By  on September 19, 2008

Yes to Carrots has built its plucky, naturally orientated beauty care business on fun.

For instance, directions on the line’s carrot juice shampoo read: “Shampoo daily on wet hair while singing.”

Its bright orange bottles and whimsical logo do well to elicit a giggle, but the brand is going a step further, aiming to put smiles on the faces of the less fortunate and healthy habits in their hands with its Yes to Carrots Seed Fund.

The nonprofit organization is based in the U.S., but has a global reach across the 17 countries where Yes to Carrots products are sold, said chief executive officer Ido Leffler, who cheerfully refers to himself as “chief carrot lover.”

At a press event Wednesday, held in view of the farmers’ market in New York’s Union Square, Leffler stood against an orange backdrop, outfitted in an orange-checked dress shirt and jeans. He told onlookers that the fund’s mission is to provide underserved communities with the resources to develop and sustain an organic food source and access to healthy nutrition. The philanthropic effort has existed since the inception of the company nearly two years ago, said Leffler. One of its efforts to date includes a partnership with the Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio, where the company cultivated an organic garden that provides fresh produce to the center’s food pantry, and a gathering place for weekly alcohol and tobacco cessation programs.

Its latest beneficiary is the Green Apprenticeship Training program located in southern Israel. Next year, Yes to Carrots plans to send a total of 16 people to the eco-village of Kibbutz Lotan, where they will learn to design, build and run sustainable communities.

Leffler said the company contributes 1 to 5 percent of its revenues — the percentage varies according to country — to the Seed Fund, and tends to support projects ranging from $10,000 to $200,000 in size. The goal is to grow the fund to $2 million over the next four years, said Leffler.

At the same time, the $50 million company continues to expand its presence in the U.S., as well as its palette. This month, it launched two new lines, namely Yes to Tomatoes and Yes to Cucumbers, to Walgreens. It’s Yes to Carrots line is sold in Duane Reade and Ulta, and has appeared on the TV shopping network HSN. The brand

is currently carried in about 20,000 doors worldwide.

To meet U.S. growth needs, Leffler is in the process of relocating the Israeli-based company’s global headquarters to San Francisco in October. Leffler, who will also relocate, said he has been busy working with designers on outfitting the headquarters with the company’s signature colors of orange, red and green. Chances are more colors will follow. Leffler sees fertile ground for expansion, and looks to the company’s organic greenhouse for inspiration. For instance, to develop Yes to Tomatoes, the company used its greenhouse to whittle down a number of the 4,000 species of tomatoes to find the most suitable candidate. “The greenhouse is our lab,” said Leffler.

Before playfully challenging beauty editors to a carrot cupcake decorating contest, he said, “Yes to Carrots was born with one true desire: To make people happy,” adding the aim is to take the most effective beauty regimen and combine it with technology. “It’s guilt-free beauty.”

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