Jenise Lee, Founder and CEO of PurPicks

For this week’s edition of FinanciElle “Statements”, I had the opportunity to interview Jenise Lee, Founder and CEO of PurPicks and Founder of CertClean.

PurPicks is like a Tripadvisor for organic/non-toxic beauty and CertClean has become North America’s leading certification for safer skincare.

Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?


Having an engineering degree and an MBA, I’m strong with numbers and am experienced with creating and interpreting financial statements. The hardest experience dealing with my business and finance wasn’t my competency or capabilities on the matter, but on WANTING to deal with it. I had to realize that it was a “weakness” – and I interpret weakness as something that drains me (vs. something I’m not good at), and once I realized that, I realized I was procrastinating to manage the business’ finance, I knew it was time to outsource it to someone else who finds it exciting! Ha!

Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?


Don’t procrastinate! At all times, you need to understand your financial situation inside and out – what is your burn rate, what is your runway, if this happens – what does that mean precisely to your financial situation, etc. Either learn to love dealing with it or find someone to help you with it, else.

Paolina: What topics would you want to learn more about when it comes to finance and your business and why?


With a start-up with a 10x growth trajectory, I need to learn more about week to week or month to month growth rates specific to a multi-sided platform which has to address the common, yet ugly, chicken and the egg situation. What is the benchmark on this? What does the ramp up look like? While we all understand the “hockey stick” growth rate, it is important to understand how your business model is different than others to make sure you’re bench-marking others appropriately.

In January 2018, PurPicks was Top 10 Product on Product Hunt, Top Beauty Tech of the day and Top 10 Beauty Tech of all time.

In 2017, Jenise:

  • received the Clean50 Award for her leadership in sustainability in the retail sector
  • was named Canada’s Top 100 Health Influencers by Optimyz Magazine
  • was nominated for the Governor General’s Innovation Award

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