Therese Clark founder of Lady Suite Intimate Skin Care + Wellness
Lady suite is intimate skin + wellness for the glow below!
With safe, effective and vulva-friendly products, Lady Suite formulas are Dermatologist-tested and help prevent common vulva struggles, like intimate skin dryness, ingrown hairs, razor bumps, redness, and rough texture while supporting pH balance through ingredients like rejuvenating essential fatty acids, immune-boosting probiotics, and soothing ayurvedic-inspired botanical extracts ideal for a woman’s most sensitive skin.
Gluten-free, vegan, and tested on ladies, never animals, each plant-based product is made for women by women, containing no synthetic fragrance, artificial dyes, parabens, phthalates, excess essential oils, and other known vulva-villains.
Our mission is to undo the tired vaginal taboos through smarter education, ‘real’ conversation and clean, effective care. We believe vulva health is the gateway to whole body wellness!
We'd love to know your story! How did you get started? How did you get to where you are today? What are you most proud of?
I've always been drawn to beauty. My mom is a labor & delivery nurse who worked nights and raised 5 kids while my dad traveled a lot for his sales job. She was always lacking sleep and a "tough" mom. But when she put her makeup on, she was different - kind, confident and more loving. I thought makeup was magical, and in this sense, it is.
During college, I studied business and worked at different cosmetics counters at Nordstrom to put myself through school. I met Bobbi Brown of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics who inspired me to get into beauty product development. From there, I moved to LA from the bay area and found my way into the beauty biz. Eventually in my early 20s, I met Carisa Janes, Owner of Hourglass Cosmetics who at the time had her own product development consulting agency before Hourglass. We ended up working on multiple brands, and eventually built and launched Hourglass Cosmetics from the ground up. I ended up going out on my own as a consultant and was mainly working on skin care brands. After going through an undiagnosed hypothyroid condition which changed my skin, body and emotional well-being for the worse, I realized that skin care was skin food, and is eventually absorbed into the body. So many ingredients I'd been developing with were actually doing more harm than good.
This is when everything I created was less about "sales" and more about health. In 2010, I ended up co-founding the first-ever probiotic skin care line in the medical channel Probiotics and with the help of a brilliant scientist, learned more about our (ever-complex and ever-changing) immune system including the vaginal microbiome with it's own eco-system and skin care needs. When it came to my own vulva health, it wasn't something I was as attuned to. My mom wasn't the kind of parent that was going to talk to me about sexual wellness and the sex ed back then was, and in many cases, still is antiquated and entirely missing the wellness piece. I've also been shaving and waxing forever. I'm half Asian so my hair is just courser and I get ingrown hairs even without shaving. It wasn't until I went for laser hair removal that I realized there was a void in the market for intimate skin care that supported this highly sensitive area along with its unique needs; that wasn't full of crap and toxic chemicals, and wasn't too sterile or clinical. More importantly, in doing loads of research, I also realized so many of us don't understand our vulvas and vaginas like we do the rest of our bodies due old paradigms, and have developed insecurities because of it, or don't think much of our lady parts at all. All of this ignited my drive to create Lady Suite. I am definitely proud of Lady Suite Intimate Skin Care + Wellness because it's a company truly dedicated to empowering women and women's health with formulas that I'm also very proud of. This has been a long road and still on it! I'm proud that I haven't given up and continue to be curious, inspired and hopefully I'm someone who helps other women. I'm also proud that Forbes recently named us as one of five brands changing the femcare industry.
What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours?
So many things, LOL! I think develop your brand and/or products with someone' else's well-being in mind. Think differently and with purpose beyond making money.
What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?
I really appreciate industry resources like GCI, Beauty Packaging, Beauty Independent, Founder Gym, SheTransActs, which is a new founder syndicate of women and non-binary, mission-driven founders raising money collectively for our companies to support ESG principles/sustainable investing. I also appreciate the clean beauty pioneers like Creme Collective, Credo Beauty, The Detox Market, and Citrine - all have women leaders at the helm helping brands do better for people and the planet.
How is the funding process going?
The fundraising process is never easy and a full-time job. Now, in the middle of the pandemic there are a lot of unknowns for business owners and investors alike. We’re in some solid conversations with potential investors but Covid-19 definitely slowed them down/we’re all pivoting to better adapt to this new normal. On the bright side, I was introduced to a really cool and innovative group of women entrepreneurs led by Alexis Snelling, Founder/CEO of Life Cafe who created a “founder syndicate” called SheTransActs. Based on the principles of sustainable investing, we’re 5 mission-driven women and non-binary led founders raising collectively, which supports a more diverse and equitable startup ecosystem, and it’s less risky for investors. What this is doing for me personally is sharpening focus, making sure Lady Suite is constantly revisiting our mission and brand pillars, and while fundraising is still very intense at times, doing this with other kick-ass women whom I constantly learn from is really refreshing and very motivating. There simply needs to be more investors who actually step up and invest in women. Only about 3% of capital is allocated to women start-ups – insanity- considering women led companies have proven successful! I do think there is great opportunity in uncertain times, so remaining steadfast and positive.
What is your ultimate vision for Lady Suite?
We want Lady Suite to meet the underserved needs of women in a much bigger way through smarter, effective product and wellness solutions geared toward a woman’s best health and happiness, plus a much more robust educational resource for women, teens and girls that is approachable and easily digestible. We are also working on supporting the right give-back programs dedicated to women in underserved communities who don’t have easy access to/can’t afford elevated healthcare, which is happening at a faster rate during this pandemic –
“Still, initial data suggest that the pandemic could exacerbate existing barriers to care that women experience,4 particularly for women of color, women with low incomes, women with disabilities, and women living in rural areas. Additionally, as unemployment skyrockets and the stock market continues to dip, creating financial strain for millions, women5 and people of color6 may be less able to afford COVID-19-related and other health care." – Americanprogress.org
At the end of the day, we’re a women’s health company that truly wants to help women thrive!
We exist to help undo the tired taboos and stigmas that block women from their whole-body health and well-being. The femcare industry has been done so wrong over the years, and we're excited to be part of the new wave of modern, female-led femcare brands that are forcing change and saying "hell no" to the status quo!
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Keep in touch with Therese