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"Green Beaver And Consumer Psychology: Why We Pay More" — Cathy Nesbitt, Entrepreneur

Cathy Nesbitt (00:00): My name's Cathy Nesbitt. My working title is Cathy Crawly Laughing Bean Queen. Worm composting, sprout growing and laughter yoga. My love letter is to the company Green Beaver.

Sam Thorogood (00:27): Welcome to Branding Love Letters, exploring the emotions brands evoke and the journeys they take us on. I'm Sam Thorogood, a graphic designer and your host. In each episode, I invite a guest to pick their favourite brand and unpack why it means so much to them. This podcast is a celebration of the branding that informs, impacts and inspires us. So, without further ado...

Cathy Nesbitt (01:10): Green Beaver was born the same year as my worm business. And I met Green Beaver at, at an eco event. There they were exhibiting and I loved the, um, so that was the first time I was introduced to them. Um, for my, for my worm business I do, um, I don't wanna buy boxes for shipping. So I, I collect them from wherever. Not, not every company wants to give their boxes up for, I don't know why. Uh, but Green Beaver was happy. More than happy to, uh to have me take their boxes and, and use their boxes to ship my worms, which then said Green Beaver, you know, so it was actually extra advertising for them.

Sam Thorogood (01:51): That's so fascinating. So it was actually through this kind of recycling of their materials that you came across them?

Cathy Nesbitt (01:57): Absolutely. And yeah, so I know we're gonna get more into why I love this brand, but, um, yeah, it's it, the, I guess the main reason is they're an eco, like they're, they're totally in sync with what I, with my life.

Sam Thorogood (02:10): Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, and so that, that was kind of what, you know, you first came across them in that way. What, what was it in that it sort of drew you in made you want to kind of follow that story a little bit further with them?

Cathy Nesbitt (02:22): Uh, well, you know, as an entrepreneur, it's, um, it's a challenge to get your message out, to get your brand known. And so exhibiting is one is certainly one way. And at, at these eco events, it's a challenge. It can be a challenge, you know, to get your message out. Why would I pay that premium price? Cuz it does cost more, um, versus just going and buying any brand. Um, so they, so you do need to stand out. And I, and I just love that the integrity of this company, the way they, they, they message, the way, their display, everything about this company it just, uh, it just screams integrity.

Sam Thorogood (03:03): And, and you are clearly an innovator, you know, entrepreneurial spirit, you know, launching lots of different, um, brands and eco projects. Was it something about their innovation that, that kind of drew you in as well?

Cathy Nesbitt (03:17): Yeah, so Green Beaver they're, um, they started their company because of all the chemicals and, and whatnot in personal care products. So this is a personal care pro uh, company, um, toothpaste, shampoo, creams, lotions, potions, all that stuff. And because, because we don't eat that those products, you know, the, the regulators, at least in North America, don't, don't look at it as something that they need to regulate in a way. Like, it doesn't matter how toxic it is. It does um, you know, in their mind because our skin's porous. So what it's the largest organ um, right. But, you know, because we're not actually consuming it as a food, you can get, get away with a lot more putting, you know, toxic elements in your product and, and Green Beaver. You know, I, I believe one of them is a microbiologist and one is a biochemist. So they've got the, the elements that they needed and they just saw a huge opportunity, uh, and not just for a business. Um, I, I love that Green Beaver, um, they don't necessarily have a business plan. They have a mission, their mission is their business plan.

Sam Thorogood (04:32): And I love when you're talking about them, because you're really, you are kind of talking about their story and their mission. And so that's clearly kind of, you know, in tune with you and what you believe in, it's not just the, the products are good. You, you, you are kind of, you're describing something a little bit higher in a sense there's sort of a, a real purpose to this, to this business.

Cathy Nesbitt (04:51): Absolutely. Yeah. You know, we do buy products because we like the product, it's an added bonus if people can really stand behind a company and really say, wow, this company is, is for the planet. Like they care about the planet, they care about people and of course money is always involved, but

Sam Thorogood (05:10): What, what emotions does the brand evoke for you?

