By John Grossi
As the holidays inch closer, gift lists grow longer, and wallets get tighter, it’s easy to think that saving a buck or two by shopping at the Amazons of the world will help, somehow. The question is, who’s really benefiting when we choose to buy cheap and fast?
“If you’ve ever gifted the latest celebrity-branded perfume or an apple-scented bath and body basket without considering the potentially harmful ingredients added to those products, you’re not alone,” says Brandi Andres, a Long Beach native and the Founder of the small, local sustainable lifestyle shop, THE WELLEST.
“As magical as the holidays are, they can take a toll. Most of us don’t have the energy or time to research every product’s level of quality, let alone find out if a perfume was created with people’s wellness in mind.”
These thoughts, as well as frustrations on buying cheaply made products that end up in landfills within a year, led Brandi to launch The Wellest, which takes the guesswork out of shopping responsibly.
Every item sold at The Wellest has a values-based story, whether it’s ethically made, eco-friendly or safer-for-you and your loved ones. You’ll find more than 200 top-quality products online, with a small selection offered at Fair Trade Long Beach. Brandi is also hoping to open a brick-and-mortar soon.
The Wellest’s story began in 2015, when Brandi took a course on the conservation and taxonomy of animal and plant species. Her studies on the palm oil trade revealed devastating outcomes for orangutans in the wild, with the destruction of their natural environments.
She soon discovered a list of ingredients in food, personal care, and household cleaning products linked to harmful effects on animals, the earth, and human health.
Studies on more than 2,000 traditional cleaning supplies* show traces of cancer-causing agents like formaldehyde and allergy- and asthma-inducing chemicals. Brands often hide fragrance ingredients linked to headaches, depression, and poor heart health, as well as respiratory and skin ailments in infants.
“What’s worse, it can take years, decades even, before these toxins’ effects are discovered,” says Brandi. “By then, we likely won’t relate an illness to products.”
Brandi’s ongoing research on everyday products and the irresponsible manufacturing practices of the most recognizable brands, which put profits before people, has set her on a mission to change the way and “the why” people around the world shop.
If she can help just a few of us save time and shop with our values, even better.
10 Sustainable Lifestyle Gifts for Everyone on Your List
Everything The Wellest carries is carefully researched, vetted, and quality-tested, to save customers valuable time while offering a first-class, fair-cost alternative to big box retailers. Small business Founder, Brandi Andres, shares some of her favorites below:
• Vapour Beauty Soft Focus Foundation ($48) & Eye Shadow Quad ($38)
• EVOLVh Ultra Shine Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner ($28 ea.)
• Seed Phytonutrients Shea Butter Hand Salve ($18) -- hands down, the best cream for dry weather skin
• Marley’s Monsters Facial Rounds ($18) -- swap out single-use cotton
• Bee’s Wrap Beeswax & Plant-Based Food Wraps ($6 - $22) -- replace single-use plastics for good
• Friendsheep Eco Dryer Balls (up to $28) -- kids and pets love them too
• Humble Suds Household Cleaning
Sample Set ($26)
• We The Wild Plant Care “Let It Grow” Set ($38)
• The Wellest. Frankincense Relax 8 oz. Handmade Coconut Wax Candle ($24)