After being introduced to Hot Tot, the planet-friendly new line of haircare for babies and children, “Mom” took a minute to interview Megan Gage, the eco-savvy mom and founder of this up and coming company. What an inspiration she is for those seeking to launch their own business using sustainable business practices or developing an organic product line!

An Interview with Megan Gage, Founder of Hot Tot

Tell us about your eco-inspired company!

Hot Tot produces salon-quality hair styling products for babies and children without the use of harsh or harmful chemicals. After giving birth to my son (now 2 years old), I was disappointed to learn that the few lines of children’s haircare contained dangerous chemicals and/or smelled like fruit. I wanted to create formulas that would show people that healthy products could still be very effective. As a lover of all things fabulous, I wanted my line to feel special and luxurious. All too often, healthy products don’t smell great or look stylish sitting on a shelf. I am hopeful that Hot Tot will orient a whole new group of people to the idea that healthy products can still be very posh.

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

I am getting greener in my own life each day. I think the best way to be successful with anything is to be passionate and set realistic goals. Information is also very powerful. I began learning about the common toxins found in children’s products and was inspired to do better than other companies. I chose a manufacturer (for my products) who shared the same values as myself. We use chemicals that are healthy for people and our planet. We do not use extra packaging (boxes) to avoid producing excess waste. I am teaching my children about the power of one person. We get a vote about the way things work every time we purchase a product (or leave it on the shelf). We recycle as a family and maintain a dialogue about our impact on the world.

Guilty green pleasure?

I love Farmers Markets! Who doesn’t, right? And vintage clothing. I have recently become obsessed with vintage clothing!

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

I commend anyone who commits to implementing sustainable business practices. Passion is key. When motivation comes from within, people have a way of just making it work. I believe that the quality of my company speaks for itself. Green practices can save money, create customers who feel good supporting my brand, and will hopefully spark industry change so that bigger companies will become more environmentally conscious. Everyone wins!

From a family’s legacy comes the rich, creamy SheaMoisture line of skin care products that uses certified organic ingredients and sustainable materials to make your skin happy after a long, hot summer. Richelieu Dennis, the Founder & Ceo of Sundial Creations, which makes SheaMoisture, recently answered a few questions about this family-run business that has been growing steadily since 1992.

An Interview with Richelieu Dennis, Founder of SheaMoisture

Tell us about your eco-inspired company!

This company is a family-run business and the legacy of our grandmother, Sofi, who sold her handmade shea butter products in Sierra Leone to support her family. We’ve made it our mission to create culturally authentic skin and hair care, with organic, fair trade and sustainable raw materials.

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

I’m avid gardener. I grow my own vegetables, which reduces packaging and waste. I encourage my children to recycle and seek out eco-friendly choices when shopping. And, I ask them to not buy water in plastic water bottles, even if it is convenient!

Guilty green pleasure?

Organic chocolate! It’s the best.

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Don’t underestimate the intelligence and engagement of your customers. Consumers have developed a new sensibility when shopping – they have educated themselves and demand products to be effective, eco-friendly and healthy. They research the ingredients and origins of raw materials. They want to support companies that give back as well do business sustainably. We interact with our customers via social networking blogging, shows and events and they help us get it right in terms of creating products that work for them, which also support eco-friendly and fair trade practices.

*Image provided by SheaMoisture.*

Mom” was recently introduced to Garden Kids, which offers gorgeous & sustainable organic clothing for children that has stayed true to their values and beliefs since the company’s birth in 1994 – before “green” was as widespread as it is now! A brief interview with founder, Paula Haddad, gives us insight into what has made her company a long-standing member of the sustainable community.

An Interview with Paula Haddad of Garden Kids

Tell us about your eco-inspired company!

Garden Kids is an honest-to-goodness handmade organic children’s apparel company. We have been in business for 17 years making super cute organic clothing that’s fun to wear, soft & comfortable. Our clothing line includes t-shirts, shorts, skirts, dresses, pants, and jumpers, but we’re probably best known for our organic cotton pajamas. Our fabrics are sourced from U.S. suppliers almost exclusively, with our 50% hemp corduroy being the only imported fabric we use. The clothes are sewn by Norma, our wonderful seamstress who lives in Oregon. Our ongoing relationship with her is a big part of what makes Garden Kids successful.

