As a group of women working towards common goals for STYLE Canada‘s brand and business, we understand the value of peer support in the workplace. So, after our last Supper Club at Soho House, we decided to bring like-minded women in business together and feature them in an ongoing series: #LeadingLadies. Here’s hoping that we’ll see you at our next Supper Club. Keep your eyes peeled on our events page for more details.
Shelby Ondrus – Entrepreneur, skin guru, holistic nutritionist, and environmentalist
SC: What led you to pursue your career?
SO: I’ve always had a strong passion for health and wellness, and what really fuelled this passion, leading me to where I am today, was my own personal journey with chronic acne and rosacea. I tried everything under the sun; from conventional treatments like topical antibiotics, Proactive, over the counter medications, and holistic lifestyle changes such as eating a sugar-free, vegetarian diet. I tried candida cleanses, natural skin care products, supplements, tea tree oil, bio meridian sensitivity tests, rebounding… you name it! I finally hit a wall and this is what lead me to start Shelby Naturals.
SC: What has your career path looked like?
SO: When I became more educated and realized I had put a lot of toxic chemicals on my skin in the form of conventional skin care that lead my acne to worsen, I had a strong desire to become a lawyer to promote regulations on cosmetics and skin care products, so consumers like myself would be able to know if a certain product contained ingredients that were actually harmful to the body and caused acne. After a lot of research and contemplation, I realized that I didn’t want to go to school for 10 years and post-pone my main passion: holistic health and wellness; addressing the whole body by finding out the root cause of imbalance. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives by empowering them through education and knowledge so they could make informed decisions that would allow them to live a happy, healthy and vibrant life. I then went to school and became a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and while I was in school, I began to formulate skin care products which lead to the birth of Shelby Naturals.
SC: Can you describe your skincare journey?
SO: I experienced a lot of insecurities while struggling with acne and had a deep desire to help others like me to feel more confident in their skin, while addressing the root cause of the breakouts at the same time. My skin care journey was an expensive struggle, let me tell you! I spent thousands of dollars on every product that promised to get rid of my blemishes while leaving me with the flawless, glowing complexion I’ve always wanted. I had a bad reaction to Proactive which marked the day I read my first ingredient list, or should I say, tried to read my first ingredient list. I could barely pronounce most of the ingredients, and after a lot of intense research, I discovered that all of the products I was using on my skin were full of ingredients that were not only making my acne worse and causing aging, but were absorbing directly into my blood, causing more imbalance in my body. I then started doing research on ingredients that healed the skin while having strong anti-aging properties, and discovered the incredible power of botanical oils while I was intensely studying the anatomy of the skin. I couldn’t find any products that combined a few potent, high quality and performing ingredients, as I found the skin responded best to a “less is more” approach, and this lead me to start formulating my own blends. My skin rapidly started improving, and today I can confidently say that 98 per cent of my acne scars are gone.
SC: Can you give STYLE readers a brief description of Shelby Naturals?
SO: I would describe Shelby Naturals as luxury, organic skin care products for your every day. Our products are created for all skin types and all ages with the main purpose to balance and nourish your skin. When you balance and nourish the skin on a cellular level, (which isn’t just from using skin care, it’s really a holistic whole body approach), you address every skin concern including aging. You are left with healthy, glowing skin as a result.
SC: How would you describe your role within the company?
SO: I have my hands in everything, and I love every aspect of this business. As we started to grow, I brought on new team members who shared my vision, and now I predominantly focus on formulating the products and the marketing, which is another passion of mine.
SC: If there’s one product you couldn’t live without from your line, what would it be?
SO: Definitely the Daily Essentials Set. Technically it’s three products, (the Cleanser, Toner, Serum, and Microfibre Cloth), but the reason I combined them into the set is because I can’t live without any one of them! They all work synergistically to balance, nourish and transform the skin.
SC: If there’s one product from your line that you’d recommend to anyone interested in trying Shelby Naturals, what would it be?
