honestly the most honest company

by mari

The Honest Company - an interview with Jessica Alba about organic baby products and motherhood

Keeping myself and my family healthy is a major part of my life. Over the last several years I’ve become very aware of the ingredients in the food we eat, the toys we buy, and the products we use in our household. That’s one of the reasons why today – instead of toys or design – we’re talking about The Honest Company. Because what they’re doing is what every company should be doing, and I’m so happy I had the chance to chat with them about their products and their goals at Alt Summit.

Now that I’ve also had the chance to try some of their products, I have to tell you I’m majorly impressed. One of the reasons we’ve never completely converted to more natural, organic prodcuts at home is because the brands we’ve tried don’t always work like we want them to. But as Jessica herself says below, The Honest Company products work. Hands down. In fact, I think some of them work better than the brands I was using at home already (not all of which were eco-friendly). I can personally vouch for the hand sanitizer, the dishwasher detergent, the all-purpose cleaner, the body oil, and the healing balm. But there’s much more to try (and if you have a baby, the diapers sound amazing!)

They’re also taking a unique approach to distribution: right now you can only purchase their products online. But the coolest bit, you can sign up for a monthly subscription box, customizing it to the five products you need most for the month. That’s at least one less trip to Target folks!

But the icing on the cake? I had the chance to speak with Jessica Alba about her own experiences, her reasons for starting The Honest Company, and a little bit of mom-stuff too. This is not your typical celebrity endorsement, as Alba is part-founder of the company and very hands on. She is as down to earth as I had hoped, and with a very business-savvy head on her shoulders. Let’s hear what she has to say:

How long were you working on the idea for The Honest Company?

“I conceptualized it really when I was pregnant, but I actively tried to get it up and running right after I had Honor. Because this company needed to exist for families – there’s too much confusion in the marketplace. The price points are crazy for a better quality product and there really isn’t one brand that you can trust.

I didn’t know that a lot of those “eco-friendly” companies’: A) stuff doesn’t work that well. So we’re high-performance – that’s our key thing. But B) I didn’t know that what made it eco-friendly is the packaging, not what’s inside of it.  When I put that dish soap in my dishwasher the PH balance should be neutral, it shouldn’t have the PH balance of chlorine, because that’s on my children’s food, and that’ll go in their systems and mess up their digestive system.”

What kind of standards are in place for these kinds of products?

“Zero. You can say anything is organic. It’s unreal. You can have a line that’s …. organic and it’s the same toxic stuff that’s in everything else … just as processed and made with pesticides. I had no idea that there’s zero regulations around that. That’s why, when we created this company, we ha[d] to be transparent. I told my partners the bottles need to be transparent. … Women need to see what’s inside them. It also feeds your subconscious. … it feels more trustworthy.”

What are your future plans for the Honest Company?

“Future is nutrition, which is very exciting.

I have a book coming out in March and it covers everything from recipes, your children’s first foods to holiday recipe ideas to DIY. I put together 2 homes with all non-toxic materials. And beauty – not just products but also [things] like a good moisture mask for your hair that you can make with avocado and olive oil.

And we are looking to maybe go offline more and exploring other product categories in hard goods. A lot of exciting things.”

How about that dreaded work-life balance – how do you do it all?

“I don’t do it well. I just feel guilty,

I put my kids health and happiness first. And if I feel like either one of those t is being compromised than everything just stops and it’s just about them. And so, you know, that’s my number one priority. As much as I try to do with the company and my career, it’s really so far secondary to the kids. … That’s just the way, for me, that I do it.“

I try to spend as much quality time with them as I can. … We don’t just plop ourselves in front of the TV. We do art projects and we cook, and we try to do fun things. I do have to show [Honor] pictures of her and remind her that we did cool things! Because she’s like, I never made cupcakes with jellybeans before, and I say yes you did! Look!”

You’ve don so much research, are their other companies that you admire for eco or design reasons?

“I love Seedling. I do a lot of stuff with Seedling.

I also like Kid Made Modern – I love Todd Oldham’s crafty things. You can incorporate all of those fun materials mixed with your kids own stuff.

Something that we do regularly because there’s always a holiday or a birthday or something: I have a polaroid camera … the girls make a card and we use some of those fun materials and then I put their picture on it so it’s … their own touch on it. And it’s like a stamp in time.

But I love doing little crafty things. I think it’s also good for Honor. I like to display her art, and stuff that she creates in her room, in her reading corner, and throughout the house. I think it’s empowering to see that “I created that”.

I kill every plant, but I still try to have a wall garden of herbs that we use. So she’ll go and pick lemons that I’ll use in a recipe, etc. I think it’s good to show the kids that everything comes from somewhere.”

Thanks Jessica and everyone at The Honest Company, it’s been enlightening getting to know you!

And a big thank you to The Honest Company for graciously providing products for this review. All opinions are, of course, my own.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meg T February 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Great interview!

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2 mari February 26, 2013 at 10:12 am

Thanks Meg, she was easy to talk to, which totally helped.

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3 Sally February 26, 2013 at 1:07 am

I have a sample kit & can’t say that I’m impressed. I have to re- load my toddler on the liquid soap to get some what he calls “Bubbles.” After my 4th child, I guess I was looking for a WOW factor!… Sorry :(

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4 mari February 26, 2013 at 10:14 am

Oh shoot, that’s too bad! I haven’t tried the baby soap.
However, I do know natural soaps foam up less than some of the more chemically-loaded counterparts. You can get clean without tons of bubbles – though I’m sure your toddler prefers it the other way ;)

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