Jessica Alba attends the Baby2Baby’s We Love Moms Party Presented by The Honest Company at Baby2Baby Headquarters on May 9, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. For more information, head over to baby2baby.org.Tweet
Jessica Alba attends the Baby2Baby’s We Love Moms Party Presented by The Honest Company at Baby2Baby Headquarters on May 9, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. For more information, head over to baby2baby.org.Tweet
Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan posed for pictures while celebrating the Honest Company’s 2nd Birthday at the main offices on Thursday (January 30) in Santa Monica
Jessica is wearing an Andrew Gn shirt, Marios Schwab skirt, Christian Louboutin shoes, Rodo bag, Jack Vartanian earrings, Velvet by Graham & Spencer bracelet, and Graziela and Dana Rebecca Designs rings.
She may not be away from the camera forever, but actress Jessica Alba is busy these days with her second job selling baby wipes, stain remover and aromatic soy candles.
The Honest Co., which the “Fantastic Four” star co-founded with CEO Brian Lee in 2012, is now raising $25 million to develop new product lines and expand into brick-and-mortar stores.
Alba told “Street Signs” she started the company because she wanted to sell “the safest, healthiest products available” and wanted them “to be affordable and beautiful.”
The Honest Co. offers a $400 crib, for example, that is made with sustainable wood and nontoxic paint, and that can be configured four ways. It is also a “one-for-one” offer—meaning the company will donate a crib for every one purchased.
Lee said the expansion includes moving from an online-only model to physical locations, because 90 percent of U.S. consumers do their shopping in stores.
Apart from the company, Alba keeps her money in securities and real estate.
“I am pretty safe and conservative, so I don’t have a lot of risky investments,” she said.Tweet
Jessica Alba, famous for her roles in “Dark Angel,” “Sin City” and the “Fantastic Four,” is taking on her most serious role yet warning mothers about what she said are the dangers of toxic chemicals in many everyday products.
The 32-year-old actress and mother of two became worried about this issue when she was pregnant with her first child and had an allergic reaction to a brand of baby laundry detergent.
“I was like … I’m an adult, and if I’m having an allergic reaction, like who knows what’s going to happen with my baby,” Alba said. “So I did some research, and I found that there are a lot of toxic chemicals in everyday products, and I was more horrified to find that there are more toxic chemicals in baby products.”
Alba’s concerns have propelled her to become the public face of a movement of people trying to avoid synthetic chemicals. It started for Alba when she met Christopher Gavigan, the author of “Healthy Child, Healthy World,” a guidebook on living a healthier lifestyle.
“I asked … what products do I buy, and he was like, ‘Well, this company does that one thing and this company does that one thing,’ and I was like, ‘Gosh, why isn’t there a company that does everything. This is so stressful,’” Alba said.
The duo teamed up to help create the Honest Company, a mail-order business that started out by selling 17 products made of ingredients they claim are safe and tested, unlike conventional products.
“We don’t have a regulatory system in place here in the United States at least that allows for and or monitors and or requires reporting on what’s inside,” Gavigan said. “So the raw materials and the ingredients … they don’t have to report those. They don’t have to prove they are safe before they hit the marketplace.”Tweet
How did The Honest Company begin?
It all started with a load of laundry that triggered a bad allergic reaction! When I was pregnant with my first daughter Honor, I washed her layette in THE “baby-safe” laundry detergent that everyone recommended. To my surprise, it caused me to break out in a terrible rash. So, I knew it couldn’t be good for my baby.
Worried about the use of toxic chemicals, I went into crazy, new parent research mode. I scoured the Internet and read books like Christopher Gavigan’s Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home, only to learn that many everyday household products — shampoos, cleaners, diapers, and furnishings — are filled with untested or unregulated chemicals. I then found it difficult to find safe and effective natural options that weren’t sold at a premium or at specialty stores. Frustrated about the lack of healthy and accessible options in the marketplace, I saw a void that needed to be filled.
I created The Honest Company with Christopher Gavigan, Brian Lee, and Sean Kane because there needed to be a lifestyle brand where the average family could easily find and purchase safe, non-toxic products from one trusted source. At Honest.com we offer high-performing, beautifully designed, natural products that are accessible and obviously don’t ever use harsh chemicals. Our ever-expanding line of baby, bath and body, cleaning, and health and wellness items not only stand out from the crowd for these reasons, but also because we’re completely transparent when it comes to what we do and don’t use in our formulations. Everything we do—from the people we partner with to the manufacturing processes we seek out—has to meet this standard of honesty and openness. Babies, adults, pets…no living thing should be exposed to toxic chemicals!
