To some, clean beauty seems like just another buzz word, but for many, it is a lifestyle choice. When thinking about clean beauty, there is one brand that always comes to my mind and that is Indie Lee. Based in Greenwich’s back yard, the brand has taken the American market by storm and they are working on growing internationally, including a recent launch in Paris!
The brand’s story is deeply rooted in Indie Lee’s personal wellness journey. We sat down with Indie Lee and learned more about how she got started.
GL: What was the inspiration behind starting Indie Lee?
My entry into beauty started out of a deep desire to create change. In 2008, I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor that doctors felt could be environmentally derived, attributed to something as simple as my skincare. That was my awakening. I began researching the personal care industry and was floored by what I found - suspect ingredients and little regulation. I decided that if I survived surgery (which I so fortunately did), I would make it my mission to educate and empower others about the importance of what they put on their skin as well as into their bodies. So I set out to inspire people to live their healthiest lives. That was how the idea for Indie Lee skincare was born.
GL: What was the process like when you started designing your line?
My journey to start this company was a little bit unique. I had no beauty experience, I was actually an accountant and had previously managed HBO’s International finance division. I simply knew that this brand was my mission and my platform for education and empowerment. Failure was not an option, so I built the brand from the ground up. I started creating products in my kitchen. I’m now blessed to work with some of the world’s leading chemists and formulators to help continue on this journey. It was hard work but to see what the company has become today is so rewarding. I wouldn’t trade a second of the experience.
GL: For those that might not know, what is clean beauty?
Clean beauty can be different for everyone, but we as a brand believe in ingredients that come from nature, from our fields, mountains and oceans - and using science to amplify their benefits, without harming animals in the process. Healthy nourishment promotes emotional, physical and spiritual well-being, and I believe what you put in your body as well as what you put on it are equally important. We’ve also taken measures to have our products COSMOS certified, which is one of the leading third-party global certification processes. It's regulated by leaders in biodiversity safety and sustainability. As there is little regulation in the US personal care industry, we believe that COSMOS was the right global certification to seek. It’s an ever-changing certification, meaning we will continuously hold ourselves accountable to the highest standard.
GL: What is your favorite product?
It’s so hard to pick just one! However, right now, my favorite product is our I-Recover Mind & Body Gel. It’s one of two products that signify our entry into wellness, as well as my personal recovery story from brain surgery - mind, body, and soul. This gel is a wellness game changer. It’s packed with Arnica, Black Pepper, Lavender, Patchouli, Eucalyptus, and Menthol. It provides an amazing warm-cool sensation, making it great for everything from sore and achy muscles to aromatherapeutic uses. For me personally, it’s also provided a ton of comfort when I experience a Rheumatoid Arthritis flare-up. I was actually diagnosed with R.A. six months before the brain tumor (which I don’t think is a coincidence). The thermogenic properties of the Mind + Body Gel are so soothing and really help ease the discomfort.
GL: What is one piece of skincare advice you live by?
I always try to remind myself that we are all perfectly imperfect. You should never try to change yourself because of outward standards. Beauty begins from within. Oh, and I always make sure to wash my makeup brushes weekly, this is a must for me and keeping my skin healthy.
GL: What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness to me means taking care of myself and listening to what my mind and body really need - it’s something I truly believe is right, not an indulgence. For me, it is meditating daily, drinking enough water, making sure I am well-rested, eating healthy, etc. It also means going out for a drink with friends when that feels right.
Wellness is also the inspiration behind several of our latest product launches. I wanted to create products that gave me permission to speak to bigger topics around self-care, like mental health, sleep, and what wellness really looks like off of the stage of social media. I am so excited I am able to create and share these products that have such deep meaning to me.