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Yes To Has Been Leading The Clean Beauty Movement For 25 Years

Yes To, founded in 2006, has been a global leader in natural skincare products for 25 years. It can be found in over 20,000 stores worldwide, from Target and Walmart to mom-and-pop shops. The company has raised $66 million in financing to date. It also recently enhanced its commitment to sustainability.

The brand provides straightforward fruit and veggie-based products made from tomatoes, grapefruit, cucumber, watermelon, avocado, and tea tree. All Yes To products are composed of at least 95% natural ingredients before water and, other than synthetic fragrance, qualify for the most stringent clean beauty standards. Like Beautycounter, Yes To respects E.U., Canada, and Japan-banned ingredients, with a “no list” over 2,000 items long. 90% of products are vegan and none of them use plastic microbeads. Sunscreens are reef-safe and eco-friendly, and wipes are compostable. Yes To is also Leaping Bunny certified.

Maggie Carey joined as CEO of Yes To in December 2019. “There are a couple of things that have happened since Yes To was introduced,” she says. “There’s now a wealth of information around skincare and ingredients to look for, which has raised the beauty IQ of shoppers. Consumers, brands, and retailers are increasingly educated about ingredients and what should be avoided. The impact of this is an explosion in ‘natural’ or ‘clean’ that has rippled across all areas of beauty. Brands are very keyed in as to how they need to be formulating and messaging products in order to make it into a shopper’s consideration set. When combined with the rise of ‘skinfluencers’ as a source of information for many, it’s not surprising that this space is showing exponential growth.”

While these changes have emerged in the past few years, Carey says, Yes To has been “talking about ‘clean’ before ‘clean’ was even a concept. We remain perfectly positioned in a space that’s in our DNA.” Yes To is not only natural, but also widely available and affordable, with 75% of products sold for under $10. The brand also stands out against competitors in terms of transparency. While many companies proclaim their products “natural and clean,” Yes To fully discloses all 300+ ingredients used in its formulas.

When she came on as CEO, Carey took the first quarter of 2020 to analyze Yes To as a brand and consumers’ evolving needs in skincare. This research led the company to reassess the brand positioning and portfolio – and to get rid of many products. They saw a spike in interest in Q2 of 2020 as people under Covid-19 pandemic lockdown brought self-care into their homes. The brand sold over 100% more than in 2019 online, and 20 to 40% more in-store. Face masks – from paper masks, bubbling masks, and peel off masks, to under eye masks – sold out completely. Yes To headquarters in Pasadena, CA offered donations of soothing facial products to frontline health care workers in the area.

Carey says it was living in Puerto Rico for three years and traveling the world that spawned her interest in sustainability. “It’s eye-opening to see first-hand the impact mistreating the environment can have on air and water quality, and how other countries use less and think differently about consumption,” she says.  

To aspiring changemakers, Carey offers this advice. “Follow your instincts. It took years for me to articulate what type of work I was good at, what type of work brought me personal satisfaction, and what type of work fit into my broader life goals. Part of that journey was to start listening to my ‘middle of the night inner voice.’ When I’m doing what I love, that voice wakes me up with ideas for ways in which I could be doing things differently or better. When I’m in a role that’s not a good fit, that voice is really candid on the need for a change.”

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