For me and presumably for many others, social media is the THE medium for new product and company discovery. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t discover a new company and rarely is there a particular brand that sticks out to me as a brand I want to learn more about. The afternoon when I discovered the company BeHomeWell on Instagram was one of those rare occasions when a new brand caught my eye and swiftly prompted me to look beyond the Instagram feed to the company website itself. After browsing the health conscious and sustainable goods on BeHomeWell.com I was happy to discover that the brand was founded by a female entrepreneur, Amanda Greening, and that company is based out of the Greater Boston area – two things that are pretty awesome in my book! To share the scoop on BeHomeWell.com and the inspiration behind the company, I have team up with Amanda on a Q&A where she not only shares her background but also candidly talks about her personal responsibility to take matters into her own hands when it comes to making toxic-free and sustainable products more widely available to consumers. Keep reading to dive into the Q&A!
Q. What is your background?
I grew up in Burlington Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. I was a serious figure skater until I was 18, which early instilled in me a respect for regular exercise, and a passion for staying healthy to support it. While attending Simmons College, I became increasingly interested in strength training, to fill the fitness void that existed post-being on the ice 30 hours a week.
I majored in Political Science, International Relations, and English Literature, but my first real career was borne out of my love for Exercise Science. I became a Personal Trainer at Healthworks – an all women fitness center with several locations in the Boston area – and spent 6 happy years there as a Personal Trainer and Stott Pilates Instructor.
A. As I matured as a trainer and woman during my time at Healthworks, my professional studies led me to develop a very holistic philosophy about health and wellness. I wanted to be empowered to help my clients achieve their health goals beyond the gym, I grew to see exercise as just one facet of balanced wellness.
With that concept in my mind and heart, I became certified as a Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and eventually started my own Health Coaching, Training and Pilates practice: The Health You Want (www.TheHealthYouWant.biz).
Q. What inspired you to start BeHomeWell?
A. As a Health Coach, my most passionate area of study was a class of toxic chemicals called Endocrine Disruptors. These chemicals are found absolutely everywhere in people’s homes and lives, are mostly unregulated, and are proven beyond doubt to be extremely harmful to the health of humans and animals. It is – quite frankly – insane. Learn more about endocrine disruptors and how they affect your health here.
In my crusade to convince my clients to switch to safer alternative products, I made lengthy resource lists directing them to dozens of different websites – one for makeup, one for cleaning supplies, one for food storage, etc. And it didn’t work – at all. The enormity of the issue – the time, energy, headspace needed to do anything about it – caused people to shut down. It was really frustrating for me to see people give up on their health.
I realized most people are stressed to the max every darn day; They desperately want to create healthier home environments, but it has to be easy – one-stop easy. I went looking for a site that offered one-stop shopping for a wide array of nontoxic goods – a site like BeHomeWell – and couldn’t find it. From that day/realization, things moved very fast; BeHomeWell chose me! I knew instinctively that I had the right mix of experience, passion, and wherewithal to take it on. I feel like I’ve been getting ready for this challenge and business my whole life.
I always say I’d be every bit as ecstatic about BeHomeWell if it weren’t my company. It’s simply an incredibly simple solution to a really big problem – and it could legitimately change the world. So, that’s fun.
Q. Tell us about BeHomeWell
A. BeHomeWell is a revolutionary online shopping experience! BeHomeWell is a totally nontoxic online store for home, body, baby and beyond. We take the hassle out of switching to safer products, with one-stop shopping for eco brands. Everything we carry is nontoxic, sustainably and ethically manufactured, and cruelty-free. We also offer Wedding and Baby Registry on the site. Think of BeHomeWell as an ethical department store. Tell your friends!
Q. What is the BeHomeWell mission?
A. There are three ideas at the core of the BeHomeWell mission:
1) Nontoxic, sustainable, and cruelty-free shopping should be as easy as any other kind of shopping! When you think about it, it’s really depressing that we need to differentiate between nontoxic shopping and everything else – the fact being that most other shopping is legitimately toxic to you.
Until all shopping is safe, you should have a safe place to go, where you don’t have to worry about your purchases. Are they toxic? Will they hurt my family? Are the brands truly sustainable? Does production exploit the environment or other humans? Will a load of packaging end up in a landfill forever? Can I truly feel good about supporting these companies with my hard earned money?
At BeHomeWell, we’ve already asked these questions, with the highest possible standards. Our pledge is that absolutely everything on our site is safe, in every way. Happy Shopping!
2) You do not have to compromise on style because you’re committed to bringing only nontoxic products into your home. Too many people equate healthy with frumpy and unsophisticated!
There are so many incredibly cool and contemporary brands out there in the nontoxic sphere – it’s a very exciting time for this niche. We are adding new products all of the time at BeHomeWell, and we don’t sell anything we wouldn’t love to have in our own home. We promise you’ll get as many compliments on the design of your purchases from BeHomeWell as you will on the substance of them.
3) You don’t have to spend a fortune to buy sustainable, ethical, nontoxic products. But, let’s talk a little bit about the concept of “True Cost” – what goes into the price of products, what isn’t reflected, and if there’s really such a thing as a “bargain” without someone or something is being massively exploited.
“True Cost” is something every one should be thinking about, every day. Our society has completely lost touch with the human and environmental cost of the products we fill our lives with, because we don’t pay that cost in money.
But, someone (exploited workers) or something (the environment and ecosystem) pays dearly. It’s tragic that we’ve collectively lost respect – lost any care or thought – for these invisibles. We need an ethical consumption revolution – we hope BeHomeWell is a part of that revolution.
