Here’s an article recently featured on theakiraconcept.com, highlighting Green Beaver’s Founder,
This week’s member highlight is Alain Menard … he is the founder of Green Beaver, where he doesn’t just make healthier personal care products, he claims to “take care of people” … how refreshing and wonderful is that? We need more human in our consumer goods and grateful for Alain’s leadership and heart. In 2002, Alain and his wife, Karen Clark combined their years of experience and knowledge as biochemists and microbiologists to offer an alternative to the many dangerous chemicals on the market. They are based in Hawkesbury, Ontario, and are now proudly a multi- national brand.
We hope you enjoy our dialogue with Alain, and we encourage you to visit the Favourite Things Studio in The Wellness Intelligence Collective to read about the Green Beaver products we rely on (and get a special member discount code).
Most conventional skincare brands have lines specially made for men and for women. Why doesn’t Green Beaver?
Yes, men and women are different but for certain things we are actually prey similar and do not always need different products. A lot of it is marketing. For example, deodorant for men and women contain the exact same ingredients except for the scent. The only other difference between the two is the size. Women’s deodorants tend to be smaller but sell for the same price as the larger men’s version!
What is the coolest thing to see in your factory?
The tube filling machine is really cool. It makes me think of the “How it’s made” show every time I watch it work. As one tube is being aligned, another is being filled while another tube is being crimped while another is being lot coded. All at the same time!
Can organic sunscreens protect us from UV rays?
Very much. All sunscreens, natural or chemical, have to be tested the same way according to a protocol set by Health Canada. Only pre- approved specialized laboratories can do the testing. They apply sunscreens to people of different skin tones and UV zap them. They measure the amount of time it takes for their skin to get a lile reddish. That is how they determine the SPF number.
How do you make your products smell so good?
The majority of our products are scented using organic essential oils. Some, like lavender, are very floral while others like vetiver are very woodsy. Sometimes we make our own blends. For certain products such as our Green Beaver Junior line for babies and kids, we use a certified organic food flavouring (the same kind you would find in organic breakfast cereals, for example). Although they are meant to be eaten, organic food flavouring also smells great. On extra sensitive skin, it’s very gentle. We are proud to buy our organic food flavouring from a Canadian flavour house called Bonnie and Don Flavours in Mississauga.
Why should someone switch to a natural toothpaste?
Over consumption of Fluoride is toxic. That is why conventional toothpastes with fluoride contain a warning on their packaging stating to contact a poison control center should a child younger than six swallow their toothpaste. Furthermore, many toothpastes also contain a synthetic soap called sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, dyes, colours, etc. Yuck! I have met many people in the last 15 years that use natural toothpastes. They all have one thing in common. They could never go back to conventional toothpaste.
Is there a Green Beaver product you use everyday without fail?
My daily regime includes our frosty-mint Castile liquid soap as a head-to-toe wash, ultra-whitening toothpaste, freedom aluminum free antiperspirant, green tea with aloe face cream and a lip balm. I do not use our shampoos or conditioners because I have no hair left!
Do babies and kids need different skincare products than us?
For the most part, no. A wholesome natural product should be safe enough for the whole family.
A lot of it has to do with marketing. Sunscreen is a classic example. We have been brainwashed to think that we need a sunscreen for babies, kids and one for adults. They are all the same. Actually, Health Canada or the FDA do not distinguish or approve baby, kids or adult sunscreens. They approve sunscreens – period!
The only difference between our kids and adult sunscreens is the packaging. The sunscreen lotion inside both products is exactly the same. Most parents want to buy a sunscreen for their child that says “KIDS” on the packaging, so we have a kids’ line. Of course, our sunscreens are safe for everyone.
What is the best way for a consumer to know if something is truly clean and green?(We don’t stand for greenwashing!)
The only true way is if the product is certified by a recognized certifier with good standards. Examples would be Ecocert, BDIH, and NSF.
Has running your skin care company changed how you eat?
We changed our whole lifestyle when we started working on developing our natural products. Not only did we stop using conventional personal care products and household cleaners, we started eating organic foods whenever available.
How did you choose “Green Beaver” as a company name and “mascot”?
My wife and co-founder, Karen, and I both wanted a name that would convey “natural” and “Canadian” thus “green” and the “beaver”. I really wanted to call the company Green Moose however Karen though that a beaver was cuter than a moose.
Why do you think we should shop from local companies?
It’s more than just about job creation. By using our products, you are also helping to reduce the amount of pesticides being spread across our land. I would love to see more Canadian companies come out with eco-certified products using Canadian-grown organic ingredients. In addition to offering healthier products, they would also be converting conventional Canadian farm land that is currently being sprayed by pesticides to wholesome organic farm land. We, our bees and the rest of our environment would all benefit from more Canadian organic land.
What’s the most hippie thing about you personally?
I try to live off the land as much as I can. We have 6 acres where we have major big league gardens, a greenhouse, a tractor and 3 laying hens. I planted 100 tomato plants this year. This will make a lot of tomato sauce to share!
What is your favorite morning ritual?
I like to start my day slowly. Very slowly. I start with a glass of water. This is important as we lose
moisture during sleep. I like to walk around the house doing minor stretches. Nothing strenuous. Your mind and body were shut off for many hours, don’t just jump start them. That’s harsh. Well, for me anyway. I try not to let my mind start thinking about issues or challenges that I know I may need to deal with that day. I try focusing on the positive stuff that I have going in my life. After an hour or so, my hunger wakes up. I love a good healthy breakfast !
Traveller or homebody?
I do like to travel however I prefer to be a homebody. I like to spend time with my family but I also need a healthy dose by myself. I do this when working alone in the gardens, wood carving, etc…
Any parenting advice to other entrepreneurs?
Your family has to take priority over your company. At times, this will be very challenging. Make sure that the time you spend with your family is quality time. Don’t be thinking about your company while spending time with them. This can be very hard. Sometimes, I would talk to them about what I was living at work with them in order to get off my mind. Only after I did this could I shut off work in my mind and spend quality time with them.
What does Wellness Intelligence mean to you?
To me, it means to live a ‘well balanced’ life. This means having a healthy equilibrium between our family, friends and our occupation as well as between what we consume and our environment. If it is not sustainable, it can’t be right. By living a well balanced life, one can reach a mindfulness state easier.
Every week, we feature a member in our Collective Member Interview series … something fun to help us all get to know each other better. If you would like us to interview you, please let us know!