For some, the beauty industry might seem superficial. But for Brandi Leifso, beauty is a form of therapy.
A survivor of domestic violence, Brandi has been very vocal about how she discovered her purpose while living in a shelter — and how that experience led to the birth of her brand, Evio Beauty.
Fast forward to 2021: Evio Beauty has been in the game for nine years, growing its fan base with cult-favorite products that have made their mark in the industry. Now, Brandi has tapped Netflix's My Unorthodox Life star Batsheva Haart to collaborate on a limited-edition beauty kit.
Evio Beauty lovers were shocked to learn about Brandi’s humble and troubled beginnings, but appreciate how she has flipped the script on her adversities.
In an exclusive interview with Distractify, Brandi got candid about the start of Evio Beauty, partnering with Batsheva, inclusivity, and more.
For Brandi, starting Evio Beauty was a light at the end of a dark tunnel.
In 2012, after fleeing an abusive relationship, Brandi found herself living in a shelter. And while she was mainly focused on trying to make it to the next day, she also had thoughts of hope, change, and growth.
Brandi explained that she lived with 29 other women, who only had access to one bathroom. After realizing the power of self-care, Brandi decided to birth Evio Beauty.
“The moments that you got to yourself in the washroom really made a difference in my life, and putting myself together was that therapy for me,” Brandi exclusively told Distractify.
Brandi discussed the importance of partnering with 'My Unorthodox Life' star Batsheva Haart.
Since 2012, Evio Beauty has grown immensely. Aside from offering makeup and skincare essentials, the brand has also added influencers to the mix, which is why partnering with My Unorthodox Life star Batsheva Haart to create the beauty kit made perfect sense.
Since Brandi also comes from a place of oppression, watching Batsheva and her family navigate two worlds resonated with her own experience.
“It's the first time I've really been able to relate to somebody having such a juxtaposition in their realities in such a short period of time,” Brandi told us. “Once we connected, we really recognized how important female empowerment is to each other and our similar values. So that’s what made it a perfect fit.”
Priced at $39, the Evio Beauty Batsheva's Faves Kit is a limited-edition bundle featuring the Velvet Colour Stick, Lip Liner, and Lip Gloss. The kit is also available in two shades.
Plus, the brand also gives customers the option of donating to Dress for Success, a global non-profit organization that aids low-income women with professional attire to support their career search.
Brandi on inclusivity: “Our industry has been created in a way to divide us, not connect us.”
Inclusivity has been a hot topic for a long time in the beauty world. While the movement toward inclusivity in the industry advocates for people of various skin tones to feel represented, it has also revealed a lot of room for improvement in the beauty space.
Since Evio Beauty's inception, Brandi has always utilized YouTube as a resource to connect with beauty lovers. And by reading the comments on the platform, she realized just how much investors are only looking out for profit, as opposed to being concerned with creating and promoting inclusivity.
“That was really the first time that my eyes were opened up to realize that there is such a divide in beauty and there's no inclusion,” Brandi told Distractify. “There are 99 percent white shades that would match my skin tone, but not for other consumers. If consumers wanted a product, it had to come from a niche brand.”
She continued, “Our industry has been created in a way to divide us, not connect us. And I think that's why my story is such an anomaly because I found ways around those barriers.”
Brandi explained that she’s well aware of privilege in the industry and how people of color are often left out, especially as far as investors are concerned.
“To this date, 2.3 percent of venture capitalist money goes to female founders, and it's significantly less for women of color,” Brandi told us. “So all of those barriers set up is a big reason why we have this divide in cosmetics.”
Aside from the complexities in the beauty industry, Brandi has remained passionate about creating inclusive products. And if you’re ready to get your hands on the Evio Beauty x Batsheva Haart beauty kit, you’ll need to act fast. The bundle will only be available until Nov. 6, 2021.