each experience out of your toolbox and make it work for you in building your dream company, that’s rad.

- Annie Jackson, co-founder of Credo

The idea for Credo came from her late co-founder Shashi Batra, who she worked with for over 20 years in various beauty roles and at Sephora. He brought up the idea of a “natural beauty store” and the rest was history. “When I did my research on the space it was clear he was on to something,” says Jackson. “As soon as we started to look for brands to see if we could even fill a store to meet the standard we developed, we got so excited about this fresh and new generation of clean indie brand founders that created products perfectly aligned with their values.”

In honor of the Jones Road pop-up in Credo stores and online, we caught up with Jackson to learn more about her passion for beauty, the products she loves, and what’s next for the clean movement. Read on!

Name & occupation:

Annie Jackson, Credo Co-Founder

First thing you do in the morning:

Walk/run with my dog, Gus, to the beach.

Biggest challenge?

Waking up at night stressing on little things. I have yet to conquer this.

Biggest inspiration? Who inspires you?

Michelle Obama, Mary Bara, Melanie Griffith character in “Working Girl” and our entire Credo team.

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The Credo store in San Francisco.

Last person you texted:

My brother.

Most scrolled app or site:

I hate myself for saying Instagram, but I can’t lie. But my entire feed is dogs, humans of NY and babies laughing – so I’d consider that mental health.

Your style icon?

Nili Lotan, she can wear anything and look amazing (even though I wear a sweatshirt now most days).

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In the years since you’ve launched, Credo has become synonymous with the clean beauty movement. How did you craft the Credo Clean Beauty Standard? What makes it different from what other retailers stand for?

The Credo Clean Standard first tackled dozens of ingredients and ingredient classes that are linked to health and/or environmental issues with our Dirty List. But we knew for clean to mean something we needed to operationalize it with a strong standard–and our Credo Clean Standard defines clean for our customers and is a roadmap for our brand partners. It addresses ingredient and product quality and ethical and sustainable sourcing…clear definitions around terminology and other important aspects.

What do you look for when bringing a new brand into the store?

It’s a high bar because we only carry very few brands and we must be maniacally selective. The product has to be unique and solve a problem, comply with our restricted substance list, comply with our Sustainable Packaging Guidelines, be effective, our store teams like it/will sell it/use it, and most importantly, have a dynamic founder that really lives the values that Credo is built on. And last but not least – a good, kind human (aka, not an a$$hole).

What are the 5 clean beauty products you can’t live without?

Your go-to:

Breakfast: Yogurt with granola and strawberries, and too much coffee.

Lunch: I usually forget – but if I have my act together, I will make salad with chicken and avocado.

Dinner: My husband is an incredible cook - so anything he puts in front of me!

Cocktail: Silver tequila (my Credo team gave me a handle of Casamigos Blanco and cheese for birthday if that tells you anything) with a splash of soda and lime.

Ask for what you believe you are worth.

- Annie Jackson

Advice you’d give your younger self:

Advocate for yourself. Ask for what you believe you are worth.

What’s next for clean beauty? Any predictions for the future?

After emerging from 2020, we learned that customer sentiment was really focused on the product safety of course- but also how their purchases and that product's end of life ultimately impacts the environment. Less plastic has been probably the loudest consumer demand we’ve heard consistently. Today’s consumer is able to really understand (or not understand) the essence of a brand and their value system and then choose if they want to support them. We are seeing more of a shift to “this brand aligns with my values and I am staying with them or choosing them over another.”

What does “cool” mean to you?

When you meet someone that is totally normal and conversational, really listens, isn’t fake and then you go home and google them and realize they are a total accomplished badass and they never mentioned it once.

For more from Annie Jackson, follow her at @anniejackson_shopgirl. And for more clean beauty follow @credobeauty.

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