As one of Hollywood's most beloved, multi-tasking mamas, Jessica Alba already had her hands full with her acting career and two adorable daughters, Honor (3 years old) and Haven (8 months old). But that hasn't stopped her from pursuing another dream ... founding a new biz, The Honest Company, an entire suite of natural, non-toxic, eco-friendly items like baby diapers, biodegradable wipes, organic bath/skin care, and green cleaning products.
When Alba struggled to track down the green, effective, and non-toxic products she wanted for her home and family, Honest was born! Excited to hear how her own parenting informed the line, we caught up with Alba on the phone last week to learn more.
How did making an organic and chemical-free baby products company more widely available to all moms become such an important mission for you?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I obviously was seeking out the best products for my baby, and I found that the availability of finding the best products that are even available here in the United States, with all the greenwashing and everything that goes on, I would constantly buy products from Australia and Europe and go to different health stores to just meet my basic needs, to clean my house and bathe my child and diaper her. But it was too time-consuming, it was so expensive. You have to be really almost in the highest tax bracket to even afford to give your children the best products, and so my mission was to make sure that everybody to have access to it and that it was easier to get.
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Did you have a particular "A-ha!" moment that led you to launch your own line?
Yeah, just basically when it wasn't available and how difficult it was to put together my basic needs for my health. I was like, parents don't have just one need, you know. It's beyond just doing one really good laundry detergent, just one really good dishwashing soap, a really good diaper. We have to clean our clothes, our kids' clothes, we have to clean our dishes, we have to clean all of our surfaces and our hands and, you know, all of that and we also have to bathe them and put lotion on them and we have diaper cream needs and sunscreen needs and diapers and wipes. So ... I had the idea of launching a huge suite of products.
What are the normal everyday products or chemicals that you think all mom should avoid?
Really, any petroleum-based ingredients. There are tons of ingredients that are derivative of petroleum, and they're all carcinogenic. When people talk about like phthalates and BPA, that's all in there, so you want to try to avoid basically most, if not all, plastics. When it comes to the ingredients that are inside, anything that's petroleum-based, you want to avoid. [And] a lot of toxic chemicals are hidden in our fragrances, and in our country, you don't really have to disclose what’s in the fragrance, what binds the fragrance, and where the fragrance even comes from. You're inhaling that and so that’s going right into your system and your child’s system. So unless you know that it's something that is safe and non-toxic, it's probably best to just avoid.
We read that Honor and Haven have come to visit you at work. You must be proud to be able to set such a great example for them. Do you think your natural parenting style and your new business have influenced them?
We try not to be wasteful, we try to have sort of as eco a life as we possibly can but it's within reason. So, yeah, I'm sure that has an impact on them. And, just as a woman, there's such a small percentage of women that are in positions of power, really across all sectors in government and everything else, and so I think it's good for my children to grow up with a mom who is in business and who is a woman. Because for them, that's all they know and it’s such a good example, and it sets the bar there.
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Speaking of your daughters, what has surprised you the most about going from having one to two?
How much stuff you have! Babies need so much stuff. Because when you have a kid out of diapers who's kind of self-sufficient, it's so liberating in so many ways. We have like naps, and we have food limitations because she’s just having blended food and milk and so it's like just understanding how you're going to schedule your day around the baby is just a lot with also a toddler, 3-year-old, almost 4-year-old who, you know, she can run and play and go to the park and do things, and you don't have to cart around the stroller and the car seat and the this and the that. The changes of clothes in case there's an explosion and like plenty of diapers and a place for her to sleep and be entertained. But other than that, she's the sweetest, like cuddliest, little thing, and Honor is totally obsessed with her and loves on her all the time and she's obsessed with Honor so that’s really nice!
Here's an awesome video in which Jessica talks more about her need to start The Honest Company ...
Want to ask Jessica Alba your own questions about her eco-friendly lifestyle? She'll be in the CafeMom community later this week, so now's your chance. Just head on over to the Green Living group to submit your Qs!
Image via Honest.com