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5 things I’ve learned from...opening a sustainable business in the US

By
Nicole White
July 2, 2018
5 min read

Alma Boa, which means ‘good soul’, was founded by two good souls themselves, Renata Helena Galleazzi and Felipe Freitas, who are partners in life and in social change. Their passion for living a minimalist lifestyle, where every purchasing decision is influenced by their love for humans, animals, and mother earth, is how Alma Boa came to be. The online boutique is a curated collection of eco-friendly and socially responsible brands that paint a beautiful picture for a more sustainable future, simply by voting with your dollars.

Renata Helena Galleazzi and Felipe Freitas of Alma Boa

You have to walk the talk

Alma Boa is at the intersection of everything we believe and have learned from our experiences. In 2014 we became Reiki healers and the idea of doing good turned into a mission. We are way more careful about our impact on the planet, we follow a plant-based diet, we drastically reduced our shopping habits, and we cut back our use of plastic and disposable stuff. We are working to input these habits in our friends, relatives, and customers by showing the importance of thinking about our impacts on the planet right now because it's not a future thing anymore, we are already facing the problems created by the older generations.

We need to understand that we vote with our dollars, and if we keep supporting companies/products/operations that destroy we are giving them the OK to keep doing it.

Geography plays into priorities

Brazil is a 3rd world country. The bureaucracy doesn't help entrepreneurs, the taxes are around 20% of the revenue, and we have a lot of corruption. This coupled with high unemployment and a very bad educational system make it so people have survival as first priority. In that scenario, sustainability is not as important.

Here in the US the bureaucracy is very little, the taxes are pretty fair and people don't struggle so much. The sustainable mentality is already a priority to a big part of the population.

It’s not about fitting in, it’s about making change

All the brands we carry have a beautiful story behind them – giving people in need jobs and fair wages, upcycling, recycling, giving back to the community, and more.

For us, it’s not about standing out in the crowd, because that’s something to think about when you want to fit into an existing model. Maybe we are dreamers, but we want to create a new model, a new consumerism.

We want to be truly sustainable by creating a market where everybody grows together. The way we live and consume today puts around 90% of the world’s money in the hands of maybe 10% of the population. We don't want to fit in this model. When we reach our goal to sell billions, we are going to be reinvesting this money to help other "Alma Boas" grow around the world. We will be investing in companies like the ones in Swell's portfolios, we are going to buy farms and crops and turn them into organic producers, or rebuild forests. We will do our best to clean the mess we humans are making.

It won’t all happen at once

Sustainability is the top priority for Alma Boa, but it’s not exactly attainable yet. We are doing the best we can to be eco but we are not 100% – and our first reinvestments are going to be to fix that. We are small and self-funded, we are selling on Amazon, we use regular postal services and sometimes we use plastic envelopes (hoping that our clients recycle them). For now, for us, there is no other way.

What your customer likes will surprise you

We built our first inventory with variety first and less depth. So we have women, men, babies and kids clothing, houseware like blankets, candles and pillows, handbags, bags, wallets and purses and a lot of accessories like bracelets, necklaces, earrings. It’s a little bit of everything but in a balanced way.  It’s been interesting to see what sells well online vs in person. On the website, we are are selling more candles and bath salts than bracelets – and it's surprising because we thought people would like to smell a candle before buying it!

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