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With skin in the game, entrepreneur looks to expand product line

Jackie Rogers, who had careers in a variety of industries, takes an opportunistic approach to her latest venture: skincare.

Jackie Rogers' skincare line ranges from eye cream to sunblock.
Jackie Rogers' skincare line ranges from eye cream to sunblock.
Photo by Lori Sax
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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After hitting 40, Jackie Rogers started getting skin breakouts. She had no idea what was causing them, so she sought the help of an aesthetician. To her surprise, it was precisely the products she thought she was using to take care of her skin that were causing her to have problems.

When she found out ingredients like vinyl had been going onto her skin, she took a different, entrepreneurial tack: she created her own products sourced from nature. “I was always mystified and interested and fascinated by products,” Rogers says.

Her laboratory, where she mixes botanical ingredients to make her skincare line under the brand House of Hilt, is in an office park tucked off U.S. 301 in north Sarasota. House of HIlt has 12 products, from eye cream to sunscreen. The top seller is a rose oil firming peptide, followed by a mint facial cleanser. 

Rogers founded the company in 2017 and currently employs about five people, including direct and contract employees. While she declines to disclose revenue figures, she says: "Sales are continually growing. That has been good, especially in a down market — we’re still growing and expanding."

Different careers

The road to working in the beauty industry began long before Rogers addressed her skin issues. It goes back to when she was a little girl, when her playpen was placed next to the cash register at her father’s grocery store. She believes that early exposure to retail helped shape her into the entrepreneur she is today. She recalls she could spend hours at the drugstore or hardware store looking at all the items for sale.

“I do enjoy retail. And I love people. People energize me,” she says. 

Between her playpen and House of Hilt, Rogers had careers in the meat provisions, fashion and entertainment industries.

Jackie Rogers founded House of Hilt to provide an alternative to mainstream skin care products.
Photo by Lori Sax

She worked for Sarasota-based Boar’s Head from 1996 to 2004, when the company was starting a relationship with Lakeland-based Publix. While she worked for the company at the national level, she says there was a “major focus” on Florida. 

“Wherever Publix was opening, there I was. There were only a few of us. With a small company, we were doing a lot of things,” she says. “Because I knew the deli business, they had me training deli associates.”

In addition, Rogers helped with marketing, products and training, as well as research and development. “The beauty of that was the exposure to everything,” she says.

Opportunities knock

After leaving Boar’s Head, Rogers founded her own wardrobe styling and image consulting business. She ran that company, Style Matters SRQ Fashion Consulting, from 2005 to 2010, handling personal shopping, editorial styling and wardrobe makeovers for a variety of clients.

“The payoff for me is always helping people feel and look their best,” Rogers says, perched on a chair alongside her products in the House of Hilt office.

“I enjoyed fashion styling but 2008 happened, and your stylist is the first to go,” she says. “People would say ‘I don’t need help with my wardrobe anymore. I need to just hang on.’”

After that, Rogers went back to Boar’s Head, where she worked as a marketer producing content.

“They had me doing little projects and one day they said, 'You know, we need a video,’” Rogers recalls. “I never say no to anything because you never know what opportunity it’ll bring. And so I said, ‘Sure, I’ll do it.’”

She later brought her on-camera experience to the nonprofit world, when she and her producer/director friend Jim Flynn started Red Carpet Sarasota, capturing people at special events.

“My husband and I are very philanthropic,” Rogers says, so she was constantly finding herself out at red carpet gatherings to benefit charities. There, she and Flynn would talk with people and do “man-on-the-street” interviews. “I wasn’t planning on turning it into anything. It was just kind of a fun project.”

In addition to attending charitable events, Rogers gives her time as the chair of CAN Community Health, a nonprofit serving those affected by AIDS/HIV across the country. She has been the co-chair of its gala CANDance for more than 10 years.

As her responsibilities increased at work, Rogers started having breakouts. “I thought, maybe it was the move to Florida” from Pennsylvania or “maybe I’m aging” as she was over 40, “but it was crazy in the sense that I’d never had, you know, bad skin,” she says.

“I’m allergic or sensitive to so many things,” she says. “I break out into hives from all the off-gassing from new stuff” at different stores, but facial breakouts were new.

After finding out that it was ingredients in the products she purchased at a department store that were causing her face to react, she says she wanted to do something about it. She paired up with aestheticians and a chemist and came up with House of Hilt. 

To the hilt

“Hilt” stands for honesty, integrity, loyalty and trust — values Rogers seeks to uphold through her products.

“For me, it’s been a natural progression certainly to be in the business that I was always fascinated by,” she says. “That whole upbringing from the grocery store to Boar’s Head to where I am now is part and parcel of how that came together."

Her client list spans doctor’s offices and aestheticians as far away as Seattle. She also plans to market to athletes like tennis and pickleball players. “Two world championship rowers are using our products,” she says.

Sunblock is the newest product in the House of Hilt skincare line.
Photo by Lori Sax

Her newest product is sunblock, which debuted in June 2023. Aloe, raspberry seed oil, cucumber, mushroom, spirulina and lavender are the main ingredients. “It sounds like I’m describing a salad but I’m not,” she says. “I just want the loveliest, the best ingredients.”

Her potential clients are vast. “Anybody with skin needs an SPF,” Rogers says. Getting the word out has been a process. "This little baby is a year old, and we're still getting out there," she says, holding her sunblock.

Rogers and in-house aesthetician Jenny Califano have been marketing the sunblock by going to trade shows and stores, and they plan to target places like tennis clubs. They also sell all their products on their website.

One selling point for House of Hilt products is they are made from natural ingredients and do not contain fillers or components harmful to the environment.

“A lot of people are perking up to the fact that what you see is toxic,” Rogers says of mainstream sunscreens, many of which contain ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate that can damage coral reefs. “Plus, the product actually works. It creates real change in your skin.”

Rogers would like to one day have a store or a spa and expand her products from skin care into lips, body and hair. While House of HIlt products are not in any traditional retail locations, “I would love to get into retail,” Rogers says. “I am driven.”



Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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