For this week’s Homegrown Business feature, we spoke with Iona Bonamis, Owner of A Healthy Beginning. A Healthy Beginning provides handmade natural home and body care products with an emphasis on health, wellness and sustainability.
What is your business called and what does it do?
Located in East Vancouver, A Healthy Beginning is a small business dedicated to helping people create the green, healthy lifestyle they desire. I offer a line of natural, organic home and body care products that combine the practices of aromatherapy and traditional herbalism. I only use pure, ethical, all-natural ingredients to make beautiful and practical products. All products are packaged in refillable or compostable containers with minimal plastic, and I also offer a container refill and container refund program!
What made you want to do this work?
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to make a positive difference in this world – to help create communities that are sustainable and healthy. Part of that is making sure what we put on our bodies and use in our homes is safe for us and for our natural environment. It is a small, yet impactful step we can all take.
What problem did you want to solve with the business?
I founded A Healthy Beginning eight years ago soon after I first became a mom. Having worked in toxic chemical management, I knew regular products found in store shelves are often filled with harsh chemicals. Even those that claim to be ‘green’ or ‘natural’ often have hidden artificial fragrances and preservatives. I was inspired to make personal care products for my baby that were truly safe and healthy, using ingredients created by mother nature. Today, using my professional training in aromatherapy, I have made it my mission to provide handmade, non-toxic, and natural, organic personal care products that can be used by everyone.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
My products can be used by people of all ages, and they are most popular amongst women and families with young children.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
You can order my products from my website. You can also find me at markets throughout Metro Vancouver and in a growing number of stores across BC such as Jarr Delivery, The Nooks, Mo’s General Store, The Hub Refillery, and The Local Refillery. A complete list of retailers can be found here.
Where in Vancouver can we find your profession?
While there are many natural body care lines available in Metro Vancouver, mine is one of the few that uses all-natural, mainly certified organic ingredients, is packaged with zero-waste packaging, and is available in bulk.
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.
The best question to ask when shopping for body care products and cleaning products is: Are there any artificial fragrances or preservatives in your products? Of course, in my case, the answer is no – I only use pure essential oils and natural preservatives.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part is helping my customers treat their skin conditions and restore their skin’s vitality naturally, safely, and effectively. It’s incredibly rewarding when they tell me how much they enjoy my products and the difference they have made in their skin’s health, boosting their confidence and peace of mind.
The worst part is trying to convince a person who is skeptical about natural products that they actually work (often better than store-bought conventional products) and that making the switch to natural products can make a big difference in reducing harmful toxins in their bodies.
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
Did you see the movie about the dinosaurs that couldn’t find the herbs?
It was The Land Before Thyme.
What are your social media channels?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Vancouver business that you love?
I absolutely love Jarr Delivery. They deliver zero waste groceries and household products right to your door.