For our newest Inspired Women Series, I had the pleasure of working with an amazing woman who’s passion for creating clean, natural skincare that works has definitely inspired me. Indie truly has an inspired story that propelled her into her life’s work as the creator of her skincare line Indie Lee. I will let her share her story with you in the below interview, but be prepared to tear up, get goosebumps, or be touched with a wave of inspiration to live life to the fullest.
I am obsessed with natural and organic skincare and have been for quite sometime. My sensitive skin used to be extremely problematic and cause me great anxiety before I learned how to take care of my skin with clean beauty products and remove the toxins from out of my makeup and skincare.
I had the pleasure of hosting Indie Lee at Denver’s AILLEA natural beauty boutique in Denver the other weekend for a Master Class on Clean Living. I instantly fell in love with Indie and her infectious personality from the first moment we met, much like I fell in love with her coconut body scrub the first time it touched me skin. I was hooked. I am now basically obsessed with her whole line. Shop her line here, and make sure to check out said coconut body scrub and the squalane facial oil. My two must haves.
Follow Indie Lee on Instagram for more natural skin care inspiration.
Aside from header photo courtesy of Indie Lee, all photos from our Indie Lee Master Class taken by Sara Ford.
Tell me a little bit about your background, both professionally and personally.
I worked in corporate America for HBO and Ernst and Young before hanging up my calculator to live a simpler life in the country with my kids. As a type A personality, “simpler”, I realized, is not in my DNA. I quickly built a 750 sq. ft. greenhouse and jumped into the farm to table movement helping local business with starter plants and schools with gardens. So, you might be thinking, how does a recovering CPA/ Farmer start a beauty company. Glad you asked…
What inspired you to create your beauty and skincare line?
In 2008, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and couldn’t work in my greenhouse any longer. With way too much Calendula and Lavender in my greenhouse, I decided to make products for my sister’s baby shower, since babies are born with a toxic load and I wanted our new, little cherub to have the best and healthiest skin products. Needless to say, the type A kicked in again and I decided to make products, not just for my sister and new nephew, but also for all the guests. The products were a hit and the guests urged me to start a company. I wasn’t feeling it yet. What I was experiencing though was loss of my peripheral vision. A quick visit to my doctor, followed by an MRI, uncovered a rare brain tumor that doctors told me was most likely linked to environmental toxins. My love of lotions and potions or even the products my mother used on her skin when pregnant with me seemed to have given me only about 6 months more to live. After successful surgery, on Earth Day 2009 (you can’t script that), I committed myself to creating change by developing eco-chic products to love and trust. Indie Lee skincare was born and I haven’t stopped since.
Tell me more about the Indie Lee line, from concept stages to today, including product development, ingredients, product testing, growing pains, etc.
I think the “why” behind the brand and the “how” we approach product development is pretty unique. I started this brand after receiving news of a potentially fatal brain tumor that doctors felt could have been environmentally derived. When the doctors said the cause of it could have been something as simple as my skincare routine, I had an “a-ha” moment and knew my life from that point on was going to be dedicated to helping empower others to make healthier choices for themselves. I realized I had the opportunity to tell my story and the chance to create a line of incredibly chic natural products that are just as effective as conventional skincare lines so that no sacrifices have to be made when making the switch to natural.
I took a look at my own skin care regime and the products that I was using and started becoming familiar with ingredients – and honestly was aghast at what I was putting on my body. Toxins, chemicals, parabens… terrible, terrible ingredients. So I started with products I was using on a day-to-day basis and reformulated them in my kitchen using safe and natural ingredients. (Don’t worry, our collection is now created in a sterile lab!) My skin was super dry from the chemotherapy I was taking for my Rheumatoid Arthritis, so I first formulated our Coconut Citrus Body Scrub to exfoliate and moisturize in the shower. From there, I created a line of body oils. Our Hydrating Body Balm was created for my sister who was suffering from psoriasis…and so on. Each product was born from a need.
What inspires you on a daily basis?
Nature…no matter what the season, no matter where I am, I am continually inspired and humbled by what Mother Nature provide us with.
How do you find balance between work and play?
Oh, I don’t think I’ve completely figured that out. Do we ever? I am blessed though, I have the most amazing team. That’s part of the key to success – know what you are not good at then surround yourself with like-minded people who are great at those skills. I also think we put so much pressure on being perfect or pretending that we can do it all – all the time. The truth is that you can’t be all things to all people all the time. Realizing that gives me the space to juggle and recognize that some weeks I’m better at spinning all the plates at one time.
What motivates you professionally?
Our fans and the community we are building continually motivates me. Their trust in the brand and me personally inspires me to reach deeper and cast a wider net. I always say, “we live in choice with everything we do”. Consumer purchasing power is based on such choices. By inspiring and educating others about healthier options, powerful shifts in the wellness industry is possible. How can you not be motivated by that?
Do you have any future business plans or upcoming product releases that you would like to share?
As a person, I plan to increase my connection with our customers and retailers moving forward – whether it’s meet and greets around the country or direct social media interaction – Q&A, public appearances, etc. I set out on this journey to empower others to live a healthier lifestyle. Of course, there are new products in the pipeline. You will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, our lips are sealed. Stay tuned 😉
What is your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?
Great question! For me it’s that the opportunities are endless. I’m in charge of my schedule to some extent. I also love that no day is ever the same. The most exciting part is that I have the ability to create change. Whether it’s the entrepreneur in me or what I went through personally, I can’t be certain, but the drive is to leave a mark while I’m here… to create a legacy.
Could you please describe your personal style?
Evolving 😉 …I definitely lean more towards the tailored classic for work especially during the colder months. Weekends, I love a good cashmere sweater, T Shirt and Jeans. However, once the weather turns warm you will find me in a maxi or wrap dress and wedges. Did I mention I’m passionate about shoes? The higher the heel the better.
What does contemporary bohemian mean to you?
For me contemporary bohemian is a style that appears effortless and yet still modern. It’s the freedom and unstructured ethos of the Gypset life coupled with the independence and strength of the modern woman. It’s a look that’s unapologetic but aware. It’s a sensibility that is both connected to the earth and the environment but equally inspired by the ever changing world around us.