Your book is titled “The Honest Life.” Can you tell us what it means to live an honest life?
Embracing an “honest life” means living naturally and mindfully, but in a way that is authentic and reflects your personal needs, goals, and even style. It’s really about taking baby steps, doing what you can, and finding healthy alternatives that make the most sense for your family. It doesn’t require an extreme lifestyle overhaul!
How do you balance acting, your family, and the Honest company so well? What do you do to de-stress?
While I have lots of lists, schedules, and labels to organize my career, family life, and personal time, having a sense of humor and cutting myself some slack are essential to managing it all — because, quiet honestly, finding balance is always a work in progress. Now, five years into motherhood, it doesn’t bother me if some things occasionally slip through the cracks as long as my girls are happy and healthy. When they’re great, everything seems to fall into place. And, when they’re sleeping, I slip in some “me-time.” One night a week we get a babysitter and my husband Cash and I enjoy a date night or I sneak in a GNO with my girlfriends.
What are your top 3 essentials from The Honest Company?
I love them all, but if you’re going to make me choose…
I can’t live without the Healing Balm because it truly helps with everything from diaper rash to razor burn to scars to blemishes to dry skin. There’s no other way to describe it than a cure all!
Our Body Oil is also a staple in my beauty cabinet. My trick is to mix it with the Honest Face + Body lotion for an extra-moisturizing boost when I get out of the shower.
Because I do a lot of laundry with a family of four, our naturally non-toxic Detergent is in heavy use at our house. It leaves everything soft and fresh. And, of course, I never have to worry about breaking out in a rash or suffering an allergic reaction.
In your book you talk about how after having two gorgeous daughters, you felt as sexy and confident as ever, and it certainly shows. How did you regain that confidence?
During my second pregnancy, I didn’t overindulge in the bacon-inspired breakfasts my husband prepared on a daily basis the first time around. Instead, I focused on eating lean protein and filling up on tons of fresh produce and water. I didn’t deprive myself either — we enjoyed waffles, sweets, and other treats on the weekends. Everything in moderation! I also incorporated prenatal yoga into my routine to de-stress and stay relaxed. But I think the real reason I regained that confidence and loved my post-baby body is that I learned to be kind to and patient with myself — and I invested in a bright, non-toxic lipstick (Hourglass and Youngblood are faves).
What was your typical day-to-day look during your pregnancy?
My day-to-day pregnancy style layered structured blazers or cardigans over maxi-dresses or a flowing top with skinny jeans, finished off with flats or wedges (for balance!). When in doubt, I wore wrap dresses. They’re universally flattering, even with a growing bump!
What are your favorite children’s wear brands?
Bonpoint, Gap, Crew Cuts, H&M, Ralph Lauren Girls, Harajuku Lovers and Harajuku Mini, Peek, Dr. Martens.
You have one of the best bodies in the industry. How do you stay in such great shape? We also heard that you wore a double corset post pregnancy. Can you tell us about that?
It’s true that I essentially wore a girdle to offer abdominal support and bring my stomach back down faster following pregnancy, but it’s hot, sweaty, and not really that comfortable. So, I understand that this snap-back approach isn’t for everyone. I also made it a point to stay well hydrated (I carried a reusable bottle of water wherever I went), and I incorporated green smoothies made of cucumber, kale, celery, and apples into my daily breakfast routine. When I was ready, I started working out by gradually increasing my time on the treadmill, going on hikes, or hitting the gym with girlfriends.
Last but not least, what do you love most about being a mom?
I love everything — the nighttime reading and cuddles, their individual personalities and creativity, the giggles, joy, and happiness.
Photographed by David Mushegain at The Honest Company in Santa Monica.Tweet
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” It kind of goes without saying that that old William Morris adage is something we take to heart—not only thanks to our Covs, but also over at our own HQ. But is it really to the surprise of anyone that it’s also an axiom Jessica Alba took to heart when it came time to deck out the HQ of The Honest Company, too?
Walking in with Alba (our tour guide for the day), we were greeted by clean wood paneling, vividly-hued furniture, and walls shellacked in that signature shade of blue. The space is covered in similarly-minded maxims as the aforementioned quote, too—look no further than those motivational staircases for proof (ideal for Mondays, no?) All dreamy, Pinterest-friendly aesthetics aside, Honest HQ really emphasizes a community vibe. Just take a peek at the communal chalkboards with local must-sees and restaurant reccos (an idea cribbed from none other than Whole Foods’ HQ, FYI) and you’ll instantly know what we mean. And we hate to get all tabloid-y, but Alba really is just like us—at least when it came to outfitting the Honest offices, that is; having sourced inspiration and pieces everywhere from Pinterest (told ya so!) to One King’s Lane, CB2 and even Craigslist.
