Lacey Swartz, Owner of KV Organics, is all about creating a safe, sustainable lifestyle for her family and helping other moms in their quest for the same. A visit to her blog will get you valuable, insider information that the personal care and supplement industries do NOT want you to know. A one-on-one personal care consultation with Lacey will gain you a friend who will help you create a safer home and more sustainable lifestyle for your family.
Wife, mom to 4, Consultant & Ecopreneur in the organic personal care industry, Lacey is always on the move but obviously thrives in all of her roles. I caught up with Lacey this week and had a chance to find out a how she keeps her family safe from toxic chemicals and how she helps her clients do the same.
EB: How did you become interested in organics?Lacey: Like many people, I first became aware of and interested in organics when I became a parent. Protecting my children from the antibiotics and artificial growth hormones in dairy and meats was my first step. Then it grew to avoiding pesticides on produce and on to reducing our chemical exposures from personal care products and so on. About 6 years into this journey, I read a book that kicked my interest up a whole 'nother notch. Now, my passion for organics is about more than just my family's health. It's about human health on a broader scale, supporting sustainable agriculture worldwide, protecting the future for the generations to come, and fulfilling our responsibility to care for all creation.
EB: Are organic products worth the extra cost? Is there really a benefit to using them?Lacey: Great questions. Each person will determine worth, or value, differently, so for some, the subjective answer may be no. But, when you look at the health benefits of avoiding synthetic chemicals and using living organic ingredients, combined with the global benefits of supporting sustainable agriculture as much as possible, I believe the answer to both these questions is yes. And the more people who begin to make these lifestyle changes, the better off everyone will be. When people begin adopting more natural and preventative approaches to health, and are empowered with knowledge and resources to do so, our current 'sickness care' system and the planet have a greater hope of being restored to a sustainable state.
EB: Aren't products you find at the local market just as effective and safe as organics?Lacey: Another great question - which is really two questions. What is "effective" can vary from person to person, depending on a huge array of factors such as skin or hair type, allergies or sensitivities, and other lifestyle factors. And of course, many of the synthetic chemicals used in personal care products today are designed to get quicker, unnatural results or to put a band-aid over underlying health and lifestyle issues. But at what cost? Many of them are potentially toxic also. Are products at the local stores as safe as organics? That would depend on the ingredients of the particular product. Chances are good though that it contains synthetic chemicals which may or may not be safe.
There are arguments on either side of the debate over these synthetic chemicals. Only about 10% of them have been fully evaluated for safety and even then, they have often not been tested over decades of daily use or in combination with other ingredients. Personally, I believe the answer is no, conventional products are not as safe as organics. If there is any concern - which research suggests there is - as to the potential toxicity of the conventional products, and there are truly organic alternatives available, I prefer to apply the precautionary principle and go organic.
My experience with the Miessence products has been that they are just as effective or more so than the conventional products - though not in quick-fix or band-aid type ways. In some cases, the transition to truly organic products needs a little time and patience, depending on the product and what you've been using. For example, the facial cleanser, shampoo, and deodorant were very different in feel than the semi-natural and conventional products I had used prior to Miessence, and they took some getting used to for a few weeks. But I followed the usage tips and advice of the Rep who introduced me to the products, and the results were great - without the toxic synthetic chemicals. Well worth it.
EB: As cost may be an issue for a family on a budget, what products would be most important to purchase? Where do you get the most bang for your buck?Lacey: This is a tough question as the answer may vary from family to family based on family dynamics, makeup, budgets, and what their unique needs are. It's so personal, I honestly can't even answer it in a general response, but I'm happy to consult with people individually to answer their questions along these lines (and if your readers contact me and reference this post, I will waive my usual consultation fees for them any time in April).
However, with regard to cost and budget issues, there are a couple general insights I'd like to share. No matter what products you are considering, always look beyond the 'sticker price' to the price per ounce and the quality of what you're getting. Ask a company representative about how much product is typically used and how long a bottle will typically last. Also, ask about other factors such as tax, shipping, other benefits included in the price, and any ways to save.
