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Legacy, Vision and What Really Matters

After 40 years at the helm of Janece Skincare, founder, Janice Sarre Smith, is entrusting the business side of the company to her daughter Kristen Jelk. But if you think she intends to fade into retirement, think again. Jan is as passionate as ever about bringing people and plants together and her creativity is flowing thanks to the freedom she now has to spend more time with her hands in the soil.

Kathryn Overall chats with Jan and Kristen and discovers that while Kristen is working to preserve her mother’s legacy, Jan herself is still far too full of vision to be looking back.

Having reached the grand age of 84 years old, you could understand if Janice Sarre Smith, legendary herbalist, naturopath and founder of Janesce, wanted to retire and put her feet up.

There’s no denying she’s earned the right. It’s not just that she helped to pioneer a holistic skincare movement, or that she developed the powerful botanical Janesce skincare range, or even that she grew Janesce into a widely-loved company from grass-roots beginnings on her Claret Ash farm in the Adelaide Hills. What speaks the loudest is that at the heart of her accomplishments is a woman who loves people and who believes that nature holds the key to a thriving life.

Jan has cared for countless thousands of people whose skin disorders have been healed as they have embraced her Janesce products and wellness-from-within philosophy. It’s a beautiful legacy, by anyone’s standards.

But anyone who knows this remarkable woman will tell you that it is vision for the future, not notions of legacy that fuels the fire in Jan’s blood. “I am, at last, getting the time to be even more creative,” says Jan. “The team and I are growing healthy plants and creating new products that are very much needed in the world at this time.”

Plants are not just raw biological material to Jan. Nature, in her world, is always spelt with a capital N – carrying with it a sense of urgency, perhaps even redemption. “I know that Nature, as the ultimate healer for body, mind and soul still has a lot more to offer the world,” she says. “I always believe that Nature imparts its knowledge at the time we most need it.”

It is this sense of mindful urgency, which compels Jan to work towards her expansive vision of human flourishing for all. It’s a vision that is rooted in both science and spirituality. “I want to remind people to embrace the needs of all people – regardless of race, faith and ideologies,” she says. “When people look to Nature for their nourishment – physically, mentally and at a soul level – it brings a new way of being into the world. It is available to everyone. “

Jan’s determination to focus on the grass roots of Janesce means she spends most of her time managing the garden and the laboratory. These days, you will often find her younger daughter, Jo-Anne Sarre, working along side her, making the plant extracts, which the Janesce skincare range is based on.

Jan says she welcomes this opportunity to pass on the essential elements of her vocation to family members. Jan herself brings together a deep understanding of the structure and function of the skin with a reverent love for the plant kingdom. She brings both the learned knowledge of a biochemist and the intuitive wisdom of a devotee of Nature to her work. It’s a powerful alchemy and Jan is grateful that Jo-Anne has the disposition to embrace the herbalist’s art. “She has a strong affinity with the plant kingdom and treats plants with respect and love,” says Jan. “She feels their energy and reveres that. Her love and energy is in the extracts, along with mine”.

Jan’s eldest daughter, Kristen Jelk, has been involved in Janesce on a full-time basis for the last 12 years. With a background in fine arts and design she says she has always veered towards the design and creative side of the business. “The company stores have been part of that,” says Kristen. “I have enjoyed telling the Janesce story through bricks and mortar outlets”.

In this time of transition, Kristen is now taking over the business management of Janesce. While Jan works her magic at Claret Ash Farm, Kristen oversees the business operation that distributes her mother’s passion, philosophy and products to women all around the world. “Kristen has total honesty, integrity and purpose and I am so proud of her,” says Jan.

Kristen absorbed her mother’s nutritional and holistic philosophies right from childhood. “Each morning we would have a lemon and honey drink sitting on the bench in the kitchen waiting for us – plus any vitamin supplements we may have needed at the time,” says Kristen. “The foundations of her work were always around us.”

Kristen is determined that her mother’s pioneering work will be carried forward to the future without any dilution of the values that have set Janesce apart. “Jan has not wavered from her work on skin health through nutrition,” she says. “While beauty industry trends came and went, she remained true to her core beliefs.”

Jan says she feels grateful to have her daughters carry forward the Janesce vision. “It is such a blessing that they are not only interested, but that they have the same values as I do,” she says.

Part of Kristen’s role involves ensuring that the business model, which supports the Janesce skincare range, is sustainable for the future. Preserving her mother’s legacy means she sometimes has to make hard calls, such as the recent price increase across the Janesce range.

