If you’re a woman who shops, lives, or ventures downtown, you’re likely familiar with Jo Rich Beauty, located at 126 Palafox Place. The modern, sleek, comforting beauty bar specializes in makeup, esthetics, and the empowerment of women from all walks of life.
“We believe in enhancing the natural beauty of women of all shapes, sizes, races, and backgrounds,” their website states. After just one visit to this gorgeous establishment, Pensacola visitors tend to agree. Jo Rich Beauty has become one of the go-to businesses for event makeup, waxing, lashes, facials, or personal care products in the greater Pensacola area. Though there are many beauty businesses in the Gulf Coast area, the owner of this establishment, Ms. Jo Rich, is an enigmatic, charming figure in her own right, having experienced a meteoric rise to success over the last two years.
Jo Rich is originally from Ohio, but has lived and worked for many years in Pensacola. She started out her career in retail management, but always wanted to do more. As an artistic person, she felt her personality was just not suited for a regular 9-to-5 retail job. Jo had moved to Tampa to work for Armani, developing both a taste for high-fashion and an eye for the hottest trends. She gave birth to her first son, and then went back to school in 2015 to obtain a business degree- wanting to expand her knowledge and better hone her skills for entrepreneurship. However, after her schooling, Jo became pregnant with her second son and struggled with postpartum depression, falling into a rut of sorts. It was at this low point when Jo had a moment of clarity: all over a spurring from a tube of red lipstick.
Struggling with depression and battling emotional turmoil during this phase of her life, Jo had a friend offer her some LipSense Red Lipstick color. While Jo would sometimes force herself to get ready, go out, and go to work each day, this bold, vibrant lipstick served as a reminder of the strength that was within her, as well as a mini-goal to strive for.
“If all I could do each day is put on that lipstick, then that was an achievement,” Jo told herself. Putting on this lipstick was only the beginning of a long-list of achievements.
After getting her first LipSense lip color, Jo began selling and applying make-up, with her passion helping to guide her zeal for creative visuals as well as a true love of female empowerment. In 2017, she opened a small kiosk in the mall to sell her make-up, and after a year and a half, started aesthetician school. After 3 months, Jo graduated and fell in love with all things beauty, wellness and confidence. The fire was lit. “Sometimes, just by applying make-up, a woman can snap out of a negative mindset and begin to feel so much better,” she explained.
“We all have a past and pain, but you can turn your pain into a purpose,” Jo states. It is this exact mindset, by which she strives to turn tragedy into triumph, that helped propel Jo to the next stage of her career.
Jo gathered the strength and courage to ask her beloved husband, Chuck Rich for a loan of $100,000 in order to take her business to the next level, expanding to a much larger scale. Chuck believed in Jo’s vision, and supported her in every way he could. The goal of empowering women and making them more confident was a goal that Jo would not give up on easily. She understood that make-up and beauty could be so much more than just products to purchase. These items and the confidence they inspire can often be a lifeline for women who struggle with feelings of sadness and self-doubt. She believes in sharing these positive, uplifting feelings with as many women as possible.
Initially, Jo’s goal was to rent her very own retail space in the mall, however, that goal was not meant to be. Much to her dismay, she was not able to obtain a lease in the mall. However, when one door closes, another opens. Jo kept the faith and left her eyes open for more opportunities.
“You can’t tell me that I can’t do something, because then I will do everything in my power to do it,” Jo said. “I will stand on a Mountain of ‘No’s” to get to one ‘Yes!’”
Jo reminded herself to trust Jesus, and to trust the process. On Memorial Day in 2019, Jo was out downtown and saw a sign on a building on Palafox. Right then and there, her husband convinced her to call about the lease on this building. They called and spoke to Deborah Dunlap, owner of the property, prominent Downtown Pensacola business woman, and one of Jo’s biggest inspirations. The process to obtain this lease at 126 Palafox Place took about three months, but after many phone calls, much faith, and undying patience, Jo was able to open Jo Rich Beauty on New Year’s Eve in 2019.
Of course, Jo and her staff could not imagine what challenges and obstacles that 2020 would bring for all small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the virus quickly spreading and health and safety precautions in place, Jo Rich Beauty was forced to close after just 2.5 months for seven entire weeks. During this time of physical closure, Jo made sure to continue selling gift cards and skin care/beauty products on social media. She even was hired to do television make-up for Senator Lindsay Graham while he was visiting Pensacola! With her entrepreneurial spirit leading the way, her business did just not survive- but has thrived.
As the pandemic eased up, Jo Rich Beauty began booking wedding make-up sessions, which would in turn lead to long-term relationships with clients including maternity sessions, family shoots, and more. The desire to help women look and feel their best during their special days led her to want to expand into the event industry and to obtain her own event space. Jo envisioned a beautiful, calm, bright space where brides could get ready and lifetime memories would be made.
This incredible journey all eventually led to her latest endeavor- the grand opening of Jo Rich Events. Unbeknownst to her, just upstairs, her dream space awaited. The historic building on Palafox was commissioned in 1870 by Francisco Moreno, and eventually purchased by Deborah Dunlap in the 1990’s. Currently located directly upstairs from Jo Rich Beauty, Pensacola’s latest event venue has stunned locals and visitors alike with a clean, soft, gorgeous aesthetic and a breathtaking view of Downtown.
Jo has not only operated a successful business, but is known and loved for her warm personality; her open-minded, accepting nature; her unyielding compassion; and for her continued engagement with causes that she cares about in the Pensacola community.
Jo has found a light within the darkness of numerous hard times through her charity and involvement with community partners. Sadly, in 2005, Jo’s father took his own life. Even more distressing, her mother attempted suicide shortly after this. Every year on the anniversary of her father’s death, Jo donates 20% of her proceeds to suicide prevention, in remembrance of him. She remains motivated to help others, particularly after being so personally deeply affected by mental health struggles and depression.
Jo continues to work with partners such as Covenant Care, where she recently did the make-up for their “Art of Fashion” event. She has done make-up for those involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, at nursing homes, and in the perinatal unit at Sacred Heart. Giving these women confidence and helping them feel their best while they are undergoing personal struggles motivates her to do her best work. She has been involved with Impact 100, and often partners with other beauty and wellness businesses such as Dillard’s and Mind, Body, & Soul Medical.
Jo was proud to open her businesses in Pensacola, and wouldn’t want to work anywhere else! “I love Pensacola because of our inviting people, encouraging and supportive community. Of course, the beach is amazing- this is Florida’s best kept secret! Pensacola truly strikes the perfect balance between a small-town community and modern city living.”
Today, Chuck and Jo have now been married more than five years, and have created a loving home in Pensacola to raise sons Nolan (10) and Jackson (6). Jo Rich Beauty is one of the most impressive new businesses in Pensacola- with a constant flow of rave reviews from regular, happy customers.
“I was so distressed and embarrassed until I got in contact with Jo Rich Beauty…” one customer said. “So welcoming and kind. They really went above and beyond to make sure I was happy.”
“Self care never felt so good! Honestly.. so much confidence after I leave,” another customer beamed.
We have zero doubts that Jo Rich Events will be every bit as successful as Jo Rich Beauty. We can’t wait to see what Jo, the “Princess of Palafox,” has in store for us all next!