Friends and entrepreneurs created a beauty brand dedicated to sustainability, compassion, and empowering women.

Good things come in pairs: mac and cheese, the moon and stars, and Canadian born entrepreneurs Laura Burget and Connie Lo—the creators of the beauty brand NIU BODY. 

Frustrated with the lack of natural beauty products on the market, the pair developed a brand with a robust lineup of natural, affordable, vegan skincare products that range from serums to lip scrubs. NIU BODY exclusively uses sustainable, plant-based ingredients and recyclable packaging, marketing to those who are concerned about their personal beauty and that of the planet, as well. 

To keep their products affordable and accessible to natural beauty lovers who also are budget-minded, Burget and Lo make sure that they’re spending their dollars wisely by not adding frivolous things like gold flakes to their products to appear more expensive. They also keep their packaging simple and their ingredients minimal by focusing on quality over quantity.

Burget originally had the idea for an all-natural makeup remover as a student, when she noticed a lack of natural skincare products that fit her tight budget. She pitched the idea to a friend who then introduced her to Lo. During a 4 hour meeting of the minds, Burget and Lo realized they shared the same vision: to create natural, low-cost skincare products. It was a match made in beauty heaven, and NIU BODY was born.

In the short two years since launch, Burget and Lo have built a business that celebrates compassion in the workplace and inspires a passionate following. As female founders, they are dedicated to supporting women in business and hope younger generations will follow in their footsteps. Read on to see how Burget and Lo are reshaping the natural beauty conversation and paving their way as young, female CEOs.

 

Why was creating natural and affordable beauty products important to you?

Burget: It’s extremely frustrating for us—both as consumers as well as business owners—to see the number of products on the market which are either way overpriced, don’t work, or claim to be natural but really aren’t.

 

What inspired you to start your own business in the beauty field?

Lo: I’ve been passionate about natural skincare and remedies since I was very young. I learned a lot about the benefits of plant-based ingredients from my mother. She taught me how to create homemade remedies with ingredients I could find in the kitchen. I distinctly remember coming home after school, running to the kitchen and whipping together DIY face masks out of mashed banana, egg whites, and honey. Being able to continue the passion I have for wellness through a career is a dream come true.

 

How did your childhood and family shape what beauty means to you?

Burget: Growing up, my mom had two mantras when it came to beauty: Keep things simple, and focus on beauty holistically, from the inside out. My mom is a family doctor, so her main approach to beauty and health was mostly focused on getting exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet. I still believe in this approach to beauty and overall health.

 

What could the beauty industry be doing to be more inclusive?

Burget: I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement for age inclusivity within beauty. Within marketing imagery, it’s almost always young 21-year-olds with already flawless skin. I’d love to see the industry embrace the beauty of aging instead of trying to push an idea of never-ending youth.

 

What are you most excited about in beauty right now?

Lo: I’m currently loving the focus on authenticity, minimal makeup, and showing your own quirky personality through beauty looks. People are craving more authenticity in their daily lives, and I see this translating into the way they dress/wear makeup as well.

Looking forward, I’m truly excited for cruelty-free and natural to one day become the baseline for all beauty products.

 

Was it challenging, from a production standpoint, to produce natural products with an affordable price tag?

Burget: Somewhat. The main thing that we keep in mind when doing our product development is ensuring that we are spending our dollars wisely. Adding gold flakes into a product just to make it appear expensive? Pass! Buying super fancy and over the top product packaging which ends up costing more than the ingredients itself? Pass on that too! We focus on creating products that are simple, focus on quality rather than quantity within our ingredient lists, and [sell products that] don’t come in over-the-top packaging.

 

How did you initially divide the work when you launched the company?

Burget: It was a very natural division of work for us. I’m an extremely analytical, numbers-based person,so I was most interested/experienced with the backend of the business: financials, supply chain, and product design/development.

Lo: I’ve more of an intuitive extrovert, and have always been extremely interested in branding and consumer behavior. I love meeting and talking with people, so I naturally fell into the role of marketing, sales, and strategic partnerships.

What qualities do you admire most in your business partner?

Burget: I admire Connie’s drive! She’s literally, without a doubt, the hardest working person I know, and I’m amazed everyday by her ability to just put her head down and get s— done! Connie is also exceptionally kind/generous, willing to do literally anything for those close to her. A very important—and maybe somewhat underappreciated—value in a person.

Lo: When you choose to go into business with someone, their character, not their skills, is most important. Laura is the fiercest protector of her friends. She will drop anything to be there for those close to her. There was a time recently where I sent her a message when she was on vacation—she could tell something was wrong and immediately called me. After chatting for an hour, I felt 100 times better. I feel so blessed to be able to have someone like Laura in my life, and to be able to call her my best friend and co-founder.

 

Tell us a bit about the culture at NIU BODY headquarters. How do you implement your own values in daily interactions with staff?

Lo: Compassion is one of the five core values of our company (you can read more about them here), so it’s a top priority for us. Embedding kindness and positivity into our team culture is so important to me. A big part of compassion is understanding that people will not always see things the way you do, and to remember to take a step back and truly listen and empathize with your colleagues.

