Wednesday 14 January 2015

changemaker : carla cosgrove

Today I'm delighted to introduce you to changemaker Carla Cosgrove, the clever and stylish woman behind Candour Store, an online store with an alluring collection of non-toxic beauty product alternatives.

Candour Store just celebrated its 1st anniversary - Happy Birthday!!!

This online shop is beautifully curated, and since Carla has worked as a makeup artist you can trust that these products are not only non-toxic, they actually perform.

I recently *sat down* with Carla for a chat about what makes her tick and her dreams for the future, here's some of our conversation:

When did your 'green' journey begin?
My interest in social and environmental issues started quite young, as early as primary school, but like all worthwhile things it is an on-going journey of ideas. By the time I left home I was already doing some simple things like eating a vegetarian diet, recycling, using natural cleaning products, recycled toilet paper and reusable shopping bags; but on the flipside I definitely wasn’t considering things like where my huge wardrobe of clothes came from, the ingredients in my beauty products/makeup kit or the impact of my disposable coffee cups! — When you know better you do better, right?

Once I got better informed, it became easy to commit to connect the dots and start making more consciously “green” choices in all parts of my life and career. It’s really not difficult to be green these days with so much easily-accessible information and so many beautiful alternatives around!

What inspired you to create Candour Store?
I think all life’s good ideas come from a back-catalogue of experiences and smaller ah-ha! moments along the way. However, the thing that really kickstarted the creation of Candour Store was the moment I decided to get serious about creating a life and career that was more strongly aligned with my values; one that focuses on creating good in the world and sharing my skills in a way that helps others live happier, healthier lives.

There were so many experiences that came together to get the idea of Candour Store cooking. It had always made me sad to hear the people sitting in my makeup chair talking smack about their own or others’ physical appearance and, although I tried to ignore it, working in the conventional beauty/fashion industry had often given me the wrong gut feeling. Another big step in the journey was experiencing a face full of blisters as the result of using a product labeled “natural”. That ugly experience lead me to pick up “No More Dirty Looks” by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt— a book that helped steer my life in an unexpected and exciting new direction.

Your site is so visually appealing, what's the inspiration behind the look?
What a lovely thing to say. Thanks Lisa! I was lucky enough to work with talented Aussie designers Max Duff (brand identity) and Tabitha Emma (website design) to create a look and feel that reflects Candour’s central values. Our starting point was the word “candour”; which means to be frank, open, honest and straightforward (or “candid”).

Another major influence was the look, quality materials and genuine, personal relationships of the small boutiques of days gone by. I went crazy researching old photographs, stories, advertisements and packaging designs; then worked with Max (who also happens to be my little brother) to distill all my madcap ideas into a workable concept.

At its core, Candour’s aesthetic is about honesty, quality and the luxury to be found in simplicity.

Describe your dream day.
Ooooo…So many options! A dream day is always made up of lots of little unexpected happinesses, isn’t it? If I had to select just a handful of ingredients though, they would be: Waking up on foreign soil, a wonderful frock, some bright lipstick, coffee in the morning, exciting new adventures and characters all day and a glass of something delicious at night.

What is your favourite part of running Candour Store?
I am blessed with the loveliest customers, followers and suppliers. Chatting with my “regulars” over email, answering green beauty questions and receiving some beautiful thank you letters is undoubtedly my favourite part of running Candour Store. Getting to try out oodles of beautiful green beauty products isn’t such a bad gig either!

What is the most important lesson you'd like people to take away from visiting your site?
That “Green” doesn’t have to equal “hippie” any more. There are so many genuinely eco-conscious, luxe, toxin-free beauty brands on the market these days. Greenwashing is really prevalent in this industry though; so it’s important to always read your product labels and use the magical powers of the internet to get informed about what kinds of businesses and practices your purchases are supporting.

Any personal favourite products at the moment that we need to know about?
I’ve got so many, but for Summer I am really enjoying Eco Tan’s Organic Coconut Sunscreen. It’s contains skin-nourishing oils, soaks in nicely and is tinted too. It’s become my go-to for a quick moisturiser, light foundation and sunscreen in one.

Are there any products that you really wish someone would create a 'Candour' version of?
A really frothy, luxurious and toxin-free bubble bath would be wonderful!

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Okay, by *sat down* I mean I sat down at my keyboard and we typed to each other. But I'm certain we will meet 'in person' one day and I'm already looking forward to it - I can reconigise a kindred spirit when I meet one!

I hope you enjoyed meeting the changemaker Carla Cosgrove as much as I enjoyed chatting with her.  Why not head over to Candour Store to read more about her journey into green living and take a peek at the delightful online store? I suspect you'll be glad you did.