Brandi Leifso was 21 and living in a women’s shelter when she developed the concept for her first make-up company, Evelyn Iona, now Evio Beauty.
Through tenacity, creative photoshopping and some ingenious thinking when it came to ordering the first round of her products, she was able to bootstrap her company to get it off the ground. With a focus on sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients, her products quickly earned a cult-following amongst customers. Leifso’s commitment to incorporating customer feedback to bettering Evio’s products, donating funds from each purchase to further fund women’s initiatives, and a recent partnership with Aurora Cannabis have further cemented her as one of Canada’s most inspiring CEO’s currently in the game. We had the opportunity to sit with her to learn more about her journey and the exciting things she has coming up.
The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Sleep on it. I used to make decisions very quickly which can be a great skill, but if you are not in a place in your life where you have the knowledge or are in the right emotional state to make those decisions quickly, it doesn’t hurt to sleep on it.
Someone you look up to is?
Anybody who is living their best life.
What does ambition mean to you?
Ambition to me means just moving forward, having a goal and continuously working towards that.
What do you want to be known for?
I want to be known for having a purpose and leaving the world a little bit better. I want to be known for being not just nice but for being kind and for doing the right thing even when no one’s looking and uh, really just progressed before perfection as sometimes you don’t do the right thing. But I want people to know I always had the right intentions.
What’s your proudest moment?
I feel like it’s yet to come. I feel like I’ve had some really proud moments, like bring me to tears, kind of proud moments. We’re speaking at the Forbes stage in Tel Aviv next week. I’m really excited for that. That’s definitely a big milestone. Evio has been my baby – seeing it grow, there’s been a lot of proud moments within it, but also I’m a SUPER proud fur parent, so I’ve had those proud moments too.
What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made?
Oh Gosh. I don’t even know where to start! We don’t have enough time. But things like mistakes also made me realize what my weaknesses were, so they were necessary for me to make.
Tell me about your personality or your skills or the way you approach different things that make you good at your job.
I think a big reason why Evio has gotten to where it is and continues to grow is that we sincerely approach every single situation with good intentions and thinking about how can we work together. I think a skill that I have that I learned very early on was that I can’t be good at everything, nor do I want to be good at everything. So how do I find some people who are the best at what they do in the world and convince them to do it with me? And more than that, not just convinced them and not just find the best people, but find the people with the same mission, same intention, same values, and convinced them to grow an enterprise with me.
What are your “Notable Life” goals?
My Notable Life goals are to create a more conscious future. I want people to feel good and happy and safe and secure and just like they can accomplish anything. My goal is to make myself and the people around me feel that way.
What’s the next challenge or project you’re undertaking?
Ooh, so we just launched our direct to consumer line at evobeauty.com and that is a whole big new undertaking. With my previous line, Evelyn Iona Cosmetics, we sold to stores so this is a completely different approach. It’s proving to be more challenging than I ever thought, but also more rewarding! The project and challenge that we’re working on is mastering a relationship that is more than just a transaction but becomes a purpose-based relationship with the consumer to create community and to create more conscious features together.
Any hidden talents or secret passion?
Um, I’m really good at figure skating. I dropped out of school when I was 14 to skate fulltime – I was on a junior Olympic training team!