Owner and Founder of LeVertBeauty.com, Ana Congdon, is everything that you hope she will be and so, so much more. Her spirit, passion and heartfelt answers are bound to leave you feeling inspired and ready to take on the New Year.
Ana, you are clearly FAR ahead of the curve with your company. Green beauty and skincare products are truly just starting to make their mainstream debut. When and how did you dream up LeVert Beauty?
So funny enough it started with a very secret idea 7 years ago while I was newly pregnant, living in San Francisco doing Public Relations for tech companies, like Playstation, DELL and others. This is also when I would spend all my other time copywriting for beauty brands around the U.S. on the side as beauty was a huge, longtime passion. I studied Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and double majored in International Relations in college so I worked in those fields immediately after graduating. But, then sometime later the moment I discovered I was going to be a mother things changed. I tell Miles, my 6-year-old, that he’s my North Star because he was the beginning of a huge shift for me. That shift included the conception of LeVert Beauty and a huge health shift in the way I saw how things were being done and our bodies long-term responses. It was the beginning of a fairly large conversation in S.F. for farm-to-table way of eating and so I was inside this gentle movement for better options and educated choices.
I began digging into everything – and I mean everything. This led me to begin looking into ingredients my baby would absorb through penetration enhancers and through my bloodstream. Then the statement of “not safe while pregnant” led me to think if once the baby is safe in this world and I’m no longer carrying him, do I then absorb all the same things? No thanks. These questions were (especially 7 years ago) just begging to be answered. A fire was literally ignited and I was determined to create options for the modern woman that didn’t necessarily live an already granola lifestyle, but cared about her own health. That’s when the idea LeVert Beauty was created and I spent the next 3.5 years researching, studying, saving, branding, honing in design, working 16-hours days 7 days a week, and delivering the world this movement for better beauty.
LeVert Beauty is clearly my one stop shop for everything clean and wonderful. Thank you for that! Can you walk us through your typical (or not-so-typical) day at the office?
So, each day really does differ from one another, but some things are also consistently the same. Each day, most of the day, we are keeping up with our community via orders, questions and inquiries. And also, for me, I am constantly scheduling meetings and calls with vendors, brands, incoming potentials, accounting, upcoming projects details, testing code, overseeing design, project management, checking B2B orders, and working on brand development for future projects. We have some really exciting things in the pipeline that takes up much of my time right now and we are also in the process of creating some positive shifts for the customer side. We have the best community that is with us through anything and we want to give back to those people! Some exciting things happening here soon.
When you sit on the sofa after a long day (or week) and you reflect on where you are today – what surprises you the most about how far you have come?
Great question and I’m so guilty of not reflecting enough. My mind naturally goes to what I have to do next, and even next after that. The one thing that surprises me most about how far we’ve come when people, editors, other brands that are well-known see us and what we’re doing. When a brand reached out to me after our first year and said that Sephora brought us up and mentioned what we are doing in a headquarters meeting – I thought – we are doing something right.
I am pretty sure that we are ALL guilty of not reflecting enough. One of my favorite ways to get centered is to dig into inspirational quotes and find new mantras. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that brings you peace or inspiration?
“Inhale confidence, exhale doubt.”
Ooooh, I feel calmer already. What strikes you the most about this mantra?
It’s a beautiful reminder that we are enough exactly where we are, to inhale that sense of self-love and self-worth really helps magnify how much you have to offer in the current moment. And, exhaling (or giving yourself permission) to release any voices in the back of your head that tells you you’re not worthy of what you want. It can be difficult to practice daily, we all have our off days, or weeks, but it really helps me with big and small decisions and choices from personal to work to family. We are basically a summation of our choices and I choose to intentionally have my own back in even what may end up being a false choice.
I feel like remembering to breathe might be one of the hardest parts of owning your own business. It must be liberating and terrifying at the same time.
Taking risks can be very hard and as you are rewarded through your hard work… those risks only continue as you grow. That being said, the most gratifying things in a person’s life often mean they are facing challenges. Even outside of work – self-growth, marriage, children, etc.. It all can be challenging at times. And for me, the hardest part about having my own business is learning to get out of my comfort zones. As a business owner you question things often because each choice points you in a particular direction and it is the unforeseen direction you have to ultimately predict and weather and it can it can be taxing. But, it’s true that resilience is a part of entrepreneurship (and life, hello) that you use to propel in the directions you need to take the business.
One of the reasons that I love LeVert is because I can feel your personal touches and passion for green beauty in all of the details. It is such a special trait. Will you share a little bit more about the Ana that everyone doesn’t get to see?
I have huge love and loyalty toward people and that has always been the case coming from a big family. I laugh to myself all the time because I am basically an 85-year-old woman in a 30-something body; my love for Tony Bennett, driving too slow and anything linen run way too deep. I would travel the world all day everyday given the opportunity and I’m positive that comes from my late father who traveled the world for work and was a big encourager to me studying abroad to Italy during college. I also couldn’t re-arrange my house more. Does anyone else do this too? Oh – and I’m also a very proud momma to two incredible little boys that light up my life!
Haha, I love this description of you. Also, you might be the most relatable human on the face of the planet. I can’t get enough… More please!
