“I’m not done yet!”
Susan Goldsberry Paves New Paths and Honors Her Filipino Heritage.
Honoring one’s mother is an intrinsic part of many Asian cultures.
Unsurprisingly, Susan Goldsberry would create Ina Labs, which means “mother” in Filipino, as a tribute. Years ago, while Susan was caring for her ailing mother while building her career in research and development, she saw that women’s intimate products were sticky, greasy, and smelly. She vowed to make better products, to make a difference, “One day, I will be able to do this.”
Born in the Philippines, Susan grew up on a beautiful, remote, island without plumbing or electricity. At 19, she immigrated to the United States with her mother and younger brother and studied Environmental Science at the University of California at Berkeley. Like many others, her cosmetics and skin care career was an accident. Fresh out of college, instead of pursuing employment in environmental work, she started as a chemist at Jafra Cosmetics, then owned by Gillette. She loved the work and shared her passion for the industry that she encountered.
In her view, developing brands is fun and rewarding, working behind the scenes, and seeing finished products on retailers’ shelves. She helped large cosmetics companies, physicians, and celebrities develop signature lines. “There is a creative side to being a cosmetic chemist, understanding nature and science.”
As her career developed, she focused more on natural beauty. After Jafra Cosmetics, she formulated natural products for Levlad Inc. and Richardson-Vicks Inc. and became an early advocate for Clean Beauty.
2007 Susan started Benchmark Cosmetics Labs in Irvine, California, for contract research and product development. She loved running her company and sold it to kdc/one in 2019.
Rather than enjoying a lazy retirement on a beach somewhere, Susan launched her “passion project” – Project Chemistry, which includes the Ina Essentials collection of personal skin care products for women over 40. “I just feel I’m not done yet!”
“I wanted to create a wellness line to solve a problem that was clean, evidence-based, and elevated.” Co-founded by her niece Dr. Beri Ridgeway, a leading obstetrician/gynecologist, Ina Labs was launched in October 2022. Developed by two uniquely qualified women, the products are sold online (Ina Labs, Flip. Shop, and soon on Goop.com) in select doctors’ offices and high-end resort spas. Ina’s growing footprint and scaled direct-to-consumer growth lay a strong foundation for its strategic entry into more extensive retail partnerships in 2024.
Through her success, Susan believes in being a part of her local and professional community, encouraging others to study science, and recommending jobs when possible. She also fund-raises for charities back home because “I want to give back.” She believes in helping others. Two guiding principles Sally Yeh, her mentor at Murad, taught her were to inspire others and share success.
Susan is not only considered a trailblazer but a disrupter shaking up the industry. During NYSCC’s 2023 Supplier’s Day, Susan accepted the award for the Indie 360 People’s Choice Award. This award is dedicated to highlighting new to market indie beauty brands that have novel ingredients, formulations, and unique concepts.
Susan is an active IBA member and serves on the board of directors. “As a chemist, entrepreneur, and someone who needs to keep up with technical and regulatory issues, I know I can count on IBA, I am very, very honored to be part of IBA.”