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Looking for toxin-free baby products? Jessica Alba would like to help

The Globe and Mail/Amanda Lowe

Jessica Alba is one of the latest celebrities to spin her lifestyle into a full-blown brand. The Hollywood star, along with business partner Christopher Gavigan, recently visited Toronto to promote the Canadian launch of the Honest Company, their online shop dedicated to toxin-free baby and household products.

The two sat down to discuss their foray into the Canadian market, while dropping a tip for the fanboys and girls (if you call the customer service line, it just may be Alba herself who picks up on the other end).

Can you tell us about your working relationship?

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Alba: I met Christopher when I was my most vulnerable, pregnant with my first child. I met him at the launch of his book [Healthy Child, Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home]. I was starving for the right information about toxic chemicals. I feel like he was used to crazy pregnant women asking him millions of questions so he was very kind with me.

You frequently mention "mom" as consumer. Are dads also consumers for their children?

Gavigan: Today's dad absolutely is. He is more involved in lifestyle decisions around feeding, around apparel, around what's coming in for nursery decor and how the home is looking and being designed. I'm a dad of three and our two other founders are dads.

Alba: But the reality is, more often than not, mom is making the ultimate decision in what comes into the house.

Gavigan: We have dads calling our customer service line all the time and I love talking to them.

You answer the phone?

Alba: My first call was with a dad, actually.

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Have you noticed differences with the Canadian market yet?

Gavigan: I love the Canadian market for the reason that there is a deeper sense of education around health and wellness. We hear from around the globe, France, Australia, China, but the Canadians were by far the most vocal in really wanting us so we really prioritized this launch.

Isn't shipping a challenge here in Canada?

Alba: That's what took so long [laughs]. We had to figure out the logistics. It is challenging but we found a way. I've been living in Canada, over the years, altogether about five years, so this really is like my second home. I love Vancouver, I love Toronto, and I've spent a little time in Calgary, so I was so excited to come back here and bring the Honest Company.

When I became a parent, I researched toxicity and baby products, and the more I researched, the more my anxiety level grew. Where do you think parents should draw the line with everyday toxins?

Alba: I think everything in moderation. That's why we created this company, to make it easy for parents to shop because, frankly, it was difficult before we created the Honest Company. I was buying stuff in Australia and Europe, because they have higher standards. I was making detergents at home. It was too difficult to put together my basic needs. It felt like I was constantly compromising and it was too hard and crazy expensive.

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What's the hardest thing about being a parent?

Alba: Trying to manage my time.

What's your solution?

Alba: I don't have a solution! My solution is changing every day. My girls know they're my priority and I love them so much and so just trying to tell them that and show them that as much as possible.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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