Personal-care product firm born green

Kristie McNamara had a love of plants and the earth from the time she was a child. And it was that love that informed what she decided to do as an adult and, perhaps more importantly, how she decided to do it.

"I was in school at Michigan State and I studied botany and chemistry. I was working in a health-food store as well. People came in to the health food store who had allergies or other things and I couldn't find anything on the shelves for them," said McNamara, who operates Tilvee Eco Ethical Skincare out of a multi-purpose building in Morrison, Colorado.

McNamara, who is one of the featured speakers at the NutriCosmetic Summit to be held June 10 in Las Vegas, wanted to build a company from the ground up to reflect her values. According to the company's website, Tilvee is about setting "an example of how business can be socially and environmentally responsible."

It starts with how McNamara sources the ingredients for her line of skincare and personal-care products. "I'm very meticulous about where it was processed and where it was formulated," she said.

Then she looked at how she manufactured her products. "We did our own carbon-footprint study," she said. In addition, "we participated in a programme at Iowa State University. They looked at everything — where you got your ingredients, what your business practices were."

Then McNamara focused on how her products were distributed.

"Shipping is a big part of it," McNamara said. "We started with boxes that were 30 per cent post-consumer content. Now we use boxes that are 100 per cent post consumer."

And McNamara gave thought to what she wrapped her jars in. "My goal was to not to have to buy bubble wrap," she said. "We formed relationships with stores that would save it for us. I became a bubble wrap connoisseur!"

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