This is Ava Anderson. She is a 19-year-old freshman at Babson College, a small business school outside of Boston. She enjoys playing volleyball and napping, and in her spare time, she is the CEO and founder of an all-natural cosmetics company called Ava Anderson Non-Toxic.
Now, I don’t know what you folks were doing in your teen years, but I recall having bouts of interest in stuff like, say, knitting before giving it up a few weeks later and moving onto other things. Anderson, on the other hand, is an entrepreneur who’s been running a company since she was 14. Suddenly, I am remembering what an underachiever I was.
It is wonderful to see young women like Anderson doing such incredible things for the world, as well as making huge strides in business, so I spoke to her about her achievements, goals and methodology.
Blisstree: First of all, I’d love to talk about how you got started. It’s wonderful that you started creating products you believe in because you felt they were necessary, but it’s also amazing that you began so young.
Ava Anderson: I think it is unique that I started the business at such a young age but I really was angered by the way the cosmetics industry is run, and never let my age affect my decision to produce a line that is quality personal care and home cleaning products without harmful chemicals.
BT: What exactly were you angry about regarding the cosmetics industry? Did you have any personal bad experioences with them or was it a general frustration?
AA: When I was a freshman in high school, I became aware of all the toxic chemicals that were legally allowed to be used in anything from baby lotions to sunscreen and shampoo and often times big loopholes allow companies to not even list out all the ingredients in a product.
I saw a study on the news with my mom where they had tested teenagers’ bloodstreams looking for known and suspected carcinogens, mutagens and just all around nasty ingredients, and every single teenager tested positive for every single harmful chemical.
I was so shocked! I figured I would just switch over to natural products. You know — go to a health food store and spend a little more money or get the green leaf packaged products at the drugstore. But the more I researched I realized these products often weren’t any better!
BT: Why made these products bad?
AA: In the United States, there are only 9 banned ingredients that cannot be used in personal care products (remember: not just makeup, soap, shaving cream, etcetera) and in Europe there are over 1,400! Companies actually clean up their formulations to sell in Europe because they are forced to comply with stricter standards. They follow what is called a precautionary principal. If it is known or suspected to be a mutagen or carcinogen they simply dont allow it! It would be awesome if we could implement such an obvious law. These companies are able to create safer formulations, but they just leave the junk in for us because no ones is telling them not to, and it’s cheaper.