ItÂ makes perfect senseÂ that Lake LouiseÂ would one day become an eco-conscious teacher and CEO. After all, her name is a body of water and she grew up in San Franciscos’sÂ Haight-Ashbury—aÂ district widely known for its hippie culture in the 60s. BeforeÂ launchingÂ beauty and wellnessÂ products company Skin, Mind, Body Essentials, the Stanford graduate found her way at the University of Costa Rica, teaching environmental sustainability and eco-responsibility. Her love for mother nature and commitment to healthy living transcends beyond recycling plastic bottles, as she incorporates green consciousness into her entire lifestyle… including her beauty regimen. Louise’s added business wit has made her a highly sought after keynote speaker and educator in the body care industry. BlackEnterprise.com caught up with theÂ EcoPreneur to get a few jewels on the business and marketing of “green” beauty.
BlackEnterprise.com:Â You’re what the business world calls an “EcoPreneur.” What exactly is that?
Lake Louise: This term has only recently been coined, and the definitions can vary depending on who you ask. I define an EcoPreneur as someone who at their core is very passionate about social, economic and environmental justice, which is demonstrated through their hiring practices, employee salaries and benefits, the vendors they choose to do business with, and the non-profit organizations they support. An EcoPreneur is a business owner who considers how the consequences of their business decisions affect the planet and its people, and makes adjustments accordingly to keep the footprint as small as possible while still making a profit that sustains the business and its employees.
A lot of consumers may not necessarily correlate green efficiency and beauty. How are the two connected?
I actually think it’s shifting and people are seeing the connection very clearly. Many may not use the term “green,” but part of living a green/sustainable lifestyle is not just about what we put in our bodies, butÂ on our bodies as well. People are reading labels and making the connection between ingredients that they eat and their personal care products more and more. They may not call it “green,” but concern about the safety of ingredients is the beginning of that journey. Every day we hear from people who describe their skin as sensitive or say they are allergic to makeup. They may not know the how’s and why’s, but they know how their bodies react to the products they use and many have had bad reactions to certain chemicals, so they avoid using makeup or certain skin care products. Many are beginning to connect the dots. We believe that if consumers are given an option to buy products that doÂ not contain harmful ingredients and give them the result they are looking for, they will make a change in their purchasing habits. But they still may not call it “being green.”
What other business opportunities do you see in this space of green beauty?
There are so many factors that need to be considered when wanting to label a business model as a “green business.”Â This includes products, such as jewelry made with sustainable materials, lingerie made with organic cotton, and board games to name a few. There is also a growing demand for organic personal care lubricants. It is my belief that any business can be converted into a green business when it considers the sustainability of the people, planet, and profit. All three must be considered in the eco-friendly business industry. Products made in the U.S. are considered green because they are manufactured here as opposed to the products produced overseas. Being green is also about providing jobs in the community. It’s highly important for a green business owner to be passionate and model a healthy lifestyle before exposing their company to consumers.
How do you market the merging of green-consciousness and beauty so that it is attractive to customers?
We don’t overtly market the green factor. For some consumers it can actually be a turn-off because it is often associated with tree huggers or people who are vegans or vegetarians. Our experience shows that customers are actively seeking and craving this union between green, i.e. safe, non-toxic and beauty, without labeling it as “green.” That being said, women aren’t going to give up their lipstick or eye creams in order to save the planet; that is just a fact. So, first and foremost, our products have to deliver results. Once people try them and realize how great they are, the green element (by that we mean sustainable business practices throughout the company as well as our products) becomes an added bonus without them even being aware of it. People understand that going green is not a trend or a fad, and they are looking for ways to incorporate healthier living practices in all aspects of their lives. We don’t use the term “green,” but rather language that is more universally understood, such as “healthy,” “wellness,” “safe” and “non-toxic.” The rewarding results for us are that we can provide quality products that honor the principles of green living. We like to call it, “Looking good while doing good.”
Here is a case in point. We just received an email on December 30th from a woman looking for products for her nephew: “My nephew who is 16 has problems with acne as well as the dark scars left behind after the inflammation is gone. Because he is African American, the dark scars show up even more and he uses skin bleaching products with hydroquinone to try and get rid of them. The facial wash he uses is some type of prescription product from a dermatologist. I think these products are damaging his skin rather than helping. Which of your products work great for teenage skin? I want to help him find a regimen that will yield great results and most importantly one that will be easy for him to stick with.” This tells us that she thinks the prescription product is harmful and she is looking for a safer alternative. She noticed how we describe our products to promote and provide safe and healthy ingredients for skin conditions such as hyper-pigmentation.
Go onto the next pageÂ and read to what Louise credits S.M.B’s success.