Cathy Nesbitt (05:13): I, I just feel good with, you know, Green Beaver, beaver is, so this is like an all Canadian uh, company. Beaver is one of our national animals. I mean, who would chose a rodent, but we did largest one. Um, Canada chose a rodent. And so Green Beaver kind of, I, I think the, the name even says, um, sustainability, it just is even in the, the title. It's like, you know, the beaver is, um, the architect of nature, you know, they, if they wanna change it, they do, they just change the stream. And now the stream's over here, you know, so I feel like, um, you know, Green Beaver started in 2002, same year I started my worm business. So I also have an affinity there and, and it just is in, it is just an alignment. I just feel good about this company.

Sam Thorogood (06:06): Yeah. And is the fact that it's very much a Canadian company part of the appeal for you?

Cathy Nesbitt (06:12): It, it is, you know, I think, um, if we can all shop locally, support local, I mean, of course we have to import things. Um, but as much as possible, if we can support local, that's gonna be better for the planet better for, you know, everything all around. We're kind of not wasting money by importing we're, we're supporting local and it's good all around. We need to change what we're doing.

Sam Thorogood (06:37): Yeah. And, and they really make quite a big deal of the Canadian element. Don't they, on their branding, they, they, they talk about it being proudly Canadian. They've got the beaver in the logo, they've got the maple leaf as well. So it just seems like they've really kind of, um, made that a priority. You know, the fact that this is a local product.

Cathy Nesbitt (06:56): Well you may, you may know. I mean, we're, we're next to the, the giant next door and, and, and, you know, and some people think that Canadians have like a complex about, um, you know, that we're just like Americans and, and we are very similar. Um, but we do, but we are very proud. And when we have something Canadian, we do like to, um, scream it from the rooftop.

Sam Thorogood (07:21): Talk to me a little bit about the visuals of the brand. So, you know, when you first were coming across the packaging that you were using in your worm business, when you were first seeing the logo, the colour scheme that they use, what, what did that do for you?

Cathy Nesbitt (07:34): Yeah, so the colours that they use, they use a lot of blues and greens, natural colours, right. Ocean and sky grass. Um, so that, so when you look at their packaging, it's just, it's very appealing. It's very natural. Um, the font is big, which is, it's important, you know, especially as, as you start aging, it's like, what, what are those, you know? And they have so few um, ingredients in their products that they don't have to have it teeny tiny so they can fit them all on. Um, they're big enough that you can read them without, um, a magnifying glass.

Sam Thorogood (08:11): Yeah. And what what's, what's the feel of the products when you have them in your hands? Is it, is it sustainably printed? Does it feel like it's very kind of eco in the way it's produced?

Cathy Nesbitt (08:22): Yeah. So it's, they've got all those, you know, they're, it's vegan, cruelty-free, um, paraben-free, gluten-free. I mean, I don't know if those products have gluten, who's eating them. I don't, I'm not sure, but right. So all of those, all of those, um, feel-good things that a lot of large corporations have kind of put on there, and we do need to be careful about greenwashing, but I believe that Green Beaver has, has done a wonderful job of, of being authentic, of being clear. Their, their images are lovely. They've got pictures of kind of family on their, on their packaging. It's just is, it is just very appealing. Um, to me, I, I feel, I feel good, uh, when I use their products, cuz I'm not doing any harm to my body. I know that no harm was done to the planet. No animals were tested. Um, all of those things that, it's important for me.

Sam Thorogood (09:17): You, you use the word greenwashing. Can you just define that for people that haven't heard that before? That, that term.

Cathy Nesbitt (09:23): Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. Greenwashing is, um, it's kind of when, when companies use words that make it seem like it's something, but it's really not that. It's just a word like, um, like saying natural really is just a word. It doesn't really mean anything or even organic doesn't mean anything. It, you know, organic is what or biodegradable let's use biodegradable, everything, biodegrades. Everything breaks down eventually, eventually right. Eventually. And that's, that's the key people see, oh, it's natural. That doesn't mean anything. Like when they say natural flavours, what does that mean? Or natural colours. What does that mean? Um, yeah, so greenwashing is when it says something, but which implies something like, I understand one of the large, um, uh, fast food outlets they had, you know, it might not have had any beef in their product, but they're they're it was called all beef, all beef because the company was called All Beef.

