Brandi Leifso, the CEO who launched her indie beauty brand, Evio, from a women’s shelter

3 minute read

In our Entrepreneur Spotlight, we profile business leaders who are not only successful, but also agents of change. We hope you leave inspired to take action and with a bit more confidence in your unique abilities. This week, we profile Brandi Leifso of Evio Beauty Group. And this is her journey from the women’s shelter to the CEO’s chair.



“I created my own big break,” remarks Brandi Leifso, the founder and CEO of Evio Beauty Group, in an interview with Flare magazine in 2018. Evio Beauty (formerly Evelyn Iona) is Brandi’s line of clean and green cosmetics, worth over a million dollars. The story of Brandi and Evio Beauty has been celebrated by many for its unique and challenging origins.

Battling domestic violence in an abusive relationship, Brandi sought refuge in a safe house at age 21. This was her second stint there. “I dropped out of school at 14. I didn’t have the typical happy upbringing, but I was in survival mode and did what I had to do ,” she recalls at an event hosted by Happy Monday.

“While I was in the shelter, I needed something to distract me from my situation. I had daydreamed many times about starting a makeup line. I drew inspiration from my surroundings. I envisioned a cosmetics company that would help women in a direct way,” she tells Toronto Life.  

She created Evio Beauty Group in late 2014 from the