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

My hard-working mother taught me about healthy eating and organic foods long ago. I continue that same commitment in my own family, especially since my son was born with serious food allergies. My husband and I shop organic almost exclusively and we visit the local farmer’s market as often as our schedule allows. We love our native garden, which brings a lot of wildlife to our home – our neighbors enjoy it too. We avoid all products that use synthetic fragrances and we advise our patiently indulgent family and friends to do the same.

Guilty green pleasure?

A perfect, creamy latte made with fair trade coffee! We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to buy fair trade. Small coffee farmers worldwide are suffering terrible financial hardship, in contrast to the brokers. Starbucks is not their friend.

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Try and stay focused on what you do best, though this can sometimes be difficult. Being in a green business exposes you to a hopeful and positive segment of society; people who have decided they want to make a difference. You’ll find inspiration in your customers, competitors and suppliers. Be prepared to educate and inform – the average consumer is still coming around to the idea of organic and sustainable.

*Image provided by Garden Kids.*

Mom” recently had the opportunity to ask Debra Saavedra, the savvy, eco-minded woman behind Hugo Naturals some questions about her planet-friendly company. Founded in 2006, this body care company has just recently introduced baby products to the line, as well! All of the skin care products by Hugo Naturals are Vegan, all-natural, gluten-free and soy-free. Your skin will love you!

An Interview with Debra Saavedra, Founder of Hugo Naturals

Tell us about your eco-inspired company!

My husband and I share a love of cooking, food, and herbs. We had a successful business growing exotic, organic herbs for the top chefs in Los Angeles. Our orientation to food, coupled with our passion for our herbs, lead us to develop our innovative line of handcrafted, artisan body care products.

Our entire line of products is uniquely made from a food-perspective and smells good enough to eat! Each of our products is handcrafted of food-grade ingredients and scented with only pure essential oils and natural plant extracts. Our products are the most natural, pure and luxurious body care products available.

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

We love to garden, and still grow our own herbs and sometimes even some vegetables, but we have an even bigger impact through our products. We make all of our products from sustainably sourced ingredients. We never use things in them which are hard on the environment like petrochemicals, soy or animal products. Over the years we’ve found that what’s harmful to our environment is also harmful to our bodies.
Also, we first started selling our products many years ago in Farmer’s Markets in Southern California, where we also used to sell our herbs. The Farmer’s Market is still our favorite place to shop for our food.

Guilty green pleasure?

Taking a bath in my Mango Guava Effervescent Bath Salts — while eating some organic dark chocolate.

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Bring a vision of innovation and creativity and persevere, and it will pay off in the long run.

*Image provided by Hugo Naturals.*

Mom” had the recent opportunity to interview Tereson Dupuy, a smart & forward-thinking mom who developed a modern cloth diaper called FuzziBunz®to help ease her son’s discomfort from severe diaper rash. Founded in 2000, her ideas launched the reinvention of cloth diapering that you see today – with FuzziBunz at the forefront!

An Interview with Tereson Dupuy, Creator of FuzziBunz®

Tell us about your eco-inspired company!

FuzziBunz was inspired by my son, Eden, who as a baby suffered from severe diaper rash. When the doctor told me the chemicals in disposable diapers were irritating his skin, I switched to cloth. When I found that cloth diapers were hard to use and icky, I decided to invent a modern cloth diaper, now known as FuzziBunz! FuzziBunz can prevent thousands of diapers from just one family from entering our landfills!

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

We recycle when we can, compost everything, use environmentally responsible chemicals and of course promote reusable items as much as possible over anything disposable!

Guilty green pleasure?

On occasion, I will use paper plates, but I am always sure that the plates can be recycled when I’m through with them. Another guilty pleasure I enjoy is shopping at Whole Foods. It’s a bit expensive, but I feel more green when I shop there and I can’t resist all the great “green” stuff!

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Don’t let naysayers get you down. When I first started by business people told me no one would want to go back to using cloth diapers. Boy were they wrong! If I had listened to them, there wouldn’t have been a modern cloth diapering movement like there is today. So I tell sprouting business owners to stick with their ideas and don’t listen to naysayers – think positively and attract positive energy. It works!

Whether you are a surfing mama or a hiking mama, you will adore Teresa Delfin’s eco-fabulous line of activewear for the mom-to-be who wants to stay comfortable while enjoying her favorite sports or activities while pregnant. Created in 2009, this top-quality line is quickly gathering quite a following!

