Lance Kalish and Ido Leffler have harnessed the positive power of ‘yes’ to build an internationally successful business, with real social impact.
Co-founding natural beauty products company Yes To Inc in 2006, they started out their dreams of business success with big promises, and big debt. With characteristic determination, within a year they launched their first product range Yes To Carrots in Walgreens, the United States’ largest drugstore chain. A few short years later they now have over 25,000 stockists in 15 countries – including retail giants Target and Walmart – becoming the country’s number two natural beauty brand.
“Understanding that the more successful your business is, the more you are able to give away and make an impact on society – it’s the best driver you can set for yourself and your employees.”
Kalish and Leffler embody the passion for innovation, agility and entrepreneurship that are at the heart of the UTS Business School ethos – and one of the faculty’s outstanding success stories. From its early beginnings as a start-up venture, Yes To Inc is now a multi-million dollar business, growing at a rate of around 25 per cent per annum. The extensive product range now comprises seven product lines, all made from predominantly natural ingredients and with the signature ‘Yes To’ irreverence and vibrancy.
And they’re not just influencing consumer choices: Kalish and Leffler are driving social change through the Yes To Seed Fund, a not-for-profit organisation established as a central tenet of the business, and to which a portion of their profits are donated. The fund teaches children about nutrition and healthy living through micro-farms in Africa and planting organic school gardens across the globe, contributing to feeding 100,000 students each day.
“We always felt that finding a purpose for our business was as important as driving a profit,” says Kalish. “Understanding that the more successful your business is, the more you are able to give away and make an impact on society – it’s the best driver you can set for yourself and your employees.”
Last year they established two more brands with social impact: Yoobi school supplies and Cheeky Home disposable table-top products. Partnering with several US-based charities, the brands have already donated classroom supplies to one million children and meals to more than four million of the nation’s hungry.
“We sincerely hope that this will become the new way that everyone does business in the future,” says Leffler.