Beautyfix caught up with Four Truffles founder Ana Soriano to discuss her organic body care brand and her dedication to philanthropy work for women and children throughout the world.
BF: What inspired you to create Four Truffles?
AS: With Four Truffles I found something that allowed me to combine two of my passions – my love for the beauty industry and my love for helping other people with my philanthropy work. I started doing a lot of philanthropic work in my local community; we are in the Palos Verdes area. When I realized there could be a connection, I thought, wait, hang on one second here. I’m always around women, and I’m always hearing about beauty from the inside out- I want to practice that. So I found a way to marry those two passions together by creating Four Truffles.
BF: What is your beauty background?
AS: I started in working in the beauty industry in 2001 working behind the scenes with bigger brands and big retailers, as well as some start-ups. I’ve been involved in doing product development and designing promotional tools to help brands get out in the market place. I have a nice, well rounded knowledge of the industry.
BF: Your company is very women-focused. Why is that important to you?
AS: We have a philosophy that we call a Women for Women Journey and it’s about the belief that women are born with an innate sense of family and community and unity. Growing up I saw why my Mom worked so hard and why she wanted to always make sure we had a better life, and she wanted to give us the best of everything. She really saw the importance of making sure that the family was together. It was interesting when I started this brand because I wanted to find ingredients that really benefited the women who would be my end users, but also the women who worked behind the scenes. That’s one of the reasons we work with Argan Oil. The women in Morocco who cultivate it – they have the same philosophy there as we have here. It’s all about women who want to make sure that family stays together. I thought that was really beautiful and felt that it was the perfect tie-in for our whole philosophy. We really aim to create a circle of giving.
BF: What are some examples of how your company helps improve the socio-economic lives of women around the world?
AS: There are a number of giving-back programs that we do. For example, the use of Argan Oil in all of our products directly affects the women in the Berber Tribe. They are the ones who care for the land and who are in charge of harvesting the oil. When we purchase the oil from them, they get paid directly.
Our Shea Butter comes from Burkina Faso – and it’s the same idea. The women are in charge of cultivating and harvesting the Shea trees. They are directly impacted when people such as us purchase from them.
Both sources use traditional means of harvesting and producing the product by hand to preserve the trees, land and its resources. It is a major source of income and opportunity for personal growth for these local women who leverage both to access better education and business skills that allow them to flourish, be confident and provide for their families and community.
Once we complete the process and our goods are packaged and we’re ready to sell them, we turn around to help our local communities in the South Bay. The causes we support locally are women and children who have been victims of domestic violence and who are experiencing a tremendous poverty level. We give back by financial means, but we also donate a lot of our time and do hands-on work.
BF: Argan Oil and Shea Butter are key ingredients in your products – why?
AS: Those ingredients are really effective and they have so many benefits. They’re safe and effective for all ages, first of all. The Argan Oil is really rich in fatty acids, which allows it to soften and hydrate the skin. Also, it’s really good for reducing skin irritation, so it’s great for someone who has eczema, psoriasis, or severely dry skin. In addition it’s filled with Vitamins A, B1, E and F. It’s been proven, it’s been tested, and it’s been proven to work for centuries.
Shea butter is super rich in hydrating properties due to its rich fatty acid and vitamin A, E and F content. It also has a non-greasy feel that helps heal, soothe, moisturize and promote skin elasticity. It forms a protective layer that helps lock in the moisture and serves as a protective barrier from all the harsh chemicals and free radicals that are floating around the environment.
BF: How do you source your ingredients?
AS: We source them from various places, whether it’s directly from female-operated cooperatives, or going through partners that are primary distributors who obtained Ecocert certification for the ingredient.
For our packaging we have our signature wooden truffle jars that we source directly from artisans in the Philippines. We designed and developed those from scratch by working hands-on with the artisans there.
BF: What percentage of your products are made with EcoCert organic certified ingredients?
AS: It depends, we have 3 main products – the Body Butter, the Body Smoother and the Creamy Body Wash. The Body Butter is 75% organic, the Body Smoother, I believe is 60-65% organic, and the Creamy Body Wash is 55% organic – the rest of the ingredients are natural and vegan. Sometimes it’s not feasible to go all organic because of the accessibility and performance. For the Smoother, for instance, it’s easier to access natural raw sugar than the organic so we opt to do it that way. We use raw sugar in various forms and sizes to get the best results.
BF: Why was creating a natural and organic brand important to you?
AS: We think that what you put in, on and around your body is really crucial. As everything in the world evolves, we find that nature is always constant and we value our resources. We try to use natural ingredients that are derived by natural processes in the most eco-friendly ways. There are already strong traditions and history behind holistic skin care remedies. For us, just by going back to those roots, we can count on something with a proven past and perfect it for our current use by marrying it with scientific technologies. I am a strong believer in naturopath and holistic medicine. I have had personal experiences doing more of that school of thought versus the advanced medicine and I know that it works.
BF: What is the benefit of using natural and organic body care products?
AS: When you’re using ingredients that are cultivated and harvested using really pristine methods, you’re putting in your products the wholesome goodness that you actually get. You’re keeping everything intact. To me, when you have something as pure as that and you put that on your body, you can’t go wrong.
BF: Is your packaging environmentally friendly too?
AS: We are starting to look more towards that. Our labels are produced with a company who has been awarded with green certifications and a low carbon footprint. We always aim to use products and services from environmentally friendly sources and we’re looking for more eco-friendly packaging overall. There’s a big push to make sure everything goes in that direction.
BF: Are there other “green” business practices that your company observes?
We source our signature wooden truffle jars directly from the Philippines to support local artisans and then we support a local plant-a-tree movement. Our philosophy is to pay it forward to Mother Nature.
BF: What are your dreams for the future?
AS: As we grow we want to give back even more. We’re streamlining our giving-back programs and getting more organized with our donations. This year we are implementing a charity of the quarter program, and we will organize four major promotional fundraisers each year. We’re doing one right now for Haiti. It’s called “Make Your Mark” for Haiti, where we directly support an organization called New Life for the Children or NLC. It’s a great cause.
You really have to dig in to learn about what’s going on with Haiti. We’ve been exposed to it so much and hear about it all the time that there’s a great need, but it’s not until you actually start reading about it and really learn about specific organizations, what they’re about, what the problems are, and what the needs are, then you really start to understand, okay, this is how I can help. It’s really good to know, to find out the progress of the donations that you’re pouring into a certain organization. It’s very rewarding to see the impact or to hear about the impact from the help that you’re giving them.
In the second quarter we’re supporting Bridges of Hope. Their main thing is building schools for women and children who have been affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
As we grow, our hope is to be able to make a bigger impact in helping women through our philanthropy.