Kristen says the cost of some raw materials used in Janesce products have tripled in price due to the boom in the natural skin care industry. In addition, Jan always allows for a very high percentage of plant extracts in each product. “This is very unusual in our industry,” says Kristen. “We maintain this standard because it gives the client the full benefit with great results.”

She adds, “We have put off this price adjustment for a long time but it is now imperative to ensure that the time honoured process of making Janesce products is maintained into the future.”

When you ask Jan about her vision for the future of the beauty industry, she talks abut the seeds she is planting. “While the big companies bombard people with so many impossible promises, I sincerely hope the seeds I have planted will become aromatic, wonderful healing blooms,” she says.

It’s a fitting reminder from the founder of Janesce who taught us that we achieve the flourishing of tomorrow by sowing seeds today. For Jan, everything in the end comes back to the soil. Her faith is in the seeds she holds in her hand – calendular, rose, lavendar, geranium – the infants of the plant kingdom, pulsing with promise. That is where her hope for us lies.


  • May 30, 2016

Picture1Having worked with skin all my life I am aware that when we enter the fourth decade of our life, the adjustments in hormones can have a definite effect on our skin. This can intensify as we approach menopause.

When I reached my 50’s I asked Jan Smith of Janesce if she would make a concentrate for women like me to support our skin during these transitional years.

I specifically asked for a concentrate because, being made directly from the beautiful tinctures Jan extracts from her plants, I believe they are the most powerful and penetrating of all her products. I think everyone should always be including one of Jan’s Janesce concentrates into their skincare routine at all times.

Jan disappeared into her laboratory for a few months and emerged with the 
Re-energizing Complex!

 I received a very small amount just in time for Christmas. I decanted it in to five small bottles and sent it out to some experienced Janesce therapists to find out what they thought. 

You can read their comments below.

– Janine Tait


The new Janesce Re-Energising Concentrate is a powerful new concentrate containing 10 plant extracts and a silk protein. 

It is designed for women approaching their forties and beyond, to bring vitality and balance to the skin.

Each of the plants included in this blend offers a special benefit to the skin:
Gingko biloba Slowing down ageing effects of free radicals is a prime consideration / Myrrh Encouraging gentle microcirculation / Ginseng Oxygenation / Rose Hydration and refining / Chamomile Tissue strengthening and calming / Viola tricolor Soothing sensitivities / Lavender Balancing secretions / Marshmallow Softening / Oats Emollient / Liquid silk A protective gentle film.

Added to the above, are essential oils to support the psyche of the wearer – rose geranium (pure love of self) and rosewood (gently soothing anxieties).


To give an ‘inside out’ benefit of estrogen, herbal infusions to drink are teas of spearmint, red clover, sage and gingko biloba – all in moderation and according to your taste. One special treat is pure licorice as a sweet.

The role of essential fatty acids is also very important for healthy hormone production. Take one tablespoon of Bestow Beauty Plus Oil or Bestow Beauty Oil daily mixed into food. Hazelnuts and walnuts should be included in your diet.


circle-christine-terryChristine Terry | Soak Beauty

I think the new serum is quite delicious.  The ingredients give it quite an uplifting fragrance but there is a softness or femininity to it.  It seems to have the supportive qualities of the revitalising concentrate, but with a cooling and hydrating effect.  I would need to use it a bit longer to notice any definitive changes to the skin, but I certainly felt it didn’t compromise anything. I have enjoyed using it.

circle-julia-ogormanJulia O’Gorman | Julia O’Gorman Beauty Therapy

I love it. It smells amazing. I have recently had an operation and my skin was quite reactive afterwards because of all the drugs. When I used the new Revitalising Concentrate it didn’t sting my skin or cause it to go red. I feel my skin is calmer, stronger and more radiant.

circle-jan-mcewenJan McKewen | Jan McEwen Beauty Therapy

I have loved using the new Re-Energising Complex.   I love the milky tones it seems to have brought to my skin and it’s really intensified the glow. The beautiful geranium/rose aromas are very powerful indeed.

I have one of those evil 7 x magnification mirrors in my bathroom and everything I put on my skin gets observed through it. Each time I apply the Re-Energising Complex it seemed to soften the lines instantly and to clear the complexion tone. I particularly noticed the reaction around my eyes, mouth and chin lines. Initially the softening effect was noticeable for a couple of hours but as the month has gone the reaction time has increased. I’ve had so many compliments about my skin this month.

Recently I gave myself a paper cut on the lid of my eye. It stung like mad so I put some of the Re-Energising Complex on it and it was healed by the next day. I could not see any visual line of the cut – amazing.

