Responsible Feature : Shea Brand
To say I'm sold on the affects of shea butter is an understatement. And the reason I've come to the conclusion, you ask? It's because of 3 mindful makers hand crafting Shea Brand product out of their home in Brooklyn.
If you've been following with The Good Wear for some time, you've likely seen this product featured several times as it's become a staple to my daily body and skin care routine. A cure all to dry skin and other ailments, this handcrafted product is a natural, non-toxic and sustainably made blend more affective than traditional lotions. But enough from me about the product, here is an interview with the founders of Shea Brand - Marie, Krystal and Austin. Be sure to check them out, order Shea and follow along with their sustainable journey!
How was Shea Brand started?
Shea Brand is the product of lots of love and two major developments. First, our co-founder Austin discovered that shea butter is by far the best non-steroidal topical medium to help sooth and protect his eczema — something he'd been struggling with (at debilitating levels) his entire life. Second, we took a deep dive into the current beauty market and realized just how many people who, like Austin, stand to gain from having raw shea butter in their lives and on their skin. Also, due to its versatility, there are literally millions of people out there who could replace 5-7 of their skincare items with raw shea butter and stand to live dramatically improved lives.
Why Shea Butter?
What we discovered was that while lotion can be nourishing it’s generally lightweight and not protective. Vaseline is protective but a bit too greasy and not nourishing. What we wanted was something that was both nourishing and protective. That had staying power without being too greasy. And that could be used every day, anywhere on the body without physical repercussions.
What does sustainable beauty mean to your brand?
Everything! Two of three of our co-founders worked in the mass market fashion industry before starting Shea Brand. They were horrified by the grotesque way the industry affected people and the environment and swore to create something that moved the industry in a positive direction. As we’ve learned, it’s costly to be ethically responsible as a small skincare brand and navigating things like animal testing and vetting of raw goods supply chains against fair pay and proper working conditions can be tough (especially if you’re going to be competitive with bigger brands), but we think that prioritizing this has worked to our advantage and created the foundation for our customer base. Shea Brand is also responding to an overly commoditized beauty industry that has normalized low product quality and unsustainable habituation behavior. The $2 lip balm that dries your lips out further is case in point. If you’re going to spend your money on something for your lips, you want to make sure that it works, and lasts, and then can eventually be recycled. Otherwise you’ll be buying again in a few weeks, and there’s nothing more unsustainable than that. It’s for this reason that our formulas are made with the highest quality organic ingredients available, and come in plastic-free, 100% recyclable packaging.
How do you ensure your product is naturally made?
All or our products are formulated by us and manufactured in NYC. We have very high standards when it comes to ingredient sourcing and nothing is ever tested on animals. We also don’t use any synthetics.
What tips would you provide someone working towards shopping responsible beauty?
Educate yourself as to what ingredients to look out for and watch out for green washing! There are a lot of brands out there that claim to be natural or even have packaging that makes them look like a green beauty company but have nasty, irresponsibly sourced ingredients. When in doubt, ask questions. Look at the ingredient list and if you don't recognize any of them look them up - a quick google search can go a long way. On the contrary to truly unhealthy ingredients, some ingredients can have long scary names and be completely natural and great for you (like Hylaronic Acid). Also, have fun with your sustainable shopping! Skincare especially is super fun these days and there’s a lot of choice. As long as you know how to properly respond to your skins needs you should be able to find a lot of different products and ways to take care of it, so pick the ones that are interesting to you and bring you joy!
What are some of your favorite reactions to people who use Shea Brand?
The best feeling is when customers come back for more! We had one customer reach out letting us know that they used our Lavender Shea shea butter while undergoing chemotherapy and that it was the only product that kept their skin properly protected and nourished during treatment - that one was pretty special. But we hear “Thank you’” from people all the time. Some who have just been looking for a reliable lip balm. Others who have perpetually dry heels that were finally defeated and softened by Shea. Hearing stuff like this is the best part about this job.
How have you seen your skin change from using a natural product?
Yes, absolutely. There are LOTS of natural solutions to your skin. As I said before it’s all about being able to identify the state of your skin (oily, dry, balanced, dirty) and then knowing how to properly respond. This is something we’re always working on bettering understanding ourselves and encourage others to do the same.
Why does the ethical and sustainable industry matter to you?
We love this planet and we love all the creatures that are on it. We think people deserve to hear the truth and be treated like someone who can make a difference with the choices they make (which they are). We believe that honesty and accountability is key and that sustainability is more than just a trend. It's necessary for our prosperity, happiness and survival and will dictate what kind of planet and people we become (including how we treat others and what we value in the future).
What’s one thing you’d like people to know about Shea Brand?
We love the environment and are dedicated to protecting and conserving it, but we’re also city people. A lot of what we do is in an effort to promote synergy between the natural and urban world’s, and to contribute to our belief that with lots of love and good design the prosperity of one doesn’t need to happen at the expense of the other.
What can we expect from you next?
We've got some exciting stuff coming up that we don’t want to share with you quite yet! We did just launched an amazing all-natural CBD Pain Reliever and you should all definitely check that out.