Even if you’re the type that typically gets all eye roll-y when it comes time to talk toxins, Alba and Honest’s no-BS approach to going green(er) is one we can actually get behind. And from her vintage magenta tanker desk (littered with shots with Obama and Bill Clinton, NBD) to the Honest Family Tree made with reclaimed wood that co-founder, Christopher Gavigan found while dumpster-diving (amazing, right?!), we instantly felt pretty much right at home at their HQ…. honest(ly).
(Oh, and P.S.! Stay tuned for Jessica Alba’s L.A. home and closet #comingsoontoaCoveteurnearyou, kids.)
Plenty of movie stars have offices. But Jessica Alba might be the only one who works from a fuchsia desk…in the middle of an open-plan work space. “I have my hands in everything,” she says, of her role as founder of The Honest Company. “From product to design to marketing, even some tech. Being confined to an office and expecting my team to constantly check in just doesn’t work for me as well.”
Alba invited us to a conference room at The Honest Company’s new headquarters to share her tips on making a workspace feel comfortable and stylish.
“I wanted to give my team many different spaces to work from so they didn’t feel like they were just at their desks all day,” Alba says. The furniture in this conference room is basic and functional, but the lack of color and flair leaves something to be desired—not just in terms of style, but for productivity as well. “I always have my best ideas when I’m at home—there’s less pressure. I want to recreate that environment for people and inspire them to thrive here.”
“Living in Southern California, we get to spend so much of our time outdoors,” says Alba. “I really wanted to bring some of that outdoors inside with flowers.” Try a few different colors and heights throughout the space to add visual interest.
“I find color stimulating,” says Alba, who brought in a host of red-toned accessories to the sofa. “And these orange-y reds look really good with teal, the company’s base color.” When it comes to patterns, try keeping them in the same color family, so the look is cohesive.
“Since we’re a start-up, it’s nice for the office to have a home-y environment,” says Alba, who brought Honest candles and books to the space to help achieve that. “I wanted to recreate a cozy feel knowing that people are logging so many hours here.”
“Candy makes me happy,” Alba tells us. “I put it in every conference room and meeting space—really on every surface I can. I know sugar might not be the healthiest thing, but a handful of jelly beans is just delightful.” Her tips for choosing the right office treats: Anything colorful—that doesn’t melt. Skittles, Starburst, and jelly beans are favorites.
“You can definitely go overboard with photos,” says Alba, who only placed a few in key spots throughout the office. “Remember, you’re aiming for cozy, not cluttered. The idea is to make sure your space is still functional for work.”
“I like the multifunctional purpose of the poof,” says Alba. “People like sitting at different heights, and the poof adds another option to the couch and the chairs. Plus, it can act as a little side table.”
The newly dressed-up conference room is decidedly warmer and more stylish with only a few key changes.Tweet
Jessica was recently interviewed on the new web-series Acting Disruptive by host Max Lugavere to chat about her baby products company. The new series includes a chat with “notable stars and goes behind the scenes of each business, giving fans an all-access look into these innovative companies and the famous faces behind them.” – JJTweet
JustJared.com‘s Jared Eng caught up with Jess at the 2013 Variety Power of Women event to chat about The Honest Company, her business that provides natural, safe, and effective products for the family and home.
Just Jared: Congrats on all the success of The Honest Company! What are some of your hottest products right now?
Jessica Alba: People love our bundles, so we do a diapers and wipes bundle. So it’s $20 a week to get an unlimited supply of diapers and wipes, and you get to pick out your own designs. Parents love that because it’s also delivered straight to your door. They get the cutest ones out there and our diapers perform more than 35 percent better than any other diaper on the market.
JJ: Which products do you use the most?
JA: I use everything! I have kids and dogs, so laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, body wash, everything. I should just send you a box of stuff! We have the best-smelling bathroom and floor cleaners. I did all the scents. Christopher [Gavigan, co-founder] thinks I’m crazy, but I love essential oils, so I wanted it to smell like aroma therapy.
JJ: What originally made your start the company?
