LadySuite, such a beautiful name for our “lady business” as you have described with your brand! How did you choose this name for your business and what does it mean to you?
Thank you! I thought of a few names, but I loved Lady Suite and when I did a mini focus group, they name resonated with a myriad of women. It’s a sophisticated name and seemed fitting as the goal is to create a “suite” of premium products and treatments specifically designed for intimate skin. I think the product/category name “Lady Business” is a fun way to address our intimate skin care needs and communicates action and empowerment. It’s just time to mind your lady business! It connects us to a deeper sense of our femininity, health and well-being.
What was your initial desire starting this brand? It feels very personal. I felt like I could trust you and your product the moment I found you on Instagram! What’s your personal connection to the brand as well?
I’m so glad you feel this way. I think it’s personal to me on a couple of levels. Firstly, my mom is a labor delivery nurse who was a tough mom. She had 5 of us and worked the nightshift, so during the day she was often tired and grumpy. And understandably so! I did notice that when she got ready for work, she put on her makeup and that magically transformed her mood. I decided the beauty industry is where I belonged. I’ve spent years as a product developer/brand builder and in my late 20s, I began working on a pregnancy skin care brand. It was the perfect time to have something to talk about with my mom. I started to ask questions about the vagina and the importance of lady parts health pre, during and post pregnancy. I realized that asking her questions made her very uncomfortable. Although she was an amazing nurse and women lined up to have my mom as their nurse, she just didn’t want to talk about it. In fact, growing up she wasn’t the one I went to for period or sex help. She was very old school Catholic and we learn that lady parts are “private” and out of sight/out of mind.
During this time, my health started to take a turn for the worst. At 29 I had sudden weight gain, my hair was falling out, I felt beyond tired and of course, my skin was erratic and was the first warning sign. Living in West Hollywood and being in the beauty industry, I felt fat, insecure and down about myself. The weight gain sucked but being an athlete my whole life, it felt even worse that I couldn’t find the energy to do the activities I loved, like competitive tennis. Even prominent doctors were telling me that I was fine or “just off” even with blood tests. One doctor chuckled, “If you had a penis, we’d probably have this figured out by now…” which basically meant women’s health was an afterthought. And btw – what a dick!
I also decided to see a Dermatologist. Here I am, a product developer who makes products with a lot of ingredient knowledge, but I wasn’t understanding how my diet and the products I was using were affecting my health. They gave me some short-term quick fixes, but the harsh ingredients were making some issues worse, like sensitivity and hyperpigmentation. Finally, after 2 years, I went to see an integrative doctor who diagnosed my hypothyroid issues and quickly changed my diet. I was eating a ton of soy which created hormone imbalance and slowed my digestion. I was told to stop eating gluten, dairy and add fatty acids, probiotics and enzymes. I really felt the difference and started connecting my health to my beauty regimens.
The pregnancy line I worked on turned into a probiotic skin care line. I was so fascinated by microbiome and learned that the vagina is the first place babies get inoculated with the good bacteria they need to build their immune system. I also studied with an amazing scientist who taught me more about the importance of immunity and that whatever we put on our skin should be easily broken down by the body and avoid an inflammatory response. Inflammation is the root of all skin evil.
I partnered with a very prominent investor who believed in the brand idea. We launched the brand in the medical channel as the first-ever probiotic skin care line. When everything at the time was about peeling and stripping, this brand was about feeding the skin what it needs to self-repair. During that time, I was being introduced to all the latest and greatest aesthetic innovations. The vaginal category was growing fast – from laser hair removal to laser tightening to labiaplasty to reconstruction. It made me more curious as to why women were opting for surgery. I decided I wanted to try laser hair removal. I’m half Caucasian and Asian and I’ve been shaving and waxing since I was 16. It seemed like the best option to avoid ingrown hair struggles and the hyperpigmentation that goes along with the struggle. I’ve gone back and forth between bare and some hair for a long time. Being in my 30s, I started to be more aware of skin changes – from the brown spots to dryness and now to thinning. With more visibility, it’s hard not to notice! And as a side note, the laser experience was not so fun. I fully expected them to prep my skin and give me some type of skin care afterward, but not the case. It was very harsh and I was super sensitive after every treatment. This became the impetus for Lady Suite but I wasn’t ready to do it then.
