Every once in a while a beauty influencer or brand comes along that’s so extraordinary in their efforts to give back, attention must be paid. Each Feel Good Friday, we’ll highlight these do-gooders along with simple ways to support their efforts.
It’s easy to understand why Brazil is synonymous with beauty. The country that gave us half the Victoria’s Secret angels, Brazilian Blowouts and Brazilian waxes is onto something. Yes, we could give credit to those enviable genes, but it also could be the very effective and readily available beauty ingredients found in the lush country.
One brand, Teadora, found a way to not only bottle straight-from-the-Amazon formulations, but also do it in a way that helps sustain the forest, among other give-back initiatives. Each product, aptly named with tropical monikers like “Rainforest at Dusk” and “Brazilian Glow,” includes a personal note on the package asking the recipient to “help us rain down the good.” You see, the brand has committed part of their profits to a philanthropic exchange between the US and Brazil to support education, leadership development, health and rainforest conservation.
But it’s not just the feel-good component that delivers. I was an instant convert after trying the line. Each product, scented with aromatherapeutic essences, does its job on the surface to cleanse, hydrated and more. It also delivers a sensorial experience that I can only described as listening to the sounds of the rainforest while kicking my feet up at a spa. Needless to say, the benefits reach far beyond what’s happening topically.
I sat down with Valeria Coles, Founder and CEO of Teadora and Thomas Moran, Co-founder of Teadora to learn more about their work in the Amazon, how they’re reducing the brand’s environmental footprint, and why they use elephant poop paper in the office.
Alexis Farah: What made you want to start Teadora?
Valeria Coles: My homeland of Brazil is amazing in many ways, and I wanted to bring a taste of that vibrant culture to the US while sharing our “Brazilian Beauty Secrets”. Besides being the home of the ‘coolest people on earth’ according to CNN, a key thing about Brazil is that it houses more than 60 percent of the Amazon, which continues to surprise with its incredible diversity of plants and animals. Growing up in Brazil, it was very common for us to use many of these antioxidant-rich superfruits for health and food, and my mom was quite the naturalist. My co-founder, and husband, Tom, was a trained massage therapist. We had both been thinking about different aspects of a business, and one day on a hike through one of the rainforests in our Pacific Northwest back yard, it just all came together as a way to bring a spa experience to people’s homes.
AF: And why was it so important to build a business that was sustainable, eco-conscious and also gave back to the forest, where you source ingredients for the line?
Thomas Moran: The impact of the Amazon rainforest on global warming, fresh water and oxygen availability, plant and animal diversity, etc. is indisputable. It is source to more than 25 percent of all western pharmaceuticals, with only 1 percent of the plants studied! Every day there are new species discovered, new active compounds for fighting hallmark diseases like cancer, Multiple sclerosis and others. Yet like rainforests everywhere, we are losing it rapidly to illegal logging, cattle ranching, mining and other human activities such as large monoculture soybean plantations. Unless consumers change how they purchase, and demand transparency from the companies they do business with, rainforests like the Amazon will continue to disappear.
AF: Beyond simply reducing your environmental footprint, can you share some other ways that your company is using sustainable practices and support for the community to preserve and protect the Amazon?
VC: Reducing environmental impact is a critical objective for us. But beyond that, we believe that our biggest leverage in helping with conservation efforts is to help strengthen communities in and around the Amazon basin. We work with partners and communities who have committed to harvesting with respect and integrity, and are committed to improving their community’s standard of living. When these communities thrive with a sustainable economic relationship with the forest, they are less vulnerable to pressure from illegal activities, or rather, the forest becomes worth more standing than it is cut. We work with these partners and help where we can to ensure that as much economic benefit as possible reaches the communities, and that they have the tools and skills necessary to continue to thrive.
AF: I’m fascinated by the elephant poop paper! Can you tell us more about where/how you get that?
VC: As we continually strive to reduce our impact, we are exploring more and more alternatives that can work for us and our customers. We are now using bamboo, for example, for bottle caps. Our paper sources today are from FSC certified sources, a certification created by the Rainforest Alliance. But we are hoping to go beyond that, and we have been experimenting with a few ‘treeless’ alternatives.
TM: We print our gift certificates on banana fiber paper, made from the waste of the Costa Rican banana harvest. Internally, we are using notebooks made from elephant poop. Yep, even have envelopes (just don’t make me lick them!). The elephants are from reserves in Thailand, continuously making more of this unique paper source. To go even more treeless, we are experimenting with outer packaging made from recycle fibers. Will it be banana fiber, mango fiber, elephant poop? We’ll let our customers help us decide!
AF: Aside from buying products from the line, are there any other ways our readers can support Teadora?
VC: There are lots of ways.
Follow us on social media. We love to talk about rainforests, sustainability and beauty, and would love to have you as part of the conversation, or simply liking and sharing. We are active on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
We almost always have special gifts, like our Kayapo toiletries bag, which more directly help conservation efforts, sharing the profits with the local people for every one we sell.
Support our recently launched Indiegogo campaign where you’ll be able to plant trees and experience our newest product, an anti-aging facial mist!
Sign up for our newsletter, where we’ll be talking about our plans around Earth for You, You for Earth, some of the non-profits we work with, and discover how you and your family can get more involved.
Consider the companies you purchase from today – do they give enough information about their practices for you to make a reasonably informed decision? If not, demand that they do. Consumer choice is the single most powerful tool in the world to help stop deforestation.
Tweet me @actsoflipstick and tell me if you have a favorite Teadora product