I admire those who choose to live a vegan lifestyle. Being the living epitome of fresh, clean, and ethical takes a lot of hard work and passion, and not a lot of people can truly say ~*living green*~ adds a distinct sparkle in their every day lives.
Take Jana Sevilla, for example. She's been a vegan for almost 10 years and founded one of the few vegan beauty lines in the Philippines: Zero Basics. The crafty Miss Sevilla decided she has had enough of mainstream products packed with hard-to-pronounce ingredients.
"I was a frustrated consumer with very sensitive skin. I wasn't satisfied with almost everything I tried, and in my advocacy to live consciously, I found myself creating a long list of what I want in the products that I will put my money in and use every day."
Jana decided to create her own line of organic, fresh, environment-friendly, and consumer-friendly products. She started with deodorants and toothpaste before venturing out into creating 100 percent all-natural, preservative-free, vegan facial washes, moisturizers, bug sprays, toners, and soaps.
What was your thought process when creating Zero Basics PH?
Jana: First, [the products] must be vegan. "Vegan" means there are no ingredients that came from animals, and the ingredients and the product itself were not tested on animals.
Second, they must [actually] be all natural because the label has been overused and misused [for so long]. Read the back label [of any product that claims to be natural] and you will find a long list of ingredients which are mainly chemical or synthetic and use at least two kinds of preservatives.
Third, they must be eco-friendly. Containers must not be made of plastic and a refill must be available. In a month, I consume one bottle each of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, face moisturizer, body lotion, bug spray, a tube of toothpaste, and the list of packaging waste could go on and on.
And fourth, they must be effective and safe to use [on] sensitive skin.
Who or what inspired you to create this brand?
Jana: I was so happy and satisfied with the products [I made] that I started to give them to my family and friends as gifts. They loved my products so much they started offering to buy from me! As a person with zero knowledge in business (as I have been an NGO worker for the majority of my career), it took me a long time to think about venturing into [one that's really my own].
What was your journey like in terms of creating this brand?
Jana: When Zero Basics came to life, finally, it started out very small. [But] the acceptance of the market has been very overwhelming. I can't believe these products I made using my own hands are very loved and appreciated by so many. It only goes to show that many people are also like me—a frustrated consumer who just wants to live a more sustainable lifestyle through the products that we use and put our money in.
What are the challenges of running your own business?
Jana: It's been fun, but it's really not easy. There are some low points, like when I get so tired from not actually having enough time to rest since I make all the products and I'm the main person who runs the business. But it's the experience of a lifetime, and every day I get to experience different kinds of emotions: from exhaustion and stress, to limbo and joy beyond words after reading a five-star review. I know I'm making a difference in the lives of so many. And the cherry on top is that no animals were harmed in the making of any of our products!
What do you hope to achieve with your sustainable brand?
Jana: My goal is for everyone to achieve healthy skin they are comfortable in. And I'm proud to say that Zero Basics has received countless feedback that [it has been successful in addressing] common and stubborn skin issues like acne, sensitivity, and dryness. I would love for many people to try Zero Basics because in doing so, they are [not only] helping the environment, but the animals as well!
What advice would you give to aspiring young entrepreneurs?
Jana: Just make sure that your heart and soul are always in the right place, and you'll be surprised at how much support you can get!
Zero Basics PH is available on Instagram and Facebook. Alternatively, they are available in the following: The Vegan Grocer in San Juan, Greenery Kitchen in Tejeros, Makati, and Marketa.com. You may also visit them during Good Food Sundays at Mandala Park in Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong every Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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