If you would’ve told Ann Leggett ten years ago that she’d be the co-creator of a natural skin-care line — one that was stocked up and down both coasts of the U.S., she would’ve laughed at you.
“Never in a million years did I ever think I’d be in the natural skin-care business. Never. And sometimes, at the end of a crazy week, I’ll think, How did I do that? How did that work out?”
But Ann is one of those people who loves a challenge. “Don’t ever dare me,” she laughed. “I’m crazier than I look.”
And Ann has certainly seen her fair share of challenges. She has been diagnosed with breast cancer — twice. Because of that, she woke up to more than just her own health but that of all women. She found a very big niche that needed to be filled.
“It was kind of humorous in an odd sort of way. I had just read several articles about toxic ingredients in skin-care products, so I sat on the floor of my bathroom and read labels.”
What she found stunned her. Every single beauty product she owned — from the soap in her shower to her trusty facial moisturizer she’d used for years to the lip balms lying all over her house — contained at least one of those toxic ingredients.
“I couldn’t believe it. I had to empty my trashcan three times! My bathroom looked like a bomb had gone off. And then I had nothing left. It was an eye-opener, and that single day is responsible for starting this company.”
Ann worked together with her son, Nic, to develop Plus — a modern natural skin care that wouldn’t end up in somebody’s trash can later. One that could wear the natural label without shame. Their products contain none of the toxic chemicals she’d thrown out. They started by creating what Ann couldn’t find alternatives for.
“I had to make the products that I needed the most first. That meant a lip balm, a body butter and a face cream came first. I live in Colorado — the driest place ever.”
Starting Plus was a special way for Nic to deal with his mom’s diagnoses. It was a way to take something terrible and turn it into something positive. People who have loved ones diagnosed with cancer often aren’t sure how to act or what to do. Ann offered this advice:
“Listen to them. Give advice only when they ask for it. Be patient. Try to understand the dramatic ups and downs. There’s a lot going on in their head. Let them know you are always there for them, no matter what.
Disappear if they don’t want anyone around, but don’t take it personally. Help with even the smallest request, as crazy as it may sound. My husband totally understands when I say I MUST HAVE mashed potatoes now. You’ll never be able to really understand it all unless you’ve been there, so just do the best you can. And know that they appreciate you so very much.”
When Ann isn’t wearing one of her many hats at Plus, she’s stand-up paddleboarding on all kinds of water — she highly recommends the Guadalupe River in Texas. But really, her favorite bodies of water are the seas — the ocean.
“It takes me away. It calms my soul. I can be in the Pacific Northwest, on the coast of California, on the Cape or in the Gulf of Mexico. It doesn’t matter. The ocean is my salvation. It keeps me sane and balanced.”
She’s also a big fan of her dogs — these furry beings are the angels of her life, along with her family, friends and the countless medical practitioners who helped her through her illnesses and the ensuing lymphatic condition that followed. She finds comfort in a lot of ways, big and small.
“There was a lot of fear during those dark times. It’s funny how your perspective changes after two bouts with cancer. Oh, and West Wing helped. I binge-watched every single episode after the second surgery! Like I said, it’s the small things.”
Ann’s products are for all women, but with her special background she offers beauty tips to those going through cancer treatment:
“Use only natural, non-toxic skin-care products to soothe your skin, especially if you are going through radiation. Try to eat simply and cleanly, but if you need gooey comfort food, eat it! Give yourself plenty of time to heal.
“It doesn’t always just get better and better each day, so don’t beat yourself up on the low days. It’s OK and normal to have not-so-good days during the recovery process. That’s a tip I have to remind myself of all the time. It’s a long, tough road. But above all: never lose hope.”
Ann’s goals for the future of Plus include a makeup line, which they’ll kick off with an all-natural, non-toxic lipstick in several amazing colors. But Ann and Nic aren’t dreaming small. Their vision includes luxurious Plus-branded spas and wellness centers in special locations.
This makes sense considering Ann’s attitude toward life and business. In fact, when she thought about what she’d tell women who want to start their own company, she said this:
“Set your sights high. The sky is the limit. I set my sights on some crazy and seemingly impossible goals. But I go for it. And 99 percent of the time those goals come true. And once a big goal is realized, it is the best feeling ever.”
You can find Plus on Facebook and Instagram.