At the beginning of the clean beauty movement, Jennifer Freitas wanted to fill a space in her own quest for green living. When she couldn?t find what she was looking for, she created the kind of shopping experience she sought by founding The Truth Beauty Company. Armed with Jennifer?s ambition to make waves in the clean beauty movement, and her passion to share it with others, The Truth Beauty Company is an eco-friendly oasis of personal care and lifestyle goods with two Canadian storefronts in Guelph and Waterloo, Ontario.
Truthfully, I started it out of necessity. I?d been living in Toronto (a major city center here in Canada) for around 10 years, and when I was pregnant with my twin daughters I ended up moving back to where my parents were living, about an hour outside of Toronto. What I found while living here – during that transitional time in my life – was that there wasn?t really any clean green beauty. It just didn?t exist. That was about 2010. When my daughters were about 18 months old I was like, ?Well, I?ll just make a store.? And it grew to two stores, and hopefully, it?s going to grow to more stores. Really, out of necessity. I found a need for myself and, obviously, I was not the only one who wanted it.
With more people now having access to clean beauty, how do you differentiate your store and the shopping experience for your clients?
I?ve always looked to offer a range of products – from makeup to hygiene items and shampoo – and also for the other people in your family, so, products for men and women, children and babies, and even some of the lifestyle elements. I really want it to be cohesive and be able to hit all of the products that you might be looking for. In addition to that, the price point has been something I want to maintain; I have luxury lines but then I also have lines that are more accessible that provide the performance and efficacy and experience, at a lower price point.
I?m inspired by innovation. Because I was at the cusp of this awakening in the beauty industry, I?ve been able to develop and solidify great friendships with so many brand founders and formulators, so it?s really interesting to learn from them and see what new things they?re coming out with. That really drives me because I feel like we can capture that entire conventional beauty market… but in a clean way.
I?m also inspired by the change I?m able to create. I have a fairly large team of young women that work for me, and just to hear that they?re inspired by me as an entrepreneur and as someone with principles. My products are clean and there?s a reason why I?m doing what I?m doing: to protect our waterways, our environments, our bodies, to eliminate the use of non-renewable resources like petroleum – just raising attention to that sort of stuff. So [I?m inspired by] my team, but also my own children, and the change I?m fostering for this planet through the work that I?m able to do.
What trends are you looking forward to?
I?m looking for things that are conventional, but clean. [There are] lots of cute sheet masks and K-Beauty trends, so that?s an area I?m trying to build up for the Truth Beauty Company.
Are there any books or resources that you recommend for those interested in clean beauty?
Jolene Hart is a nutritionist so a lot of her work is based on food. Our skin and how we look is impacted largely by our diet and exercise, and mental state. All of that is incorporated with how our skin is shown to the world.
Adina Grigore, the founder of S.W. Basics, also incorporates food, diet, and lifestyle into the beauty movement. She talks about ingredients, the simplicity of what nature offers, and how that is beneficial for your skin.
What are you excited about right now?
I?m excited by this whole movement. It?s growing really, really fast, and I?m trying to stay at the forefront of what?s happening. We?re all in this together so I?m making sure that Truth Beauty has a place in this movement. [Beauty brands are] paying attention to what?s missing in the clean beauty market and innovating to fill those gaps. I?m also excited by expansion – that is something I keep going back to and toying with, and trying to figure out how to scale beyond where I am now.
Speaking of innovation, how do you see Opal Avenue helping you achieve your goals?
Opal Avenue is a great resource for the whole industry – I?m excited about what Mia will put together. There are so many companies wanting to play right now, wanting to get into this movement – we?re talking a lot about small batch, artisan made – so there?s room for more players. As somebody who curates and has a relatively large team, I can?t be vetting the brands one by one at this point. So it?s great that Mia (somebody who has been in this industry for a long time and is very, very knowledgeable) is pooling together this amazing marketplace of clean beauty that?s been vetted. Opal Avenue is able to target, suggest and take away some of the work. And [although] the shopping part is sort of fun, it?s time-consuming to weed through brands to determine if they?re clean.
I commend Mia for her work and riding this wave. I remember when she first introduced me to Schmidt?s Natural Deodorant, and now you can find them everywhere on the planet, which is amazing. So I?m excited to see what else she does, and what I get to take from that experience. It?s going to be really nice to continue the partnership.
Anything else that you want to share?
Well, I won?t give away too many of my secrets – the landscape is fierce out there!
Note: Answers have been shortened and edited for clarity.