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Suzanne LeRoux of One Love Organics: “When you can give more, you give more”

I think women do have a unique insight into their leadership. In our company since we are small, we have a lot more responsibility. We are considerate of our employees and always pay a living wage and a more flexible for childcare and aging parent care. We think that comes full circle back to product […]

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I think women do have a unique insight into their leadership. In our company since we are small, we have a lot more responsibility. We are considerate of our employees and always pay a living wage and a more flexible for childcare and aging parent care. We think that comes full circle back to product and brand quality. Women have more of a give and take based on what real-life actually entails — when you can give more, you give more. When people need more flexibility, we are more understanding. I do not think all men understand the multi-demands placed on women.


As a part of our series about strong women leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Suzanne LeRoux.

Suzanne LeRoux, the founder and CEO of One Love Organics, is an award-winning natural and organic cosmetic formulator with over 10 years of industry experience. A former attorney, Suzanne is driven by a commitment to holistic health and wellness — combined with a passion for cosmetic chemistry and the love of a good serum. She envisioned a line of gloriously effective skincare products that are made with the highest quality plant-based ingredients and innovative skincare science to deliver glowing results.

As One Love Organic’s chief formulator, Suzanne leads her team of cosmetic artisans who produce her award-winning creations in small, fresh batches at the company’s lab located in the Golden Isles of Georgia — and it’s the only ECOCERT/COSMOS® licensed manufacturing facility for natural and organic cosmetics in the state of Georgia and is one of a select few in the entire United States. This means we undergo rigorous evaluations each year to ensure that we continually meet the certifications’ high standards for natural and organic formulas, ingredients, recyclable packaging, manufacturing processes and environmental sustainability.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I started as an estate and business lawyer with a B.S. from the University of Georgia and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University School of Law. As chronic skin issues became worse as I got older, I became fixated on the potential for high-quality, plant-based skincare. Growing up on a farm in Odum, Georgia, to parents who also owned pharmacies, I was inspired to combine the healing power of plants with advanced skincare science to create healthy, luxurious formulas that work.

While maintaining a law practice on St. Simons Island, I embarked on formal studies in aromatherapy, integrative her biology, and cosmetic chemistry. I credit my husband, Chase, for encouraging me to launch One Love Organics in 2010.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

One of the things going into the business that I had no idea about is that many beauty companies do not actually manufacture their own products. So starting off, we thought most brands went through all of the tough steps that we did — figuring out manufacturing, certification, line fillers, and building a facility. It was worth it and we pride ourselves on being hands-on every step of the way: from formulation to manufacturing to packaging.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

We accepted a 25k piece order when we were still hand-making products in small batches without any equipment to help fill or label! My husband came into our first 900 square foot facility and saw me hand pouring each and every product, using a hot oil heater in order to make and fill our Skin Savior Balm, it was extremely time-consuming. My husband asked me to calculate how long it would take to hand-fill products to fulfill this order — 19 months. It was at that moment that I learned we needed some equipment to help with automation!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Absolutely, my husband. Not only did he support me emotionally and financially, but also he left his law partnership to help me get the company off the ground. We had to decide if we would keep the company small, or if he could leave his law partnership after 13 years to help expand. For the last 7 years, he has been the company’s CFO.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

The biggest struggle for me personally, was childcare. When we were first starting out, everything was so hectic, both at work and at home with young kids. When something would come up with the kids –everyone would call me to solve the problems versus my husband. When the kids were young, it was incredibly tough. I was running the company and while my husband was helping me, no one would accept him as the main childcare provider. It was a lot of pressure for me to keep up with and succeed at both.

Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?

Respect the equality of men and women for child-rearing, house duties, and work.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

I think women do have a unique insight into their leadership. In our company since we are small, we have a lot more responsibility. We are considerate of our employees and always pay a living wage and a more flexible for childcare and aging parent care. We think that comes full circle back to product and brand quality. Women have more of a give and take based on what real-life actually entails — when you can give more, you give more. When people need more flexibility, we are more understanding. I do not think all men understand the multi-demands placed on women.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder. Can you explain what you mean?

The number one myth I would debunk is that being a founder is totally easy and fun. It is actually hard work and can be so stressful at times. Of course, it is incredibly exciting as well, but there are highs and there are lows. One of the biggest and most stressful things about being a founder is that you are responsible for many other people. For example, having a team that we were responsible for during COVID was almost unimaginable. We were responsible for them and their families’ livelihoods so it was humbling and something we take very seriously.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

To be a successful founder, you have to have perseverance. You also need to be willing to potentially go a long time without any if much income! Another incredibly important trait: you must be able to wear many hats. I am willing to take on the smallest of tasks like sweeping the porch over at our spa and solving the biggest of problems like expanding production at just the right time.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Have a business plan in place that you use regularly and update regularly

One Love Organics actually started out as a baby line. Once we did a business plan and tested things, we realized we were selling more things to moms to use for themselves and decided to pivot.

2. Learn and try to adapt the 80/20 Pareto principle.

Every time I sit down, look at, and solve a problem, I use this principle.

3. Quickly learn how to say no and what you have to eliminate

Say no to meetings and phone calls unless there is a clear purpose and most of the time, an agenda.

4. Money management — Learning how to operate leanly and figure out what produces an ROI

Test and make sure the many things promoted to invest in are actually worth it and are producing a return.

5. Try not to be everything to everybody — know that you cannot be all things for all people, and learn your customer

We have kept our production techniques and expensive formulas the same to make sure our customers get the highest quality products.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Delivering healthy skin, glowing skin is what we do, but we will not compromise on safety, environmental sustainability and kindness to animals.

We are certified cruelty-free through PETA, we have earned The Gold Certified Business Seal of Approval, which recognizes the highest standards in environmental sustainability and social justice.

We have also achieved ECOCERT/COSMOS licensing for our manufacturing facility, which ensures that we continually meet the highest quality, certified organic, and environmentally friendly standards.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I love to see when people define their own success. I would love to help people write their own story and not have their story written for them by the media, TV, or kids at school.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Richard Branson. I really like his ability to think differently. He advocates that you want to develop a strong belief system that fits you and the more you try to bend and mold to the world the chance of success is less. I totally agree and am so grateful every day that I stepped out of the lawyer box into the skincare manufacturer and brand box!

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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