Can you tell us a little bit about your background/history that has led you to this point?
Prior to starting HollyBeth Organics, I spent my career living and working around the globe speaking Spanish and French. However, backing up to earlier, I grew up in North Georgia with my Grandmother who loved plants and knew herbal remedies. Then, living in Latin America, I learned more about the curative powers of plants. In France, I found more “natural” remedies available at the local pharmacy. Moving back to the States, I couldn’t find the options that I had in Europe.
Tell us about your product/brand and the inspiration behind it?
Years ago, while living in Spain, a friend’s Mother told me that eye cream is a must in skincare. I began collecting eye cream from around the globe. Then, out of the blue, I decided to make my own. And voila!
How does sustainability play a role in your brand/product development? How important has this been to consumers?
We try and always use glass and are in the process of phasing out our plastic cleanser containers. We are also trying to phase out boxes that our products are sold in.
We reuse boxes and shipping material and try to include as little as possible in shipping out orders. Small things like not including a packing slip since our customers already received one makes me feel good.
Customers are very conscious of plastic vs. glass as well as packaging material. We are proud of the fact that we have been USDA Organic Certified for 11 years now. To me, this illustrates our commitment to sustainability.
What are your thoughts on the future role sustainability plays both professionally in business and in our everyday lifestyle choices, in regards to the future health of our planet?
In my lifetime, I have seen the waves of awareness change. Growing up, we grew what we ate, composted and recycled out of necessity. Now, more and more, we are going back to this with farm-to-table initiatives and community gardens. Sustainable is not just a buzzword now, it is an action.
As businesses, we cannot avoid the statistics: 1 in 3 people do not have clean water (source: wateraid.com) and 1 in 3 bites of food come from pollinators and the list goes on and on. Those that have voices (i.e. larger corporations as well as small businesses like mine) have an obligation to educate our customers and consumers on sustainability.
How does technology and innovation play a role in your business?
We make everything by hand and do not use machinery other than mixers. (I had a piston machine but knocked my teeth out.. well, cracked them, so I really don’t like equipment). Technology would be social media... an inevitable marketing tool that can be so addictive.
Innovation: I am constantly thinking of new ingredients and products I would love to try. There is so much on our planet to explore for herbal remedies.
What does wilderness mean to you?
Trees and Peace and Happiness. I am blessed to live in the mountains next to forests that are protected. I have bears, deer, etc in my backyard.
Do you have a favorite item- it may be an heirloom handed down from a grandparent, friend or relative of some kind that has great meaning to you?
My aunt gave me her diamond ring that is surrounded by small flowers. It was at the same time I was starting HollyBeth Organics and I looked at it as a sign.
If you had to choose one place to live with only the basics available to you where would it be and what would you take with you (apart from the obvious survival gear)?
I would choose where I live now- in the mountains of North Georgia, and I would bring my dog Beau (@hbbeau). Had I not lived so many years in other countries, I might have chosen Borneo or Bhutan. Alas, my little paradise is right next door to me.
Imagine that 25 years from now you are looking back on your life, what would be the legacy that you would hope for your brand to leave behind?
My hope is that people will see that at the very foundation of HollyBeth Organics there is no need to sacrifice the earth for luxury. I learned as a child the simple truth that the most effective ingredients are derived naturally from the Earth. Safe, non-toxic products can be made to both nurture the skin and uplift the soul. We created USDA Certified Organic products not only for beautiful skin, but to help maintain a beautiful world.
What message do you have for those starting their own business in regards to sustainability and innovation?
As humans, we all have a responsibility to make the Earth a better place. As consumers, we should all make ecologically-sound decisions. More importantly, as business owners, we can and should make decisions that have a positive impact on the world. Small changes like not adding an invoice in your order as the customer received it when buying online, can add up. Packaging material, etc… so many ways to become more sustainable.
Do you have a quote, saying or poem you find inspirational and what is it?
As my aunt would always say, “less is more.” And my Dad would always say, “practice the 3Bs: be brief, be concise, and be gone.”
What brands do you admire?
Patagonia and Pangea Organics.
How important do you think transparency and authenticity in brands is to consumers?
This is big… we have nothing to hide. I can tell you every ingredient that goes into my products and where they came from. All of our ingredients come from nature, grown in the ground without chemicals and not in a lab. As for authenticity, we are honestly certified organic and sustainable in every way we can be.
Can you tell us something about your product/brand/personal journey that might surprise us to know?
I started the business at 50.
What is your favorite animal and why?
Dogs: I have never been without one. They really are a woman's best friend.
What is one thing you would be willing to or have already given up with the health of the planet in mind?
Plastic is my pet peeve. I am striving to be better about not buying it or using it. And plastic straws are the worst.