What inspired you to create Nine Naturals?
The idea for Nine Naturals took root when my friends and I were looking for safe beauty products to use during pregnancy, we kept running into two problems – 1) most products that claimed to be natural still contained harmful ingredients and 2) many natural products simply didn’t perform well; the shampoos didn’t lather well and the body products didn’t do much for our skin. When I developed Nine Naturals, I focused on using natural, pure ingredients safe for pregnancy while maintaining a high standard for beauty and performance.
Is there a story behind the name "Nine Naturals"?
“Nine” for the nine months of pregnancy! And “Naturals” because we only use plant-based ingredients in our formulations.
What's your favorite Nine Naturals product? And yes, we know you're the founder, but you can only pick one!
Of course I love all of my products, but I'm currently obsessed with our new Natural Sunscreen SPF 32 and Natural Unscented Deodorant for the spring/summer season.
What has been the biggest challenge in creating and running a company?
There are a number of challenges with creating and running a company. My greatest personal challenge has been doing it all with a baby at home. When you start a business, it is like having another baby; it requires love, commitment and time. There are times when I have had to sacrifice time with my family in order to grow a successful business.
One thing that has helped immensely is creating boundaries around the time I spend with my family and time with my business. In the mornings and evenings, I have carved out time specifically for spending time with my daughter and my husband (can't forget him!). I give them my undivided attention and don't answer calls or write emails. But when I'm at the office, I really focus on work. It makes me a better mother and wife and a more successful businesswoman by being able to prioritize my time in this way.
Do you have any advice for moms-to-be that live in NYC (and not in NYC)?
I feel so lucky to live in New York City. It is an amazing city to be pregnant and to have young children. Take time to build community with other like-minded moms-to-be and new moms. It really takes a village to raise a child and having support from other women who are going through the same life stage so that you can encourage and support one another - and your baby can have friends! - is a lifesaver.
Nine Naturals is based in Tribeca - what are you favorite prenatal or postnatal spots in the city? (i.e. prenatal yoga, maternity stores, lunch spots, etc.)
I didn’t buy a lot of maternity clothes while I was pregnant. I ended up going up in size on clothes instead. I am obsessed with the boutique Otte. It’s one of those stores that I go into and never leave empty-handed – dangerous!
Gustorganics is a great organic restaurant in Union Square. I did a lot of my business meetings there while I was pregnant and nursing as I was extremely conscientious of eating organic as much as possible.
Prenatal yoga was an integral part of my workout routine, especially towards the end of my pregnancy. I attended prenatal classes at Kula Yoga and Jivamukti Yoga studios.
What was the biggest surprise for you after becoming a mother?
Being a mother is arguably one of the most under-appreciated jobs in the world. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I have an extreme appreciation and respect for the capabilities of women after carrying and giving birth to a baby and becoming a mother.
Grace Lee is the founder and CEO of Nine Naturals, a line of all-natural haircare and skincare for pregnancy and beyond. Grace believes personal care products should make you beautiful without harming you or your children. A devoted mother and wife, Grace was a vice president working on Wall Street when she learned about the health risk posed by chemicals contained in beauty products. Disappointed by "natural" products that were either not as pure as they claimed to be or simply didn't perform well, she founded Nine Naturals. She has since dedicated her life to creating chemical-free, high-performing products for women and educating mothers about the potential risks of environmental toxins. Grace lives in NYC with her husband and two year old daughter, Charlotte. Follow Grace on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.