What’s the problem with writing about a product that is sustainable, fair trade, eco-conscious, feminist, vegan, supporting animal protection, also has a great design and you personally actually really like? should be easy, right?
That’s just nuts, but it’s not! Because what to focus on?
If it was all just okay but the design was great, I’d know better what to focus on here.
A few weeks back I discovered ELEPHAS Paris. I really liked their monochrome packaging and the soft visual language in which they communicated. The brand is dedicated to organic skincare and started their line with a beautiful piece of soap. So it was actually only at second glance that I discovered their amazing mission to, well, basically change the world – and that is a good thing. (I don’t mean the saving the world part, that of course too, but I mean that it wasn’t so in your face: ‘look at us, we’re so politically correct and do charity’).
Also, I find it really rare to first be aesthetically interested in a product that then turns out to actually be serving a good cause. Usually “good” products receive only little design or story telling as they are considered not to need it due to their quality. I actually recently learned this amazing rule of thumb: when the marketing is great, the product (food, cosmetics…) isn’t good for your health, but if you’ve never heard of it or it looks totally modest, it’s probably a great and healthy product.) I, however, in the sense of living lagom, think that a beautiful design adds even more value to a quality product and makes it more appealing to consume ethically.
(ELEPHAS Paris’ Instagram account…any idea why I liked them?)
No doubt that it is honorable and actually necessary for our planet to become more conscious and selective about the products we consume, yet it’s as important that everyone can make their own choices and follow their own beliefs. In my opinion, there are 4 types of conscious consumers.
1. The political correcties
Having lived in Sweden for a few years, this is a thought that often crossed my mind, because Swedes are such role models in their behavior with regards to gender equality, healthy nutrition and environmental protection, but often not by individual choice or conviction but rather by the pressure of society to be politically correct and unassailable.
2. The eco dictators
The other extreme that I find often, is people cocksure of their way of living who try to guilt you into veganism, zero waste or fair trade consumption through shocking videos and a loud and never shutting up voice. That’s not the lagom way to do things either.
3. The payers of indulgence
It’s a bargain with your conscience. You might feel guilty for having too much clothes or throwing out leftovers – so you calm down your conscience by buying from a company that supports children in a poor country far away from your own reality.
4. The reality checkers
This is the people who through a personal experience – be it a disease or an art project or traveling – decide to change their habits bit by bit and to be curious about the origin of products and their whole life cycle.
Anyhow, the planet doesn’t care why you begin to be a conscious consumer – it’s just happy when you are one. And that’s the same for the elephants that ELEPHAS Paris protects. As far as I’m concerned they haven’t asked why anyone supported ELEPHAS Paris yet, they were just glad when someone did.
(elephants in Burkina Faso)
So check this out: ELEPHAS Paris is a new skincare brand from (guess where!) Paris. The first released product is a vegan & cruelty-free shea butter soap enriched with desert date and baobab oils – all organic. The shea nuts are harvested by a team of African women in a natural corridor that happens to be a vital passage between two reserves where elephants live. By allowing these women to sustainably use the corridor’s resources, the brand protects this crucial zone for the elephants. The soap is made by these elephant loving women in Burkina Faso, who of course also benefit themselves from every sold soap. The deal is like this: you buy a soap and ELEPAHS Prais gives 1 kg of cereal to a woman from the team and 1 meal for a street child going to school in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
(trade-off for 1 sold piece of soap)
Oh and most importantly you get yourself a great soap (without palm oil – which was giving me grey hair trying to find!) with a subtle scent and a soft touch. I actually use the soap not only as hand soap but for my whole body as I love the texture and smell. Also I use a solid hair and conditioner soap and often just baking powder for toothpaste – so no silly liquid control when traveling, no plastic packaging and no spilling in your suitcase!
Making a lot of my cosmetics from scratch, I have seen raw shea butter before (and somehow knew it comes from a nut) but that was all I knew to be honest. When I got in touch with ELEPHAS Paris I was amazed by all the ‘behind the scenes’ material they were sharing with me. So here are some cool making off pictures that I want to share with you
(and I tell you, it’s just nuts – shea nuts):
(shea nuts, shea butter, soap in a block and ready soap in pieces)
About the gorgeous minimalist packaging of the soap, it is actually a modern interpretation of the ornamental paintings on the houses in the area where the soap is produced. How cool is that? It also reminds me a lot of the Jim Jarmusch movie “Paterson”. Lovely movie by the way – check it out if you haven’t seen it yet! Oh and, you open the beautiful packaging and there is the naked soap in it! no unnecessary plastic.
(scenes from “Paterson” and a house in Burkina Faso)
So how about instead of easter eggs you hide some great soap for your bunnies this year and have a vegan Easter?
You can get the soap here for the fair price of 8 Euros.
It’s all happening!
In friendly cooperation with ELEPHAS Paris