Kiara LeBlanc, 29
CHIEF PRODUCT AND CREATIVE OFFICER
SAJE NATURAL WELLNESS
Life Story: Kiara LeBlanc has been unofficially working for Saje Natural Wellness since she would ride her tricycle to her parents’ first store in Lonsdale Quay. Back then, her role mostly involved stocking shelves or wrapping holiday gifts at the essential oils and skin-care products retailer.
In 2010, after a stint in acting school at the University of Essex in England, LeBlanc convinced Saje co-founders Jean-Pierre and Kate Ross LeBlanc to let her run the company’s social media. The trend of monetizing platforms like Facebook and Twitter was just taking off. “My mom said, ‘A whole person just to run social media and commerce? I don’t have the budget for that,’” the younger LeBlanc recalls. “And I said, ‘Well, I’m almost free, so I’ll work for 12 bucks an hour, three days a week.’ And I absolutely fell in love with the opportunity we had. We always had great products, but to be honest, the outside was a bit Gaia Garden, hippy-granola-looking.”
Saje is now one of the largest wellness brands in the country, and LeBlanc isn’t stopping there. “There’s endless room for growth,” she says. “The natural wellness space is becoming bigger and bigger; the category in general has doubled year over year over year. We’re only in North America right now; I absolutely see us as a global brand in the next five years, and I want to play a really big part in it.”
Bottom Line: Saje has 52 stores in Canada and 19 in the U.S., more than 150 employees and gross annual sales of about $100 million. The company has seen a 1,547-percent growth rate in the past five years.