Do you know the #1 rule of being an Environmentalist?
Hint: it has nothing to do with #plasticfreejuly
We are approaching the end of #plasticfreejuly, which if you aren’t familiar—it’s when a lot of people give a C+ effort to ditch plastic but like to post a lot about it on Instagram.
I think my problem with what I see online is that, like many of these hashtaggeries we jump on, it’s a complete performance. Slacktivism runs deep during a time when you can project being an environmentalist online while cropping your crimes of plastic out of your curated images.
I'm not here to guilt you into reducing your plastic, your choices are up to you. My goal with NOAP is to make serious products that perform so well that you would buy them regardless of their plastic-ness or not.
I love facing the challenge of creating a new game-changer that delivers a luxury experience without lazy packaging…I say "lazy", because plastic is what has been done for years and it works--but it has seriously overstayed its welcome. Sometimes you can’t avoid plastic because it is an extremely versatile material that is super convenient and super inexpensive. That two-punch-combo is what makes going against it so difficult.
But we are here to offer up some creativity and an overall better experience to completely transform the personal care game without that feeling of compromise.
I have my own personal litmus test to see whether someone is a performer or not. I simply ask: what makes you an environmentalist?
When someone immediately answers this question with what they buy and not what they do, it tells me a lot about them. Your paper straws, your reusable bags, your stainless steel water bottle, they're all great. But they aren't really a satisfying answer. Here's why:
It tells me that they don’t know the #1 rule of loving the planet: the most sustainable product is the one you didn't buy.
This is exactly why Millie & I self funded NOAP. Could you imagine the looks & eyerolls investors gave us when I said: we want to make the shampoo for runners & make the best conditioner bar for surfers...and while we're at it we also want them to last a really long time because we want people to learn to buy less.
If this is confusing to you, we understand. We are business owners, but we are trying to solve plastic blindness first. We are trying to change the way you shop, by creating performance products that encourage you to change your mindset and shop less...and just happen to be plastic free.
Our relationship to the earth is something that money can’t buy & no product can interrupt.
When I tried to explain to investors who, very rationally, have a consumer’s view of what it means to be earth-friendly--they didn’t understand our target market either. I was told “We're not really making the connection between personal care and outdoor athletes.” Of course you don't need to be an outdoor athlete to enjoy our products, but because Millie and I are athletes ourselves, we knew there was a whole camp of under-appreciated world warriors out there.
If we speak to an outdoor athlete about why we made these products for them, they understand in a heartbeat.
Nature is their playground and they want to protect it. The love of the outdoors connects all ages, genders, races with something much larger than being human.
I have the same jolt of excitement when I see a 4 year old on a surfboard, as when I see someone in their prime being a showboat--and the same thrill when I see a seasoned surfer in their later years still on the board, taking it easy, but still in love with the sea.
When you’re at peace in the outside world, aware of how small you are in the environment around you, you view your time here on earth as temporary. You hold yourself accountable, and you do your best to protect the planet--not because of some online initiative like #plasticfreejuly, but out of respect.
I want NOAP to attract the "doers", not the "shoppers". This is who we are, this is who our families are, and this is how we are raising our children.
The relationship a trail runner has with the forest is something money can’t buy.
That feeling of gratefulness in the shade of the trees on a hot day or that rush of determination and forced agility on uneven terrain gives you a respect for the forest and a complete understanding that you are just a guest there. The sense of seeing the sun shine like magic through the trees and hearing animals rustle leaves in their natural habitat: that is un-shoppable. The horror you feel when you see someone has casually left behind their Gatorade bottle by stuffing it in a tree, that isn’t something money fixes. That is about respect. I know a fellow trail runner did not do that; it was a consumer.
The relationship a surfer has with the ocean is something money can’t buy.
The magnitude of the ocean and its power and its romance with the moon makes you realize you’re just the insignificant 3rd wheel in the equation that wants to bask in their glory. That is something no metal straw purchase can compete with. The tired arms, the wipeouts, the appreciation for something bigger than you and your shopping cart—that is not for sale. The choice to avoid buying products that pollute your playground is not only obvious, it’s part of your being. I know when I see garbage on the beach, it's not a surfer that left it--it was a consumer.
The relationship a mountain biker has with the trails is something money can’t buy.
The biker who respects when a tree has fallen and stops his bike, collects boulders and builds natural ramps for others to ride without stopping after —that is a special connection to nature and unspoken respect for the next bikers that approach the obstacle after them. You don’t need to tell a mountain biker to remove their trash, they do it for others. They protect their playground and make it better for the next rider.
The relationship a skier, snowboarder or mountain climber has with the earth is something money can’t buy.
That thrill of the climb and the return from the summit are not purchasable feelings. They are feelings of pride and accomplishment and respect for the steep inclines the earth generously lets us play on. People who cherish mountains don’t care that you bought re-usable bags, they want you to take the bigger things seriously that contribute to global warming and melt the snowfall on their playgrounds. People who love mountains want you to think bigger, and not just in July.
It is the consumers that consume our playgrounds for their own benefit. We are not cut from the same cloth. The outdoor athletes are part of an unspoken and uncredited stewardship of the earth, and we built NOAP to celebrate them.
This is why our products are geared towards outdoor athletes. This is why our ingredients were carefully selected to solve problems for them. You don't have to be the outdoorsy type to love our products, but the type of person we are looking for is the type who looks at the world and feels small, not important.
- Our Everydayable Shampoo Bar was formulated for all hair types but with runners & athletes in mind: it solves the problem of "should I shower or train today?". There is zero-overwashed feeling and is packed with superhero ingredients like: hydrolyzed quinoa protein, baobab oil, black currant seed oil, almond oil, sunflower oil & coconut oil.
- Our Trifecta Conditioner Bar was specifically made to nourish all hair types with the intensity that salon products would with macadamia oil & kalahari melon seed oil. We also made sure it would help soften & protect hair from damage for people who love spending long days as their inner mermaid: after surfing in the ocean, after dipping in the pool, or lounging in the lake all day.
- Our About-Face Bar is packed with Marula & Rosehip oil to soothe skin & support elasticity after a little too much sun on your face.
- Our Puck Body Wash Bar is packed with activated charcoal and geranium oil which is known to have antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and astringent properties. It's made for people who play in the wild and might get some scrapes & bites on the way.
I know we are selling products, and of course we would love you to buy them, but we are serious when we say to you: all you need is less.