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One of My Top Picks for Where to Find Safer Products: O & N Collective

+ Pamela Friedman

Have you been looking for safe personal care products? Are you having a hard time finding them? I’ve posted before about where to find safer products, but I recently found a new favorite place-the O & N Collective. This company is completely aligned with the Cinco Vidas philosophy. Michelle Witherby is the founder, and we got a chance to talk with her recently about her passion for providing her customers with safe, nourishing, and eco-friendly options.

Q: What is the O & N Collective?

A: O & N stands for “organic and natural,” which is just the type of products we provide on our site. When our customers shop from us, they can rest assured that what they’re buying is free of toxic ingredients like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates; is cruelty free and not tested on animals; and does not contain some by-product or other ingredient that’s not listed on the label. I do the work for our shoppers, researching these companies, requiring proof of the ingredients, checking for organic certification, looking to see if they’re aligned with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and being sure they’re committed to sustainable business practices. We have only nine brands approved on our site so far, which shows you how stringent we are in our requirements.

Q: Why are you so passionate about safe products?

A: A few years ago I was diagnosed with colitis. I had to make changes in the way I was eating, and in my nutrition. I also have a sister and brother with auto-immune diseases, and together we began to realize how we all needed to do more to protect ourselves from chemicals and toxic environments. I spoke to a naturopath and she told me about reducing my exposure to gluten through personal care products. I had an “aha” moment and thought, “If there’s gluten in some of my personal care products, what else is there that may not be good for me?” I had already shifted to cleaner, safer, and more ‘”green” household and cleaning products. Personal care was the next step.

Q: Why did you start O & N?

A: I’ve always been a beauty junkie. I tried everything under the sun when I was younger. The minute I started doing my research to find out what was actually going into skin and personal care products, it’s like I went down a rabbit hole. I discovered there’s virtually no regulation on these products to make sure they’re safe. I realized I needed to launch a space where I could do the work for shoppers, so they could rest easy knowing someone was watching out for them. At the same time, they know that what they buy is going to work, and that it will be safe and okay to use. O & N started from there.

Q: Have you had any experience with cancer?

A: My cousin was diagnosed with colon cancer three years ago.I also had someone close to me diagnosed with breast cancer, and I was very involved as a caretaker. I shared everything I learned as I researched products for O & N, and in October a percentage of our sales went to the Breast Cancer Fund.

Q: What is your own personal balanced living philosophy?

A: The most important thing for me is to live in the “now.” So many of us struggle with living in the past or allowing past circumstances to mold our decision-making process or influence the way we live. We struggle between that dimension and the future-worrying so much about what’s going to happen or what’s going to be. We miss out on the beauty and the amazing moments happening right now, and we don’t get that back. When I find myself drifting away from the present, I use aromatherapy to calm and soothe, or I’ll just find a place to be silent. I think being silent is an incredibly powerful tool for bringing yourself back to earth. There’s so much noise and information in the world that just being silent and present is very grounding.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with O & N?

A: In an industry where you’re promoting optimal health, you have a more intimate relationship with your customers. Our customers open up to me about their health issues or the trouble they’re having with their skin or other problems. It’s very unique and special. I believe you have to raise the bar on customer service when you’re dealing with people’s health. People trust me with their safety, and I’m passionate about making sure the brands we have are safe for them.

I invite you to check out Michelle’s site (the O & N Collective) and try out some of her products. Let me know what you think!



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