For example, the cost of the Miessence products includes their ethical, organic ingredient sourcing, carbon-negative manufacturing and global shipping practices, and their fully recyclable, non-leaching packaging (with compostable packaging under research and development). Even at full retail prices, they are in line with a mid-range price point (not cheap drug store prices, but also not ritzy glitzy department store prices), and that's minus the toxic ingredients and net burden on the planet of common product lines, packaging, and company operations.
I also greatly appreciated that Miessence uses the direct sales model for business. This enables them to pass savings along to customers on a regular basis. For example, customers can become Lifestyle Members and receive 20% off their products all the time. It also enables customers who wish to, to earn their products for free. My first goal as a Rep was to earn my products for free, and I was able to achieve that within a few months. Many people stop there because that's all they want. Of course, I've decided to continue on and grow an income working with the company, but as a customer myself, I love that I was able to effectively trade work for products. Now instead of personal care and nutritional products costing my family money, they're free.
The average spending on personal care and vitamin supplement products for most households is between $600-$1000 per year. In our household now, that's money saved simply because the company gave me the option to trade work for product - and gave me excellent support and training to achieve those goals. Most product lines do not offer their customers a no-strings, no-obligation, free account for 20% off all the time, let alone the option to earn products for free if they wish.
EB: What is more important, local or organic?Lacey: The local vs organic debate is a hot one. Ideally we want both, right? There are two reasons for wanting local - environmental (reduced shipping burdens in terms of carbon emissions from transport) and economic (supporting local economies). Similar to price issues, we need to get in the habit of asking more questions to get to the bottom of things and weigh out the best decisions for our values. I value local, but I also view my local community, state, and country as part of the 'global village' and so I greatly value innovative and creative global partnerships.
As bizarre as it sounds, purchasing my products from Miessence and having them shipped direct to me from the manufacturer - even from all the way in Australia - actually makes more sense environmentally speaking because the company works with a non-profit reforestation group to more than offset their carbon emissions from global shipping. And economically speaking, Miessence is supporting many local economies around the world through ingredient sourcing and business. They source ingredients from US organic farmers, as well as farmers around the world, and they are offering meaningful, independent work opportunities to potentially thousands here in this country - at a time when work is sorely needed.
I am thankful to live in the US, but I'm not big on the "America is better than everyone else" mentality. I really appreciate the global-local balance that Miessence has created through their innovative approach to business. So, instead of asking 'local or organic,' how about we go for organic AND local-global?
EB: What are your top 3 tips for a mom trying to create a safer, more sustainable lifestyle for her family?Lacey: Tip #1 - Start with something simple. One of the reasons I have made my professional niche in the personal care realm is because it is such an easy place for people to start, or an easy next step to take. Whether you are low maintenance or high maintenance, whether you use 3 products daily or 13, it's a simple matter of swapping out your toxic products for healthy and sustainable alternatives. Each family will find different things simpler than others. Find what works for you and get started on the green journey.
Tip #2 - Keep learning, changing, and growing. There is no end to the green changes you can make in your life. Take one step at a time and make changes as you are able to do so given the direction in which your unique journey leads and the variables in your situation.
Tip #3 - Resist the urge to compare. This journey of greener, more sustainable living has many different entry points, perspectives and winding paths. And the goal is not to make humanity all look one certain eco-hip way. Creation flourishes in diversity - including humanity. As long as people are living more mindfully of these issues and taking tangible steps toward living more sustainably, each path, personality, and journey can look different. When we embrace that, we can then humbly and lovingly discuss, encourage, challenge, and support one another along the way.
A big "Thank you!" to Lacey for slowing down long enough to answer my questions. I love that she is sharing what she knows and is so committed to helping moms create greener, more sustainable lifestyles for their families. Feel free to shoot Lacey an email and tell her I sent you to receive a FREE CONSULT during Aprils' Earth Month!
Sponsored Post by KV Organics