A few months ago, my friend Ann commissioned me to do some portraits for a brand new business venture she had in the works. We met on a very humid day in a nature reserve north of Toronto to take the portraits in a beautiful, lush natural environment that would echo the theme of her business.
Yesterday, Ann launched the brand new website for Greenaby Body Care, a Vancouver-based online shop that sells natural and organic body care products. She has a great lineup of carefully selected products that would excite anyone who understands the importance of seeking out products free of harmful chemicals. I'm personally looking forward to picking up this face oil and this lip butter for my kit.
To set the tone for her portraits, I created a makeup look that was ultra natural, and that played up her beautiful complexion. The light on the day of our shoot was gorgeously overcast, which lent a nice softness to her photos. Something about the haze in the air that day, the setting, and Ann's photogenic nature made for a magical combination and some of my personal favourite photos from this year.
As a small businessperson myself, I always love hearing about how people get started, so I thought it might be interesting to accompany the photos with a short interview with Ann about Greenaby, its mission and offerings. Here we go!
Where did the idea for Greenaby Body Care come from?
I think the idea for Greenaby was always somewhere deep down inside, but it needed a push to come forward. I have always been interested in health and wellness and after doing reading and research about what was actually in some of the creams, shampoos, lip balms, and other products I was using I knew that I would never look at them the same way again. That’s when I started seeking out natural alternatives. I would go to about four different stores in [Vancouver] to find my favourites and still buy products online!
The aha moment, however, came to me this past spring. Following my passion for wellness, I decided to study holistic nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. In the first month of class, we were learning the fundamentals of how the quality of food affects our health and the instructor mentioned how it’s also important to consider at what’s going into our bodies via our body care and household cleaning products. She suggested that we look at the Skin Deep database (a fantastic resource) to see how our own products measured on their “clean scale,” but she didn’t really recommend any resources of where to buy products other than at a health food store.
Personally, I was getting tired of going to all these different health stores, and I also didn’t want to buy my skin care products at the same place I buy my produce. I wanted something a bit more fancy, more boutique-like where everything was natural or organic and where local products were centre-stage. That same day I decided that I would open my dream boutique online to share the products I love with others. Everything about this idea felt right, and I started working on it that very week.
What does the name Greenaby mean?
To me, “Greenaby” embodies being green and living in harmony with nature. It’s a play on the words “be” and “green.”
What are some of your favourite products that your shop offers?
That’s such a hard question, because I love absolutely everything! But right now I’m really obsessed with:
1. Vitamine & Sea Shaving Cream. It’s great because it doesn’t come off easily in the shower, so you have enough time to shave your legs. It’s unscented, super moisturizing, and comes in the cutest container. It’s unisex, so it’s a fantastic product for men as well.
2. Belmondo’s The Balm lip balm. It looks like a lip balm, but goes on like a gloss! I don’t know why I waited so long to try this one, because now it’ll always have a home in my purse.
3. Jordan River Soapworks’ Get Whipped with Rose Body Butter. I love everything rose-scented, so I smile every time open the container. This body butter is super moistening and made with organic coconut oil and shea butter. It also comes in lavender and original coconut.
4. Aide Bodycare’s Black Moon handmade soap. This soap is made with activated charcoal to help draw toxins out of skin. It’s white with a black circle in the middle and looks super cute in bathroom! Aide Bodycare also makes a similar soap for men with a black bowtie in the middle of the soap instead of a moon.
5. Helena Lane Skincare Argan and Frankincense Serum. Before starting Greenaby Body Care I didn’t really use face oil or serum because I thought it would make my skin oily, but I have been converted. This serum is super absorbent and leaves my skin feeling soft and gorgeous, not oily.
Why is it important for people to seek out green products?
According to US researchers, we use an average of 9 personal care products every day. These products contain 126 unique ingredients. There are about 10,500 chemicals used in body care products today, many of which have not been tested for safety. Their interactions with each other and their long-term affects on human health are unknown. Our skin can absorb around 60% of what is put on it (the absorption rate depends on the particular chemical).
So, in a sense everything that goes on our body, goes into our body. Some ingredients commonly used in body care are linked to allergic reactions, as well as more serious conditions like hormone disruptions, development issues, and even cancer. Also, our skin often responds better to natural ingredients than synthetic ones. Today’s generation of truly green, natural products can therefore be more effective than conventional synthetic ones. If you want to learn more you can visit the Why Go Green page on Greenaby.ca.
What makes you most excited about launching this new business?
Having finally found something that I am truly passionate about and being able to do every single day is super exciting. I feel blessed to be able to work with some amazing people and companies that are doing their part to change the world. Everyone is so passionate and engaged, and being part of that movement, that momentum is truly exciting.
Ann, thank you again for allowing me to be connected to your business in some small way. I wish you all the best of luck with Greenaby!