Hayley Swindell, owner of the Hip Humanitarian, joined me for coffee and to chat about her journey as a conscious beauty and accessory innovator.
|Photo taken by Jordan Afshin|
Tell me about your business:
The Hip Humanitarian is a socially responsible online boutique, and a monthly subscription box.
How did you come up with the idea for your company?
My sorority was doing a fundraiser for a school in Uganda, and no one was donating…I found that very disturbing because people were coming home on Saturdays and Sundays with shopping bags. How can you have enough money to go shopping, but not have $5 to put in the donation box?
That is very self-aware because generally when people think of sororities they don't think super socially conscious.…
Sororities are very philanthropic (I actually am in one still), but there is that stigma that all they do is party. What I did was I made it [donating] more fun!
I would ask for a designer item that my sisters did not wear anymore; I took it off their hands and sold it. We raised money and now we can say, we built that school in Uganda.
The idea for The Hip Humanitarian happened when two things came together. I ordered Birchbox, and loved the idea of monthly subscription! Then I started reading a lot about chemicals in beauty products and began to care about what I put on my body. Those two ideas came together to become The Hip Humanitarian.
I love the box! But I have to ask, why do you care?
If I didn't who would? If enough people care, that is when real change happens. Every girl shops, and buys makeup and things for themselves. Now if you can buy those things and still do good, it’s awesome!
That’s what I love about the box! You kind of do all the hard work of finding products that “do good” for us:
The whole point of the box is to introduce people to things they already would buy, but products that actually do good. At our age  we don’t have a ton of money to spend and donate. I still want to get drinks with my friends and buy that pretty scarf; but with the box, I can still do those things and buy products that are socially conscious.
What has been the hardest part of starting The Hip Humanitarian?
Getting over the fear of what people think.
I was scared people were going to look at me and think I lost my mind! Giving up the fear of what people thought has helped me find my voice.
I totally hear you on that! I feel there is a misconception about caring about where your beauty products or clothes come from. I feel it is viewed as idealistic, bleeding heart, and almost dumb.
Oh yeah! Especially living in Texas! Austin is a little bit better, but especially in the south people think you are such a hippie. But if they read about the chemicals that are in their shampoo that they put on your body every day, they would think differently.
What has been an event or a moment that has been the most rewarding for you?
This sound so cliché, but I wake up every day and do what I love! And because I do what I love, I wake up every day and feel healthier, and more energized and happier and much more pleasant to be around.
Not to make you uncomfortable but I can tell you are happy because you are radiant. Beautiful to look at, and to be around. **(y’all she is!)
That’s very nice, but I think when you are super happy you are more beautiful. When you are not bogged down or stressed because you are living to please other people, it makes you more beautiful.
How has this changed the way you consume?
It started with my eating, and then my beauty routine. My mom has beautiful taste and has beautiful things like Louis Vuitton purses. Those thing are awesome, but I am moving away from buying that way. There are some many bags and shoes that are beautifully made AND good quality that are socially conscious.
It might take a long time, but I think that people are starting to care about what they put on their bodies, and where it comes from.
What is your favorite product in the box right now?
Ohh I have 2!
1) I love One Love organics. In our January box, we have the charcoal cleansing sponge that is so fun!
|The One Love Organics Sponge hanging out in my bathroom. I love it!|
2) Pursoma Ocean Potion bath. You pour it in your bathtub and you think, “this is green and looks like algae. I am not getting in there!” But you get it and it is so great and detoxifying. I think it is so cool to think of your beauty routine that way. Taking care of yourself from the inside out.
Learn more about The Hip Humanitarian
Make sure to get the February box celebrating the season of love! (Don't worry nothing dirty, so it's safe to send to Mom)