Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh Canada!

...you are so awesome.

As Fair Trade month comes to a close, I am pleased to feature a new Vancouver-based company which is passionate about making responsibly sourced and packaged body care products.  In fact, both lip balms I've received from Canada feature a game-changing way to package lip balms.  I think it is one of the best new developments in reducing waste since corn plastic.  Way to go Canada! ...more on that in a moment.

If lip balm is my addiction, Etsy is sort of like my recreational drug.  I was "using" on a Saturday morning when I found a cool new company that offers Fair Trade and Organic lip and body balms, lotions, sugar scrubs, and castile soap body washes.  Launched in May 2012, Fable Naturals was started by partners Gwen and Chris who desired to create a company focused on partnerships with Fair Trade producers. Gwen spent some time on a small farm in the mountains of Peru and "saw the intense labour that goes into producing cocoa and coffee organically.  It was amazing. The farmers cared so much about what they were doing and it showed. They were humble and enjoyed the simple things in life. Like big family lunches and growing their own food. Their passion was unforgettable."

Gwen and Chris facilitate every part of the process, from whipping up the batches of product to producing the graphic design in their packaging.  And their packaging is really something.  In their quest to reduce the massive amount of waste being produced, Fable Naturals has offered a surprising option for lip balm tubes....paper.  The compostable cardboard Ecotubes are made from 100% recycled paper and can compost in just a few weeks.  Gwen reports that they are finding other ways to keep their packaging sustainable too.  "One of our local stores offer refills on many types of products, including our sugar scrubs. We are also trying to source bottles made from 100% recycled plastic to reduce our use of virgin plastic." I have to admit that I was dubious of how a little cardboard roll would hold up in my pocket and for the first few days trying out the lip balm I wore old jeans and sat down more gently than usual.  Well I feel silly to have doubted the design.  The formulation of the lip balm is thicker than average to prevent melting or squishing and the Ecotubes are revolutionary and durable.

I tried the vegan Vanilla Orange Lip Balm which Chris cites as his favorite product, "...like a Creamsicle"  and which contains vanilla absolute, Fair Trade certified organic olive oil and cocoa butter, organic coconut, camellia sinensis seed, and orange oils, and vitamin E.  The dense formula has a light flavor, more of an essence than a taste, which was nice since I've found myself using it to treat the scratches and cuts on my hands.  (who knew that setting Christmas displays can make you look like you bare knuckle box for a living?) The balm helped moisturize my hands without making them smell like fruit salad, and I liked using it as skin treatment as much as I did lip treatment.  Also available are flavors Lemon and Fresh Mint.
When asked what prompted them to use Fair Trade ingedients, Gwen says that they chose to become Fair Trade certified so that their customers can trust that their producers are receiving a fair wage and proper working conditions. They source Fair Trade olive oil from Palestine, Fair Trade cocoa butter from Peru and Fair Trade sugar from Cuba and Paraguay.  You may know their partner in Palestine, Canaan Fair Trade, from their partnerships with Equal Exchange, AlterEco, Higher Ground Coffee, and Dr. Bronner's.  You can read more about Fable Naturals' Fair Trade producers in a lovely feature Gwen wrote for Ethical Deal.  

Fable Naturals is available through their website, on Etsy, and in select stoes throughout Vancouver, BC.

*All product images courtesy of Fable Naturals

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