In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re profiling six women who are pulling the world in a greener, more sustainable direction. As a woman-owned brand, I LIVE ECO is proud to support all women who are working hard and creating something of their own.
Brandi Leifso, CEO of Evio Beauty
A tumultuous childhood led Brandi Leifso to drop out of school when she was just 14. At 21, Brandi found herself living in a women’s shelter, unsure of where she’d go next. But none of the obstacles in her way stopped Brandi from pursuing her dream of starting a beauty and makeup line.
Today, Evio has grown to become a leading line of conscious skincare, and in 2018, it became the first Canadian company to be accepted into Sephora’s 2018 Accelerate Program, which supports women founders of cosmetic companies. In an interview with Hempster, Brandi said, “I wanted to build an army of empowered women who were creating change through small, intentional, conscious actions every single day.” There’s still time to sign up for our Spring Box, which includes an Evio face mask.
Candice Grenier, Founder of Pure Anada Inc.
When Candice Grenier noticed she had become sensitive to some of the products and chemicals she used in her hairstyling work, she really began looking at the health costs of her beauty habits. On the Pure Anada website, Candice says, “I was surprised to learn that the cosmetic industry is not well regulated and that many ingredients are not tested for their long-term safety.”
This wake-up call led Candice to start “greening” her own cosmetics stash by eliminating chemical-filled products and making her own natural makeup. In 2005 she turned her passion into her business when she founded Pure Anada, a Manitoba-based cosmetics company with a full range of cruelty-free, allergen-free, all Canadian-made beauty company.
And it’s not just the final products that are good for the world. All along the supply chain, the ingredients are ethically sourced. Pure Anada works with a women’s co-op in West Africa for shea butter, and her supplier of Mica from India funds housing, schools and daycares, ensuring that the ethically mined ingredient isn’t being produced with child labour.
Joy Yap, Founder & CEO Wyld Skincare
Wyld Skincare is more than a passion project for Joy Yap, it’s personal. Joy, who started Wyld only four short years ago, suffered from a skin condition called Ichthyosis as a child, and she spent years trying to manage her own excessively dry skin. Because of her condition, Joy grew up with an interest in natural, healthy skincare. Now Joy’s business sells all-natural cleansers, bath soaks, and their signature item, an exfoliating sponge made 100% from the Konjac plant.
Wyld (which stands for “What You Love Doing”) has one simple philosophy: Kindness first, always. And they don’t just say it, they live it. Wyld donates a percentage of each sale from their products to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. And Wyld never uses single-use plastic or styrofoam. There’s still time to sign up for our Spring Box, which includes a Konjac sponge from Wyld!
Toni Desrosiers, Founder & CEO Abeego
Entrepreneurship has been Toni Desrosiers’ path since childhood, and her entrepreneurial spirit only continued to grow. In 2008, the Victoria-based nutritional consultant was considering her next business venture when she learned that 40% of food consumers bring home is wasted, often because it has been stored improperly. Toni looked at foods in their natural state, such as onions, avocados and oranges, and realized that their natural storage system — their skins — were breathable, while traditional plastic food storage systems were not. This research led Toni to develop Abeego — a natural beeswax food wrap that protects food from air and moisture while allowing the food to breathe naturally.
Toni won the 2018 RBC Women Entrepreneur Trailblazer award and noted at the time that for an entrepreneur to succeed, “you need to know why you’re doing business. Not just what or how you’re doing what you’re doing.”
Kirsten Dickerson, Founder Raven + Lily
Ethical fashion is en vogue these days, but for Kirsten Dickerson, fair-trade fashion has been a years-long passion that she translated into a successful business over 10 years ago.
In 2008, after 15 years of working in social justice and as an art director for the film and fashion industries, Kirsten founded Raven + Lily, an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand, with a goal of creating and sustaining employment opportunities for women around the world. And it's not just the artisans around the world that benefit from her business, but also people close to home. Raven + Lily works to sustain local employees and office infrastructure in Austin, when so many fast fashion brands have outsourced these functions to low-cost areas overseas.
If you want to keep your eco-footprint small and your fashion evergreen, Kristen offers some sage advice: “Slow down, buy less, and be willing to ask yourself questions like: Do I love this? Will I wear it for at least two years? Will it last for 30 wears? Do I know the story about who and how it was made?” Because being intentional about our fashion can help us be greener in our world.
Gen Atangan, Founder & CEO I LIVE ECO
A traveler, businesswoman and philanthropist, Gen came by her inspiration for I LIVE ECO honestly. After years of climbing the corporate ladder, it was a trip to her homeland that made Philippines-born Gen take a step back. During her trip, Gen was given a bamboo straw for her drink, and the idea for I LIVE ECO was born.
She wanted to bring this green idea back to Toronto, while fulfilling a deep desire to help the children of her homeland. That’s why 1% of I LIVE ECO’s monthly revenue goes back to children’s charities in the Philippines. The green subscription box allows Gen to give her subscribers the tools they need to start living more eco every season. Each subscriber is a partner to Gen, working towards loving, honoring, and healing our planet together.