Where are busy moms supposed to turn when they want to create a healthy environment for their families, but don't have the time or the money to be running around town to get all the products they need? Believe it or not, they can now look to Jessica Alba to get the goods! The actress and mother of two — Honor, 3, and Haven, 7 months — recently gave birth to her third child, The Honest Company, a subscription-based, eco-friendly, and toxin-free baby-product and household-item company with Christopher Gavigan, the former CEO and author of Healthy Child, Healthy World. Though best known for her onscreen work in Fantastic Four and Dark Angel, Jessica's giving herself a bit of a career makeover, and I spoke with her about her new venture. Check out the highlights of our conversation below, and come back tomorrow for the rest of our conversation — including details about her upcoming book and her thoughts on the toughest part of motherhood.
On the current state of eco family living:
"For me, I felt that as a parent, it was confusing to filter through the clutter of what was truly eco, what eco meant, was it the packaging, or is it because of the ingredients that are inside. The greenwashing confusion for me as a parent was tough. Then there's a company that does a great detangler, and another company does a great shampoo, and another company does a great floor cleaner, and then another company would do a great dish soap. I would have to go to literally a minimum of 10 different brands — and they're all distributed in different places — to put together my house. And the other thing, unfortunately, is the price point for most of it is outside of what most people can afford. Just when it comes to the social injustice of, you can't really create the safest and most healthy home for kids unless you make a certain amount of money. Everyone should have access to healthy and safe products."
On why she wanted to start The Honest Company:
"It was a combination of wanting it all from one company, it all being really truly eco [and] healthy, and then it all being affordable. I've [also] found that when companies did take the time to do the right formulations, there's really no attention paid to beauty and the aesthetics of it. So when you look at it on the shelf next to a company that does pay attention, if it was eco, it was a green leaf, or it was beige, or it was oatmeal-colored. I'm a modern, colorful person and I like beautiful things. If I'm going to be changing my baby's diaper all day — which I am — or I'm going to be using household cleaners, I'd really like it to be aesthetically pleasing, if it can."
Keep reading to see where Jessica gets her design inspiration and where the company may expand next!
On her design inspiration:
"I traveled a lot in Australia, Asia, Canada, and Europe, so I put together this suite of things I've collected along the way — things that I've thought were beautiful. Even here in the states, there are some great mom-and-pop handmade things that are really beautiful as well. Different prints and different things like that. And what is the essence of your child? For me, it's not about them embodying a cartoon character or a fantasy character — it's about them being creative and creating their own fantasy character, becoming whoever they want to be in their little diapers. So if the anchors spur a nautical vision for a little boy who wants to be a sailor or a pirate, that's cool, that's fun, and it goes beyond a character that they see in a cartoon."
On expanding beyond diapers, body, and cleaning to clothing:
"I think it's the natural progression. The beauty of a company like ours is that we are quite nimble and can go into different product categories. Certainly lifestyle is a big part of it. Once we have the needs met and fulfilled in the personal care and house-cleaning areas — and we're still expanding that — we have talked about [expanding]. We're totally into clothing and layette and bedding. It would be fun to do all of that. I actually have lots of silhouettes and designs started — and completely fleshed out! It's just a matter of when it makes sense to roll out that phase. "