Many of my clients, who are also 60+ will benefit from this beautiful concentrate.

circle-shelleyShelley Foster | Jamele – The Skincare Centre

I was very fortunate to trial the new Re-Energizing Concentrate and I loved it! I really felt I saw a change in my skin. I hadn’t used a concentrate for some time and so after 6 weeks of use I really noticed a difference in my skin. The sparkle returned and crazy as it sounds my skin really felt and looked re-energised. It felt calm, soft and hydrated. Plus the smell is divine! I really enjoyed it.


  • April 26, 2016

Announcing an exciting new concentrate blend
from Janice Smith –
Solutions Re-Energizing Complex

A powerful new concentrate containing 10 plant extracts and a silk protein.

Designed for women approaching their forties and above, to bring vitality and balance to the skin.

Each of the plants included in this blend offers a special benefit to the skin:

Gingko biloba Slowing down ageing effects of free radicals is a prime consideration / Myrrh Encouraging gentle microcirculation / Ginseng Oxygenation / Rose Hydration and refining / Chamomile Tissue strengthening and calming / Viola tricolor Soothing sensitivities / Lavender Balancing secretions / Marshmallow Softening / Oats Emollient / Liquid silk A protective gentle film.

Added to the above, are essential oils to support the psyche of the wearer – rose geranium (pure love of self) and rosewood (gently soothing anxieties).


To give an ‘inside out’ benefit of estrogen, herbal infusions to drink are teas of spearmint, red clover, sage and gingko biloba – all in moderation and according to your taste.

One special treat is pure licorice as a sweet.

The role of essential fatty acids is also very important for healthy hormone production. One tablespoon of Bestow Beauty Plus Oil or Bestow Beauty Oil mixed into food. Hazelnuts and walnuts should be included in your diet.

Solutions Re-energizing Complex
Giving you radiant skin as you blossom
into the next half of your life.

  • March 14, 2016

How many times have you returned from a holiday feeling more tired and stressed than when you left?

If you need a holiday to recover from your holiday, then perhaps the whole enterprise needs to be re-thought!

This summer as you plan your holiday we challenge you to a new approach: travelling ‘light’. Be free to NOT consume, NOT overspend, NOT be on social media, NOT rush, and most importantly, NOT work!

We have seven tips to help you to embrace the principles of ‘slow and simple’ in your holiday planning. Trying to frantically squeeze the juice out of every little experience makes for stressful holidays. The ‘travelling light’ approach creates the freedom for a holiday to be exactly what it should be: a chance to restore and repair your body, mind and soul.

tl-blog01The seven tips below have been inspired and road-tested by Janesce NZ team-member, Jenny Barrow. Her and her husband celebrated their ten-year wedding anniversary recently with a four-day trip to Melbourne.

Jenny says: “Neither of us had been before and we were excited to explore the city and surrounds using these seven principles. We both love adventure and the outdoors so a highlight for both of us was a day trip out to the Dandenong ranges. We headed out by train and spent the morning doing hikes and then headed to the most amazing café for lunch called Evolve Fair Food Store who focus on locally and ethically sourced food that is healthy and delicious (this was my highlight overall!). After lunch we got back on the train and headed out to see one of the oldest running steam trains in Australia. No need to pay a huge amount for a ride, we set ourselves up in a sunny spot on a grassy hill and watched it for a while which gave us full satisfaction and saved us dollars! Other highlights for Mark was the sports tour (the only thing he spent money on) and for me the amazing food markets, and organic food places as well as the non-profit bar and café.”

 – Seven Ways to Make Your Holiday Travels More Mindful and Meaningful

1. Pack Light | Travel Easy
How many times have you returned from a holiday realising you totally overpacked and half the items you packed you never wore once? This time, try packing only the essentials – skincare, a few versatile outfits (if you have a washing machine you can use you can take less clothes), shoes (including walking ones!), a book/journal, swimwear, exercise clothes and of course wallet/passport. Trust me, you will survive without most of your wardrobe coming with you!

Janesce Travel Pack

This little starter pack is perfect for travelling. It includes a Rose Petal Cleanser, a Rose Petal Mist and Nourishing Skin Reviver that will last you a few months. The small size allows them to be taken on a plane with you when you especially need the mist to rehydrate and take up little room in your bag. Wherever you are headed these holidays make sure you have your pack to take with you along with your choice of soaking drops and your skin will thank you for it!

_MG_9641b2. Get Amongst Nature
There is something to be said for a holiday spent in the beauty of nature. Whether you are surrounded by a thick forest, the rolling sea, a deep lake or even a sparse desert, you will find your body, mind and soul being naturally repaired by the rest these environments provide. Staying in a bustling city this holiday? Most cities have parks, botanic gardens or rivers flowing through them where you can spend time in a calm and tranquil space soaking up the energy nature provides.