Fast forward to 2015, after 7 years with my Probiotics skin care company, I realized it was time to leave my own business. I didn’t know until I spent some time with my new business partner that he was a narcissist with many issues. I was a smart girl that signed a stupid contract and as his craziness unraveled, I felt really trapped. He was a billionaire that acted like Harvey Weinstein. He was emotionally abusive, sexually harassing me and other women, and he was very scary in his down/off moments. I was navigating this business and more of my time was spent managing him and shielding others from his wrath. This was supposed to be a women’s health company and I felt terrible, every day. I lost my voice. I didn’t know how to do it anymore so I reached out to a female lawyer who helped me get out from under it. It was tough and I had a long road to recovery. Luckily, I had an amazing support system. After getting back on my feet, I felt really motivated to get back to who I was and I wanted to make Lady Suite a reality.
I can finally connect my passion for product innovation, women’s health and wellness in the most profound way yet… and I’m constantly learning about my own capabilities through this brand. I feel empowered and like I can truly make a difference. I do believe I’m in my purpose now.
Tell me about your Lady Business Oil. What, how and when can woman use this oil?
Lady Business Oil is the result of a 3 year development process. I wanted to work with an expert who really understands the skin and how to empower the skin through the botanical world – in a way that was truly effective and safe for this delicate, intimate area that’s is comprised of a mucous membrane. I’m not allowed to reveal this expert’s name but I called him out of the blue, and he answered. I was floored. I went on to tell him what I was doing and he literally said he needed to meditate on it. So I waited the weekend and he called me Monday and said he felt the project was essential. I was beyond excited.
Lady Business Oil is first and foremost a rejuvenating oil designed to help diminish signs of inflammation while firming, toning and creating more resilient skin. Stronger skin is healthier skin and faces shouldn’t get all the love! This oil is focused on the vulva, which falls victim to ladyscaping/ingrown hairs, tight jeans, spinning, childbirth, sex, hormonal changes and of course, aging. If your vulva could ask for a snack, it would be hungry for fatty acids – which is primarily what this product is made of to improve cellular health. Ingredients like organic jojoba oil, meadow foam, tamanu oil and carrot seed oil have rejuvenating, soothing, moisturizing and astringent properties. It’s definitely a luxe, multi-tasking oil that you look forward to using everyday. I use it twice a day but most women I know use it after a shower or before bed.
Our director of education uses it as a cleansing oil and you can shave with it. You can mix it with shaving cream as well. My husband uses it post-shaving and to prevent the signs of aging. I use it nightly on my face.
You basically apply it to intimate skin/anywhere you shave, wax or lasered. And yes, thighs, buttocks and belly area is also ok. You can also apply it to labia, both majora and minora. While it’s safe for the entire lady landscape, we don’t recommend vaginal use. It’s not meant to be a lube.
I love your promotion of self-love with LadySuite. How do you define self- love?
What started out as a skin care idea quickly turned into a self-love and empowerment story. I definitely had my own lady parts insecurities. We see images on the internet of the “perfect” vulva and of course, I know that there isn’t such a thing. During my research, I found that teens in the UK were asking for labiaplasty for graduation. While I think it’s a woman’s prerogative to do what she wants to feel confident, I personally felt that this shouldn’t be a concern at such an early age, if at all unless of course, there is a real issue. But, again, I know what it’s like to feel out of sorts and succumb to insecurities. I also discovered that many of my friends were questioning their vulvas and didn’t know if what they were seeing was “normal”. I literally googled vagina and it wasn’t long before I understood the variety and the beauty of every creation. It’s truly like a garden and every flower is beautiful. But you still have to water the garden, lol. We use a lot of flowers and fruit in the branding to reflect the beauty in variety. How can you say a peach is better than a cherry? You just can’t! It’s ALL good.
