"AFTER YOU" Feature Article at Sisters Inspiring Sisters Organization

Sisters Inspiring Sisters Organization is committed to the mission of equipping women with resources to help them excel and position themselves to better serve their families and communities. We are honored to be asked to share our story and we hope that in doing so, we will inspire other women to "just do it"

Greetings Sisters! My name is Lynn Jenkins, and I am a wife and mother, former model, breast cancer survivor and the President of Sydoni Skincare and Beauty, a web-based beauty brand I co-founded with two of my daughters Sydni and Soni. Their names combined are the inspiration for the name of our collaborative beauty venture. (Sydoni)

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Communications and have worked in the beauty industry for more than 30 years in many different roles including Beauty Adviser, Skincare Consultant, Resident Makeup Artist, Beauty Retail Manager, Wholesale Branding and Marketing Executive and Clinical Skincare and Aesthetic Medicine sales in the Plastic Surgery and Dermatology space.

Despite a long career in the beauty industry, I often struggled to find products that worked well for my skin type and tone. I was challenged with finding my perfect makeup and foundation shades and with finding skincare products that delivered results for my seemingly ever-changing skin. It was these challenges and the collective makeup and skincare frustrations expressed by my daughters that encouraged our decision to launch Sydoni Skincare and Beauty. From the start, I have been committed to offering professional quality, highly pigmented beauty products paired with a line of skincare formulated without toxic ingredients to effectively prepare the skin for makeup application and to help build confidence by improving the overall health and appearance of the skin. I understand that women have endless options when it comes to beauty products and that choosing the ones right for you can sometimes leave you with buyer’s remorse and lots of questions. I know what it’s like to keep that dreaded drawer full of products that just didn’t work out after you got them home but you keep them anyway because you “spent good money” on them! That is why one of the factors most important to me in business is to be accessible to my clients and to let them know that there is a “real” person behind the brand. A person who can relate to your beauty challenges and a person who cares about the results you achieve from your beauty routine. I believe that personally connecting with clients builds trust and ensures a level of comfort and security when choosing a new beauty ritual. I want you to love your products, feel they fit well into your lifestyle, find them easy to use and best of all gets you lots of glowing compliments!

A few things to remember when you’re thinking of making a move to a new beauty regimen. Look at your skin in the mirror and assess what you would like to improve upon. Consider the products you are currently using and the length of time you’ve been using them. Make a list and call your favorite skincare professional for a consultation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to discuss openly any product or formulation preferences. Consider your lifestyle when choosing products so as not to sabotage your new routine with too many steps and too little time. Remember that consistency is key to results, so you need a regimen you’re able to commit to. Keep in touch with your skincare professional on your progress should you need to transition your products as you get closer to your skincare goals. Remember, your skincare professional should be your “partner in beauty” and someone you feel comfortable openly communicating with.

While my daughters and I began to actively collaborate, research and test formulations in recent years, my vision of creating my own beauty brand became a solid commitment I made to myself after a nearly two-year battle with breast cancer. Imagine if you will, moving thirteen hundred miles from the place you’ve called home for more than twenty years to start a new life with plans to enroll in college to finish your degree program and weeks later hearing the most unthinkable words you could ever imagine. “You have breast cancer”. This was my experience when I relocated with my two youngest daughters from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Dallas, TX in 2006 at the age of forty-two.  Never did I imagine that getting the very first mammogram in my life would result in a positive diagnosis for breast cancer! There I was, in a new city and new apartment, planning my “new life” while awaiting the next phase of unplanned diagnostic testing. Stunned, angry and confused, I wondered how I would explain to my two youngest daughters, who were only seven and ten years old at the time, just what challenges, fears and potential sacrifices lie ahead. My doctors had informed me that my prognosis was poor given the type of cancer growing and spreading in my body but stressed that since I was in “good physical condition” with no underlying illnesses, they were optimistic my response to the treatment would be positive. Within the next two months following my diagnosis, I underwent surgery to try and remove the obvious tumor and surrounding tissue. The surgery was unsuccessful as post-surgical testing revealed that not only had the cancer spread beyond the tumor to my lymph nodes but there was yet another tumor that had not been previously discovered during testing. I was given the option to return to the operating room for a second attempt or to remove the entire breast altogether. Without hesitation, I opted for a complete double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. After all, I never wanted to find myself at this dreadful crossroad again should I decide to have only one breast removed. I did not want to risk the possibility of developing cancer in the remaining breast in the future. It was not an easy decision! At this point my two oldest daughters were young adults living on their own so I was sure that while the possibility of losing their mother to breast cancer would be devastating, they would at least be able to take care of themselves. On the other hand, my two babies were, at all cost, counting on my survival. I could not imagine my life without them, and I certainly could never imagine their lives without me! They needed me and I was determined to be there to watch them grow up!

It was a long two years to recovery from chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, hair loss, side effects and emotional and physical strain. I did manage to complete my degree program in the midst of all that chaos and as you might imagine, I made numerous promises to myself and to God during those quiet moments at home and while sitting in the infusion room hooked up to the chemotherapy drip at the Cancer Treatment Center. One of those promises was that I would somehow carve a path to living my dream of launching my own beauty brand to help other women look and feel beautiful should I survive this horrible nightmare. Armed with a whole new outlook on life in general, I worked hard over the next few years, saved money, kept a journal of my goals, looked after my health, thanked God profusely for my second chance and looked ahead for any opportunity to move closer to my goals.

 I was released from my doctor’s care and deemed “cancer free” in December of 2008 and while I return once a year for a full checkup, I have remained cancer free for the past thirteen years, beating the odds! I have lived to see my daughters grow into young women and begin to establish their own paths and am living the dream of bringing to life my own brand of beauty financed with my own money! Whew! After all of that, we ran smack dead into the middle of COVID-19 shortly after our official launch. Much like so many other businesses, we suffered setbacks and a whole new set of challenges but through it all, I have learned to never give up and never give in! Forced lessons (I say “forced” because I was so busy living and planning that I ignored the signs that something wasn’t quite right with my body) are always the hardest ones but they tend to be the most valuable when you open yourself up to receive them. I believe now more than ever that there is a “right” time for everything and that my breast cancer journey was all part of my re-direction towards my purpose. Looking back, I am forever changed but have no regrets or bitterness about my cancer battle. I am a lifelong learner looking forward to uplifting women through beauty hoping that all the while, my journey will inspire another beautiful woman to stay strong, push for what she believes in, take care of herself first, seek help when she needs it and always be on the look out for those powerful and enlightening lessons along the way to finding her purpose. Stay beautiful and remember… “Only a truly selfish person can be unselfish” -Osho

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