STYLE SMARTS | Human Nature, co-founder Anna Meloto Wilk win international awards

April 27, 2017 - 1:32 PM
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Human Nature’s Anna Meloto-Wilk was recently awarded the Global Beauty Industry Woman of the Year Award. Photo courtesy of Human Nature.

The cause behind Human Nature, the pro-Philippines, pro-poor, and pro-environment is difficult not to get on board with. Who doesn’t want to live in a sustainable world? To see a Filipino brand such as Human Nature win an international beauty award goes beyond Pinoy pride. It’s a win for the advocates of eradicating poverty and creating livelihood plus preserving and caring for the environment, because it shows the global market that beauty can change and save lives through its business model.

As a buyer, these factors are hardly thought of when shopping especially when the loudest voices we hear promotes consuming to our heart’s delight. However on an individual level, this is what it means: if you are going to spend your money on beauty products, patronizing a brand with such values means it can continue to do its work in creating a sustainable earth. Yes, your lipstick can change the world. And when an international award-giving body awards such brand and its co-founder, perhaps others may pick up on this and more lipsticks that will espouse such values will be created.

Read my interview below with Anna to learn more about what this win and what’s new with Human Nature.

Ronna Capili Bonifacio (RCB): Congratulations on Human Nature’s Sustainable Pioneer Award! Please share with us what this means and why this matters for us Filipinos?
Anna Meloto-Wilk (AMW): Thank you! It is a great honor. When we applied, we didn’t really expect to win. We just wanted to put Human Nature out there, a homegrown Filipino brand that is truly doing its best to push the envelope of genuinely natural products that has a strong desire to encourage inclusive prosperity for agricultural communities and poor urban workers. The Sustainability Pioneer award was one of five industry recognitions given by Paris-based think tank Ecovia Intelligence (Organic Monitor) during the Sustainable Beauty Awards (SBA) ceremonies last October. Other categories include Sustainability Leadership, Sustainable Ingredient, Green Formulations and Sustainable Packaging.

Amarjit Sahota, Founder and President of Ecovia Intelligence shared that Human Nature’s emphasis on creating certified natural cosmetics from locally sourced ingredients and employment for impoverished communities in the Philippines was key to its Sustainability Pioneer Award. “We applaud the activities of this pioneering company.”

The ‘Diversity wins!’ program of Swiss brand Weleda, which gives employment to refugees coming into Europe, was a runner up. Also cited were industry leaders Éminence Organic Skin Care and Givaudan, a 250-year-old French company producing scents and flavors. So in effect, we bested well-established European companies that have been in existence for dozens of years while Human Nature is just about to celebrate our ninth year.

With Human Nature’s SBA win, the Filipino beauty brand joins previous awardees and industry stalwarts like Cruelty Free International and L’Oreal USA-Garnier.

RCB: How do you feel about being nominated for Global Beauty Industry Woman of the Year Award? What does this honor mean for you as an entrepreneur, working mother, and Filipino? (Note: Anna has won this award and the interview was done before the announcement.)
ANW: For me, this is again an opportunity to make the Philippines known for high quality, community-empowering, and sustainability-conscious products. I really feel that we need more good news in the Philippines and we will take every opportunity to encourage and uplift our countrymen wherever they are in the world.

Personally, I hope this nomination is also an encouragement to Filipinas that there is so much we can do in our different capacities. Many of us Filipinas are very fortunate to have the freedom to work and raise a family, having one of the highest gender equality index in the world according to the Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum.

At the same time, women are also some of the most impoverished sectors in our country so for those of us who have had the education and the access to networks and resources, we should definitely carry more than our weight in ensuring that we bring other people along with us in our personal dreams of progress.

Of course, my family is still my top priority because I feel that God has specifically called me to be a wife and a mother. My work in Human Nature and in promoting social enterprises extends that calling to nurture and take care of other families, particularly giving better opportunities to the working poor so they can also provide and give the best care to the children God has given them.

Human Nature is known for creating makeup that’s created for Filipina skin. No too-white powders here. All you get are very morena-friendly powders and shades. Photo courtesy of Human Nature.

RCB: What is the story behind Human Nature’s Switch to Goodness campaign?
AMW: Switch to Goodness is our way of making it manageable for ordinary folks to make significant changes in their lifestyle towards improving their well-being and becoming stewards of the community and the planet. It’s a 21-day challenge to make small but impactful changes in our lifestyle and switch to healthier products.

RCB: Are you joining this campaign? How are you practicing this on a personal level?
AMW: Yes of course! But in my case it was actually a 40-day challenge which started on Ash Wednesday and culminated on Easter Sunday. I’ve forgone all colored drinks so that I just drink water and milk.

(Note: Anna was still pregnant at the time of the interview. She has just given birth to her sixth child, a baby girl, as of this writing).

No more coffee, tea, or even sugary fruit juices for me. It’s been really hard because I love coffee and lemonade but I know that this sacrifice will really help me not only physically but spiritually as well. It helps me to focus on more important things when I become aware of what I am giving up.

I’ve also switched a lot of our home cleaning products to organic and natural cleansers (of course my detergent and dishwashing liquid have always been Human Nature but I mean the stuff that we still don’t have like floor and bathroom cleaners) ever since I realized that of our helper was getting skin and nose allergies from the really strong commercial disinfectants. This is also my third year of going on a 40-day digital fast, so no Facebook and Instagram for 40 days.

Again, this sharpens my focus on my top priorities which is family, work, and the other relationships I want to nurture.

Amalia Meloto Gonzalez, Human Nature Marketing Head, accepts the Sustainability Pioneer award. “We didn’t realize that our small company, which is just 8 years old, would come this far. We just wanted to do something good, something right, and this award is an affirmation of what we are doing,” she says.

RCB: What are some easy ways newbies to the earth-friendly lifestyle can start with?
AMW: Eat more local fruits and vegetables! Plant really easy to grow veggies like malunggay in your backyard. It’s super nutritious and there are so many ways to cook it apart from the usual Tinola. You can even incorporate it in scrambled eggs and sneak some of it in pancakes so your kids can get their much needed vitamins and minerals without them even knowing it! Eat seasonal produce—mangoes, avocados, and papayas are all over the supermarket now so take advantage of those.

I save a lot from not buying vitamins for my kids because they love eating fruits and vegetables, not to mention that they hardly ever get sick so we don’t spend much on medical expenses. The key to getting them to eat vegetables is to start them young and to model good eating habits with your kids. I can’t expect them to eat their healthful food if I don’t eat them too!

The latest releases of Human Nature include a hydrating face mist, a lip scrub, and baby sunblock. Photos courtesy of Human Nature.

RCB: This might be a question that has already been asked often or perhaps has an obvious answer, but we’d love to hear in your own words and from your point of view as a a family woman–why is it so important to you live simply, sustainably, and green? Why do you work hard every day to share this vision to Filipinos and the world?
AMW: Because at the end of the day, the simple life which puts God and relationships above material goods, is what brings true and lasting happiness. Taking care of our health, our family, and the one planet that we have ensures that we can enjoy life longer and it speaks of being responsible stewards of all the blessing we have been given.

RCB: What are some of your current must-haves from your new product launches?
AMW: Definitely the Hydrating Face Mist with Aloe (P250) especially in this hot, humid weather! I also love our new locally sourced, fair trade raw sugar Natural Lip Scrub (Php175) to help exfoliate my always peeling lips. Finally, the all natural, super affordable baby sunblock SafeProtect SPF30 Sunscreen for Babies and Kids (Php299.75) to protect my super active, outdoor loving brood from the harsh summer sun.

Shop Human Nature at humanheartnature.com and all Human Nature branches.