The spirit of activism captured Shilsâ heart in 2005, when she founded Teens Turning Green, a national network of teenagers working to spread the gospel about healthy product and lifestyle choices. Since then, Shils and her teenage colleaguesâincluding daughter Erin Schrodeâhave won policy-changing power and developed a line of natural, teen-safe products in conjunction with partner manufacturers, such as Alaffia, EO and Astara. The collection debuted in Whole Foods in 2008.
Innovation means changing the world, really stepping so far outside of the box that there is no box anymore.
I live to come up with crazy ideas.
My daughter was at the age when she was starting to use makeup and skin care products, and I knew if I said, âDonât use the Maybelline Great Lash Mascara,â sheâd probably get her allowance and go and buy it anyway.
The kids made a grid of chemicals in the products they used every day and looked to see what showed up over and over againâthose were the Dirty 12. Now weâve expanded it to the Dirty 30.
We took the opportunity to galvanize girls around something they were doing every day, and they became the empowered youth changing their world.
The kids worked with each company to create a product, coming up with a brand, figuring out what it would look like, smell like, feel like, its efficacy, how much should it cost, understanding the restraints of ingredient price points.
I said to Whole Foods, âWe want to create a line with whole bunch of partners in skin and body care, and we want you to carry it.â In five minutes they said, âOK letâs do it.â And I thought, âOh great, now we actually have to do this.â I didnât imagine they would say yes that fast.
When you start to talk about beauty every single teenager wants to be involved.
The kids went and met with Schwarzeneggerâs staff, and the bills ended up getting passed.
When a kid comes up with an idea, Iâll say, âLetâs do it.â You just look at their faces because everybody typically tells kids, âYou canât, itâs too much, do your homework.â Whatever.
Youâre on a walk with me and my dogÂâif you hear her in the background.
If it werenât for the budget, California would probably have the first green-chemistry policy in the world. I think our administration is poised to help and I think there are a lot of people who can ensure that.
Natural products shouldnât have to be named natural products. Everything should be done that way.
Itâs incumbent upon everyone to educate and to have a sales team that gets it.
âInterview by Katy Neusteter