Margot White’s journey to clean beauty was only natural, considering her formal background in health education. As a health and wellness teacher for many years, Margot has long been conscious of eating right and exercising, but, through motherhood and personal ailments, she awakened herself to the toxicity of everyday products and determined her own strict standards that would form the vision for her green e-tail platform, The Choosy Chick.
Tell us about your journey to clean living.
I’ve always been an active, health-conscious person: eating right, exercising and so forth. About 10 years ago I was having some autoimmune symptoms and was put on watch for Lupus. Around the same time, some of my really dear friends who were otherwise healthy, developed cancer at young ages. These things really made me say, “All right, what else can we do?”
I began learning about more than food (I’ve always been a believer in eating organic with no additives or dyes). I started doing more and more research about food, skincare, cleaning products, fragrance, candles and more. We went through a major overhaul and, in the process of doing this, I learned about the lack of regulation. My son had a crazy reaction to a Halloween makeup kit—and he’s fine now—but many of us go through our lives thinking that, if something is on the shelf, then someone, somewhere is overseeing its safety. In reality, that’s not happening at all. I was in shock when I learned that, so we created a list for our family of chemicals to do away with.
Being outside of a city, the access to good clean products is not readily available. That’s when we put our heart and soul into The Choosy Chick. We’re an online green beauty boutique but we’re also an education point where people can come and learn.
How do you curate your clean inventory?
We stick to who we are by sticking to our thorough standards. Customers rely on us to do the do the research for them. We’ll ask manufacturers about how they’re processing a certain ingredient. For instance, sometimes ingredients are okay until they’re processed at a certain temperature. A lot of people use Skin Deep, and it’s a great launching point (that’s where we started, too) but there are discrepancies, even sometimes amongst the same ingredient when it’s sourced for different brands.
We’re very up front about our standards with new brands. We’ve had to turn brands away for having certain derivatives or dyes. There are so many skincare brands that contact retailers and it’s almost impossible to get back to every single person. We look for brands using ingredients that will stand out to our testing team as remarkable. We make sure to partner with companies that put the health and safety of consumers first in sustainability practices. We’re also making it our mission to go with companies that are using sustainable packaging—not so much plastic. No animal testing.
It’s also important that our products are reachable to a variety of different budgets. At times, there seems to be a luxury, elite status to green beauty. We really want to break that mentality because it’s so important that healthy products be available to everybody. We want all people to feel welcome in our shop as a friendly place where everybody feels accepted.
What inspires you to keep working hard?
I have to say, truly, it’s our customers. I’m amazed by the feedback, appreciation, notes and emails that we get thanking us for bringing the movement to their attention and sharing their own stories about why they’re on this journey. It really inspires us to keep going because our goal has always been to help people. Seeing that goal being met really keeps us going.
What are you proud of?
Our growth over the past four years shows that there is definitely a demand for this business. What I’m really proud to see is that we’re making real changes to show this country that we’re putting our foot down and that the current standards are not acceptable. We’re collectively smartening up; we are making a lot of noise between shops like mine, social media, the clean beauty revolution and the EWG. I’m also proud to be a female entrepreneur; I’m proud to demonstrate that model to my children. I’m showing them what it’s like to go after something you’re really passionate about. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s important to be doing something that you feel so strongly about.
In addition to your sustainability initiatives, is there a cause you’re committed to?
We are partners with Living Beyond Breast Cancer. We curated a box with them for Black Friday with products that they helped pick out and we provided a percentage of the sales back to the organization. We also like to partner with organizations like Living Beyond Breast Cancer to provide goodie bags for events and things of that nature. Also, in Connecticut, we are partners with the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut, which is a group that’s working toward getting toxins out of our everyday lives.
What does the future of The Choosy Chick look like?
I see continual growth as we aim to add more brands, including potentially developing a curated selection of innovative green products for the home. We also plan to grow our educational component through our blog. Education is part of our mission because I love to teach, it’s my background and we think it’s important to offer a healthy dose of education with some really effective, quality products.
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