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Saint Jane Founder Casey Georgeson on the Art of Branding

Whether she's building brands or painting giant canvases, there's nothing entrepreneur Casey Georgeson relishes more than losing herself in the act of creating.

Casey Georgeson has always loved painting. As a youngster, she’d decorate the walls of her room, her wagons, her trikes and bikes — all with the blessing of her parents.

But when it came time for college, her parents vetoed her dreams of being an art major in favor of something more practical, and Georgeson subsequently found other outlets for her creativity, most notably in starting brands.

Over the course of her career, Georgeson has led the development of iconic brands both inside beauty (such as Marc Jacobs Beauty and Kat Von D) and out (including Cupcake Vineyards).

Her latest venture is Saint Jane, the luxury CBD-based skin care brand that has been rapidly expanding into other actives and botanicals since its launch in January 2019.

“I am a maker,” she said. “I get so much inspiration and value from making things.”

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That’s not to say she’s lost her childhood delight in painting. Not only does she still love the thrill of filling a blank canvas, she now does so with her three daughters: Sofia, 12, Juliet, 10, and Cece, 6. One of their favorite family activities is filling giant canvases with original works of art, which they then hang in their home. The Georgeson studio has been particularly active lately — the family recently relocated from the Bay Area to Manhattan Beach, Calif., meaning there are lots of new walls to fill.

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Georgeson describes her painting style as “abstract.”

Casey Georgeson
Casey Georgeson Shanna Fisher/WWD

“I like things that feel like a mood or an emotion,” she said, noting her preferred palette includes calming colors like light blues, muted pinks and pastel greens. The scale of the works is large — canvasses can be 50 x 50 inches or 40 x 60 — a size inspired by a trip Georgeson took to the Museum of Modern Art as a teen, where she fell in love with a painting by Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky and lugged home a huge poster of it to the West Coast.

Even as an English major, she managed to incorporate visuals into her work, as with a senior honor’s thesis, for example, where she created a project using photos she had taken of Masai warriors while on safari in Africa. “I’ve always brought a visual component to everything I do,” Georgeson said. “I love visual communication — it’s why I love making things and being a storyteller. It’s integral to what inspires me as a creator.”

Having a deep visual vocabulary from which to draw has been instrumental in Georgeson’s development as a brand builder. “You have to create a story for a brand in a blink visually. You don’t have a lot of time to say who you are, so visually — you have to work very hard to pass the blink test.”

That was a lesson Georgeson learned when she worked in the wine industry. “You walk down the aisle and literally see 5,000 different wines. You have five seconds to capture someone’s attention and convey to them the promise of the brand.”

Today, painting gives the busy working mother a sense of calm. “My normal steady state is I have a hard time doing just one thing — if I’m watching TV I have to be working or reading,” she said. “When I paint, I go into a zen state. It’s probably one of my happiest places.”