This article originally appeared on iirrblog.com.
I had the opportunity to “sit down” (via Skype) with Ido Leffler of the Yes To brands to talk about how he got started, where his company is headed, and the best advice he has for Millennials.
If you haven’t tried their products, Yes To is a family of products that are all natural, guilt-free (meaning affordable), and all about positivity. They've only been around a short while, but they are already changing the face of natural beauty brands.
Brianna Plaza (BP): Where did the idea for “Yes to Carrots” come from?
Ido Leffler (IL): A few years ago I was living in Tel Aviv, working hard and playing hard. I started to take a healthier approach to my life-doing yoga and eating well- but there wasn't a product on the market for my skin that matched the new lifestyle I was adapting. I set out to make a skin care line that didn't compromise in how well it worked, how much it cost, and how it looked and smelled. At the time, all of the natural beauty brands were about 'no'. No ‘this’ and no ‘that’. We wanted to create a positive brand so we decided our products were going to be all about 'yes'.
BP: This more of a general question, but how do you start a beauty brand with little to no experience in the beauty and science fields?
IL: Finding the scientists and chemists to help develop our product was the easy part-and you really don’t want me mixing products in my kitchen. We also like to keep our customers central to our product development instead of using focus groups. Sometimes we will post on Facebook that we are looking for some people to come down to our office and try something out, and we will get an overwhelming response of people who want to come and help us build a better brand.
BP: Once you had the product, how did you market your idea?
IL: Tel Aviv is a great place to incubate products and once we had something developed, we picked up the phone and called this ‘small’ drug store chain called Walgreen’s. We got a few meetings with them that were initially successful. We started an online trial with them to see how well our products would sell and now we're in thousands of stores worldwide. We have since moved from Tel Aviv to San Francisco.
BP: Where do you see your company in 5-10 years?
IL: Right now, we are the #2 natural beauty brand in the world, so we have a lot of growing to do. Right now, I am most passionate our Yes To Seed Fund that helps build garden programs in San Francisco and a few schools in Kenya and Tanzania. It helps kids connect, learn, grow, and have fun.
BP: What’s one piece of advice you can give to millennials about starting a business or making a positive impact around the world?
IL: I think the best thing I can tell someone is to look at me and my co-founder. We weren't the smartest kids in school so if we can do it, what the hell is stopping you? Also, there is this thing I like to tell young people about. It’s called the telephone and it has this cool feature that you can dial a number and call someone. Don’t email and don’t text for help. Actually pick up the phone and find the five smartest people in the field you work in and ask how you can help them. You can learn from them and eventually they will ask how they can help you. When we were initially developing and trying to grow our brand, we would stalk people to see if we could get help. We’d go to events and ask how we can help them. Now, these people are our close friends and they've helped us tremendously.
BP: OK, last question. What’s your favorite product?
IL: You can’t ask me that! It’s like asking which one of my children is my favorite!
BP: Well, we all know there are favorites. I won’t ask you about your favorite kid, but I will ask you what your favorite product is.
IL: Because I travel so much, I really like the Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes because they are great on the go. And I also like the new Yes To Cucumbers SPF products. I put it on my [bald] head every day. My wife really likes our Yes To Blueberries Serum-it’s like magic.