The Yes Man: Ido Leffler on the Power of Yes

Have you ever noticed the negativity associated with many beauty products and skincare solutions? As we dig through our makeup bags and scour store shelves, we see tons of anti-blemish creams, anti-wrinkle lotions and anti-aging serums—products that urge us to fight flaws, rather than enhance the positive.

Ido Leffler, co-founder of the natural skincare line Yes To, is changing all that.

In 2006, Ido and his friend-turned-business partner, Lance Kalish, decided to create a line of natural skin and hair care that was all about positivity (and one that people would be stoked to use). Made from clean ingredients and organic fruits and veggies, Yes To was a beauty brand that embodied the values, style and substance of all the companies the duo loved, without compromising on efficacy, style or price. Just six years later, Yes To is sold in more than 25 countries around the world at more than 28,000 stores.

Below, we chat with the “chief carrot lover” about natural beauty and the power of yes.


How did you first come up with the idea for a natural beauty line?
Ido Leffler: We were looking for ways to be healthier, and as part of that we wanted to find natural personal care products. At the time we did not find anything that met our needs. Before we knew it, we were scouring the world to find the best formulators to create our own natural beauty brand. Today, there is absolutely no need to compromise what you put on your body!

Why are you anti “anti”?
IL: We wanted to create a positive natural experience, without telling people what they should or shouldn’t be using. Most of the other brands on the market at the time were very preachy—“no to this and no to that!” Instead, we wanted to empower people by saying “YES TO YOU” and putting them first.

What makes Yes To different from other natural beauty lines on shelves today?
IL: Our products are based on a simple philosophy: We create products that we believe the guest will love.  Anything less does not make the cut!

Where and how do you develop the formulas for products?
IL: Based on our relationships with our VIC’s (very important carrots), partners such as Target and our internal research, our amazing team in San Francisco comes up with new product ideas. We then work with some of the best labs and manufacturers to make the products come to life.

How does Yes To help people make easy, sustainable choices in their everyday lives?
IL: Our products are an easy bridge for people to cross when deciding to try natural products. Once a person tries Yes To and realizes that using natural products does not mean compromising their standards, they’re more likely to try more natural product options.

You also help kids make healthy, natural food choices through the Yes to Feed Fund. Why is it important for youth to connect with nature? 
IL: Youth today are bombarded with so many fast food options and convenience foods that quite often they’re unaware as to where their food comes from or how it is grown. The Yes To Seed fund helps kids connect with nature while learning where their food comes from. This knowledge gives them a greater appreciation of whole foods and a better sense of adventure when trying new foods.  For the past few years, The Yes To Seed fund planted organic gardens in the schools throughout the country.  This month, we teamed up with Mama Hope to launch the Yes To Hope campaign, which plants organic vegetable plots in schools in Kenya while connecting these schools with schools in the U.S. This year, the Yes To Hope will help feed 10,000 children in Kenya.

What do you enjoy most about working at Yes To?
IL: I love seeing the kids that we’re helping every day through our Yes To Seed Fund projects.  It’s also incredibly inspiring to work with a team of people who are driven to make people happy and say “yes”!

What are your favorite products in the Yes To family?
IL: That’s a hard question, but I love the Yes To Tomatoes Acne Spot Stick, Yes To Cucumber Facial Towelettes, Yes To Blueberries Skin Repair Serum and Yes To Carrots Body Butter. I could go on and on.

We hear you wear one item of orange clothing every day. True?
IS: Very true! I tried not wearing orange on the weekends but that quickly ended—orange reminds me of our mission and where we came from. We are very humbled by our success thus far and I never want to forget our roots!

How do you want Yes To to be remembered?
IL: We plan on being around for a long time, but I would love to be remembered for the brand that made natural products more accessible and acceptable to a whole generation of consumers.

It’s almost Earth Day! How will you celebrate this year?  
IL: I’ll celebrate by spending time with Mother Nature in my family’s organic garden. I’ll plant our Spring favorites—carrots (of course), tomatoes, corn, strawberries, arugula and sugar snaps with my eight month old and three year old daughters—they love getting their hands dirty (no surprise there!).

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