In the fast-growing green marketplace, it is becoming common to see products stamped with popular buzz words such as “100% Natural” or “Non-Toxic”, but how can you be sure which ones to trust, and which are guilty of greenwashing? With a company like Bubble & Bee Organic, who is featured on the blog today, all it takes is a glance at the label to know that their products include minimal ingredients you can recognize and pronounce. In addition to creating products with simple, effective and safe ingredients, Bubble & Bee has taken it one step further to have their products USDA Certified Organic. Why is this important and how is Bubble & Bee different?
I am so happy to have had the opportunity to speak with and interview founder, Stephanie Greenwood, to discuss the reasons why it was so important to her and the brand to have her products certified organic. She is also sharing her story and how Bubble & Bee began. Please read on for Stephanie’s thoughts on organic certification as well as the full interview below.
Why an organic certification?
Stephanie explains her views on why she has had her products certified and the importance of Organic Certification for her brand:
It’s not easy to do and it’s costly, but we feel organic certification is important for our customers. First is ingredient transparency. There are so many companies out there who don’t fully disclose their ingredients, leaving off preservatives, detergents, emulsifiers, and artificial fragrances. With organic certification, you have a third party verifying that what’s *on* the label matches what’s *in* the product. Second, we wanted to stand out in the crowd and show our dedication to organic standards. Companies can use organic ingredients and have most of their product organic, but without certification they’re free to use some conventional ingredients when they’re cheaper or more available and not necessarily change their labels to reflect that particular batch. We want every batch that comes out of our facility to be traceable back to the field as truly organic. Finally, we believe it’s the right thing to do for our environment. With toxic herbicides and pesticides ending up in our rivers and streams from conventional farms, we believe USDA organic agriculture is a healthier option for wildlife, our planet, and our bodies.
The Greenly Guide: What was it that initially interested you in natural products? Why did you decide to start looking into the ingredients that were in the products you were using?
Stephanie: In 2005 I was diagnosed with adenomyosis. My entire post-adolescent life I had struggled with low progesterone and hormonal imbalances. The doctors just wanted to put me on birth control to regulate my cycles and that didn’t sit well with me—I didn’t want to cover up the symptoms with medications, but get to the root of the problem. What was actually the cause of the imbalance? That’s when I started learning about the chemicals in our environment, foods, and personal care products that act like estrogen. (Aka xenoestrogens.) Looking at the products I was using and foods I was eating, I realized that I was exposing myself to these potential harmful chemicals. When even the products I could find at health foods stores had artificial fragrance and parabens, I started making products for myself so I knew exactly what was in them and knew for sure I was avoiding xenoestrogens.
The Greenly Guide: Can you share a little about your background in chemistry and how that knowledge helped you in product formulation and launching Bubble & Bee Organic?
Stephanie: When I was 14 I started working at the University of Utah in the Biology Department and by the time I was 16 I was taking advanced chemistry classes at the university on weekends and in the summer. By the time I fully matriculated at the U, I realized that I had a creative side and didn’t want to work in a lab for the rest of my life, so I earned my degree in English. Now I spend a lot of my time researching and writing about chemicals so it’s my ultimate dream job! The fact that I get to help people is also a huge plus! My chemistry background comes in more when I’m doing research for my blogs. Formulating our products does take a little bit of chemistry (especially when it comes to soap) but because our products are so pure, it’s more like cooking with melting, mixing, whipping, blending. Thinking about the biology of skin and the body and how you want the product to work.
The Greenly Guide: What was the first product you attempted to create? Is it one that you still sell today?
Stephanie: I think the first product that I made was a shampoo made with yucca root or soapwort root. It wasn’t that great! The second product that I set out to make was a deodorant, and it did work! It’s a formula we offer to this day, our Truly Herbal Deodorant Stick.
The Greenly Guide: Which of your products do you feel like you are best known for?
Stephanie: I think people know us best for our Pit Putty Deodorant! There are a lot of “pit” this or that products around now, but we were one of the first to put a fun twist on a deodorant name like that. Plus we were one of the first USDA certified organic deodorants on the market. Now we have a huge line of deodorants with so many options! In fact, it’s the largest selection of USDA certified organic deodorants from any one brand on the market.
The Greenly Guide: What has been the most difficult product to formulate?
Stephanie: I still have dreams of making a shampoo with full USDA certification and that works in any kind of water, hard or soft. I’ve come close and continue to make test batches. A lot of the time the challenge of bringing a new product to market isn’t the formulation. Formulation is the fun part! Sometimes there are other factors that keep you from coming out with a product, whether it’s special equipment needed to scale up production on something, not finding the right packaging, not being able to get graphics designed, or the cost of the product is too high to really be marketable or profitable.
The Greenly Guide: What is your favorite ingredient?
Stephanie: Oooh that’s a great question. I have so many! Shea butter is extremely versatile and we use it in our face cream, body butters, soaps, and deodorants. It’s a great go-to for many formulas and is just so nice on skin.
The Greenly Guide: If you had to describe your brand to someone in 5 words, what would they be?
Stephanie: Fun, organic, approachable, pure, straightforward
The Greenly Guide: In a growing industry of natural and organic products, how does Bubble & Bee Organic stand out from the rest?
Stephanie: One thing that does set us apart is the fact that we do have organic certification. So many brands claim to be “organic” or have “organic” in their name, but we’re one of the few that has actual certification to back us up. We also try to keep things fun and approachable and offer great customer service. I’m not in the business to turn-and-burn—I want to create long-lasting relationships with people where they know if they have a question—even something from another brand—they can come and ask me for my opinion on the ingredients.
The Greenly Guide: What has brought you the greatest joy in owning Bubble & Bee Organic?
Stephanie: Knowing that we’re making a difference in peoples’ lives by offering products they can trust is the best gift of all!
The Greenly Guide: What can we expect from you in the coming year? Any exciting plans you can share?
Stephanie: Oooo we have some exciting things but I can’t share anything right now!