Smart Cookie: Jo, Founder of Viva La Body - Ecobuy

1)      Could you tell us a little about yourself and what’s your business about?

I like bushwalking and collecting stamps……NOT REALLY (though I do love bushwalking).  I am a crazy ball of creative energy and love to make stuff, mostly under the brand Viva La Body that I operate alongside my husband Micko.  Viva La Body is a true zero waste beauty brand based in Darwin Australia.  Everything we make at Viva La Body is housed in fully compostable packaging.  Our range includes shampoos and conditioners, facial care products, moisturisers, perfumes and all manner of lotions and potions.  The sweet thing is that everything is formulated in a solid form which eliminates the need for plastic/jars/recycled PET jars or bottles.

2)      Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?

Every morning I drink warm water with a squeeze of lemon and then I hit the mat and do yoga.  This gets my head straight and helps me focus on the tasks of the day.  I hassle my daughters to wake up and get themselves off to school (it’s their last year of highschool).  I usually take a walk in the veggie garden and harvest some leafy greens that will make a delicious and nutritious salad for lunch.  The Viva team sits together and we eat a yum healthy lunch from the garden sometimes with Micko’s homemade sourdough bread or kombucha or some treats that team members have brought in.

3)      Why did you choose to go sustainable and eco-friendly?

There is no choice, we feel it is the only way forward.  Our environment demands action from manufacturers to produce sustainable eco-friendly products. There are so many boutique beauty brands in the world that continue to use plastic or glass jars (usually with a plastic lid or pump attachment and a sticky laminated label) to house their products.  Unfortunately, the end life for most of these products is landfill. It feels good to know we are trying to address the situation by manufacturing a salon quality product in solid form.  Our products are certified palm oil free, certified cruelty free, vegan, housed in compostable packaging and handmade with natural ingredients.

4)      What was the hardest part of starting your own business?

A very limited budget was the hardest part.  For many years we needed to put any profit back into the business to build it up. But with loads of hard work it eventually came together!

5)      Best piece of advice you have ever received?

They said “don’t do it”… I had earphones on and didn’t listen.

6)      One book and/or documentary everyone should read/watch? Why?

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe. It’s about debunking the myths set in place by the colonialists about First Nations peoples in order to justify dispossession.  It describes how land was cultivated and farmed. A fascinating read and I love that today we can discover local areas all about the Top End that have been cultivated, as Bruce Pascoe describes in Dark Emu, thousands of years ago.