An Interview with Teresa Delfin, Founder of Mountain Mama

1. Tell us about your eco-inspired company!

I created Mountain Mama to provide high quality outdoor apparel for maternity and beyond. Because a healthy outdoor lifestyle is at the heart of Mountain Mama’s mission, we’re committed to producing our garments using the smallest possible footprint. We source fabrics that comply with strict environmental standards, including Blueline, the highest eco-standard in the textile industry. Beginning Fall 2011 we’ll be offering garments made with bamboo and wood pulp fabrics as well as organic cotton. 100% of our products are made in the USA and many travel only 30 miles from fabric mill to factory to fulfillment!

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

My favorite ways to go green in my own life are to live outdoors as much as possible. For me, this means everything from enjoying regular hiking, skiing, paddling, backpacking, cycling and camping outings to growing as many organic fruits and vegetables as my yard can handle! Little things like having to carry your garbage on a backpacking trip can be excellent training for working toward a “leave no trace” lifestyle everyday.

Guilty green pleasure?

As an outdoor athlete, I’m also a gear freak! You should see my garage: skis, kayak, bikes, tents…! I justify my gear purchases because they make my time outdoors more enjoyable, but I research like crazy before investing in new toys so that I don’t consume more resources than I need.

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Committing to running a green business means also committing to fewer profits – in the short term. Stay connected with like-minded organizations such as B Corp and 1% for the Planet and find inspiration by reading success stories like Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s, Let My People Go Surfing.

*Image provided by Mountain Mama.*

Founded in 2008, Project 7 is the brainchild of founder Tyler Merrick, a self-proclaimed “social capitalist.” Merrick founded the company on the premise of turning the 7 deadly sins upside down. Through the sale of everyday consumer goods like bio-bottled water, gum, mints, T-shirts and coffee, Project 7 was created to give back and educate people on seven global issues. In the first quarter of this year alone, purchases of Project 7 products have given more than 130,000 meals to American families and more than 100,000 avocado and mango trees have been planted in Haiti. Merrick is an inspiring force to be reckoned with, and we are thrilled he took time out from making a difference to answer some questions for Tiny Green Mom’s readers.

An Interview with Tyler Merrick, Founder of Project 7

Tell us about your eco-inspired company!

Simply put, Project 7 exists to give. Project 7 was created as a way to give back, inspire others and educate people on real needs throughout the world.

We are a cause-related company that makes every day consumer goods, like bio-bottled water, gum, mints and coffee. For every purchase of a Project 7 product, some good is done in seven areas of need – Feed the Hungry, Heal the Sick, Hope for Peace, House the Homeless, Quench the Thirsty, Teach them Well and Save the Earth.

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

Green is a way of living and a way of life. It is core to the products of Project 7 and it is essential part of my life. We make a point to locally source all the water for our bottled water and only use bio-bottles. We’re debuting a gum pack that is 10% post-consumer recycled material, all our products are made in the USA, our t-shirts are made from organic cotton and recycled bottles, Project 7 coffee canisters are 90% post-consumer recycled material…I could go on 🙂

Guilty green pleasure?

Recycling. We have fun with it in my house. We’ve gotten the kids involved in helping and we even make a little game out of it, by making sure we recycle more than the we put in the trash.

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Believe in yourself, believe in your product and keep hustling. Learn from adversity and listen to what the market is telling you. Don’t be afraid to try something out and admit if it doesn’t work. Remember, nobody is undefeated.

An Interview with Tammie Umbel, Founder of Shea Terra Organics

Founded in 2000 by the awe-inspiring (yet extremely humble) mom to 13 children, Tammie Umbel, Shea Terra Organics is bringing us closer to nature with the use of the products from this phenomenal line. “Mom” was simply floored as she learned more about the company, its’ commitment to preserving native cultures and indigenous people, whose knowledge makes it possible for Shea Terra Organics to create an unparalled line of products in the organic skincare industry.

Tell us about your eco-inspired company!

Shea Terra Organics is about Tammie’s discoveries of little known anti-aging and healing skin care treatments used by the indigenous people of Africa for thousands of years. Shea Terra Organics is focused on preserving native knowledge, cultures and habitats.

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

First, I use my own products on my skin. Not only are they green, but they are highly effective. I also run a small family farm with my husband Dr. Ishaq and our 13 children. We produce our own free-range eggs (some are green and blue), fruits and honey. We also trade and barter locally with neighbors for other locally grown foods as well.

