Interview with Silencia Cox, CEO of Motherlove Herbal Company. Be sure to follow Motherlove on Instagram & Facebook.
Can you introduce yourself and Motherlove to the community?
My name is Silencia and I am the CEO of motherlove herbal company, a company that makes organic herbal care products for pregnant moms and babies. it was originally founded by my mother when she was pregnant with me. My mother, Kathryn Higgins, is a local herbalist. We lived outside of Fort Collins and Rist Canyon and she, with her knowledge of local plants, would grow some of her own herbs and make some of her own products in a crock pot and mason jars in our kitchen. Then she slowly but surely started developing more products.
In 1992 the product line was picked up by Whole Foods when it was just one store in Austin, Texas, so that really started our journey on getting into the natural products and natural organic food movement. We’ve always kept our focus specifically on mom and baby. Now we are distributed in over 10,000 stores and we’re distributed in about 20 different countries.
What is B Corp? Why did Motherlove choose to become a certified B Corp company?
A certification is not unlike an Organic certification. It certifies companies that use their business as a force for good – so the triple bottom line model where we focus on People, the Planet as well as Prosperity. Where a lot of companies are forced to just focus on profit as the main focus of business, B Corp believes that businesses can be used for doing something good for our planet, good for our community, and being a sustainable business rather than just at any cost do business or what is the lowest cost. My mother set up a really strong foundation and values of being good for the planet – she’s a hippie at heart and so she definitely had those values and fused it into the way we did business.
What’s it like to be a part of a generational business? What impact has that had on you and Motherlove?
I was born into this business, I have spent my entire life in and around Motherlove. In June I will have to officially worked here for 20 years. I grew up watching my mom gather herbs make the product by hand, and when I was young we would watch movies at night and label our product – it was kind of our evening activity. Motherlove has just always been in my life, so the ways in which its impacted me are countless.
It has certainly taught me a spirit of being an entrepreneur and running your own business. It never stops; work is not from 9 to 5. I wake up thinking about Motherlove, go to sleep thinking about Motherlove, I’m out in the woods, and I’ll have an idea for Motherlove. There’s a kind of a constant pressure owning a business and operating a business, that is a blessing and a curse. It’s a complete honor to carry on my mother’s legacy, grow this gift that she created, and spread it out to more people around the world. Learning from my mother and working with my mother directly is awesome. It’s awesome to be in a family business. I love my boss and my coworkers I love the products that we’re creating.
What does Earth Day mean to you and your business?
Earth Day is an important time to spend recognizing the importance of environmental sustainability, sharing good practices with like-minded individuals, and helping educate people on what they can do. What may feel like a barrier to be more sustainable or environmentally friendly is that the problem is so massive. When you look at everything that’s happening between climate change, the warming of the planet, the loss of biodiversity, waste in the ocean, and everything humans are doing to the earth it can feel too overwhelming. People can feel like “I’m just one person what can I do?” and I think that Earth Day gives everybody a nice reminder day to share, learn, and understand. We’re all in this together, we’re all on this planet, so let’s learn from each other and connect with each other. But we do believe that focusing on the earth is not just for one day. Earth day is for connection.
What’s on the horizon for Motherlove?
Just last week Motherlove launched a new look for our brand! We did a complete rebrand; it’s a massive overhaul of everything from our packaging to all of our marketing material and as well as our website. It has been a huge new push for the next evolution of Motherlove. We’ve gone through several packaging changes over the 30-plus years that we’ve been around but our most recent one features new renditions of the herbs that are in each of the products. It’s been a year-long process and we’re really excited now that we have a national presence.
What advice would you give to businesses who are looking to become more sustainable?
I think that it’s a journey, not a destination – start with some small steps. Connect with the Sustainable Living Association and look at their stable business models – it’s a way to learn what you can do. There are upgrades you can do to fixtures, you can change out lights and upgrade appliances. Start with small steps of recycling, reusing, and reusing – we reuse packaging all the time. The community, the state, and the federal government have offers for solar panels. We have a full solar that powers this facility.
Small steps are kind of the best way to start getting better. See what you think is the most impactful – it could be waste reduction or maybe it’s water reduction. Understand your consumption rates because if you don’t know what you’re doing you don’t know what you’re changing or what you’re fixing.
What about your work brings you the most joy?
Honestly, when I come across a customer testimonial saying thank you. We’ve had hundreds of moms write us and say “wow this was a game-changer for me” or “I couldn’t have done it without this” and those moments are so special.
I was in the aisle of a store, doing a product training and a consumer came up and started crying and said “thank you so much, this product truly is what made the difference for me being able to breastfeed.” When you see moms that like it helps the impact. Sometimes you get wrapped up in the daily stress of a business but what we’re trying to do is give organic herbs to new moms so that they can be successful. Yeah, those moments are just so special to me.