Intention Over Habit, Attitude Over Age, Presence Over Everything
For Lori Bush, stepping into retirement from a decades-long career in beauty and direct sales wasn’t easy. There was so much to miss—the real human connections with direct sellers and an industry she loved. Nevertheless, the former CEO of Rodan + Fields ventured beyond active management in 2016, determined to contribute in new ways to the industry with no expectation of an operating role or launching a direct selling company.
But beneath the surface and outside of her control, a “never-say-never” story was in the making of Lori Bush.
On the very day her non-compete clause expired and a new “retirement” path opened, Bush found herself diverted into completely unfamiliar territory. “Breast cancer,” her doctor said.
Little did she know that the weeks and months of treatment and reconstruction to follow would set her on a bold mission to integrate beauty, wellness and mindfulness in new ways that teach intention over habit, attitude over age and presence over everything. It would lead to Solvasa.
“It was just so core to everything that has brought me to this point in my life. It’s almost like I had breast cancer for a reason,” Bush says.
During treatment, Bush remembers, “I was beginning to appreciate the connection between what’s going on in your head and what’s manifesting on your skin and your overall health.”
Compartmentalized regimens of lotions and potions treat the surface, but beauty is an uphill battle without a foundation of health and wellbeing to combat stress and inflammation. Bush absorbed this broader view during conversations with her Beverly Hills reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Ritu Chopra. She needed—everyone needed—something new, a pharma-holistic approach to beauty, akin to integrative medicine.
Bush and Chopra collaborated to found Solvasa as the vehicle to deliver it.
Solvasa combines traditional Ayurvedic and adaptogenic ingredients with Western cosmeceuticals to form their products; but also reaches into the meditative epicenter of cellular health—mindfulness—to deliver a missing yet necessary beauty methodology.
What you’re feeding your body—whether that be nutrients absorbed through your skin or your gut or waves of thoughts washing through your mind over time—ultimately manifests in your body’s ability to restore and heal or go the other direction, Bush says.
Working with a neuropsychologist, Solvasa built mindfulness practices into their skincare routines and for use alongside their adaptogenic elixir beverage called Golden Moment. The goal is to manage daily life and career stress by adding simple things like gratitude practices to common activities like the morning or evening routine.
Solvasa’s target customer or Connector—what they call their distributors—is a “woman that spends a lot of time getting her messy bun to look just right, wants to look effortless and puts a lot of effort into it,” Bush says. She’s generally 30-50 years old, sets high standards, lives with high life and work stress, and needs to give herself a break.
In February last year, Solvasa was just beginning to build a sales organization, then came pandemic lockdown. Bush admits the year that followed wasn’t easy.
“We had this whole thing modeled out and bing, bang, boom, suddenly we were living behind a Zoom screen and rethinking how we start a movement; not only in the midst of a pandemic where we are challenged just in terms of our social distancing but also with so many distractions,” Bush says.
So Solvasa eased back. People were stressed enough, no need to add to it through aggressive recruitment. Instead, Bush says, they created a compassionate marketing campaign and offered opportunities to plug in and connect with Solvasa’s mindfulness program without any obligation, cost or expectation of purchase.
Introductory messaging focused on integrative beauty—skin, body, and mind in the context of community. While Solvasa’s was a less intuitive and more sophisticated story to tell than Bush originally expected, they connected brain health and skin health for their community through The Beauty Construct podcast, months before offering products for sale.
Spring became summer, and the company’s community resource messaging evolved, creating space for parallel business content meant to engage and bring new Connectors into the business, as well as broaden their community.
That evolving messaging, and the creation of Founder’s Circle—an evergreen title given to Solvasa Connectors who took a chance with the company early on—resulted in community members essentially recruiting themselves into the business and a strong December finish.
Stage two of their launch is underway, and this spring Solvasa adds Fastify, a mindful eating solution for people who want to lose weight and experience anti-inflammatory benefits. Fastify will advance Solvasa’s integrative beauty story and help them cast a wider net to attract a male audience.
“I’m seeing a different way of this business expanding than I expected because of social distancing and inability to travel. Everything we do ends up being national because we end up doing them on Zoom. I think that’s the good news and the bad news. The good news is we can reach a lot more people a lot more quickly. The bad news is we don’t get that kind of localized, community engagement that is so powerful socially,” Bush says.
But Bush and Solvasa are optimistic about eventually getting out on the road, locking arms, hanging out and telling their new integrative beauty story in-person at regional events in late summer.
“There’s something so powerful about getting together and practicing what we preach together,” she says.