Sam Thorogood (10:28): Right. Okay. So it's just about language

Cathy Nesbitt (10:30): But you know, it might not have had any beef, I don't know. Yeah,

Sam Thorogood (10:33): Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Cathy Nesbitt (10:34): Without saying any names

Sam Thorogood (10:35): You you're under, I can guess um, but your, your, your understanding and your kind of sense is that Green Beaver, really, actually, this is not a sense of just putting a, a word on a front of a package. They, they, they practise what they preach is what you are, what you're saying.

Cathy Nesbitt (10:49): They, they totally do. And, and now their products are available online. For sure. You can buy them online. They are available in some specialty shops, some, um, sort of more organic, organic health and wellness shops, rather than they're, I don't believe they're available just in, you know, uh, pharmacies or wherever you would buy your other product, personal care products. Um, and I, not that I like that. I mean, it would be nice if they were more readily available. That's the challenge when you're, you know, when you're doing this work, you're competing against the giants that have a huge budget for advertising and they can pay for shelf space. Um, so it, it, it really is nice. I, I really would love for people to do their due diligence and, and understand what those toxic elements that you can't even pronounce. What, what are they doing to your body?

Sam Thorogood (11:44): Yeah. And as someone who is really an expert in the, in the world of ecological business, have you, have you noticed a, a shift over the last, maybe 10 years towards people wanting to, to buy products that are good, you know, that are not gonna be polluting that are gonna be, um, sustainable. Have you, have you noticed a kind of a change in the way that people are shopping, the way that people are talking about the market?

Cathy Nesbitt (12:09): Absolutely. Oh my gosh. Yeah. It's 20 years since I've been in this industry and at the beginning it was really a challenge and it was like, how am I gonna, you know, get this message out? And I'm sure Green Beaver was experiencing the same thing. Um, yes, over the years, I think that as the younger folks come up, you know, they've, they've, they've, uh, climate change and, uh, emergencies, all these things have been drilled into their head since birth. Um, so the young people are really aware and people are definitely, um, more mindful about what they're, what they're eating, what they're putting on their skin and just, just being more aware. Absolutely. Thank goodness.

Sam Thorogood (12:55): Thank good. Yeah, absolutely. But it does, it does seem to me, like there is a real shift and now I'm noticing it more and more, you know, if a startup is coming up with a product and it's not sustainable, that's gonna really go against them. You know, cos they're, they're then competing with, with the market, which seems to be going in this direction of sustainability, which is, which is wonderful. But you just, it does feel like we're kind of in that interesting, um, interesting zone where, where things are starting to, to change. And of course there's, you know, there's, there's a long way to go, but it it's, it's certainly encouraging, I think.

Cathy Nesbitt (13:29): And we're the ones though. I mean, we're, it's, it's driven by the people, not by governments, not by large corporations. It's really the people and, and our, our dollars, our, our money, our pounds. You know, our currency, we're the ones that we have, the power, whatever we're buying, that's what they're selling. If we keep on buying the junk, they're gonna keep on selling it because it's about money. Yeah. Um, luckily we're, we're moving into a time when people are considering the triple bottom line. I talked about it earlier, people, planet, profit last, um, and profit is important because you can't eat money, you know, you can't, you gotta eat. Um, so I, I, I really think that we are, there is a shift coming. It just is a kind of a slow wave.

Sam Thorogood (14:22): What's this brand done that has surprised you? Have they brought out any products or done any things in their, in their history that have really kind of yeah, surprised you in some, in some way?

Cathy Nesbitt (14:34): I, I think that they, they keep on, um, you know, inventing new, new products, they keep on researching and, and, um, yeah. I just think that they, that, that they have stayed firm with not adding, you know, those cheaper products, like the cheaper, um, elements. I'm sure it would be easy just to add, oh, you know, that whatever product is too expensive, what if we just slipped this product in, instead this artificial thing, they haven't done that, they've stayed firm. And, and, you know, I think that's, that's really important if you're gonna, if you're gonna be authentic and true and stand in your power, it's it's yeah. For people to keep on following you it's important too, for me.

Sam Thorogood (15:22): Yeah. And not just to chase the cheapest thing, but actually to stand true to something. I was, uh, I went on their website and I thought it was amazing. The, you know, the range of products that they offer. I was amazed that they offer a cinnamon-flavoured toothpaste, which I want to try. Looks amazing.

