Taking on Toxins
A Rhode Island teen starts a non-toxic cosmetics company
When 18-year-old Ava Anderson was a high school freshman in Providence, Rhode Island, she saw a news story about harmful chemicals called toxins that are often found in personal-care products like makeup, shampoo, deodorant, and sunscreen.
“I couldn’t find one [product] line that I felt comfortable using,” says Ava, who is now attending Babson College in Massachusetts. Although the long-term effects of these toxins are unclear, Ava wanted an alternative. With the help of scientists, she created healthy substitutes.
When you start a business, the money you need to launch it is called capital. In Ava’s case, her family invested money for research, raw materials, and office space and to hire a few employees.
Today, Ava works with six manufacturers in Rhode Island and elsewhere in the U.S. to create her products. Ava Anderson Non-Toxic sells products on its website and through salespeople who sell products to their friends and families. In return, they receive a portion of the revenue from sales. They also get bonuses in the form of credit for free products and discounts on purchases. Four years after its start, Ava Anderson Non-Toxic has close to 50 products and has more than 2,000 sales people in 50 states.
What does Ava do with her earnings? “All of our profit [money a business keeps after expenses are paid] from the business, we put back into expanding the business and continuing to launch new products,” says Ava.