Our brand is for everyone, including vulnerable populations like young children, young families, and pregnant women.”
We recently had the distinct pleasure to sit down with Christopher Gavigan, Co-founder and Chief Purpose Officer of The Honest Company. We are truly humbled and impressed by everything we learned about him and the company, aside from what we already knew (and loved!). We hope you’ll enjoy reading all about The Honest Company and Christopher; we’re also doing a giveaway of Christopher’s favorite Honest products, be sure to enter for your chance to win!
“Christopher Gavigan has devoted his life to helping families nurture the healthiest, happiest babies and children. A father of 4 children, Christopher is the former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World (a national nonprofit empowering parents to protect their children from toxic risks), author of a best-selling book , and instrumental in catapulting health message into millions of homes with a collaboration with WebMD.”
The trust that we have with our consumers is everything. We’re really thoughtful about how we batch, formulate and build our products.”
Beyond what we are eager to share from our time with Christopher, there were a few underscored values that continued to shine through as we chatted with him.
Honest Company will always be committed to standards and safety.
Their philosophy is rooted in wanting to minimize the load of preservatives in products.
They strive to show consistency over time and to be genuine.
Q&A with Christopher Gavigan ::
What key areas do you feel are overlooked when it comes to living organically/naturally?
- Women overlook feminine care. What they spray cotton with on feminine care products may not be something you want to put in your body. Our products are sourced from pure organic cotton out of Eastern Europe and batched in Italy. We use a plastic applicator made from bioplastic.
- People don’t notice that with skincare, you need to take into consideration what is being absorbed on your skin, which makes chemical sunscreens another overlooked item. Mineral based sunscreens are important to us, as those stay on top of the skin. We also launched a women’s beauty line, Honest Beauty, centered on an ethos of consciousness sourcing.
- Infant formula is another big one that is important to me personally. We started this 8 ½ years ago, around the time my son, Luke, was born. My wife looked at me and sent me out to get the best formula I could find, and ultimately I couldn’t find any that met my standards. Now, my youngest child is eating the formula I helped create for my oldest. We took a slow, methodical approach to this rooted in ethical sourcing, trusted organic farming, as well as a very conscious effort at how the vitamins and minerals are balanced in the formula.
What would you describe to new and expecting moms to be the reason behind using Honest Company products?
- I think this roots back to Honest being a solutions-based company and also around what your family’s needs are. First time parents don’t always know how to figure out their needs, and as a brand, we have a specific lens for that. We’re parents and educators; experts in these fields, and we want to share that as much as possible. We also know that being new parents is an incredible moment of awakening and also really confusing, which we are sensitive to.
What are your family’s favorite Honest Company products?
- Wipes – These are an essential for anyone. We call them Honest Wipes, not baby wipes. They’re really strong and are made with plant-derived ingredients. They’re multi-purpose, which is an approach we take with a lot of our products. The wipes are the embodiment of that.
- Healing Balm – I use this every day. I slather the Healing Balm on my children’s faces. It’s a nourishing organic salve that is multi-functional for faces, bums, and bodies. It has a natural, herbal scent that I love.
- Conditioning Detangler – I use this on my kids every single morning.
- Diapers – They’re amazing and we offer seasonal and holiday print (Election diapers, Halloween diapers, Winter diapers, and Valentine’s Day diapers).
There’s a conception that green products, such as cleaning or beauty, are considerably more costly for consumers (moms too of course!). Do you think this is a valid viewpoint and if so, how would you describe the benefits to those who may be unsure whether the added cost is worthwhile?
- It goes back to considering whether you’d like to pay your farmer or your pharmacy. You’re making an investment in your health. We live in a society where we are accustomed to getting payback immediately, with immediate gratifications, and we need to understand that making an investment in these higher quality products is really better for our health. Making the investment is benefiting you. As a brand, we invest in high quality ingredients, which cost more, though we do our best to keep costs as low as possible for the consumers.