Cathy Nesbitt (15:39): It's so good. Yeah. That, well, that's it, you know, when you're using the product, you know that you're not doing any harm, you're not doing any harm. Like our, you know, many, maybe people don't know, but our skin is porous. So whatever we put on our skin is instantly in our body. It's instantly in our bloodstream. Um, so if it's toxic, that's right. Toxins right in your body right away. It's the, the first, the barrier. Yeah. Um, so when you're using the Green Beaver products, it really does feel like you're doing something good.

Sam Thorogood (16:11): Have there been any times when it's been difficult to love the brand?

Cathy Nesbitt (16:16): Well, you know, like all of these, uh, organic eco-certified organic, all of these labels, they cost, it costs a lot to have a certified organic, um, product. Like there's a lot of regulations. You gotta do your annual, you know, upgrades and, and testing and people come and check you out. And, you know, so there really is a, a huge protocol and you pay for that. You pay a premium on that. So at times it has been, you know, when business might be a little bit slower, it may be like, ah, this product is a little bit more expensive because you are paying for all of that certification. So that, that's the only thing that I would say is, um, the cost, but you're paying for, and, and my, and I'm worth it. I would, I, you know, when I, when I question, ah, should I, should I buy this one?

(17:09): Or the, or that one? It's like, no, wait a minute, this one is gonna help me. This one could hurt me. Well, isn't it amazing that we'll spend all kinds of money on, oh, I'm gonna say tattoos, um, experiences, going out for dinner. Um, all of these things, and we are put last, like, we're like, oh, I'll just buy that, that cheap toothpaste, cuz I just need toothpaste. It's like, but it's going right in your mouth. And I mean the regular toothpaste, you know, again, we won't mention any brands cuz they don't deserve, um, they don't deserve air space here but they've got like fluoride and all kinds of chemicals that it says right on the package do not swallow. Well, you're putting it in your mouth. Some must get down your throat, you know, do not swallow. Well, why would you put it in your mouth? We need to be mindful. I just think that, you know, our priorities are hopefully shifting, you know, with this cuckoo time we're in has allowed us a big pause and time to realise what is important. We couldn't do those experiences. So might as well spend more on your personal care products.

Sam Thorogood (18:20): How, how would you describe Green Beaver to someone who's never heard of them?

Cathy Nesbitt (18:24): I would say Green Beaver is a, a started as a family-run organisation. Still the family's uh, very much involved. They run the company. They have a lot of employees now. Um, yeah. They're they operate with intention. They have integrity. Um, they're always researching what's what, how to improve what they're doing. Um, yeah, I would say check out Green Beaver and, and try try them for yourself if they're available in your country.

Sam Thorogood (18:56): And how would you summarise your, your kind of journey with, so how many years is it going back? That you've really been aware of them. And

Cathy Nesbitt (19:03): I, I, I came across Green Beaver in 2012 at a, at an organic conference. Um, so back to, 10 years, 10 years I've been with them and, and I've been using their, the toothpaste for sure. I've, it's the only toothpaste that I've been using for for 10 years.

Sam Thorogood (19:21): And I need to ask, also ask where can people find you? Where can people connect with what you are, you are doing online?

Cathy Nesbitt (19:27): Yeah. So, uh, my worm website is and for laughter, which is really important during this cuckoo time, it's Um, yeah. Check me out.

Sam Thorogood (19:40): Well, thank you for, for, for sharing. And I was wondering if you could just share, if you were to write a love letter to Green Beaver, um, addressed to them. How would you, how would you share that?

Cathy Nesbitt (19:52): Thank you. I would say dear Green Beaver. Thank you. Thank you for 10 years of beautiful personal care products that I can use without, without worrying that I'm doing harm to myself, knowing that these products have been created with the planet in mind and, uh, yeah. Taking care of people, taking caring of the planet and looking after your family too. Thank you. Thank you for all the boxes too, for shipping my worms.

Sam Thorogood (20:22): Cathy, thank you very much for letting us hear your branding love letter.

Cathy Nesbitt (20:27): Sam, thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate it.

Sam Thorogood (20:31): You've been listening to Branding Love Letters and I've been Sam Thorogood. I'm on a mission: equip pioneers like you to bring others onto your journey. Come and find out more at Thanks for listening. Oh, and big thanks to Thomas Thorogood for the music. Take it away, Tommy boy.

Sam Thorogood | Pilgrimage Design