Olivia Wilde Explains Why Being Eco-Friendly “Isn’t As Much of a Pain in the Ass As It Used to Be”
Olivia Wilde has been a busy woman lately—she gave birth to her baby girl earlier this month, and she also just launched a new tea—unsweetened mint honeysuckle—as a collaboration with her eco-conscious company Conscious Commerce and tea line Runa. So why did the actress, entrepreneur and mom-of-two want to launch a bottled tea? We caught up with Olivia, her business partner Babs Burchfield and Runa’s CEO Tyler Gage to find out.
Glamour: Tea is a big departure for Conscious Commerce, which in the past has done collaborations in fashion and beauty. Why did you want to do a tea?
Olivia Wilde: We launched Conscious Commerce with the simple desire to identify awesome companies who were approaching their business models with a less destructive, more innovative approach. That has really been our criteria for these collaborations. The food and beverage industry has arguably been way ahead in the conscious consumerism game for years now, as the organic produce movement has become the standard of living for much of the world. We have often referred to that example when imagining every other industry having the chance to experience similarly massive revolutions.
Runa is a solid example of a conscious company—one that is incorporating social and environmental impact directly into their business model. By creating a new, fair-trade market for the guayusa plant, they are transforming the lives of their Amazonian farmer-partners. They’re protecting this land by making these crops valuable, as well as planting over 150,000 trees each year.
We also happen to love the product itself—we’ve found ourselves fully addicted to it!
Babs Burchfield: We started Conscious Commerce in hopes to work in many industries to raise the awareness that its truly possible to do better business all over the world. The collaboration with Runa came together organically, they embody all that we look for in a brand to partner with. First and foremost, the product is incredible. We drink a lot of Runa. It’s delicious. When we met Tyler a few years back, and recognized his passion for the product and the process, we were absolutely swept off our feet and inspired. The opportunity to create a flavor together is an honor.
Glamour: And Tyler, why did Runa want to partner with Conscious Commerce?
Tyler Gage: While lots of people talk about being “green” and “sustainable” nowadays, Babs and Olivia truly walk the walk and devote themselves to supporting real innovation that supports communities across the globe. Aligning with Conscious Commerce to deepen our mission, and share a healthy, delicious product with consumers is what we love to do and we’re very grateful for their support.
Glamour: When you’re looking for a new business to partner with, Olivia, what qualities do you look for?
OW: At CC, Babs and I look for partners who are interested in more than just making more money. We look for partners who see a new way of doing business, and aren’t afraid to take some risks to get there. The common denominator seems to be optimism. We are drawn to people who are excited by their ability to change the world through commerce.
Glamour: With so many projects in the works, how do you balance your home and work schedules?
OW: I see these various projects as balancing me. They keep me sane, because they keep me continuously educating myself, challenging myself, and satisfying myself with so many different types of experiences. I tend to thrive when working constantly, when I reach a sort of productive hum. Don’t get me wrong, it also means a sort of acceptance of my own personal failure at one thing or the other at any given time, and that’s okay. I can’t be the best mom and the best director and the best actor and the best business owner in the same day, but I tend not to set irrationally high expectations for myself. It’s healthier to generally set my standards low, and very occasionally blow my own mind ;).
What advice do you have for young women who might be interested in starting an entrepreneurial business, like you’ve done with Conscious Commerce?
OW: Go for it, and don’t let anyone kill your ideas. People will tell you your dream is unrealistic as a justification for why they themselves haven’t achieved it. Also, find a great partner. No one can start a business alone. Women are very skilled collaborators. Find someone who has all the skills you don’t.
And remember what makes women such great leaders: we are web thinkers, meaning we are great at comprehensive thinking, and therefore collaboration. We are biologically designed to have better verbal skills than men, which makes us logical leaders since great leadership is basically great communication. We are neurologically keyed up to be able to see “the big picture” and make wise decisions based on that sharp peripheral thinking. These are actual, solid, valuable assets that we possess, just by the nature of our sex. Somehow the world turned those strengths into weaknesses, and we were raised to think men should be in charge, but in fact we are naturally predisposed to be incredible leaders.
So my advice is to take advantage of being such a natural collaborator, communicator, and comprehensive thinker, and use those badass skills to be the best boss imaginable.
Glamour: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve personally learned since starting Conscious Commerce?
OW: I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the impact of consumerism on the environment, and on humanity. I now realize how much we waste, how much we destroy, and how ignorant most of us are about the origins of every single thing we buy.
Glamour: What do you wish more people knew when they’re working towards being conscious consumers themselves?
OW: That it is not as much of a pain in the ass as it used to be! Now you don’t have to be incredibly rich, or go to much trouble at all to know about these companies, as the internet has made everything so much more accessible in every way.
BB: It seems intimidating to think about changing your habits but its becoming easier, there are more and more mindful businesses with really good products coming out. Be open to trying them.
Glamour: With beverages, fashion and beauty in the books for Conscious Commerce, where do you see it going next?
BB: More collaborations coming up with companies we stand behind. Lots of content and storytelling. And some investment opportunities.
OW: We’re working on a conscious investment fund, that will allow us to foster and support conscious companies from the ground up.