JA: I looked around the marketplace and I was a new mom, and I had an allergic reaction to a baby laundry detergent. I found out that there are all these untested chemicals in baby products, even a numbing chemical that numbs a baby’s eye in baby shampoo. There are chemicals in diapers that can burn your baby and they get these burns that permanently scar. I did not want my kids to be exposed to any of that stuff. I was trying to find better quality products and it was really hard to find a company that I could trust. So I was like, “It would be so much easier if there were a company that did all the hard work and provided everything I needed, was affordable, and easy to get.” So that’s why we initially started online and our price point is super competitive.
JJ: What is Honest’s biggest milestone to-date?
JA: I feel like every day we’re hitting these huge milestones, but one of the things that I’m most proud of is we have a non-profit called Baby2Baby.Org that’s incorporated into our business model. We’ve given 20,000 units of product. We’ve given time and money to Baby2Baby and that’s huge for a start-up.
JJ: How do you intend to grow the brand?
JA: Expanding our product line. Our customers want us to have more adult products like deorderant and shaving oil, so we’re working on that. And then maybe we’ll go into hard goods and soft goods. It’s just about what our customers want.
JJ: Are there any other business ventures you’re interested in?
JA: I really think the beauty space is interesting and I’ve been looking into it for quite a while. I also think kids and extra-curricular acitivities, and food and nutrition, is a big deal. So I’m looking into that space as well.Tweet
For our third installment of Inspired Moms, brought to you by ViaCord, we are tipping our hats to Jessica Alba. Recently, the mother of two has become nearly as famous for her line of non-toxic diapers and family essentials as she is for her Hollywood roles. We caught up with Jessica about the work she’s doing to affect change in the way chemical ingredients are handled in the US—plus her own scary parenting moments, what’s next for The Honest Company (deodorant!), and her favorite back-to-school items.
StrollerTraffic: We’re so impressed with how quickly you and Christopher Gavigan have begun to influence the parenting sphere—in a very real way. Tell us about your company, The Honest Company, and how you got started.
Jessica Alba: Believe it or not, it all started with one load of laundry. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I washed her clothes in the popular “baby-safe” laundry detergent that my mom recommended and I broke out in a terrible rash. If I had such a bad allergic reaction, I knew it couldn’t be good for a new baby. So, I set out to educate myself, scoured the Internet, and read the book, Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home by Christopher Gavigan (whom I soon thereafter met) and learned about untested toxic chemicals in conventional products like baby shampoo, diapers, home furnishings, and household cleaners.
ST: What was the first thing you did after the eye-opening?
JA: I spent more money on the products in the beige packaging with pictures of nature, only to get home and find out the supposedly natural alternatives I just bought still had ingredients in them I was trying to avoid. It turned out that many of the leading “eco” brands were focused on sustainable packaging and the health of the planet, rather than the health of people. I had such trouble finding reliable healthy products here in the United States. So, I ended up shopping online, buying non-toxic products from Australia and Europe, or from different health stores just to clean my house and bathe my child. It was too time consuming and so expensive.
ST: Yeah. Not exactly practical.
JA: I was frustrated that the average family couldn’t easily find or purchase safe everyday products at a reasonable price. So, I created The Honest Company with Christopher Gavigan, Brian Lee, and Sean Kane. As concerned parents, we felt it was our mission to make healthy, non-toxic products accessible for children and families everywhere.
ST: Everyone raves about the Honest diapers—especially their super-absorbent quality. Were leaky diapers a problem you had dealt with as a mom?
JA: Leaky diapers weren’t the only problem I experienced as a new mom; I used diapers that literally exploded! When Honor was 6 months old, I went to get her from sleeping only to find her “eating” a diaper. Her face, skin, and crib sheets were covered with absorbent gel beads after her overly full conventional diaper exploded. Worried about toxic chemicals, I ran to find the diaper package and couldn’t believe it didn’t even list ingredients. I called the product hotline, my mom, and the pediatrician—I was that worried!
ST: That is a uniquely horrifying story. (Shudder.) The other Honest Company products seem to be getting an amazing response from parents as well: the hand soap, lotion, detergent, balm . . . . How did you so successfully pinpoint what other moms needed?
JA: I’m all about convenience and practicality. My day-to-day life as a mom truly inspires my ideas for product design and functionality. For example, some people on the team weren’t big fans of the idea for transparent bottles, but I knew life would be easier if parents could see how much product was left in the bottle. I also didn’t want moms to have to furiously shake and spin the bottle to get out the last drop of shampoo, so I created a bottle that could stand up on both sides.
ST: Great instincts. We love the Honest packaging—for both of those reasons.
