Hugh & Grace, a first-of-its-kind, hormone-safe skincare brand rooted in self-care and clean, effective ingredients is set to launch October 1st. Launched direct-to-consumer with an inaugural product trio created to reduce chemical exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and environmental pollutants in response to the co-founders’ personal journey with unexplained infertility, Hugh & Grace’s mission is to reduce chemical exposure, and inspire and equip people to live cleaner, healthier lives.
Hugh & Grace was founded by Sara (MBA 2010) and Ben Jensen (MBA/MRED 2010), a husband-wife duo whose diagnosis with unexplained infertility and ensuing 14-year struggle led them to discover that chemical exposure and EDCs can cause infertility and many other serious diseases and disorders. EDCs are found in most personal care products, including clean, non-toxic products. The couple set out to bring awareness and help create a solution to a defining health issue of our time.
Before venturing into starting their business, Ben worked at GE Capital, as part of a sought-after leadership program in Norwalk, CT. He became Managing Director of Beverly Pacific, LLC in 2012. At this $1 billion-plus Beverly Hills-based holding company, he handled acquisitions and led real estate and private equity investments throughout various categories and asset classes. During this time, he spent three years as COO and acting CEO for Wally’s Fine Wine, Spirits & Gourmet Market, fostering and shepherding its transition from a traditional retailer to one of the most elite fine wine and dining experiences in Los Angeles. In parallel paths, Sara has devoted her life to promoting causes she’s passionate about. She earned her MBA from USC Marshall and devoted six years to Marshall as part of the major gifts team, covering 25 states and raising transformative gifts to promote higher education. During her time at USC she also managed to change longtime USC policy to include surrogate mothers in its maternity leave policy. All of these roads set the foundation for them to launch Hugh & Grace.
After opening up about their infertility journey, both Ben and Sara’s sisters offered to be their surrogates, culminating in the birth of their children – their son Hugh and daughter Grace. Inspired by the gift of their children, they created their company not just to be about products, but also about knowledge sharing and bringing hope.
Ben and Sara’s tumultuous 14-year path to becoming proud parents, and their experience of unexplained infertility drove them to use their personal experiences and the knowledge they had gained to change lives and inspire hope through Hugh & Grace’s ethos. They became acutely aware how the rise of worries around toxic chemicals in products has been gaining traction and mounting research implicates prenatal exposures to synthetic chemicals that affect hormonal activity and other harmful side effects on the body. “We’re so excited to bring this message, born from our personal story, through a line of skincare that truly transcends product. We’re creating awareness, knowledge and products to address a topic that impacts everybody,” says Co-Founder Sara Jensen.
Within the product collection, each Hugh & Grace product has its own unique formula and purpose but works in tandem to combat the hormone disruptors that lead to toxicity in the body. With the ultimate goal of reducing overall chemical exposure to the body, this is only the beginning. The debut product trio consists of a Restoring Face Serum, a nourishing, anti-aging daily face serum packed with powerful antioxidants and essential fatty acids, a Protecting Body Oil, a hydrating, nourishing and anti-inflammatory body oil to help strengthen and protect skin from daily pollutants and a Purifying Cleansing Bar, formulated to deeply cleanse, detox, buff away impurities and recharge with powerful adaptogen extracts.
Hugh & Grace, launched in beta this July, has also prevailed in funding the new brand during a pandemic, meeting with potential investors via Zoom versus the appealing in-person pitch meeting. Originally planning to raise a seed round, the co-founders pivoted and reopened their pre-seed round at a better valuation for investors, and earned the investments of top names like Minnesota Twins owner Jim Pohlad, Rodger Berman + Rachel Zoe, Renee Fraser, and X Factor Ventures (also investors in LIVE TINTED + Apostrophe Health).
During 2019, they assembled a world-renowned advisory board and enlisted the talents of expert formulators to create Hugh & Grace. They worked with expert green chemists, dermatologists, fertility experts, obstetricians, pediatricians, and industry authors to help bring hormone-safe into the skincare industry’s vernacular as a leader in safe, non-toxic formulations. “Hormone-safe is a term not nearly enough people are talking about, and we’re thrilled to have an amazing team on board that can help share the research and make simple skincare swaps easy, effective and impactful,” adds Ben Jensen.
Additionally, Hugh & Grace is reimagining the peer-to-peer seller network. Believing their story is best-shared by word of mouth, they empower and reward a community of independent advocates to share Hugh & Grace products, knowledge and mission—at an economically challenging time where alternative forms of income are increasingly vital. With a growing team of sellers nationwide, Hugh & Grace is reinventing the seller network for the new generation.
Hugh & Grace is named after their children, the inspiration for their company. “We received so much help achieving our dreams, and felt a responsibility to share what we learned so we could help others.” The name Hugh means heart, mind and spirit and Grace means goodness, kindness and love.
Hugh & Grace is available now direct-to-consumer on HughandGrace.com.