“Teach them to reduce and reuse first” With Penny Bauder & Cristina Black

Teach them to reduce and reuse first. I believe recycling is overrated, and unfortunately it is not done the way we might think it is. In the US, only 9% of the plastic is recycled, the rest ending up in our landfills. It is important to teach kids to reduce their waste, and how to […]

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Teach them to reduce and reuse first. I believe recycling is overrated, and unfortunately it is not done the way we might think it is. In the US, only 9% of the plastic is recycled, the rest ending up in our landfills. It is important to teach kids to reduce their waste, and how to repurpose things, and be happy with less.

As a part of my series about the strategies that companies are taking to become more sustainable, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cristina Black.

Cris’s Blends is the founder, CEO, and formulator of Cris’s Blends, a clean skin care brand with focus on natural deodorant.

Cristina grew up in Romania, and travelled the world before calling America her home.

In 2017, she launched Cris’s Blends, which was born out of her long time passion for natural skin care, formulating, and a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Growing up, I would often watch and help my grandma, who was a herbalist, formulate and blend her concoctions.

I was exposed to a holistic, healthy lifestyle from a young age, and, as an adult, living this way came naturally. I had always blended my own salves and remedies for my family, just like my grandma used to do for us.

And so, with my passion for an organic lyfestile, and a minor in Chemistry, I decided to make a business out of something I loved and cared about.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

Our mission is to offer an effective natural skin care solution, and inspire healthier choices within the skincare industry.

The clean, natural beauty space has come a long way, in the past few years especially, and consumers are more aware of what they put on their skin these days.

But for the longest time it was thought that natural skincare products don’t work, and this is true for deodorant in particular. Finding a ‘good’ deodorant that works is still hard, and people are having a hard time trusting companies, and they often give up on switching to a natural deodorant and skin care routine.

We’ve created a deodorant that is very effective, made with healthy ingredients, and packaged sustainably. We want to offer the same luxurious experience that the conventional counterpart offers, to make switching easy and long lasting, and to prove that natural does work.

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

Cris’s Blends is a sustainable company at it’s core. From the ingredients we use, to the packaging and all aspects of our operation, we make sure our footprint is minimal.

We took natural deodorant to the next level of sustainability, by proudly introducing our Zero Waste Tube. This is made of sustainably sourced paperboard, recyclable and compostable, and doesn’t end up sitting in landfills or in the ocean. The tube is easily pushed up from the bottom for a smooth and effortless application.

Many chemicals found in skin care will pollute our waterways, where they end up, which may put our wildlife and planet at risk. By using plant based, eco friendly ingredients, we don’t have to worry about our products polluting the Earth.

We are vegan and cruelty free certified. Like our planet, we consider every furry critter special, and we treat them with love and respect. All of our products are never tested on animals, and we don’t use animal by-products in our formulations.

We have reduced shipping packaging waste. Single use materials like plastic are difficult to dispose of, and terrible for our environment. All shipped orders use recyclable, plastic free packaging.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

Fortunately, sustainable practices and transparency are outpacing the sales of conventionally produced products. Over 40% of surveyed global consumers said they will be willing to forgo a brand name in order to buy environmentally friendly products.

For example, many of our customers are happy that we offer a completely Zero Waste Deodorant, and prefer it over the classic plastic tube. The same goes for our other products, for which we do not use extra packaging. Our Serum comes in a glass bottle, without the unnecessary outer box, that is discarded as soon as the product is opened.

So I would say that indie, environmentally friendly brands are becoming more popular, and therefore more profitable. Even big conglomerates are starting to acquire sustainable organic brands for that reason.

The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

Inspiring the next generation’ is a good way to put it. I believe sustainability starts at home, and children learn about it the same way they learn about everything else: by watching us — parents.

  • Lead by example. If you recycle, they will too, if you reduce and reuse, they will grow up to do the same. Make sustainable practices part of their normal life. This way the next generation will think of this as the norm, and hopefully there won’t be such a huge need for a movement or activism in the future.
  • Teach kids that convenience comes at a price, usually at the expense of our planet. Projects where they have to work to create something instead of buying it, like planting vegetables, or making something out of scratch can be very rewarding, and also teaches them to be more sustainable and self sufficient.
  • Teach them to reduce and reuse first. I believe recycling is overrated, and unfortunately it is not done the way we might think it is. In the US, only 9% of the plastic is recycled, the rest ending up in our landfills. It is important to teach kids to reduce their waste, and how to repurpose things, and be happy with less.

Another good idea is to gift children experiences instead of things or toys.

  • Explain to young kids how things are made, and where they are coming from. For example, paper is made out of trees and the meat that you eat is actually an animal. Children instinctively love nature and animals, and they will look at things differently if they knew.
  • Encourage them to voice their opinions. Even if it differs from yours or anyone else’s, their opinion is important at any age. This will encourage them to speak up and do something about anything that they might find wrong.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  • Something I wish someone told me is not to sweat the small stuff. In business as well as in life, it can be time consuming, and nerve wracking to linger over a small detail, that you eventually have no power over, and you can’t change. It’s important to learn to shake it off and move on quickly, or you get stuck.
  • Always be pitching and selling. I thought that my passion and great product would be enough to draw attention. But people won’t find out about you, unless you constantly pitch and get your brand out there.
  • Don’t set your bar too high. I didn’t launch for the longest time because I thought that I wasn’t ready and my platform was not impeccable. I learned along the way that it doesn’t have to be perfect, and that it improves with time and experience.
  • Don’t rely on other people to do a job as well as you do it. It is an impossibility, it will never happen, no matter how well you train them. I am a perfectionist, and luckily, I learned to assign some of my workload to others, before this could negatively affect my business.
  • And finally, as naive as it may seem, I wish someone told me about the importance of social media. I am old school, and in the earlier stages of my business, social media was not a strategy that I wanted to adopt. I later realized the huge positive impact that it had on my brand.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Building a company by bootstrapping, while being a wife and mother to small children is not easy. It gets even harder when the people close to you are not supporting of what you do.

I am grateful for my close family, and especially my two children, for whom I am mainly doing this. They are a constant reminder that I need to go on, and never give up, no matter how hard it gets. If it wasn’t for them my business would probably still be in the hobby stage.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement, it would be somewhere along the lines of Mindful Living. It would be great if we could put an end to fast consumerism.

We spend so much time of our life trying to make money so that we can buy more things. It’s gotten to the stage where things have no more value, and quantity has taken the place of quality.

Disposable, unnecessary, and inexpensive things are inundating our stores and lives, and a single stroll through a store’s isles will prove it. I had to shop for a gift for a friend of mine’s child, and while in the toy section I got overwhelmed by the abundance of different varieties of cheap plastic toys.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to want less, and enjoy more? This fast lifestyle only creates confusion, anxiety and unhappiness. But we can’t achieve change unless we change our mindset first.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’. That is a favourite quote of mine, and it’s especially relevant in the times we are living, where social media is a top priority.

It has two meanings for me. First, you don’t know what someone is going through, so don’t judge the appearances. I learned that the hard way, when I was ill.

And second, don’t let envy settle in when you see all the glamorous photos on social media. Behind all of the apparent success and happiness there is always a different story. Remember that almost no one will post an ugly or unhappy photo of themselves.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

I am very active on Instagram, and I offer useful tips and advice on how to successfully switch to a natural skincare routine. I also have regular giveaways and sales events on social media. I want people to have a chance to try my products before making the decision to purchase.

This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Thank you so much for having me, and for giving me the opportunity to talk about Cris’s Blends and our mission to offer effective, sustainable skincare.

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