SO: The Serum! It is a beautiful moisturizer made with seven potent fruit, flower, and plant oils that work together to repair the skin on a cellular level. It’s extremely anti-aging and has proven to wow everyone who tries it. It also smells like the ocean breeze on a warm, summer day mixed with the sweet scent of orange blossoms. It is one of my favourite scents.
SC: What’s one thing you’re doing to push green beauty forward?
SO: My greatest desire for Shelby Naturals to help define green beauty is to transform the way we think about skin care by addressing the body as a whole along with the philosophy that less is more, and quality matters over quantity. Every decision we make is to provide the best skin care products that deliver results and have the least impact on our planet as possible.
SC: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career/while running your own business to date?
SO: To believe and have confidence in what I worked so hard to create! It’s so easy to compare yourself, especially in the skin care and wellness industry, to other brands and what others are doing. One of the main things that contributed to our success was sticking to our mission, no matter the cost. I have no desire to fit in and instead want to rise above by providing transparency and quality products that work. Education matters! I started our YouTube channel, and share daily tips on ourInstagram and Facebook pages, because I wanted to connect and educate others. I’m so passionate about what I do!
SC: What obstacles have you overcome to get to where you are today?
SO: Where do I begin?! I’ve been through a lot, and it took blood, sweat and tears to take Shelby Naturals to where we’re at today. I’ve had many good days, but there have been bad days too. I don’t regret anything, because it was all a part of the journey and I learned so much.
SC: What’s one thing you would’ve done differently?
SO: I would have been more discerning and careful before jumping into some opportunities. I learned that there are people out there who created companies solely to take advantage of small businesses, and I experienced this first hand a couple of times. My advice is to always think about how and if an opportunity will benefit you now and in the future, and don’t be afraid to ask for the cold hard facts. Don’t just listen and naively believe what you are told, and ask questions.
SC: What’s your biggest strength?
SO: I would say my desire to educate and empower others, and my passion to provide solutions that will positively impact the world. This lead me to fill a missing space in the market by figuring out a solution to my own problems, and knowing others had the same problems that I did.
SC: What’s your biggest challenge/weakness?
SO: I would say perfectionism, which leads to indecisiveness. I’m a very competitive person who strives to do the best I possibly can, (totally type-A, for those who can relate). This has also been a strength as I want to provide the best, most effective skin care products, but it has also been a weakness as I let a lot of time go by before launching new products. I deal with this daily and make an effort to do the best I can, knowing that things will never be 100 per cent perfect.
SC: How would your friends describe you?
SO: Multi-faceted and funny. They’d probably say I work too much, but they’d also say I’m the skin and wellness expert. They know to come to me with any questions regarding skin and taking care of the body, as they know I research obsessively and inform myself.
SC: How would your colleagues describe you?
SO: They would definitely describe me as my friends would, and would probably add that I’m a bit of a control freak. They know they can come to me for anything and everything, and have helped me to let go of some aspects of the job, so that I can focus on what I’m best at doing.
SC: If you have one goal for Shelby Naturals and one goal for yourself, what are they?
SO: To educate and empower others and provide solutions to live a healthy, happier, and fuller life. I want to encourage everyone to take responsibility for their health, and know that they don’t have to go through life with problematic skin. I want to positively impact the world. My goals for myself and my business are really intertwined.
SC: What are some personal career and Shelby Naturals milestones you’re particularly proud of?
SO: Knowing that I’ve helped thousands of people have confidence in their skin and feel amazing. Struggling with a skin issue like acne is very stressful and sucks all around, to be frank. I’m so proud that Shelby Naturals has helped others live a better life by taking care of their skin and body. I have to say, I’m so blessed to have a combined community of over 45,000 people around the world (just on social media!) who value us and use our products to live their best life.
SC: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
SO: Don’t seek your worth from others and save all the money you can.
Last modified: November 8, 2022