It became very freeing to talk about lady parts love. Being educated made me less insecure. And being in an intimate skin care routine feels rad. It makes me feel like I’m doing something special for myself and honoring an area that has been shame, overlooked or oversexualized for so long.
I define self-love as a journey with no end point. Giving yourself the space to be who you really are. Because like vulvas, there is no one quite like you. And that’s amazing. Self-love is not easy for me but after years of self-work, I can more easily catch myself in a negative self-talk before it takes over, and I come back to the light.
Self- love and self- care I feel are represented strongly in your brand, how do you Infuse these core values into your life? Daily, weekly, etc.
Well, first of all, I’m way more attuned to healthy lady business! It’s easy to ignore that but it really is an indicator of health. I can’t stress that enough. I use healthier period options like brands like Lola and Thinx and make sure whatever I use down there supports a healthy intimate ecosystem. I’d also like to put out there that I’m not perfect! I strive to live a balanced life and it’s hard with a couple of business to manage it all. And I don’t even have kids. My sisters and friends that do are seriously inspiration for me. I have a spiritual connection and that is my lifeline. Because I have hypothyroidism I do have to eat right and make sure I detox my system at least quarterly. Usually a juice cleanse with fiber. I do need to exercise and move my body. I recently bought the Peloton bike and I love it. But it’s not easy on the lady parts!! I literally had to change the seat to make it more comfortable Of course, I have switched most all of my conventional beauty products to clean products. I miss my old fragrance but when I try to wear it, I can’t handle it anymore!
I also make time for myself. I’m a creative and I need that time to reset. My husband is really good about giving me that space. Practicing boundaries with people was hard for me for a long time, but I learned that boundaries are healthy for all parties. Saying no is ok and I think being able to say no is also about self-love and self-care. I also think surrounding myself with only the most supportive people with tough love benefits, has been life-changing. You really can choose and curate your environment.
I’m happy to see someone else talking freely, strongly, but also gently about females, our vaginas and health. There’s such true feminine divinity feel to your words and brand. Can you explain this “feeling” a little more to me and what you’re trying to “say” with your intention with the brand? I think that my experiences have really taught me that I am powerful and to deny any part of me is to deny my place and purpose in this world. And I want all women to feel that way. This is about a full spectrum of health and well-being. The intention is to educate, uplift and connect.
The feminine care industry needs a full on overhaul, and I think it’s happening now. The feeling that comes across is my true passion for change, and in a way that is digestible, especially to those women who might still be uncomfortable with lady parts talk.
How do you see LadySuite evolving? What can we look forward to and how can we grow with you and your brand?
I would love to add more purposeful products that continue to empower intimate skin health. While the distribution is something I’m working on and has to remain underwraps, I’m also heavily focused on creating a movement that will help elevate lady parts education. One of the cool companies I’m working with is @womenempower – we’re working on some ideas to continuously move self-care forward in a way that is accessible to more women. Our Director of Education is also an amazing women’s health advocate who I’m working with to elevate femme care education in the medical arena where the actual care of intimate skin is also overlooked.
The collaborations really excite me. I think my life is about partnerships and while I’ve had some tough ones, I do think women need the help and support of other women. I know this has been said many times, but it’s true.
What is the best way to order, contact you and keep in touch?
Right now, we have an exclusive retail partnership with freepeople.com as they have been amazing advocates for lady parts love and women’s health and beauty. You can also order off our website at www.ladysuitebeauty.com
We can be reached via phone or email at 877.LADYBIZ / email@example.com
I’m also really accessible. It’s important to me to connect with the ladies that interact with our brand. I usually respond to every email and interact on Instagram.
Any final words?
I’m just super grateful that you wanted to highlight Lady Suite. It’s really meaningful to me. I just want more ladies to love their lady parts. They deserve it and when they’re happier, you’re happier.