Isle de Nature is fortunate to be part of the Clear Givings marketplace, all about brands that are sustainable, humane & ethical and give back to the world.
We interviewed Clear Givings' founder, Ann Dinh about what motivates her.
Why did you decide to launch Clear Givings?
A diagnosis of kidney cancer (now cancer free for 7 years) compelled me to take a deeper look at the toxic consequences of many consumer products and to realize the importance of providing consumers with resources to make healthy purchasing decisions for the environment and public health, as well as my own sense of well being.
You are an "older" founder (like me), is this what you envisioned yourself doing at this age?
To be truthful, I didn't. Aria, my daughter and partner, is extremely concerned about climate change and its dire consequences. She conceived the idea of offering the consumers a platform where they are empowered to vote with their pocket book for sustainable, fair trade practices that are good for the people AND the planet. I didn't need to be convinced.
What types of brands do you see gravitating to the platform?
Behind the brands that have become a part of the Clear Givings team so far, have been incredibly passionate, innovative, and forward-thinking people that make them possible. I've noticed that the brands who join Clear Givings market aren't going after "trendy" issues. Instead, they are trying to make the biggest impact possible to make the world a better place. Many of the brands that Clear Givings carries have inspirational humanitarian causes that they either support or have created themselves. We honestly feel honored to be working with such amazing people.
Who is your typical consumer who buys from Clear Givings?
Definitely the eco-conscious individuals who care about making choices that support health and wellness for themselves and their families with clean and green products; they also care deeply about making purchasing choices that will positively impact our planet as well as future generations.
What do you think is the hardest part of being a sustainable brand?
The largest barrier is that sustainably made items are often more expensive than other products. People are used to buying things in bulk that are mass produced and made with the cheapest materials and labor, for a fraction of the price of our products. However, sustainable materials and production methods are not as accessible, so manufacturers have to pay more to create these products, and they often pay their workers much higher wages. The cost of sustainable certification also adds on to the product’s price. Sustainability is an investment, so it may require a higher down payment, but the products are made with high quality materials that will last longer and have a much smaller environmental impact and will create less waste. People who understand this and have the budget to buy sustainable products will often pay the extra gladly, but until the demand for sustainable products increases and more companies convert to sustainable practices, it remains an inaccessible market for lower income families.
What is a step brands can take to become more sustainable?
According to the EPA, plastic packaging waste makes up 30% of US total waste annually. Most of this packaging cannot be recycled and just goes immediately to the landfill. Packaging materials have such a short lifespan, and with the increase in online shopping, packaging waste will only continue to grow. By minimizing packaging or using compostable, reusable, or recyclable materials, companies can prevent a lot of unnecessary waste and minimize the resources, energy, and emissions previously required to ship their products. In addition, using less packaging can even save them money.
Share some stories about what it's like to work with your daughter.
It’s challenging, heart warming, and inspiring. Oddly enough, it’s reversed psychology. Instead of thinking of Aria as my daughter, I often think of Aria as my boss! Sometimes when I am taking a break and chatting with someone, once Aria walks into the room, I would say to whomever I am with: Oops, my boss is here, I gotta get back to work! And I ran back to my desk!
I know I am biased, Aria has many wonderful qualities, she’s loving, kind, funny, thoughtful, passionate about good causes and unusually perceptive. She keeps both of us on our toes with the principle of service and excellence to our brands, and to our customers. I truly want to make her proud, so together, we work quite hard to deliver our company’s mission. Working with my daughter is both challenging and gratifying.
What are some of your favorite sustainable brands?
To be truthful to you, MASAMI has recently become one of our family's favorite brands! We were so delighted to discover that sustainability and luxuriousness are synonymous in MASAMI hair care products. We also love other brands and products on our site. Each brand has been carefully vetted for quality, sourcing, fair trade, sustainability. We are honored to host a group of dedicated professionals who took the time to research and deliver to the public eco-friendly products that are beautiful and luxurious.