Guilty green pleasure?

Muscadine grapes, Sambazon acai, a well water soak using Calming Bath Beads made with calming African oils, and a day out with my horses.

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Stay true to your heart. Don’t let others discourage you and lead you astray. Keep firm on the path that you believe in. Rome was not built overnight.

*Image provided by Shea Terra Organics.*

Renowned New York jewelry designer Michael Dawkins has recently opened Michael Dawkins Home, a new home furniture and accessories showroom in Miami’s Tony Design District. One of his favorite lines to showcase is by Cisco Brothers, and it is 100% sustainable, FSC certified, and the upholstery is made with natural and organic fabrics. This eco-conscious designer took time away from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Tiny Green Mom about his thriving business and planet-friendly practices.

An Interview with Designer Michael Dawkins

Tell Us About Your Eco-Inspired Collections.
Michael Dawkins Home carries eco-inspired and sustainable furniture. Our upholstery furniture is manufactured in L.A. in a sustainable way. Using soy-based foam for the cushions instead of artificial materials, American manufactured furniture also decreases the carbon foot print. Many of our case goods are fabricated with reclaimed wood. The more educated the consumer becomes so do manufactures, changing their production habits to meet the clients needs and concerns for the environment.

How Do You Choose to go Green in Your Own Business?
We at Michael Dawkins Home do our best to reduce the amount of waste we put out. We conduct our daily business consciously, decreasing the amount of printing done and recycling all the materials that come in and out of our building. By consolidate shipping we are decreasing in packaging and fuel consumption.

Guilty green pleasure?
A recent green pleasure of ours was saving about thirty glass candle holders with the boxes they come in and giving it to a local after school program. They are going to have the children decorate the boxes and grow seeds in the glass containers. This provides the kids with a great project and recycles the glass and boxes from the candles we burn in our showroom.

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a business who want to go-green or introduce sustainable practices – what have you done with Michael Dawkins Home to reduce your carbon footprint?
Businesses looking to go green should put a little more energy into their daily practices as well as seek other companies with like minded views. Simple things such as going paperless can make a big difference; electronic invoicing, sending Holiday e-cards and e-vites instead of postcards and invitations, purchasing on-line and not from printed catalogs are a few examples.

Michael Dawkins | Biography

With more than 18 years of design experiencedriven by the beauty of natural elements, Michael Dawkins is a master atbringing interior spaces to life for a discerning clientele. A distinguished tastemaker and acclaimed jewelry designer, he is returning to his first passion of interior design with the launch of the “Michael Dawkins Home” showroom.

Dawkins’ sensitivity to aesthetic rhythm stems from his collegiate studies in industrialdesign and architecture. His elevated, intellectual style is achieved byfusing various genres, period pieces, shapes and textures to invoke progressive yet timeless design concepts.

Constantly traveling and taking pleasure in the challenges of settling into newenvironments, he has built, rebuilt, renovated and converted a number ofproperties ranging from Millbrook, New York to Santa Barbara, California. The free-spirited and demure elegance exuded at Michael Dawkins Home reflects the designer’s own sensibilities.

In September 2010, Dawkins opened the doors to his 10,000-square-foot showroom in the Design District – a rapidly emerging creative hub and destination for international homeowners. Believing that Miami is ready for the next level in intellectual interior design, he looks forward to inspiring luxury living within the city and beyond.

Ahhhh…let your soles relax… you have no idea how comfortable doing everyday tasks such as washing the dishes or brushing your teeth can be when standing on an Imprint™ Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mat! Your feet will never be the same – you will want to cover your entire floor in wall-to-wall comfort mats! These are now a favorite of “Mom’s” and are simply an absolute “must-have” in any eco-conscious home.

PVC and toxin-free, the mats add a stylish, chic look to any kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or yes, even the garage, and provide extraordinary comfort to you entire bosy. The mats are environmentally-friendly, non-toxic and are manufactured without the use of phthalates, formaldehyde, or heavy metals. Plus, because they are waterproof and washable, they don’t trap dirt, hair and debris like a throw rug!

Imprint™ Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mats are available in a variety of styles and colors to suit your decor, as well as different sizes depending on your space. “Mom” is in love with the Cobblestone look!

To learn more about how the Imprint™ Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mats can reduce your fatigue by up to 60%, or to shop online, visit www.imprintmats.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*