There are quite a few quirks this way. I am the first to laugh, but also can be very serious if something matters to me. I emotionally go deep, certainly have a huge nerdy side that I’m very proud to rock, and a heart that leads every single thing I commit to. I am very head and heart with everything I do and I overthink from all angles to ultimately go with what my heart (gut) moves me to do. I get loopy all too quickly if still for too long and its literally the most awkward and contagious laughter (or cackle I should say), but I literally can’t contain it sometimes.
What do you like to do in your free time? Naturally you must have SO much of it… (completely kidding).
My favorite hobbies are interior design and photography, although I haven’t picked up the camera for pleasure in years and between the business and two toddlers it has been tricky to create that space. Self-growth is my soft spot and I read, listen, and participate constantly in this because I feel hugely about personal growth – always have and certainly always will! Give me a coastal town, a hammock, a great book and some fresh food and I’ll never leave. I love living in a city, but crave the intimacy of small towns too. And, I’m such a Libra – it’s a little wild.
Okay – LOVE this, my favorite question so far out of so many great questions. Giving people access makes my heart soar! This inspires constantly. If you’ve ever lived in a smaller town or another country you understand quickly how desirable having access to what people in the city have – this is one reason I started LeVert Beauty online.
I literally get chills when we see orders from places like Jerusalem and Africa or smaller towns all around the U.S. It makes me feel like I’m helping provide a lifestyle to someone that may otherwise not have access. No matter how large the online space continues to be – we cater to those people and giving them an intimate space that allows them to feel close to us – and us them – with only the most effective quality. We aren’t aiming to have the most options, we aim to have the finest and most effective. And that is just the best feeling.
Well, everything that you are doing – it works. You are creating connections around the world through LeVert. How cool is that? It is really incredible. Also, I knew immediately when I visited levertbeauty.com that I could trust that the products were carefully curated.
Any other inspiration?
Okay… is it odd that eating al fresco, outside during the summer, with good people also gives me the chills? Because it does, and in the best way!
I can’t ask which products are your favorite, it just doesn’t seem fair… So, what beauty products (and/or brands) would I find in your purse right now?
I have stashes everywhere (because that’s totally normal, right?)
Haha, it’s completely normal! I order duplicates of products so that I can have one in every bag that I use… just in case I need it. I mean, that’s totally normal, right?
So in my purse I always carry a second Kjaer Weis Foundation because the consistency can be concealer-like when I need it on the go. I also keep a Vapour Multi-Use in there in case I need a quick flush, normally in the shades Crush or Eros. And lip balms are must near me at all times, so right now I have both Henné original and Vapour Lux Lip Balm stashed everywhere. Also Box Wipes in Rosewater and Lavender are basically my saving grace and I currently have four in my purse and two in my car. Those never seem to leave my side.
I think that one of the things that took a minute to get used to was the idea of the Multi-Use Stick. The concept (that there is one product that you can use on your lips, cheeks and eye) was a little bit intimidating at first. Now, I love it. And- don’t worry, Ana… you are not alone. I have Henné lip balms stashed everywhere.
I could talk about green products all day…which brings me to my next question. The LeVert team gets to work in my dream world everyday. What does your team say is the best part of working at LeVert?
Being a part of something this special, the fun, the team loyalty and the products! We have so much in the pipeline and we are eagerly anticipating the moments that we build on our sustainable growth and add, deepen, and expand in a way that our community deserves and the direction we have been working quietly toward!
What are three words that you would use to describe women?
Leaders, Thinkers, Doers…
I would love to know what do you think makes someone a badass beauty?
Someone that is fearlessly themselves!
To me, being a badass beauty is basically a super power. But, you have to acknowledge what makes you a badass before it can be a super power. So what makes you a badass beauty?
P.S. You are the definition of a badass beauty.
Why thank you! I think because I am passionate about creating change and I lead with example even if no one were looking. My heart is huge and I pour it into everything I do. I understand my priorities and the importance of family even when building a business. And also I guide myself (and my kids) with graceful confidence which is, to me, being positive in who you are, being mindful to not talk down to yourself and rather diving into your personal strengths. It’s helped foster a healthy relationship with real self-esteem that is sincere and a meaningful part of the loving yourself journey – and being a badass beauty.
Also, if anyone was asking me, I would probably add your honesty, openness and compassion to the list. You are a superb human, just sayin’…
I am really excited about this next question. It falls in line with everything that I love about Her Cardinal Rules and the community that we are creating. One of the best parts of embracing your inner badass beauty is that it allows you to see more of the beauty around you. Who would you like to see featured next on HCR?
I would love to see you feature Jena of Agent Nateur, she is fearlessly herself and has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve come across in this industry. She’s not all talk when it comes to the Women supporting Women movement and she’s easy to vibe with – especially one on one in any forum. She’s a badass. Also, Fawn of Vapour Organics, her Clarity Makeup Remover was my very first product when I transitioned. I’ve been fortunate enough to see her light shine through in her business from our end, which is wonderful and rare for founders to be at that end (B2B) of things. She has a beautiful story and is the OG in my book. I love that no matter how big Vapour has gotten she still has her hands in the pot and never disconnects from why she began.
Then, of course, Suzanne of One Love Organics, this team is everything! She leads with innovation and novelty and has helped change the game for particularly conventional users making the switch into clean. She leads with great people, an incredible approach and superb products. She’s a force.
Ana, I cannot say thank you enough for your time and thoughtful answers. You are such a badass. Thank you!
Isn’t she the best? Do you have any questions for Ana or LeVert Beauty? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear your thoughts and comments.