Raw, Vegan Beauty: An Interview with Eco Lips Founder Steve Shriver
Raw People Contributing Writer Jeanne Grunert had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Shriver, founder of Eco Lips, a company that makes vegan, cruelty-free lip balm. The story behind Eco Lips is a love story – Steve met Andrea Danielson, a lady who brewed small batches of natural lip balm in her kitchen. He fell in love with the lip balm, then fell in love with Andrea, and the two married in 1997. By 2003, Steve and Andrea had built a specialized private label natural body care company focusing on making high quality products for many other successful brands. Their company rapidly became a leading natural body care manufacturer in the natural products industry. Today, Eco Lips organic lip balm is handcrafted in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with special attention given to environmentally friendly manufacturing and packaging. The products are completely plant-based and never tested on animals.
In addition to founding Eco Lips, Steve is a green enthusiast and philanthropist. He initiated a solar power project by working through IRENEW (Iowa Renewable Energy Association), an initiative that turned into one of Iowa’s largest solar power projects, gaining immediate support from the State of Iowa, Alliant Energy and the Department of Natural Resources. In 2003, Steve ran from Cedar Falls, Iowa to Cedar Rapids, Iowa (52 miles) in less than 9 hours to raise money and awareness for Iowa’s homeless population.
In April 2007, Steve organized and ran the Organic Endurathon in Iowa, a 10-day event that included running across Iowa while educating on how to live an organic lifestyle. “I wanted to do something big to promote organics,” Shriver says. “I’m passionate about it. It’s the lifestyle I live.”
In 2008, Steve received an award entitled “40 under 40” from Natural Foods Merchandiser which honored natural products industry members who had demonstrated a spirit of innovation, leadership and community involvement. Also, he was the recipient of the 2008 Radish Award for his Organic Endurathon, which inspired people throughout the U.S. to use his Organic Marathon as a model for their own. Always sporting an athletic edge, Steve is a rock climber, runner, ice climber, mountaineer and occasional tri-athlete – and a vegan passionate about caring for the world around him.
Can you tell me more about EcoLips? How did you develop this product?
It’s a love story! In the early 1990’s I met a girl who loved making natural lip balm. I fell in love with the lip balm. Then I fell in love with her. We spent years perfecting her formulas to find the right balance of “glide” and “performance”. Given all of the various elements a lip balm must endure (pockets/purses/cars) it is imperative that you deliver an enjoyable and adequate amount of moisture with every application.
You mention the product is cruelty free. What exactly does this mean? Can vegans be 100% confident that the product has not been tested on animals?
Absolutely! I have been a (mainly vegan) vegetarian for over a decade. We take this subject very seriously and would NEVER test our products on any animals other than humans.
What are the natural ingredients in EcoLips?
Eco Lips “Bee Free” contains Sunflower Oil, Jojoba Oil, Candelilla Wax (plant derived), Cocoa Butter, Essential Oils, and Calendula. We also add Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Rosemary Extract as antioxidants. It’s by far the best vegan lip balm formula on the market.
Can you explain a little bit about why and how the ingredients helps moisturize the lips?
It starts with choosing the right combination of pure ingredients and a particular focus on the oil to wax ratio. We feature a concentrated amount of pure, unrefined, golden jojoba oil, which some call “liquid gold” as it mimics the skins natural moisturizer called “sebum”. Sunflower oil helps retain existing moisture, while candelilla wax works as a natural protective barrier to natures elements. The remaining ingredients such as calendula create a soothing, healing effect.
Can you elaborate on your work to reduce your company's environmental impact?
Social responsibility and sustainability is in our company DNA. We attract likeminded individuals as employees (and customers) and continually work to reduce our environmental impact. Eco Lips products are made in a pristine part of the United States called Iowa. I was born and raised here and never respected how lush our land is until recent years. We have fresh air, a lot of water, and wide open spaces. With it comes a strong work ethic coming from passionate people who choose to be here.
Tell us a little more about yourself…..
I am a health freak who lives on the edge once in a while. I enjoy rock climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering having climbed various places around the world including Yosemite, Nepal & Argentina. I have also run a few marathons and ultra marathons including an event that I founded called the “Organic Endurathon” where I ran 5 marathons (131 miles) in 5 consecutive days fueled by organic food. My family and I spend our time together outdoors as much as possible. Oh, and I work a lot too! I want to make sure my time on this earth creates as much of a positive impact as possible.
How can readers find and buy EcoLips?
Eco Lips can be found at most natural food stores as well as online at www.ecolips.com
Steve loves to hear from customers, so please do contact him with ideas, suggestions and questions. You can reach him through the Eco Lips website or the company's Facebook page.
Written by: Jeanne Grunert
Copyright 2009 RawPeople.com All rights reserved
These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.