Jessica Alba’s current starring role is for the desk screen instead of the big screen as she stars as web entrepreneur in her new project, Honest.com, a site that provides customized bundles of non-toxic, eco-friendly products for parents. We chatted with the Fantastic Four actress about motherhood and why providing healthy, sustainable living for new and growing families is a project close to her heart.
DivineCaroline: What prompted you to create a website like honest.com?
Jessica Alba: Being an actress is my chosen career, but being a mom and providing a healthy lifestyle for my children is my first priority above all else. When I was pregnant with Honor I did a lot of research on the toxicity levels of common household and baby products. What I discovered frightened me. I wanted to change the consumer’s choices as it concerned my family while quickly realizing there wasn’t really anything out there that met my needs, which was getting non-toxic products that are economical and easy to obtain. It was then I decided to work and create a company that would provide parents the peace of mind (that I sought too) for the essentials for every baby and family.
DC: Why the name honest?
JA: We chose "honest" because we want to be a company people can really trust. We want to be transparent about what we make and what we do. It was also important for us to be authentic to ourselves. To be honest, we aren’t perfect, and the business journey is like parenting in the sense we are embracing the journey and always trying to do our best and become better. We are real and tangible people as well as parents that understand what families need. We really want to deliver on that and not be some big corporation with no social consciousness that only cares about making a profit.
DC: What is the site’s purpose?
JA: Well, it's much more than just a site. It is a product, service, culture and hopefully a real-change agent. The Honest Company is a monthly service that delivers customized bundles of non-toxic, eco-friendly, adorable products directly to your front door. And, beyond creating amazingly effective and beautiful products, we also want to have over-the-top awesome service and programs that help parents create healthier homes. Whatever we can do to support healthy, happy families is what we stand for. Fundamentally, we want to re-create the family brand and go way beyond what people expect from a business. We want to do something that makes the world a better place.
DC: Honest.com makes its own products such as detergent, bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, baby oil, diapers and wipes. What kind of experience do you have in the development of these items?
JA: I had zero experience prior to this. That is why I enlisted help from experts and veterans in the health, consumer products, and business fields, like my co-founding partners: Christopher Gavigan (former CEO and Author of Healthy Child Healthy World and 2010 WebMD Health Hero) and Brian Lee (Founder of LegalZoom & ShoeDazzle).
DC: You promote the use of organic products for babies. Why is that so important to you?
JA: Choosing organic is just one way parents can reduce their kids' exposure to unwanted toxic chemicals. Children's health and well-being is really important to me, so promoting a healthier lifestyle is a why we are helping ensure a brighter future for all children and families combined.
DC: You suffered many illnesses as a child such as collapsed lungs, numerous cases of pneumonia and your appendix and tonsils taken out. Because of your past has that played a role in why you are so “pro organic?
JA: Absolutely! I'm convinced some of my physical illnesses and sicknesses were all manifestations of the food I put in my body, the air I was breathing, and the products I used every day. And many credible experts and doctors all agreed.
DC: How has your role as a mom helped you produce this site?
JA: Everything I do and everything I've brought to The Honest Company stems from my perspectives, experiences, challenges, struggles, and what I learned from being a mom. It's fundamentally the same job.
DC: What has been your most difficult challenge in getting this site off of the ground and helping it succeed?
JA: The human capital is always the most important - who's on your team? We all work so closely together, that it's like family. For me, ensuring the right fit, skills, and experience is most essential in my perspective.
DC: What is your hardest obstacle as a mom of two little ones?
JA: The classic answer: getting enough sleep!
DC: Let’s talk logistics of the site. For people who are interested in joining this site, what can they expect to get with their membership?
JA: The Diapers Bundle includes a month's supply of diapers and wipes (based on average usage). The Essentials Bundle includes bath and body care and cleaning products (members get to customize what's included). Members can also expect awesome service and support. I am proud to say not only have we've been getting rave reviews about our products, but we have also received nice compliments about how amazing our support team is.
DC: How much does a membership cost?
JA: A membership to our Diapers Bundle, which costs less than $20 dollars a week, includes a full month's supply of all your child's diapers. Also for a limited time, we are offering a one month supply of wipes. The Family Essentials Bundle, which costs less than $7 dollars a week includes 5 products that members can personalize every month from our Bath & Skin Care and Home Cleaning product lines.
DC: You also donate a portion of the proceeds to charity. Tell me about that?
JA: Charity is really important to me personally and I've made sure to make it a core pillar of The Honest Company. We want to help all families – not just the ones that can afford to buy our products. Having said that, with every product purchased The Honest Company donates product, money, and time to address critical issues affecting families. This year, our nonprofit partner is Baby2Baby, an organization that supplies families in need with essential baby clothing and gear, like baby diapers. As we continue to grow, we will add additional charities, because of our belief in being an active part of transforming this world into a better place.