We are very excited to share our exclusive interview with actress and activist, Jessica Alba. Jessica shared with us her inspiration and story about her eco-business, The Honest Company and how her own children inspired her to make a difference.
We know that keeping your kids and the environment safe was the initial inspiration behind your brand, but what really pushed you to make that final leap to starting your company?
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I sought the best products for her because I wanted to create a healthy home for my baby. Easier said than done! When I washed her clothes in the popular “baby-safe” laundry detergent everyone recommended, I broke out in a rash. If I had such a bad allergic reaction, I knew it couldn’t be good for a new baby. And then I had trouble finding reliable healthy products here in the United States. So, I’d end 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. I was really upset that the average family couldn’t easily find or purchase safe products at a reasonable price. So, I created The Honest Company with Christopher Gavigan, Brian Lee, and Sean Kane because, as concerned parents, we felt it was our mission to make healthy, non-toxic products accessible for children and families everywhere.
How has your level of eco-consciousness changed since having kids?
Becoming a mom definitely made me more aware and concerned about everyday toxic ingredients, but I’ve been eco-minded since childhood. I grew up with the droughts of Southern California, so our family focused on conservation, not wasting water, and repurposing glass containers and boxes (still important things to do). My focus now has expanded, with my primary attention on the health of my family. So, we emphasize eating fresh whole foods, cooking together, and having the girls pick herbs from our garden. This gets them excited about building conscientious habits. The foundation I was taught as a child—to live mindfully—I apply to my family, with their health as the number one priority.
What are some of the everyday things you do around the house to promote a healthy environment?
My husband and I try to model eco-friendly habits for the girls. We have a non-toxic synthetic turf lawn and drink filtered water from our faucet using BPA-free reusable bottles. We have multiple recycling bins and with our older daughter Honor, we discuss the idea that things can be transformed into something else—crafts with upcycled materials are popular in our house. I also give Honor flavored sparkling water instead of sugary drinks, and she thinks it is soda! We even take off our shoes before entering the house, so we leave lead dust, pesticides, and other toxins outside. Bonus: My floors are cleaner!
Your brand is based on offering eco-friendly yet disposable diapers. Did you ever consider cloth diapers? What makes your disposable diapers stand out from other eco-friendly options out there?
At the time I first thought of creating The Honest Company, I wasn’t in a place where I could easily use cloth diapers since I was working a lot and started traveling again almost immediately after having Honor. I needed to have a better, healthier disposable option. But I love that parents use cloth diapers—our Honest laundry detergent works great on them. And we’re committed to providing many solutions to meet the needs of parents, so let us know what you’re hoping to see us develop as the company grows.
If cloth diapering isn’t the right fit for your family (like mine!), or if you cloth diaper but need an awesome disposable for things like day care, preschool, and traveling, our Honest diapers aren’t like any other eco-friendly option on the market. Our premium diapers are super absorbent; they’re free of risky fragrances, lotions, and latex; and they’re colorful, fun, and cute (our signature skulls print diaper is one of my favorites, but I really love them all!).
LaptopLunches Bento-ware was founded by two moms, so we know that running a business and managing a family can be tough. What tips do you offer for balancing work and family?
Balancing my busy career with motherhood is always a work in progress. It’s definitely made easier because I have a great support system at home in my husband, Cash. I make creative and efficient use of my time (I prepare Haven’s food for the entire week on Saturday or Sunday), and I can bring the girls to work. We’re building an awesome kids’ corner at our new Honest offices, where employees’ children can play and be entertained while their parents work. And, no matter how organized I like to be, some things honestly don’t get checked off my list. But I don’t sweat it as much as I used to—if my girls are happy and healthy at the end of the day, then everything falls into place.
What’s your favorite lunch?
I enjoy eating at a little lunch spot near our Honest offices called Tacos Por Favor. They prepare all their dishes with farm fresh, locally grown, and organic ingredients. My favorite thing to order is…everything! I love the variety of tacos they make.
Jessica Alba is an actress, activist, New York Times bestselling author, and entrepreneur. Although known throughout the world for her acting career, it is her role as the mom of her two girls that inspired the launch of The Honest Company in January 2012. With a product line ranging from natural and non-toxic personal care products for the entire family, to diapers and wipes, to household cleaning detergents and vitamins, The Honest Company is a mission-driven company focused on giving children the best possible start, ensuring families’ well-being, and safeguarding the planet through sustainable business practices. That's why with every product you purchase, The Honest Company donates product, money, and time to addressing critical health and social issues affecting the community. This year, its nonprofit partner is Baby2Baby, supplying families in need with essential baby clothing and gear. To learn more, visit www.honest.com.