3. Walk As Often As You Can
A holiday is a chance to get in that exercise you meant to do all year! Walking also allows you to slow down and appreciate the journey. Take a break from riding in the car as you normally would to get somewhere and choose to take the time and walk, enjoying conversation with fellow travelling companions or the company of your own thoughts. If you are too tired to walk all the way, try taking public transport (if there is some) as it is also great way to sightsee – you get to know not only the cityscape but the locals who make your holiday destination what it is.

4. Eat Real Food
A seriously great way to make sure you don’t have smelly items in your fridge when you return is to make up meals/snacks to take with you on holiday. This is especially a good idea if you are flying or driving a long distance. Plane food is seriously awful and can leave you feeling particularly gross after you have been inactive for a long time. Why not instead make a loaf with leftover veggies and your own garlic and herb butter? This is super easy and leaves you feeling nourished and light, not to mention pleased with yourself for being so healthy! If you aren’t up for this at least try and find a local supermarket and cook your own food instead of eating out for every meal. Your health and wallet will thank you!


5. Try New Things | Don’t Buy New Things
Most people shy away from this, but a budget can be one of the simplest yet profound ways to ensure you enjoy your holiday. There is nothing fun about returning home with that heavy feeling you get when your finances are strained. Food and entertainment can be the biggest money suckers so check out whether you are near a local food market. Not only will the food be cheaper but more than likely it is locally grown or organic, both of which are options we support!

For things to do, look for free or cheap things to do around where you are staying and remember there is always the journal or book you packed and promised yourself you would finish while you were away.

6. Do Good
Most places you go on holiday will have some great local initiatives going on. They might involve looking after the environment, the animals or the people of the area; all of which are great causes. Wherever you can, get involved in these and feel proud that you are supporting not only the economy but also the issues close to your heart. 

When you treat yourself and eat out, find somewhere that aligns with your values. We particularly love places that have ‘fair food’ that is organic and ethically sourced from locals – not to mention delicious! There are an increasing number of social enterprises run through bars and cafés so be on the look out for those. At these place, not only is the food local and sustainable but they are run by volunteers with 100% of the profits being donated to partner charities and non-profit organisations around the world. These places usually have the coolest ambience and atmosphere with eclectic design so you are sure to have not only a great feed but have a great time while you are there. Stay awhile and soak it all in!


7. Embrace The Freedom
There is a certain ‘lightness’ that comes from feeling free and this is exactly what you want on holiday.

Be free to NOT consume, NOT overspend, NOT be on social media, NOT rush, and most importantly, NOT work!

Instead be free to take your time, slow down, keep it simple, breathe deeply and feel good.

So this summer holiday travel ‘light’ and be free.

Nourish your body, renew your mind and nurture your soul.

  • December 8, 2015

Jan_monoOn a hot parched January day in 1981 Janice Smith found “Claret Ash” an old dairy farm. The soil was good, the climate temperate and Janice knew that her plants would thrive there.

To begin Janice moved her family to live in the cottage, and prepared the soil for her first plantings. Over the next few seasons the herb garden took form and Janice began to create her plant extracts. She then turned her attention to the dairy on the property and began its transformation into the laboratory and manufacturing facility that it is today.

JANESCE was launched in 1986 with a small range of skin care that has continued to grow to an extensive selection of products. As the demand for Janesce grew, so has the herb garden. A new dam has been created, another one extended and fence lines moved to accommodate the herb farm expansion.

Organic farming methods have been implemented from the beginning and the farm is certified organic with the BFA / OGA.

After hand harvesting the herbs and flowers are left to dry on wire racks. From there they are stored in large drums until required to create the extracts using a secret method unique to Janesce.

By following the process from soil to skin, Janice was confident that Janesce skin care was delivering a premium quality product for her clients. From the healthy soil grow strong healthy plants that create very potent extracts – the foundation of all Janesce products.

To see the vibrant colours of the healthy plants, tubs of extracts, jars of tinctures, and smell the beautiful natural fragrance that permeates the drying shed and laboratory is to experience a tangible reality of what lies at the heart of Janesce.

JANESCE embodies all that is good – success from working with nature to create harmony in everyday life.

  • September 22, 2015

At first eating natural, unprocessed food can seem difficult because you may think they’re lacking in flavour. Salt, sugar, MSG, and artificial flavours are added to most processed foods to make them more addictive. Your tastebuds can get used to this highly flavoured food and this can be a problem when you try to clean up your diet. With time your body will get used to the taste of natural foods and you will find processed options over-flavoured and unpleasant … and you’ll probably be much more aware of the negative effects on your body!

