Environmental consciousness is rapidly coming to the forefront of consumer culture.
We at Purple Urchin welcome this development with open arms.
Does it benefit us as a retailer of eco-friendly products?
As a company who has striven to embrace environmental awareness through our practices such as waste reduction, use of vegan/vegetarian and all-natural ingredients, buying & selling locally and more – on the whole, yes it does.
But that’s not the big reason driving our support for it.
We sat down with Purple Urchin founder Rebecca Pereira to discuss how and why PU has been a leader in eco friendly products.
Welcome Aboard the Eco Friendly Product Movement
At Purple Urchin, we’re truly pleased to see that other companies, from mom-and-pop operations to multinational conglomerates, are getting on board the movement for eco friendly products.
Welcome aboard! We’ve been here all along!!
Honestly, though, the more the merrier.
The more people are made aware of what can and must be done to protect our planet and the people & animals who inhabit it, the better off we’ll all be.
The more people are talking about how we can make this a better world, rightly so, there’s reason for optimism.
At Purple Urchin, we’re more than just talk. We’ve been walking the walk from Day 1.
How Purple Urchin Has Proudly Played a Role on the Front Lines – One Bar of Soap at a Time – From Day 1 Onward
Rebecca Pereira reflects on what it was like at PU back in the day.
“When I first started the business, I had to do a lot of educating about why natural ingredients were better, and what could or could not be done as far as product formulations when using only natural oils and additives. I had to try and convince people that they didn't need antibacterial soap with triclosan, and that it was causing hormone disruptions in frogs and other small animals, or that essential oils could be just as effective at managing acne as synthetic ingredients.”
Purple Urchin could have taken shortcuts, but we didn’t.
We made a conscious decision from the start that we’d stick with a principled approach, even if it meant slower sales in the early going and making an investment to educate the consumer.
It’s great to see things finally coming around.
“Now our customers are much more aware of the ingredients they put on their bodies,” Rebecca says. “They're also becoming more interested in reducing packaging waste. Our wholesale customers are also much more interested in environmental options, and most of them buy our soaps unpackaged to sell in their stores.”
Speaking of reducing waste, here’s a Pro Tip:
A great way to reduce packaging is to use bar soap instead of liquid soap. Think of it as solid body wash. ;)
Today's Landscape for Eco Friendly Products
In today’s competitive marketplace, personal care companies are doing everything they can to stand out.
Responding to customer demand has meant that some manufacturers are changing their ways, while other brands are emphasizing the natural ingredients and other environmentally friendly factors of their products.
“There's a lot more competition from other businesses making natural products,” says Rebecca. “Even the big brands are now offering natural options. As a human being, I think this is really great for the world and will make everyone's lives (and the environment) better. As a business owner, it's a little scary. What used to set us apart is now mainstream.”
Indeed there are a lot more choices for natural products on the market.
The upside of this for the consumer is that she or he has a wide variety of choices and options available. Of course, with choice comes responsibility. That’s where the Purple Urchin customer comes in.
As Rebecca points out, “our main customer base has always been more health conscious and environmentally focused than the population as a whole, and we love them for it! They're also really into local. They have supported us so much over the years and have made us into the business we are today.”
How We’ve Always Offered Environmentally Friendly Products – And How We Will Continue to Do So, Through Innovation & Feedback
What are some of the specific things that Purple Urchin customers have said they were drawn to?
All of the products are vegetarian, and most are vegan.
We use beeswax in our balms, lip butters, and deodorant, so those are vegetarian. There are silk amino acids in Fur Sure and Head Case. And there is goat's milk in Goat's Milk soap.
All other products are vegan, something that Rebecca says has been a personal connection and mission for her.
“I myself have been a lacto ovo vegetarian for 31 years, so I never use animal fats in our products, as I don't believe in killing/eating animals.”
A lot of our customers feel the same way.
The same goes for our team.
How PU Extends the Concept to Hiring & Training Staff
When hiring team members at Purple Urchin, we look for like-minded, fun-loving, environmentally conscious people to join the PU squad.
“It always helps to have team members who understand the difference between natural products and not-so-natural products,” says Rebecca. “We want people who are enthusiastic about natural products. It's vital that our team members use and enjoy using Purple Urchin products, because that's what makes them great brand ambassadors. It's really important to me as well that our staff are well educated on our products, their ingredients, their purposes, and their benefits.”
PU team members must be able to knowledgeably explain to our customers what our products can and can't do, so that customers can make informed decisions - and so that we can maintain integrity and transparency as a retailer serving the local community.
How Can You Get (More) Involved in the Eco Friendly Movement?
Interested in doing more on an environmentally conscious level?
Is it enough to buy a bar of soap? We’re glad you do, don’t get us wrong.
If you like what PU stands for, why not tell a friend.
Interested in joining our PU team? Drop us a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know a little bit about you and why you’re drawn to Purple Urchin.
Want to get involved in charitable efforts to make the world a better place? Click here to see a list of some of the projects, fundraisers and partnerships we’ve been a part of or contributed to. You can also read more about our philosophy on that page.