Power Woman: Hillary Peterson

Please share who you are and what you do professionally?


I’m the CEO and Founder of True Botanicals, on a mission to empower all people to take the best care of themselves, each other, and the environment. Because if we don't who will?




Being a female entrepreneur is a powerful thing. Can you please share a few words of wisdom/advice to someone that wants to start her own company? 

As I think about what it has taken me to grow True Botanicals (and equally important to continually grow as a person), here are some of the most important learnings that have helped me along the way:


Enjoy the road: One thing that I have found to be extremely helpful in order to achieve this goal is to build a career that has a very strong WHY and make sure that your teams understand it as clearly as you do.  


Choose Your response: Leading a company means that I get a front-row seat to all of the challenges and the wins. Challenges abound and I think that one of the most important qualities that leads to success is how you respond to adversity.


Embrace your vulnerability: While it often doesn’t feel like it, vulnerability is a superpower because it allows us to see how we can grow, and enables the people around us to do the same. In showing my vulnerability as a leader, I strive to create an environment of curiosity and a willingness to take risks—which ultimately inspires innovation.


Build your team of mentors: Find the people that you feel you can learn the most from and ask for their help. We’re not supposed to know all of the answers and in fact, one of the most powerful leadership skills that I have been developing in myself is to ask a lot of questions.


What are you most proud of?


From a work perspective, I love hearing from our customers about how our products have been truly transformative for them. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing someone talk about the real results they see —all without toxins. It is so rewarding to know that we are changing the beauty industry one person, one result at a time.

Outside of work, I’m beyond proud of my three children. I marvel at their integrity and kindness. There really is nothing better than watching them actively following their dreams.  



What has been the most significant in making you the woman you are today?


I grew up in California and from a young age was exposed to the benefits of healthy eating, gardening, time in nature, and meditation. My grandmother went to hear the Paramahansa Yogananda speak in Pacific Palisades in the ‘30s so my family’s interest in wellness goes way back. Her curiosity and my Mom’s curiosity have inspired me to be a seeker, which is an aspect of myself that I deeply value.


You were diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a young age, what role did this play with the creation of True Botanicals? 


As a marketer, having worked with several iconic Bay Area brands, including Levi Strauss & Co., I had always thought that some day, I might like to start my own business. My direction became more clear following that thyroid cancer diagnosis, when I took a closer look at my personal care products only to realize that they all had one thing in common: their ingredients contained toxins. The beauty industry was telling me that I should use products made with toxins in order to look and feel beautiful, which seemed so wrong. I discovered that I wouldn’t want to put products made with toxins on my skin any more than I would want to eat them. 

Understanding that what goes on your skin goes into your body, I threw myself into an intensive study of botanicals and their healing powers, consulting with the world’s leading green chemists and sustainability experts. I want consumers (my three children included) to know that they do not need to choose between safe, natural products or luxurious effective ones.




Can you name a few ways that consumers can educate themselves on the toxins in everyday products? What are a few that we should absolutely stay away from? 


I often share with friends and customers our list called the Toxic 10—if you’re looking to clean up your personal care routine, then start by getting rid of all of these ingredients. Pay particular attention to synthetic fragrance—it’s full of endocrine-disrupting chemicals like phthalates, and because fragrance is considered a trade secret, brands do not have to disclose what’s actually in their fragrance formulas, leaving consumers totally in the dark. 

That said, not all synthetics are unsafe. Although the majority of our blends are powered by botanicals, we rely on a select few safe synthetics in order to make the most effective, and safest formulas. For example, in our Repair Serum, we use phenethyl alcohol to preserve the water-based formula. This allows us to avoid unsafe situations—like formulas going bad, developing mold—that we’ve seen other natural brands experience.



Every True Botanicals product is MADESAFE certified, can you speak as to why this certification was important for you? 

Made Safe is a third-party certification that assures that EVERY ingredient and sub-ingredient used is safe for people and the planet. It is widely known as the strictest certification in the industry.

This certification is so important to us because our goal is to transform the beauty industry into a wellness industry. Sadly, not one of the top 100 beauty brands today would qualify as a Made Safe certified brand. We all deserve better than that. The Made Safe certification quite simply means that every ingredient that we use is safe for people and the planet. Shouldn’t all products be made with safe ingredients? We believe that they should, and have proven through independent clinical trials that we can deliver exceptional results and outperform top brands without toxins.



What is something you do to take care of yourself daily?


I always like to try and sneak in a bath at the end of the day. I love to bathe in magnesium flakes and pink Himalayan salts because they are so restorative and relaxing. Karen Blixen said that “the cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea.” I agree!  Some day, I would love to spend more time at the beach but for now, my bath salt soaks do the trick.

What are you reading right now? What are you listening to?


I just finished “There There” and it was exceptional.  Now I am reading “Like a Tree: How Trees, Women, and Tree People Can Save the Planet”  and it has been so grounding to read it before bed. It is truly a magical book. I love listening to my kids' Spotify channels because they keep me young!


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