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From Hard Times to Victorious: Lessons from ‘Beneath the Skin’ by Jess Winns

Beneath the Skin
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Jess Winns, a Chicago native and accomplished entrepreneur, author, and speaker, shares her journey in her first book, “Beneath the Skin.” Based on her own transformational experiences, Jess outlines a framework for thinking that turns victims into victors and teaches how to transmute pain. 

It was never an easy path for Jess. She grew up in a single-parent household in Chicago. For the first half of her life, they lived in a basement apartment of a family building that felt more like a prison, with paint-chipped pipes across the ceiling and barred windows. Growing up in darkness, Jess was resolute that this would be her past, not her future. “I became determined to do whatever I could in this life so my future family never had to experience the darkness of poverty.” She began taking steps to make her dreams a reality, and in 2008, Jess graduated from DePaul University as a single mother. Struggling to find a job and passionate about providing opportunities for the community, she founded Empowering Youth Through Travel, a non-profit organization that provided overseas travel opportunities for inner-city Chicago youth. After the birth of her second daughter, Jess recognized that she needed to prioritize her family, and took a step back from non-profit work. She moved her family to Austin, Texas, with dreams of starting her own business. When life in Austin didn’t go as planned, she worked odd jobs for a while, then moved her family to Costa Rica to reset and dream for the future.

While living abroad, Jess found herself struggling as a single mom without support. She began journaling her experiences and lessons learned, with the idea that it could one day turn into something she could pass down to her daughters. This was the birth of what would become her first book- a piece of her heart that she tucked away for seven years. 

After four months in Costa Rica, Jess decided to settle back in Chicago and pursue her entrepreneurial dreams. She turned the handmade skincare she had crafted for her family into a business, affectionately named Ari Rose Body Care after her first two daughters. While building the business, she honed her skills and became a Functional Nutrition Counselor, Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, and Leadership Coach. “I had a clear vision of what I wanted my life to look like. I wanted to own my time and create an independent and free life, and I had faith that there was something far better around the corner.” The business continued to grow, and after six years, Jess felt an intrinsic desire to share her wellness journey with others. What started as a way to support her family quickly turned into an opportunity to educate the community on wellness. 

Having focused on physical wellness for so long, Jess realized there was more to wellness than meets the eye. “I own a skincare company, but life is so much deeper than that. I felt like it was time to go beneath the skin and share the importance of developing yourself and transmuting negative energy into something positive.” Now a successful business owner and author, it felt like the right time for Jess to chronicle her personal development journey and memorialize her legacy. “Ultimately, it is all for my daughters. I want future generations to have a piece of me to hold on to, something that echoes through the years.” She encourages readers to remember that “We have authority over our lives. Regardless of your circumstances, the power is within you to make a change. Step outside the box and create a life you love.”

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