As a former state senator for Massachusetts and attorney for social justice, Kathleen has had a long history of fighting for social and environmental change. We had a chance to sit down with Kathleen and learn more about how she started her business Owl in a Towel.
What's your inspiration for starting Owl in a Towel?
I launched Owl in a Towel because over two years ago, I couldn't find a hand sanitizer gel that didn't have unnecessary additives. They all had artificial colors, fragrances, synthetic thickeners and silicones. So, I worked with a lab and formulated a synthetic-free hand sanitizer which effectively kills 99.9% of germs without drying out hands. I also felt strongly that I couldn't find a natural deodorant I could rely on to work. So, the Bergamot Deodorant Cream became the second product developed. Many natural deodorant creams are contained in jars, but our Bergamot Deodorant Cream applies directly to underarms with a dispenser made from sugarcane resin. And, yes --it works well!
What’s been the biggest surprise for you since starting your company?
It's not that difficult to create body care packaging in plant-based or recycled plastic, but almost no companies are doing it. The industry needs to do better to reduce solid waste.
You have such a unique name! Where did it come from?
I’ve been told the owl is my spirit animal. A no-nonsense Owl in a Towel embodies the brand because the focus is on developing synthetic-free self-care that's reliable, transparent, safe and useful. Owl in a Towel is not about changing or improving who you are. It's about taking care of yourself just as you are--a go-to brand where you don't have to worry about green-washing. Owl in a Towel was created to offer safe and effective body care in sustainable packaging. This owl has a serious focus on quality and the towel represent taking the time for self-care. Personal care is one of the few areas where one can exert quality control to a high degree.
What’s a sustainability myth you’d like to debunk?
If there's a recyclable symbol on a package, it doesn't mean that it's recyclable. One needs to look for the number plastic on an item and cross-check that with what their municipality actually recycles.
What are your eco credentials?
I earned my J.D. and Certificate in Environmental Law from Pace University School of Law. I'm an environmental lawyer by trade. I got another level of environmental education by working on many political campaigns, becoming a candidate, and then serving as an elected official. I'm retired from public office now, but I apply what I've learned to the development of Owl in a Towel.
What advice do you have for people wanting to live a more natural, eco-friendly lifestyle?
Buy better to waste less. Whether it's clothing, personal care, or household items, I'm personally working to transition towards higher quality items that will last longer, are safer and made in a responsible way. I'm always focused on items being non-toxic first and foremost. Starting with reducing one's exposure to toxins can lead to eco-conscious decision-making across the board.
Do you have a favorite quote or go-to saying?
"You can be anything you want to be, just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be.” Freddie Mercury
What’s your favourite natural place to visit and why?
Mount Rainier National Park is my favorite place to hike and camp. The forest feels enchanted, with its moss-covered trees, ferns and rushing streams.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Earthlove community?
Owl in a Towel will soon be releasing a Lemongrass Hand soap made from 100% organic ingredients. The outer bottle is made from 100% recycled fiberboard and is compostable/recyclable. Inside the bottle is a plastic liner made from 80% recycled plastic which is also recyclable.