Friday, February 24, 2012

Eco Emi celebrates 1-year anniversary

Hi everyone. I'm extra excited to blog about this month's Eco Emi box, as it's also the service's 1-year anniversary. And to celebrate, Eco Emi's founder Christine was kind enough to participate in today's Q&A.

But, before we get to that, let me show you what's in this month's box. You can watch our initial reaction in the video above (here's the one from last month, if you missed it) and then check out our thoughts typed out below (we did the same thing for our January box and even followed up with a project using the fun snowflakes that came inside it).

The box, of course, contained the usual message from Christine. You can tell she's been paying special attention to everyone's suggestions. I just love how she treats her customers, like friends, as you'll also notice in the packaging. Her personal touches are so fun. Hayden was drawn to the sparkling stars and the Eco Emi sticker, while I'm a huge fan of the reusable drawstring bags.

The first items you'll notice are the bar soap, shampoo and conditioner in a sweet pastel pink sheer cloth bag. Here are the details, as printed on the enclosed card, followed by my thoughts:

OluvSuds Soap by Oluv Skin: "This moisturizing hand and body soap hydrates, nourishes and cleanses the skin. Created from naturally grown, estate-cold-pressed, 100% extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, citrus, sage and lemongrass, essential oils and salt. OluvSuds leaves your skin feeling clean, smooth and refreshed."

This is the perfect size for a trial soap. The ingredients are so clean and pure. Even the scent is light and refreshing. I don't know if I should use it now or pack it with me on a trip. "Luv" the name, too!

Organic Energy Shampoo & Conditioner by Greenbody Green Planet: "Energy Shampoo & Conditioner are one of the most pure and clean hair lines available for fine/normal hair. Your hair will achieve natural volume and vitality with weightless hydration and balanced nutrition."

I love trying new natural shampoos and conditioners, especially if they are cruelty-free and vegan. I can't wait to wash my hair with this tomorrow. Will let you know what I think. If I like it, I'll probably keep these bottles to refill for travel. Actually, the pink pouch with all three products would be nice to take on vacation.


Beneath the pink pouch were coupons and a sample pack of kid-friendly sunscreen.

Sunblock by Dr. Robin: "Dr. Robin all-natural chemical-free sunscreen with an SPF 30 was created by a Beverly Hills Dermatologist, using a formula featuring quinoa, oat and green tea extract, creating a unique but effective sunscreen that is clean and never tested on animals."

You know I was happy to receive this sample. I just wish it was bigger. Something tells me I'll be purchasing a full-size soon.

Next, Hayden and I checked out an item wrapped in green tissue paper. It felt like something from Pangea Organics (one my favorite lines), but it was something even more glamorous (and a full-size, too).

Freedom Lip Gloss by Revolution Organics: "For gorgeously healthy lips, this good-for-you gloss is rich in vitamins and antioxidants to leave lips beautifully moisturized and gorgeously glossy. Formulated with 85% certified organic ingredients and NO BAD STUFF!"

My lip gloss came in the shade "integrity," which I thought was a pretty cool name. It is a pink sparkly color, which looks great on me. I'm so modest. Ha ha :-) Oh, and it had a $26 value!


Moving on to our smaller box of goodies, here's what we found inside:

Herbal Chocolate Mint Truffle Tea by Mighty Leaf Tea: "Chocolate Mint Truffle rooibos tea is a yummy blend of chocolate cacao nibs, mint and rooibos leaves. Rooibos and chocolate are both great sources of antioxidants. Enjoy this guilt-free indulgence, great for kids and adults alike."

OMG! I've been wanting to try this tea ever since I saw it on another blog. Rooibos is my favorite and you know how much I love chocolate and mint. Should I drink it now, or save it for a special occasion? Either way, it won't last long :-)

Dagoba lip balm by Eco Lips: "Organic Dagoba lip balms are based on three flavors from Dagoba's chocolate bar collection, including mint, roseberry and lavender. Each customer will receive one surprise flavor. These lip balms are pleasing in taste and also contain moisturizing & soothing oils for healing protection."

Eco Lips and Dagoba are an amazing combination. One of my favorite lip balms teaming up with such a scrumptious chocolate is a match made in heaven. I received the lavender balm, which is just right for me (and Hayden, too, who tested it out in the video).

Body Butter by Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques: "I love body butters, especially Lauren's Sweet Chai made with incredibly rich and moisturizing organic butters & oils. This body butter will leave you smelling so yummy and your driest spots will feel soft and smooth!"

I'm so glad Christine introduced me to this line. I got a full-size eyeliner in my last box that I'm wearing in today's video (I'm also sporting the JR Watkins lip tint I got in my January box). This body body really does smell like chai. I'll probably order some more. I also plan on saving the sample container for a future project.

Lavender & White Tea Towelettes by Crystal Essence: "This Crystal-infused 100% biodegradable deodorant towelette offers all the great benefits in a grab and go packet. Pop some into your purse for a weekend trip, when camping and stay fresh all day long. Made with natural mineral salts, plus natural lavender, white tea extracts and essential oils."

I know it's TMI, but it's been a bit warmer around here lately. As a result, I was probably feeling less than fresh in the armpit area when I was filming today's video. I nearly blurted out exactly how anxious I was to try this and tested out when I was done with the video. I love the lavender scent, the easy application and how long it lasts. I actually cut my first towelette (there were four in the box) in half, to increase my number of uses.