JA: What also makes Honest unique is that we make everything in small, quality batches in response to what our customers say they want and need. We think all companies should have a real dialogue and connection with the people they serve and be able to iterate on their product based on the feedback they receive.
ST: We also understand a big part of your message is transparency in baby products. Can you talk a little about that—what it means to your brand?
JA: Everything we do—from the people we partner with to the manufacturing processes we seek out—has to meet this standard of honesty and openness. For our company, it means being authentic and willing to humbly admit when we can do better (for example, we reformulated our wipes within six months of launching Honest because they fell short of customers’ expectations—and ours).
ST: You certainly have our respect for that. How are you crusading for this transparency, beyond creating and marketing your own baby products? Do you contact companies? Do you campaign? Do you blog about it to raise awareness, speak at events?
JA: We write blog posts discussing our product formulations to keep an open dialogue about our development process with our customers, so they can weigh in. And because we want to see transparency become the standard, we’ve also worked with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families to advocate for regulatory reform since 2011. Currently, the chemical industry in the United States is essentially unregulated and there are many untested ingredients in everyday household items—the last major law passed was the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 1976. Since then, more than 80,000 chemicals have been produced and used in the United States. Over the last the 37 years, the EPA has only required testing on 200 of the 62,000 chemicals that were “grandfathered” in under the TSCA. Only five of those chemicals have been restricted. For example, asbestos isn’t banned in the United States and we all know how toxic that is!
So, I’ve lobbied for the passage of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg’s Safe Chemicals Act to put common sense limits on the use of chemicals in consumer goods. I’ve made Public Service Announcements to raise awareness about the importance of overhauling the TSCA.
ST: As moms ourselves, we’re grateful for (and inspired by) your efforts, Jessica. Tell us about your new book, The Honest Life. What can new moms learn from reading your book?
JA: I wrote The Honest Life because I wish I had a guide like this when I was a new mom. I wanted to share everything I learned from trial-and-error as a parent, launching The Honest Company, and the experts I consulted along the way with all busy women looking for easy-to-understand information on how to live naturally. In the book, I include tips that cover everything from my favorite eco-friendly beauty products; easy DIY baby food recipes; how to put together a safe, fun, and functional nursery; how to clean and decorate your home with healthy, non-toxic materials; and lots more.
ST: We noticed that Honest Company works closely with Baby2Baby in LA. Tell us about that relationship, and why you chose Baby2Baby as your initial partner.
JA: When building this dream into a company, it was important to me to that The Honest Company have a cause component as part of its DNA. As part of our overall social goodness program, Honest donates products, money, and time to our charitable partner Baby2Baby.org. This worthy non-profit supplies local families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for children up to age 12, reaching over 50,000 kids per year. I’m proud to say we’ve donated 106,537 total units of product to date. Each family gets about five products, so we’ve helped over 21,000 families in need during the last year and a half!
ST: Bravo! So, what’s next for The Honest Company?
JA: I’m excited to announce—and you’re hearing it first—we’re expanding our personal care line with a suite of maternity and post-partum products. Be on the look out for nipple and belly balm! Also, we’re going to have many more seasonal diaper prints to choose from in the next few months. I can’t wait. And because our customers asked, we’re happy to answer by launching deodorant in the near future. What other products would you love to see us make? We’d love to hear from StrollerTraffic readers!
ST: Fantastic news! We’ll definitely ask our Facebook fans to weigh in. In the meantime, are you and the girls gearing up for Back to School?
JA: Haven isn’t heading to nursery school quite yet…thankfully! I am trying to delay it as long as humanly possible because I saw how fast Honor grew (it feels like she’s on her way to adolescence already). I know Haven will eventually be potty trained and speak in full sentences, but I’m happy to relish the baby stage right now.
ST: We hear you. It all goes so painfully fast. But before we let you go, we’ve gotta ask: do you have your eye on any cute gear or first-day-of-school outfits for Honor yet?
JA: When looking for back-to-school outfits for Honor, I gravitate towards clothes that are functional and fun. I like to pair skirts with leggings or shorts underneath. I pick out durable sneakers in funky colors. We’re big fans of Skip Hop’s backpacks and So Young lunchboxes (I even steal Honor’s to take my food to work!). And, of course, The Honest Company hand sanitizer and travel wipes are a must for tucking into her bags to make cleaning hands easy before eating or after a messy art project.
ST: Thank you, Jessica. We wish you continued success with The Honest Company! – Strollertraffic.comTweet