Meet Indie Lee, founder of clean beauty brand Indie Lee Skincare. After fighting and surviving a life threatening illness, Indie decided to take matters into her own hands. By creating products grounded by nature, supported by science and inspired by life, Indie Lee Beauty was born.
Today, our team was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to chat with Indie, as she walks us through her journey being a female entrepreneur, building a clean beauty brand, tips for those looking to build a clean beauty routine and more.
Hi Indie! Thank you so much for taking the time to connect with our team. Can you first start by telling us a little bit more about yourself?
Hi! I’m Indie Lee, mother of 2 amazing children and 1 goddaughter, 2 furbabies, and the Founder of Indie Lee Skincare - a clean beauty company dedicated to educating and empowering others to live their healthiest lives.
What inspired you to create Indie Lee Beauty? Since creating Indie Lee Beauty what has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
In 2008, after losing vision in my left eye, I was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor and given as little as six months to live. I didn't understand - I had been living a healthy life. In fact, at the time I was growing edible flowers in the greenhouse in my backyard and selling them to Whole Foods. I was eating healthily and exercising, plus there was no history of this in my family. When I asked how this was possible, my doctor asked me a life-changing question - "What do you put on your skin?” This was my awakening. The truth was I had no idea what I was putting on my skin. I started researching and the more I learned, the more I knew that I had to make a change in the industry. After successfully surviving surgery, I started creating clean products dedicated to educating and empowering others to live the healthiest version of their life. I haven't stopped since…and I think that continues to be my biggest accomplishment!
Did you always see yourself starting your own company? In what ways has your life changed since becoming an entrepreneur?
Never in a million years did I think I would be where I am today, but I am extremely grateful. Your life really changes when you’re an entrepreneur, you sometimes forget to take a step back, slow down, and really enjoy the moment. I am constantly working on being better at that so I can be present in my own life and not just a passenger. My diagnosis taught me that life is not a dress rehearsal and you need to live vibrantly every day.
Happy Women’s History Month! Can you tell us what makes you feel empowered as a woman?
I feel empowered as a woman when I am empowering others. When I hear that my journey has touched someone’s life and prompted a change, I’m so honored. Indie Lee is all about creating community. It’s incredible to receive heartfelt notes and DMs from all over the world. Knowing we are educating and empowering others to live their healthiest life is so rewarding since that's been my vision for the brand since day one.
Indie Lee Beauty is without a doubt an industry leader in the clean beauty space. What do you think has been the most important aspect of branding that has differentiated Indie Lee Beauty from other clean beauty brands?
That would have to be our mission. I started this brand to create change. I touched on it above, but my mission was and still is to help others be the healthiest versions of themselves - physically, emotionally and spiritually. It guides everything we do, starting with our internal team, to product development, to outward communication.
Once you love a product it’s sometimes hard to think about trying anything else, even though the ingredients aren’t necessarily the best. What advice or suggestions would you give someone wanting to transition into clean beauty products? What Indie Lee Beauty product would you recommend starting off with?
I always suggest starting slowly so the transition isn’t overwhelming. That way, you can make sure each product is working for you. If you try to transition all of your products to clean alternatives all at once, not only will you be overwhelmed, you won’t know what products work well with your skin versus ones that may give you a negative reaction. An easy practice is to replace an existing product with a clean alternative as you are running out of it. If you’re low on your cleanser, start researching what clean alternatives are out there and interest you most. For people with sensitive skin, it may be best to request a sample from a local retailer to patch test before buying the full size. Then repeat this process when the next product in your routine is running low. Before you know it, you will have a new clean skincare routine.
For those new to our brand, I always recommend starting with our Brightening Cleanser, CoQ-10 Toner and Squalane Facial Oil. These three products are our best-sellers, great for all skin types, and a great first introduction to clean beauty - simple yet extremely effective!
What challenges did you face when starting your own company and how did you find yourself overcoming them?
Starting the brand was a challenge in itself, as I had no beauty experience and no industry connections - I was previously in accounting! But I was on a mission and I found my way. I’m incredibly grateful for that journey and where it has brought me today.
Is there a piece of advice that has resonated with you along your entrepreneurial journey? Or what advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting their own company?
Always believe in yourself and what you are creating. There will be ups and downs, but don’t let a few closed doors derail you from following your dreams. Being an entrepreneur is a lot of late nights and long hours, but again if you love what you do, those times evolve from difficult moments into rewarding lessons. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Knowing what you don’t know and asking others to help can be a superpower.