Career Code: How Jeannie Bourke Became Sydney's Most Trusted Healer

Lisa Patulny

In honour of Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career ($17), we’re kicking off an interview series featuring 17 questions (in honour of the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of the most inspirational female leaders in the beauty industry.

First things first: Jeannie Bourke is not your average skin therapist or salon owner. At Byrdie Australia HQ we often refer to her as our healer, and we're not the only ones. Aside from offering a multitude of luxurious treatments at her beauty and body lab Venustus in Sydney's Paddington, Bourke infuses every interaction with a palpable sense of understanding and love. All Venustus treatments use organic, vegan and cruelty-free products which are made in house by Bourke herself. If you haven't had the pleasure of visiting, it's difficult to explain the love and nurturing it's possible to feel inside those four walls. Incredibly intuitive and an amazing listener, prior to any face or body treatment Bourke determines not just the condition of your skin or muscles but your overall energy. Whether you're happy, sad, flat or overwhelmed, she'll prescribe exactly what you need at that moment. Suffice to say, Venustus is a very special place. And Bourke is an exceptional woman. 

What's most special about this salon owner is the way she allows her personal beliefs on organics and animal testing to inform her business in such an honest and transparent way. This is obvious in Bourke's approach to creating beauty products, where anything non-organic or animal-derived is completely out—even if that means using ingredients that cost more and take longer to source. Peep her Instagram, and you’ll find philosophical quotes on life and love, and images of her beloved (and mega-talented) staff. It's clear Bourke's business is one built on genuine love and healing, and that's what makes it a place of solace and nurturing for so many. So in a city where face and body salons are a dime a dozen, how can one woman make such a serious impact?

Keep reading to find out.

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