Behind the Brand: Hugh & Grace
During their 14-year fertility journey, Sara and Ben were shocked to learn how many beauty products contain hormone-disrupting chemicals. Armed with their newfound knowledge and a desire to protect others, they launched Hugh & Grace, a clean skincare line dedicated to the natural promotion of skin immunity, resilience, and beauty.
Hugh & Grace, named after the founders’ beautiful children, holds the values of family and health at its very core. The inspirational story behind the brand struck a chord with Rachel and Rodger, who are also investors in the company. Ahead, Rachel chats with them about the line.
Sara and Ben, I was so moved by your story and inspiration behind your brand. Could you share with our members how Hugh & Grace came to be?
Hugh & Grace is very personal to us and has a mission we’re incredibly passionate about. Ben and I struggled with unexplained infertility for 14 years before having our children. But thankfully two incredible family members volunteered to be our surrogates. Those 14 years nearly broke us—we tried everything imaginable and spent all we had on fertility treatments without any success. During one of our rounds of IVF, our doctor told me to avoid eating sweet potatoes because they could have an estrogenic affect and alter my hormone levels. That triggered something…if sweet potatoes could impact our hormones, what else could? We did a deep dive researching hormones and were shocked to learn that most personal care products—including clean and non-toxic ones—contain chemicals called hormone disruptors that do just that: disrupt hormones. Hormone disruptors are linked to infertility, as well as many other serious diseases that impact almost everyone.
After having our babies, we knew we needed to create a solution that was based on a mission of helping people reduce chemical exposure. We left our careers, leveraged our networks and found incredible partners who helped us create luxurious, natural products that not only performed amazingly, but that also were meaningful and helped people live healthier, happier lives. We named the company after our little miracles: Hugh and Grace. Hugh means heart, mind, and spirit. Grace means goodness, generosity, and love. Our mission is to help people reduce chemical exposure, one product at a time.
What made you want to share your personal story and struggles?
We didn’t tell anybody about our infertility struggle for 10 years—it was too painful to talk about. One day my sister-in-law asked if we wanted kids and for some reason I decided to tell her. After hearing our story, she volunteered to be our surrogate. Then I opened up to my own sister about our struggle and she also volunteered to be our surrogate. Ben and I had never even considered surrogacy and were blown away by both of their offers. Sharing our struggle changed our lives forever.
Not being physically pregnant before having our babies, I was forced to be vulnerable and share our story when telling people we were expecting. I was worried I would be judged, but it was incredible for us to see how when we shared our struggle, people also shared theirs with us. We connected with others in ways we never thought possible. To create a meaningful company with an important mission, we knew we needed to help create awareness, knowledge and community—selling products alone wouldn’t be enough. Being vulnerable and authentic has helped us create loyalty and passion around our mission.
What does it mean to be ‘hormone-safe’? Why is it important that we educate ourselves on the ingredients in our skincare products?
We’re the first company to address hormone disruption. Not only do our products and packaging exclude hormone disruptors, but our products also help detox, repair, and protect the body from hormone disruption. The term ‘clean’ doesn’t mean anything (there is no FDA definition); we created ‘hormone-safe’ to create a better standard of safety. Our products are safe for all ages and safe to use during pregnancy. We have a peer-to-peer sales model which allows for more education and discussion around the topic as well.
We never imagined that chemicals found in most skincare products could impact our health so drastically. Hormone disruptors are linked to infertility, obesity, cancers, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and many more diseases and disorders. There are simple swaps we can make to help reduce chemical exposure—skincare is a great first step.
As you know, I am so in love with your products and I’m so excited to introduce the Night Serum in our spring curation. Can you tell us why you wanted to be a part of CURATEUR? And can you tell our members what they will love most about this product?
We are thrilled to be part of CURATEUR! It’s incredibly exciting and validating for us to part of this collection, especially as a new company. We knew in order for us to grow our mission of reducing chemical exposure, we needed to create incredible products that people loved for their performance, with the added benefit that they are safe for the entire family and won’t impact hormone levels. Most people don’t think about their hormones when purchasing skincare (yet!)—we see hormone health as the new gut health. To be featured as one of Rachel’s favorite products shows that we were able to accomplish our goal of creating incredible, meaningful products.
The thing you will love most about this product: your skin will feel amazing when you wake up in the morning, whether you’ve slept or not! This is Ben’s favorite product, he loves the way it makes his face tingle and the scent helps calm him before going to bed. We also use this product on our children—it’s great for healing sores and cuts. Miracle oil!
What is coming up next for Hugh & Grace. What products can we be excited for?
In addition to our night serum, we also have a morning face serum, a body oil, and a cleansing bar. Each of our products have multiple uses, are gender neutral, and safe for all ages. We want all of our products moving forward to have those same benefits. We’re working on a cleansing facial oil that can also be a makeup remover, shave oil, and scalp treatment as well as a lip treatment. Additionally, although we started with health and beauty from the outside in, we are a wellness company and will address health from the inside out. Lots of exciting things ahead!
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