 

Since your launch have you ever had a “pinch yourself” moment where a long-time dream came true?

Lo: The first year we started NIU BODY, one of my dream retailers was a local boutique that is the go-to shop for all things natural beauty. I called the owner and pitched our product line (at the time we only carried makeup wipes), and was turned down due to lack of assortment.

I returned a year later with five of our best-selling products from our assortment of 18 SKUs, and the owner loved them! She placed an order that same day. Walking into the store a week later and seeing our products front and center (next to brands like Tata Harper, RMS Beauty, and Vintner’s Daughter) was definitely a pinch-myself moment! I actually took a photo next to our products on-shelf. 

 

Why is it important to support female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses?

Lo: Did you know that there are fewer women CEOs than men in leadership roles named David? Shocking, right? When you look at the stats, it’s undeniable that investing in and supporting women-led businesses shows amazing payoffs. Here are just two examples:

    • Women-led startups generate 10 percent more revenue over a 5-year period.
    • Businesses founded by women deliver more than two times as much per dollar invested than businesses founded by men. Mass Challenge and BCG found that “[venture capitalists] could have made an additional $85 million over five years if they’d just invested equally in both the women- and men-founded startups.”

 

Growing up, I didn’t see/hear of many inspiring female business owners. I was lucky to have an entrepreneurial father and a strong mother who encouraged and pushed me to succeed. I think it’s extremely important to support women entrepreneurs to set an example for younger generations, and show them that it’s possible to run a business empire as a woman.

Laura and I were invited to speak at Junior Achievement, a nonprofit youth organization that guides high school students in creating their own businesses over the course of a school year. When we asked the group of male and female students if they were possibly going to start their own company one day, all the boys’ hands shot up instantly, while none of the girls’ hands went up. Laura then asked the girls why they joined the program, and they said they weren’t sure what they wanted to do, or were open to entrepreneurship but wanted to learn more. After asking the boys the same question, we discovered that their responses were exactly the same as the girls’. The only difference was the level of confidence they exuded. We need to support female-led businesses and encourage the future generation!

 

Why do you think it’s important for young girls to grow up surrounded by female role-models?

Burget: The more role models that young girls can have to look up to the better, especially in a wide variety of industries and roles. Coming from a background in engineering, this was a gap that I definitely noticed as many STEM fields are still heavily male dominated. The more female mathematicians, engineers, astronauts, pilots, etc that we can have young girls look up to, the better!

 

What advice would you give to aspiring female business owners?

Burget: Just go for it! You will never be able to know everything from day one, so it’s better to enter the market with your MVP (minimum viable product) and then iterate, learn, and grow from there. One of the best things that got me going when I was scared and on the fence was to start telling friends and family about my idea. This held me accountable…no one wants to say that they haven’t made any progress when someone follows up in the future⁠. I was surprised by the valuable resources they introduced me to!

  

What inspires you professionally and personally?

Burget: Honestly, just listening to the stories of people who are deeply passionate about what they do. Both in my professional and personal life I just love learning about the world and what makes people “tick.” I’m also huge into podcasts and have been listening to them on a regular basis for close to four years now. It’s one of my main sources of inspiration (the MFCEO Project Podcast  and How I Built This are my top go-tos).

Lo: Similar, to Laura, I am so inspired in my professional life by hearing others talk about things they are truly passionate about⁠—it’s infectious. I am also inspired by the kindness I’ve experienced from mentors, friends in the startup world, family, and friends. To know that there are so many people in my corner truly fills me with so much love, and I feel incredibly inspired to push forward and give back.

 

What’s next for NIU BODY and for yourselves, personally?

Burget: A big focus for us is on rounding out our product line over the next rest of the year. We have 6 new products slotted for release this year as well as three gift kits for the holiday season! For me personally, I’m hoping to adopt a dog in the next year! Just need to find our next perfect dog-friendly office space.

Lo: We also want to grow our NIU BODY team this year, which is super exciting! Personally, I’m focused on self-improvement and practicing mindfulness (which can be hard when we’re always on the go).

 

What would you love to tell your 12-year-old self?

Lo: Slow down and don’t compare yourself to others. Go at your own pace and focus on your journey. Also embrace your natural propensity for kindness—the right people will appreciate this.  


Mother to Rebel Girl Aubrey Annmarie, Nicole Philips is a 12-year veteran of the plus size fashion industry. She is currently the social media manager for fashion brand, 11 Honore´, where she also contributes to their digital platform. Nicole is passionate about motherhood, reproductive issues, sustainability, human rights and the environment. While Nicole loves what she does, she also secretly dreams about traveling the country with her daughter, husband, and dogs in an RV where she could write full time or buying an abandoned campground in the woods to turn into a family friendly retreat. When Nicole is not busy chasing her daughter around, she enjoys pedicures alone, spending time with other mom-friends, and earthing somewhere in nature… and watching every Real Housewife show available to her. Find her on Instagram @Nicole_Bette