In the health industry, retailers seem to pop up daily. With all those options out there, how do you know which ones you can trust? To help you sift through the slog so you can make the best choices for you and your family, we’re kicking off a series on eco-friendly, sustainable retailers. We’ll interview shop owners to find out how they stock their brands, why holistic wellness is important to them and what they think is next for the industry. Get to know them and then support their green business efforts to build a better planet for us all!
Charlene Swanson Crawford founded Eco Diva Beauty in 2013 after a career in lumber trading (seriously!). Her search for luxury, non-toxic beauty products had been endless, so she decided to create her own shop where she and her makeup artist daughter, Garcy Fry, could curate the best brands with the highest ingredient standards. Now, after just over a year of being is business, Eco Diva Beauty is, dare we say it, one of the biggest names in the industry. Well known for their strict brand guidelines and their dedication to holistic wellness, Charlene and Garcy (and their business team) have created a powerhouse online store where you can feel confident that any product you buy is the best. We chatted with the duo to find out the inspiration for EDB and what’s next for the brand.
W.E.L.L. Summit: How did you become interested in ethical, sustainable products?
Charlene: I’ve been on a health pilgrimage for a long time. I know I started experimenting with removing meat from my diet in my 20s… My experimentation with high-end makeup products began in my early teens to the utter mortification of my mother (and I have continued this odyssey to this very day). The organic beauty products were not very evolved back then and I would try some natural or organic product that usually smelled bad and was not very luxurious and would find myself guiltily sneaking undercover into Holt Renfrew’s to replace it with a luxury name brand… I was online shopping before the term existed. As a business owner and single mom of three, I had little time for shopping. I would call Holt Renfrew or many of the downtown shops and order makeup and clothes over the phone for delivery to my home. The Internet only expanded my choices.
Garcy: I guess you could say it all started with my mother. After a lifetime of her pushing organic veggies and tree hugging down my throat, it all began to make sense when I got pregnant with my first daughter. All of a sudden I became super critical of everything I was putting on and in my body, wanting to protect and give the best to my helpless babe. So I became a knowledge junkie, dissected labels and researched all my products and their ingredients.
Why did you open Eco Diva Beauty?
Charlene: Eight years ago, I, an unhappy lumber trader, was scouring the Internet for organic luxury beauty products. Nothing trumped my personal beauty. It was always a tiresome endeavour searching many sites for different beauty products. One for skin, another for lipstick, another for hair products. During that period, coincidentally, I was examining my career and finding it unfulfilling. I remember thinking how nice it would be to have a place on the web that had all of these products in one location and then thinking it would have to be very luxurious too to satisfy my choices. I said to myself, “You are such a diva!” and then actually replied to myself, “Yes, but you’re an eco diva!”
I called a few friends and asked what they thought of the name. The response was overwhelmingly positive, so I drove the the registrar’s office downtown and registered the name Eco Diva.
Garcy: The need. The need to make dreams a reality. The need to make a profound impact on our planet. The need for healthier choices. The need for conscious consumers. The need for game changers. The need to inspire and empower women to harness the power that is already theirs. The need for a sustainable future for our earth and the life inhabiting it. The need for an easy one-stop shop for the best non-toxic beauty products on the market. For products that could stand up in a battle against traditional beauty brands and outperform in all areas. Not just in the safety of their ingredients, but in the efficacy of their claims.
What makes you stand out in a sea of retailers?
Garcy: Eco Diva is a mission-based business built around ethical values and environmental commitment. We are socially conscious, responsible and driven. We use this business as an opportunity to bring about social change, individual empowerment and environmental sustainability. Call us dreamers, but we want to change the world in a BIG way!
Charlene: Eco Diva is not just about shopping. It’s about empowering women not just as consumers but as powerful choice makers for themselves, their families and in turn their environment both personally and collectively. Women are wise and integral to the well being of our planet socially and economically. It is our time to come forward. This is what’s different about EcoDiva: Our site is classy and comfortable and our culture of Amazon warriors is growing exponentially.
What guidelines do you have in place that brands have to measure up to before you’ll stock them?
Garcy: Eco Diva Beauty is a LUXURY, SUSTAINABLE Beauty Boutique. Our company was created to be a place where you can find the most effective, cutting edge, non-toxic beauty products. We only deal with companies that are passionate about ethics and the environment. To be considered, products must fall within the Eco Diva Essentials:
- Products do not contain any of these ingredients.
- Products contain the highest quality natural ingredients.
- Products are not tested on animals.
- Product packaging is recyclable, reusable or biodegradable.
- Product packaging is unique, gorgeous and stunning.
- Company must be ethical, sustainable and responsible in all they do.
What’s your long-term vision for the shop?
Charlene: I plan to expand our product lines in beauty products as well as other luxurious sustainable items to make Eco Diva THE location to go to. Our site will always have very selective, cutting-edge luxurious brands that we have researched and tested ourselves. We never carry something for just economic reasons. We don’t try it unless it meets our criteria. It has to be tested, tried and loved by both of us or we don’t carry it.
What changes and trends have you seen in the healthy beauty movement over the last few years?
Garcy: Well I think you labelled it correctly—it’s a movement. A collective shift is happening by consumers as a whole. People are becoming way more knowledgeable about what they are putting on and in their bodies. They care about where and how a product is made. With this demand for safer choices has come an array of new non-toxic product lines popping up every day. And this is not your traditional beauty industry that is just out to make a profit at the cost of your self esteem and health. This movement has a community (mostly made of women) who are cheering each other on, buying from each other and spreading the good news of safe, effective, natural products that help women celebrate the beauty that is already theirs.
What does living a life of wellness mean to you?
Garcy: Living a life of wellness means being conscious of the state of your mind, body and spirit and constantly striving for optimal health in each. Loving yourself, loving others and being a part of something bigger than yourself.
What’s been the most important beauty switch for you?
Garcy: I can’t choose just one! Lip products are a big one, because you ingest so much of what you put on your lips. Body lotions as well because you are slathering that all over your body’s largest organ!
How can we be more conscious consumers to affect change in the beauty industry?
Garcy: Knowledge is power. You can always do some research for yourself about harmful chemicals in beauty products, or animal testing. Then you can shop from places that have values and mission. We can’t all go out and physically stop the hand of someone who is in the midst of testing a beauty product on an animal, or clean up the environment from the toxins the beauty industry is pouring down the drains, but you can choose to buy from companies that are ethical, sustainable, environmentally and socially conscious! What and who we buy from has so much impact on our society and the future of our planet!
Charlene: Power is in numbers. Governments want to be re-elected and businesses want you to buy from them. Your power as a consumer counts every single day, not just as a vote on election day once every few years.
Don’t look to your government to save or change the world. Globally, the majority of them have been on a social spending frenzy for the past 150 years and are now on the brink of financial collapse. It will be the new environmental business model and those consumers that will change our world in the future. I’m honoured and excited to play a small, or large or any part in that future.