Ido Leffler likes to share. It’s almost impossible to have a conversation with Ido (like Cher, Ido is almost always referred to by his first name), without him emotionally sharing his latest business idea. It is this almost limitless enthusiasm that has driven Leffler, along with two decades of business partner Lance Kalish, to become two of the most successful Australian businessmen you have probably never heard of.
From a permanent start, Leffler and Kalish have created more than five companies worth more than $ 100 million. Starting without any capital, Ido had a charisma of announcer that convinced a buyer of Walgreens, one of the largest pharmacy chains in the world, to store its then nascent organic skin care brand, Yes To Carrots. That meeting would end up creating an empire that would become the second largest organic skin care brand in America and would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Yes to carrots … and much more
The Lefflers were significantly affected by the recession of the early 1990s, with Ido’s father forced to close his real estate development business. Later, his parents would rebuild his professional career by becoming one of Australia’s most successful Herbalife distributors, a business that Ido would briefly join. But Ido had much bigger plans than selling foreign products, and for the 24, along with Kalish, the couple was advising Australian companies on how to globalize their business. A bold concept for a couple of kids just out of college and with almost no business experience of their own.
But somehow, Ido and Lance prospered. And soon after the couple created Yes To Carrots, a skin care business that would eventually lead to an empire.
The couple had their share of challenges. In 2010, the business was almost crushed by a dramatic product memory, a few days before it was, they were in the high-profile chain Sephora. Then, in 2019, its rapid unbranded business growth, which had recently reached the status of a unicorn (i.e., a $ 1 billion private market valuation), collapsed dramatically, after the big sponsor Softbank failed to provide the promised funding.
But these life-threatening events did little to stop the global expansion of Leffler and Kalish. Its main operating businesses Yoobi and the Beach House Group both prospered during the pandemic. Yoobi, which is similar to Premier Investment’s big Smiggle brand, sells color supplies for schools, homes and offices. It has donated more than 77 million school supplies to more than 6 million disadvantaged students and generates annual revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars through large U.S. retailers such as Target.
Leffler also leads the Beach House Group, which has brand collaborations with some of the world’s most influential influencers such as Millie Bobbie Brown (Florence by Mills, a Gen Z makeup line), Tracee Ellis Ross (a care brand of hair called Pattern), Kendall Jenner (Moon) and Shay Mitchell (Baes, a good brand of luxury travel). Beach House Group currently has a turnover of more than US $ 100 million ($ 129 million) and is growing rapidly.
Leffler has also proven to be a shrewd angel investor, being one of the first shareholders in the Dollar Shave Club (which would later sell for more than $ 1 billion to Unilever) and was a first investor and chairman of Range Me, founded by the Sydney businessman Nicky Jackson, and who is believed to have sold for well over $ 50 million.
Listen to Ido Leffler’s amazing business story on the podcast From Zero with Adam Schwab, available here.