- In terms of some tips of the trade specifically around food and buying organic – I’d advise people to do what they can. I love the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists (by EWG) as a rule of thumb. If you’re buying fruits and vegetables that are known to be highly sprayed with pesticides and insecticides, I’d recommend purchasing organic. If all organic food isn’t an option, I’d opt to purchase non-organic items for things like bananas (with a peel).
How would you address the controversy over GMOs?
- I’m a huge supporter of labeling. I’m a bigger proponent of the USDA organic labels, as that encompasses GMOs, but I support labeling them.
Now that healthy living has become more mainstream – with organic sections in every grocery store – what do you think is the next frontier for the healthy living movement? In other words, now that companies like yours have the attention of a global audience, what’s next? How do you think we can take that conversation further?
For me, as a brand, when I think about my legacy and what I want to impact, it comes back to the following:
- How do we engage consumers to be more educated in the space of healthier and cleaner living?
- At Honest, we’re setting the stage and taking a leadership position within the industry and if we can encourage others to make a shift in that direction, that’s a win. We want there to be a noticeable impact in the marketplace.
- Government Regulations – there is a lot of work to do here. We’re working with California to get all cleaning products to have full ingredients labeled on packaging. If we can get the chance to do so in California, then we are moving forward to nationwide acceptance. Industry change will start with consumers, and regulatory bodies will follow.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to transition their family/lifestyle to be more “green?”
- It’s really not about “green” for the earth, but more about potential toxicity and human health. That is what Honest is hyper-focused on: healthy, clean, safe products that are non-toxic for you and the environment.
- Pay attention to your cleaning products, everything from laundry detergent to household cleaners. Only a very small percentage have ever been tested, and traditionally they are tested on an 180lb male; not infants. Small amounts can greatly impact an infant’s system; we need to be sensitive to this.
- Avoid anything with a synthetic fragrance. It’s really a trojan horse for synthetic chemicals; many filled with known toxins and potentially harmful ingredients.
- Feminine care is huge. I’d pay attention to this in general and opt for organic.
What brings you to Phoenix and what prompted you to meet with us?
- At this point, we’re 4 ½ years into the brand. My head has been down for the majority of it building a team, and recruiting top talent. I’ve been focused on building amazing products, making sure the brand is protected and guarded, and for me as a brand leader and Co-founder, I don’t get the opportunity to be in the community as much as I like. I want to show people and tell people about the magic inside this brand. I love these opportunities. I love meeting people, and I love serving people (since Honest is truly a service company) like moms, babies, and families.
- You’re always in service throughout your life, so you better focus on something really important to you. When I come to a city, I want to be put in front of as many people as possible, because we find it’s through great recommendations and credible associations that the brand can grow, which incited our meeting today. Creating loyalty and trust in our customers is what we really want, and there is emotion that is connected to that relationship. It’s much deeper than just buying something. So, in talking and communicating with people about our base and our platform, I’m best able to articulate and explain, super passionately, the brand and the history behind it.
What else can you tell us about Honest Company that people may not know?
- We recently moved our headquarters and are so proud of the teams we have built. We’re actively engaged in 5,000-6,000 touch points with our customers every day. We are so thrilled to have a team that is passionately connecting with our members. So much of this is listening to personal stories from moms, and our team is there to passionately talk to them, and to educate them on our products and services. We also take these valuable consumer insights and opinions and drive that back into product innovation. We need there to be informative feedback. We started with 17 products when we launched, and are now over 100. Honest Beauty also has over 75 products.
- Among the four Co-founders, there are 11 children. We definitely knew we had a hit with the gummy vitamins when all of our kids were asking for them every morning (just as they would for candy!).
- I’m in the office every day! My fourth child was born in the spring, and it thrust us back into the world of babies. It is a lot of work but is so great and incredibly fulfilling. My family is so proud of Honest and our efforts.
We can’t thank Christopher enough for this invitation and opportunity; we hope you enjoyed all of this amazing information as much as we did!