How This Not-For-Profit Uses Instagram To Conquer Cancer Through Beauty

Ashleigh Cortes and The Stay Beautiful Foundation are helping cancer patients glow through what they go through.

Emma Norris
7 minutes read

At Plann, we love some visual eye candy as much as the next people. Nothing is more satisfying to us than a beautifully curated Instagram feed.

But, do you know what we love even more? A beautiful feed with an even more beautiful mission behind it.

That’s exactly what Ashleigh Cortes from the Stay Beautiful Foundation has achieved. The Chicago-based entrepreneur started her not-for-profit to help put a little bit more glow into the lives of cancer patients. They send out boxes of curated, clean beauty products to women undergoing treatment. In doing so, they hope to make a tough period of their lives a little brighter and more beautiful.

In our latest blog, we chat to Ashleigh all about the mission behind her brand, how she’s used Instagram to build a community and grow her not-for-profit, and so much more!

not for profit Instagram

Tell us a little about the mission behind The Stay Beautiful Foundation?

“The Stay Beautiful Foundation is a Chicago-based, nonprofit organization delivering free boxes of clean beauty products to women undergoing cancer treatment. We are on a mission to make women feel beautiful while undergoing treatment, providing them with a fun and exciting unboxing experience filled with leading beauty brand products.”

What was your goal for starting your Instagram account?

“To cultivate a community where women with cancer feel their beautiful selves inside and out wherever they are on their journey with cancer.”

What inspired you to start Stay Beautiful?

“I was walking along Lake Michigan with my mom and we joked about my grandmother asking us to bring her products from the spa because she didn’t love the options that were being provided to her at the hospital.

I reminisced with my mom on the memories of collecting items from the spa and bringing them to my grandmother to make her feel a sense of beauty and comfort. My grandmother felt most beautiful when she looked good, it was her form of therapy.

The memories of my grandmother during her journey fighting cancer ignited a fire in me to want to carry out her legacy. I began putting some of her favorite products in boxes and giving them to a few family and friends who had been affected by cancer. Fast forward to today, we now have more than 400 monthly subscribers who are part of our community of women who are conquering cancer with beauty.”

What were some of the first steps you took to take your NFP from idea stage to reality?

“I did tons of research. Whether it was a medical journal or a cancer facebook group, I was always researching the women who I wanted to serve. I saw first hand the effects chemotherapy had on my grandmother, but every woman’s experience is different. I wanted to understand how we could be universal to all women on their journey with cancer.”

Why do you believe it’s so important that women continue to feel like the most beautiful version of themselves while undergoing cancer treatment?

“My grandmother used to always say, “when you look good, you feel good”. Beauty is far more than skin deep, however we aim to make sure that while our beauties are fighting for their lives, they can feel supported and encouraged during their journey with cancer.”

What role does social media play in helping you get your message and mission out into the world?

“Almost all of our beauties hear about us from social media and we rely on our platform to spread awareness, kindness and messages of encouragement to our community of women. We also work to spread awareness on the mortality rate of underrepresented women who are diagnosed with cancer and resources to support them.”

What is your strategy for creating inspiring and empowering content on social media?

Stay Beautiful Foundation Feed

“The beautiful women we serve are our inspiration for content. We always ask ourselves what are our beauties looking for right now? Is it DIY skincare, new exercises or recipes? Additionally, we ask how we can serve our beauties the most relevant resources at the right time. Whether that be ways to stay occupied during chemotherapy treatments or how to stay motivated during quarantine. We try our best to align our content with the needs of the women who make up the heart of our community. “

What’s your favorite thing about social media?

“I believe I speak for myself and the entire Stay Beautiful social media team when I say that our favorite thing about social media right now is video content. Between Tiktok, IG Stories, IG TV and IG Reels we love that we can share so much more with the power of video!”

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What are your top tips for NFPs for building their social media following from scratch?

“Use hashtags, follow your audience, create video content, post often and post authentic content. Most importantly, always remember to align your content with the work you are doing to make this world a better place.”

You can follow Ashleigh at @ashleighmariec and the Stay Beautiful Foundation at @thestaybeautifulfoundation


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