Here at Stackwood we love meeting passionate, community-driven people. Cara Little of PURE.HOME.BODY certainly fits this description.
We first made contact with Cara whilst programming our Spring workshop offering. We wanted a good variety of knowledge and skills-based classes and thought Cara’s approach to educating and empowering people to have healthy, nourishing home environments fit the bill.
With a background in pharmacy, Cara saw an opportunity to develop a range of cleaning products that were both healthy for us and good for our environment. She felt frustrated with the home cleaning sector and their misleading product labels and marketing spin.
We sat down with Cara to chat about her fledgling business, her passion for holistic wellness and healthy, happy homes and her plans for the future of PURE.HOME.BODY.
You have a background in Pharmacy - what led you into product development?
I have been a pharmacist for 10 years now and I started product development after not being satisfied with the current available cleaning and beauty products on the market.
I like transparency in a label. I have background in chemistry and even I find a number of the compounds and ingredients listed on household product labels confusing.
The laws around what is required on these labels are vague. Companies are not obligated to disclose all ingredients on their labels. Sometimes they don’t use the name of the compound, instead referring to an ingredient such as ‘coconut based anionic surfactant’ or ‘plant based emulsifier’. That makes it seem healthier right?
It certainly does! What about all the ‘eco-friendly’ products out there?
What I came to realise is that not all ‘eco-friendly’ ingredients are safe for your health. These products are marketed as ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘natural’. They are okay for the environment because they are biodegradable and don’t accumulate in our waterways. However, that does not mean they are necessarily good for our health.
Therefore, we can often be fooled into thinking that eco-friendly products are good for us but in many cases they’re not.
So what is the difference between ‘eco friendly’ and ‘health friendly’ cleaning products?
Eco-friendly means ‘earth friendly’ or ‘biodegradable’, whereas health friendly means nothing that can cause irritation or build up within the body. PURE.HOME.BODY. has found a synergy between the two to help both the environment and ourselves.
What compelled you to create the range?
After qualifying as a pharmacist, I became fascinated with autoimmune diseases and allergies. These particular disease states are quite prevalent in Western Australia. Many people arrive in WA and, for some reason, develop allergies, eczema, dermatitis, or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. So I wanted to see what was causing our bodies to overreact, become very hypersensitive and why in particular this seemed to be more common in WA.
Why are these health issues occurring in WA in particular?
There are a number of environmental factors that cause this. WA has a large number of pollen producing plants and natives. Our water is heavily chlorinated and our soil is not the best so nutritional content in our food can be affected.
I was really inspired to act by a beautiful mum who came in to the pharmacy on the brink of tears with a child who had terrible eczema. She had tried everything and just didn’t know what to do next or how to take the pain away for her child. I thought, right, I’m going to do something about this. Then when my kids were born, I became even more empowered to make a change.
I also wanted to empower and inspire people to know that wellness ultimately is in their own hands and they have the power to control it.
What does ‘holistic’ health mean to you?
Holistic health is the true essence and core of PURE.HOME.BODY. I actually like to call it ‘Holistic Wellness’ becomes it encompasses more than just the body. Western medicine is so body-based.
I see wellness as synergy between the mind and how we empower it, the spirit and how we nourish it, and the environment we live, work and play in and how we nurture it. This balance creates homeostasis or calm in your life. There is no right or wrong answer here; it’s what works for you as long as it empowers you.
Where does the name PURE.HOME.BODY come from?
I love my home - I’m definitely a ‘homebody!’ I love travelling and new experiences but I always love to come home. It is our safe haven and our centered calm for the day.
I love everything about my home, making it feel nourished and how it nurtures my family. So when it came to naming the range I wanted it to play on this word and incorporate the essence of me.
I also wanted a name that represented the simplicity of the products and my ‘less is more’ philosophy in life.
What was the first product you created?
My Multipurpose Spray. I wanted something to use for my general cleaning around the home that would just do everything from glass, to bench tops to cupboards doors, spills and anything else!
How long roughly does it take you to develop a new product for the range? What’s the process?
It takes a while. The initial formulations were developed five years ago. Before I released my range, I started a cleaning company to test the products. We slowly perfected the formulations.
Now most products take six months to develop. I generally start with an idea, and then do the research. I develop the formulation based on the ingredients and their key actions; their interactions and properties, the pH of the formulation and the toxicity and level of exposure in the home.
Anything toxic doesn’t make my cut of ingredients. All of my products have low toxicity rated Environmental Working Group ingredients.
As a consumer or a parent, what is the best way for someone to educate themselves about the products they’re using in their homes?
Get on board with Pure.Home.Body! Our aim is to gather useful information on local and relevant environmental and health issues to educate our customers. We talk to specialists, health professionals, environmental scientists and building biologists.
Our vision is to give every child a safe, healthy and happy home. We want to empower people to take control of their wellness by making more conscious decisions within their own home.
What has been the most challenging part of running your business?
Easy! Time! I have many things going on with PURE.HOME.BODY. I have to consciously remind myself that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a Day’. I am super passionate about what we stand for and love to connect with people so things can get quite busy around here!
Have you had any major positive milestones in your business, or ‘ah-hah’ moments?
Yes our first birthday. We made it! It was such a whirlwind of a year but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Another great milestone was our first repeat customer. Our clients are gorgeous. They are becoming like a family. They visit us at markets, email us with feedback and interact with us via social media.
This is exactly what we want: to be a brand for the family, a trusted go-to for useful information, trusted products and good vibes.
What’s planned for the future - any exciting things in the works for PURE.HOME.BODY?
So much!!! How much time do you have?!
We will be releasing a series of podcasts and short videos with practical information from a range of experts on health as well as tips and hacks for home cleaning and wholesome living as well as a fun little chef series, which will be very local to Perth.
We have collaborations coming up with the amazing team at Stackwood via our Healthy Home workshop series.
Get on board! Become part of the family at PURE.HOME.BODY and empower your own wellness.
Stackwood is hosting three events with PURE.HOME.BODY as part of our Healthy Home series. The first is a FREE TALK, providing an introduction to the practical workshops: Make your own non-toxic home cleaning products on Sunday 16th October from 10:00am - 1:00pm and Make your own non-toxic beauty and body products on Saturday 29th October from 10:00am - 1:00pm. Follow the links for more information and to book online.