Try adding fresh herbs and spices to your meals, or using kelp salt in place of regular salt. These will add flavour, as well as skin-enhancing and health-giving properties.

If your food doesn’t taste great, you may have a zinc deficiency, which is very common in New Zealand due to the low levels of zinc in our soil. Zinc affects our ability to taste food so if you are deficient (and at least one in three New Zealanders are), it’s harder to taste the flavour of foods and it’s easy to be drawn towards highly flavoured, processed foods.

Why not get a simple zinc taste test from your beauty therapist, local pharmacy or health food shop. It takes less than a minute and is very helpful in detecting a potential deficiency that not only affects your sense of taste, but also your health.

  • March 26, 2015

So you’ve finished the Vital Cleanse. Congratulations! I hope you feel wonderful. By this stage, you’ll be feeling lighter and more energetic and your skin should reflect that too, so hopefully you’ll find it comes naturally to continue eating well.

However, you may be wondering how to reintroduce other foods into your diet. I suggest you try introducing one new food or beverage at a time and observe the way your body feels and reacts to those foods. It’s the perfect opportunity to identify foods that don’t serve you well (that you might not have been aware of before).


To include more variety in your diet, start by introducing cooked vegetables, but continue to eat at least one salad or meal containing raw vegetables every day.

Gradually add homemade soups, good quality, wholegrain breads and a variety of grains like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, whole wheat, bulgur, barley, couscous, freekeh and rye.

Continue to avoid negative foods that heat and congest the skin, such as alcohol, coffee, refined grains and sugar.
If you feel like the occasional ‘treat’, check out my handy books Bestow Treats and Bestow Within, Volumes I and II, for some healthy options that’ll please your skin as well as your tastebuds.

By keeping your diet as varied, wholesome and as clean as you can, you’ll continue to enjoy the wonderful benefits that good nutrition can offer your body and your mind. If you’d like some guidance, check out our Menu for Feeling Good. (link)

  • March 24, 2015

Coffee can be very difficult for some people to give up. It can be emotionally and physically addictive. It’s common to desire the ‘pick me up’ effect it has but remember, it will drop you back down once its effect has worn off. Many people find that once they give up coffee, their general energy levels lift and they have less ‘highs and lows’.

Physically it can cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches, lethargy and for some, even nausea. These reactions can last three to four days and can be difficult to cope with. If you drink a lot of coffee, it may pay to have a period of slowly reducing your intake before you attempt the Vital Cleanse. Try replacing coffee with green tea, which will give you a little bit of caffeine to help your body cope with the withdrawal.

  • March 22, 2015

Let go of:

  • Negative self-talk
  • Comparing yourself to others
  • Limiting beliefs
  • Resisting change
  • Dwelling on the past

Make room for:

  • Gratitude
  • Reflection
  • Embracing challenges
  • Finding inspiration in the success of others


Count your blessings
What do you have to be thankful for today?

Your daily highlight
What was the best thing about today? How about asking your loved ones the same question when you are sitting down to dinner? Listening to others recount their highlights helps build your list too as they’re often things that you can relate to.

Think happy, feel happy…

  • March 20, 2015

Are you normally asleep by 10pm? The two hours prior to midnight are the most important for sleep and are worth two of any hours after midnight. When you’re busy, it can by tempting to stay up late but your body doesn’t usually appreciate the change.

See if you can be in bed asleep by 10pm and be up by 7pm at the very latest. In Ayervedic medicine, it’s believed that if we wake too late we leave the energetic Vata phase and enter the sluggish Kapha phase, leaving us feeling tired and lethargic. Have you ever noticed this happening to you? I have definitely noticed that if I sleep late in the weekends, I never feel more energetic: just tired and groggy. There is no better feeling than being awake early and getting a head start on the day. Give it a try!


Try meditation or Pranayama
Meditation is a wonderful thing to do but can be difficult for our Western minds to master. I once had some good advice from an Indian yoga master I’d like to share. He said that we must first learn to control the breath before we can learn to control the mind. He recommended that I do Pranayama when I wake up in the mornings. Pranayama is a series of yoga exercises that involve the breath. They are very simple and give you a wonderful feeling of calmness. They are very useful for anyone with lung problems, although you must be careful and listen to your body if this is the case. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, stop and with time you will be able to do more.

You can check out YouTube for some lessons on Pranayama. I thought this link was quite good…

  • March 18, 2015