So, while I do not think the price of goods at BeHomeWell could ever be called excessive – with most products being under $50 – I do believe we need to massively evaluate how much we buy and how much we spend; As in, we need to buy a lot less, and be ok with spending a lot more, if we want to change the worst aspects of our society and truly live as ethical beings.
A big part of that is investing in products that are well made to last. You will not find anything at BeHomeWell that won’t stand the test of time (and kids)!
Q. What has been the best piece of advice you have received while launching your business?
A. That everything takes 5 times as long as you think/hope it will!
I believe we have been incredibly fortunate in connecting with a passionate audience for the BeHomeWell mission and products, and in finding/partnering with incredibly progressive brands, very early in our development (we launched in July ’15). But, it’s so true that when I plan for 15 tasks in a day, I complete 3 to 5. Starting a business has been a humbling exercise in learning my mental and physical limits.
Q. What are your must-have sustainable and non-toxic products? Can we find them on BeHomeWell.com?
A. Impossible to choose favorites! The truth is that I’m absolutely ecstatic about every item we carry, and how it improves people’s lives. That’s how I know if a given product is right for BeHomeWell, if I feel that passion for it. My goal is to truly carry everything a person would need in their home and for their body, so, YES, you can definitely find it all at BeHomeWell.com! The best way to stay in the know about product and brand additions is to follow us on Instagram (and other social media) @BeHomeWell.
Q. Do you have any advice to pass along to others who are seeking to start their own business?
A. So much advice! I’ll just say a few things here…
- Work your network! Scour your personal and professional networks for folks who have expertise to lend. Use the heck out of them (it’s probably the only time in your life you’ll have license to), then love them hard! I’ve never felt so part of a passionately helpful community as when starting BeHomeWell. People truly are awesome.
- If you don’t know how to do it, Google it. We live in a remarkable time, where literally all knowledge is accessible to any one. The internet is the best resource an entrepreneur will ever have. Because – no matter your background – most days you’re going to feel like you’re rebuilding the wheel from the ground up, and also you’ve never seen a wheel. But, you have the internet, child, so it can be done.
I recently read a quote on Instagram that I passionately disagreed with, and I want to share it with every one thinking about starting a business. The quote was: “Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.” While this sounds great in theory, the reality is that what excites you will one day drain the HECK out of you. Some days you will legitimately hate the work that is necessary to achieve your dreams – but you can’t stop going. That sounds harsh, but I think it’s something a lot of creative entrepreneurs don’t see coming. When those inevitable dark days come, they are totally thrown off course by the quagmire of daily operations, into a spiral of self-doubt.
Hear this: Your business will not succeed because your dream is righteous; It will succeed because you show up every darn day and do the things, even when you REALLY don’t want to.
Q. What keeps you motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle? We’d love to know!
A. I’m a unique case with fitness and wellness motivation, because – as a child athlete who became a personal trainer – I’ve been extremely physically active, on the regular, from a very young age. I go through a very real withdrawal when I can’t move. Add to that being a Health Coach, and maintaining my personal version of a healthy lifestyle is simply an enormous part of my life and identity. It also helps that I have a fully equipped gym and pilates studio at home, not many excuses there.
As I’ve gotten older – I turned 36 in January – and as an entrepreneur, my motivations for staying fit have definitely changed. To put it bluntly, it’s more about my brain than my body at this point. While I do appreciate the physical benefits of fitness, I’m extremely in tune with how it massively important exercise is to my brain health. I’ll take this opportunity to plug one of my all-time favorite books, what I consider to be the most motivating book about exercise I’ve ever read: Spark; The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey MD.
In addition to caring for the health of your brain, exercise and keeping body fat in a reasonable range are strongly correlated with a decrease in every single degenerative disease and condition. Exercise is simply the most powerful tool humans possess to combat the ravages of aging. There are no guarantees with life and health, but if you’re not exercising regularly, you’re massively at a disadvantage. Not exercising is like having a cure for what might kill you in your pocket – every one’s got it in their pocket – and not getting around to swallowing it.
But, I never judge, because contemporary life is ineffably challenging, beyond anything human kind has experienced previously in terms of the demands on our time and energy, outside of physical activity. We’ve got ourselves and our culture into an incredible bind, where there truly is not time or energy for the things – like eating well and moving our bodies – that will save our lives. The only entity that benefits from the current situation is our health care system. That is a much longer discussion…
Q. If someone is looking to start using sustainable and non-toxic products where do you recommend they start?
A. That is an incredibly tough question, because there are so many preventable exposures to toxic chemicals in daily life. If people have kids, they MUST start with kid products, because small, rapidly developing bodies are by far the most vulnerable to permanent damage from toxic chemicals.
For the rest of us, start with the products you like the best. Is that a silly answer? Well, it’s the most motivating one! Go to BeHomeWell and take a look at our departments. If you like to cook, start with bamboo cutting boards and utensil sets, and non plastic food storage, that aren’t dosing you with toxic chemicals through the food you eat. If you’re a beauty-nut, start with luxurious products that aren’t poisoning you when you put them on your skin. If you love home décor, start by creating the sustainable bedroom of your dreams, since you spend so much of your time exposed to those textiles.
Q. Do you have plans to expand your online presence to a brick and mortar location?
A. I love the idea of a brick and mortar BeHomeWell store – our products are incredibly lovely and luxe in person, and Boston is a fabulous community for sustainability focused small businesses… So, I’ll just say stay tuned!
You CAN meet me and see/purchase our products in person at pop-up shops and trunk shows around the city – follow @BeHomeWell on Instagram for updates!