Greener Loving Organic Soap Nuts: "I came across this product, tried it and immediately thought I MUST get this into my box for my customers to try, as well. Soap Nuts are small, berry-like fruits with a hard shell that grow in warm, tropical climates like India and other south Asian countries. A 100% certified organic laundry detergent that is so easy to use and simply fun!"

At first Hayden and I thought these were a snack, as they do look like berries ... then, we read the notecard :-) I've heard about these and have been so curious about them. I'll let you know how they work.


Anyway, I'm so please with this month's box and can't wait to see what's to come. And, now for the Q&A with Christine. She's so sweet and genuine. I think you'll agree. Oh, and I found the cute pic below on her site.

Q: How and why did you start Eco Emi? Who's Emi?

A: "I started Eco Emi for a number of reasons. I had made the decision to live a greener life, and it was very overwhelming, expensive and everything was a guessing game. I spent a huge amount of money constantly trying new items out, only to find that some I liked and some were awful. Many of the products did not have very clean ingredients that were disguised to look like good for you products; many items just did not work or tasted horrible. It's quite frustrating.

"After some time, I started to get to know the products and ingredients. Eventually, I was wasting less and less money and product, until finally I had made it through the grueling process and was living the total green life affordably and thoroughly enjoying everything I used. I do not miss the old non organic foods, non clean makeup, etc.

"I also had friends who really wanted to follow what I did, but every time they spent the extra (money) to get some green products, they never liked them and then wasted money. They would always say to me, "just take me shopping and show me what to get."

"It really made me realize that I think most people truly do want to live better green lives, but its too hard and discouraging when you start out and most people really can't afford to make the change. That is why Eco Emi is so helpful. I will never go back to that chemical filled, animal tested negative world of products.

"Emi was my dog "Emilia" and she was my best friend. At a very young age, she suddenly got very sick. It turns out dog food and all of the fillers, chemicals and over processed junk in dog food was killing her. By the time I figured everything out, she never had dog food again. I spent nearly $15,000.00 in six months between vets, medicines, foods and more. Finally I started to cook her real meals, vegetables, fish, etc., and she made almost a full recovery. But, the medicines the vets had put her on, that I had been trying to ween her off of, eventually got the best of her and she passed away.

"Our web site has the full story, but the whole situation was completely devastating and it made me realize what we put into and onto our bodies is the most important thing for our well being and an animals well being. I researched so much about dog food what was in it, a dogs health and then human food, health, etc. It was an eye opener and pretty scary."

Q: How does the service work?

A: "To join, it's $15.00 a month. The payment will automatically be taken out every 30 days, and you can cancel anytime. Every month you receive a gift box filled with 5-10 eco friendly, organic, all natural, fair trade, vegan and vegetarian products. The boxes always have fun and exciting items to sample, everything from food, to makeup, accessories to house cleaning products. We try to have a variety of items in every box to cover all areas of turning your life into a greener one.

"Also our packaging changes every month, giving you a new fresh unexpected look and feel every time you open our box. I hate commercial feeling programs or services. It was important that my packages felt like they were gifts friends of mine were getting every month from another friend. Girls tend to put that extra special touch into packaging a special gift to a friend, so it was important my packages had that personal feeling.

Q: How do you select the items featured in each month's box?

A: "Very carefully :) I am picky and do try everything out first; it must be something I really do like and use. I have actually had some companies angry at me for requesting samples first and one who was angry at me because I told them their ingredients were not clean enough for our box. I regularly get products from companies to try and I'm constantly shopping and bringing home loads of products to try. Its fun and its something I'm passionate about, but it's a lot of work.

"What can be very frustrating is seeing other sampling programs pop up that are not taking it seriously, but looking for a business to try and make money. I take what I do very seriously, and because I am so picky, it makes my job much harder. But, the end result I truly think is better, because I know 100% I am featuring the best products I can find that truly do work, taste good and are clean green products."

Q: Which month has had the most popular box so far, and what was in it? How and where can customers purchase those products?

A: "Hmmm, I think our May box was a big hit. The box had a full-sized bar soap from Pangea Organics that smelled amazing, and you could even plant the (Pangea Organics soap) box to grow a spruce tree. There were makeup items, food bars and more. This box also had my favorite packaging look to it.

"You can purchase all of the products from our boxes in the shop section of our web site. This section features all of our boxes and what was in them. If you click on any item, you will be directed to the companies web site to purchase the item. Inside our boxes, we often put in coupons or discount codes from the companies for future purchases. We also work with a number of wildlife organizations; I adore wildlife and spreading awareness about them is extremely important to me.

Q: As the company grows, what can we expect in the future from Eco Emi?

A: "A lot :) We have loads of plans in motion and one really fun new feature we are getting ready to launch very soon. We have really looked outside the box literally and are expanding in a number of ways that I know the customers will LOVE! This next year is going to prove very fun and exciting. I would say more, but we have to stay hush, hush right now just know we are doing things very different then the other programs. We want to stay as separate from the other commercialized programs as possible."


Thanks so much Christine for answering our questions today. Happy one-year anniversary :-)

*BTW, I just wanted to mention that I paid for this service.
I just happen to be a big fan.