Every entrepreneur has a moment in their small business journey when someone or something helped them when they most needed it. For Holly Eve, founder and owner of all-natural, non-toxic deodorant brand, Madame Lemy, that someone was her rescue dog.
“I like to say, I rescued her, and she rescued me,” Eve said, petting her pup. Although it seems like a common, sweet metaphor, Eve’s rescue dog quite literally saved her life. Last April, Eve took a break from fulfilling an order for Urban Outfitters, and decided to walk her dog. She was in the crosswalk when the dog saw a distracted driver making a left turn in their van, about to hit them. Instinctively, her dog tried to pull her out of the way. Eve credits her dog with her life. “Not knowing I was going to get hit saved my life – I didn’t tense up.”
For the next 19 days, Eve was in the hospital, recovering from a broken hip, pelvis, tailbone, and a traumatic brain injury. All of the funds she had earmarked to take her business to the next level, she had to use to support herself in her recovery. And that’s where FOUND/LA came in. Alongside our incredible partners at Opportunity Fund, we were able to set Eve up with a loan that bridged the gap of what she lost during her time recovering from the accident.
But this wasn’t her first brush with health issues. In fact, it was Eve’s experience with breast cancer that led her to start Madame Lemy in the first place. Eve started out as a celebrity makeup artist, doing makeup for celebrities and television shows like Project Runway. During her stint as a makeup artist, her best friend was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer and advised Eve to immediately switch to an organic, chemical-free deodorant. Since she couldn’t find anything she liked that actually worked, Eve spotted an opportunity and created a formula of her own. And so Madame Lemy was born.
Madame Lemy’s deodorants come in a unique powdered compact, and look more like high-end cosmetics than antiperspirant. Non-toxic, all-natural, chemical-free, and not tested on animals, it’s the ultimate “natural” deodorant. But Even even took her product design one step further: all of the packaging is reusable and sustainable. You can order refills by bulk online, reducing the amount of waste each deodorant makes. And if you’re done? The boxes are sturdily made and beautifully designed, so they can be repurposed as boxes for trinkets or jewelry.
Madame Lemy is available online, but can also be found on Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie sites. Now, Eve speaks about her experiences as a small business entrepreneur at places like USC, where she talks about the intersection of entrepreneurship and mental health. She’s also spoken at the United State of Women summit, featuring keynote speaker Michelle Obama, and regularly mentors younger entrepreneurs.
Although Madame Lemy is mainly sold online, Eve often appears with her product at local small business or health and wellness events, spreading her message of wellness and female entrepreneurship to everyone she can possibly reach. Along with her dog.