By Jennifer Hsu and Safa Jinje, U of T Engineering News
U of T Engineering alumna Laura Burget (ChemE 1T6) and her business partner Connie Lo were recently named to the 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Retail and E-Commerce.
“It’s honestly a very surreal feeling and such an honour to be among so many amazing entrepreneurs, creatives, artists and professionals,” says Burget. “I remember being a student and really admiring leaders who were named to Forbes 30 Under 30, so it’s a ‘pinch-me’ moment to have made the cut this year.”
Burget and Lo started Three Ships Beauty, a vegan, natural skincare brand, in 2017 after feeling frustrated with the challenges of finding natural and affordable skincare.
“There’s so much greenwashing in the industry where companies market their products as being natural and healthy, but it can’t be backed up by their formulations,” Burget says. “We saw an opportunity to have products that were truly natural and effective, while being all under $45.”
Burget attributes her fourth-year course Entrepreneurship and Small Business for motivating her to dive deeper into researching the skincare industry.
“I came up with the idea for Three Ships while taking Professor Joseph Paradi’s entrepreneurship course,” she says. “But I was first bitten by the entrepreneurial bug in my second year, when I ran the Engineering Stores for a year — I was able to manage a business with a team of eight employees.”
Burget also points to her certificate in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Small Business in helping her gain the knowledge and confidence to launch her brand so soon after graduation.
While manufacturing began in Lo’s Toronto apartment, the products are now sold in over 700 brick-and-mortar stores, including Target, Whole Foods and Hudson’s Bay. The brand is on track to hit $4 million in revenue in 2021 and aims to raise its first large round of institutional Series A funding early in the new year.
“There are so many exciting things on the horizon for us in 2022,” says Burget. “I really do believe that the future of the beauty industry is natural!”