ADVOCACY TRIP TO WASHINGTON DC - April 2022
HELLLLOOOOO!!! Oh goodness, I am full of joy as I write this post. For many reasons…one being the fact that I must celebrate any time I write a blog post! They don’t come to me as easily as my early days of blogging (for almost 2 years, I wrote at least 2 posts a month) - mostly because my plate is very full with my Beautycounter business - it can be hard to prioritize time to write. But when I sit down to do it, gosh it feels good!
Most of my joy however is being able to finally share in this space 2 super exciting things! ONE that I earned the “BC takes DC” advocacy trip to Washington DC…and TWO, I’ve already went, come back, and am here to share and breakdown the experience!
Let’s rewind a little bit! Back in February 2022, I was working hard to earn a trip to our Nation’s Capitol to advocate for cosmetic reform. The trip was earned from my sales - and I had an outpouring of support from those near and far trying to help me land a spot on this epic trip. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to those who supported me in those months. It was truly down to the wire in the last hours of the month…and a week into March I got the official news - I earned a spot on the trip!!
The weeks following were spent organizing childcare (thanks Adam, Mom, Dad, Tracey and our kids’ incredible schools!) and travel plans - but mostly spent making wardrobe choices!! After a couple years of momming without much travel and fanciness, there were SO many details in this department. We would be in DC for 3 full days - complete with a casual dinner, a cocktail event, our full day of meetings on "the hill", a formal evening (at the Library of Congress to boot!) and then a business casual Science Symposium with some of the leading researchers and experts in the field of Environmental Toxins. So, to say there were a lot of choices to make on what to wear is an understatement. But, I made the intentional choice not to stress, but rather to have fun and trust it would all come together.
Let's review the reason 200+ Beautycounter consultants (Moms, nurses, doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, and so many more - we're a diverse group!) traveled to Washington DC to advocate for stricter laws to regulate the personal care industry:
The trip was truly incredible. It's really tough to fully put it into words - but hopefully between the words on this page, and the pictures - I can capture it and give you a real taste of what it was like. DC in the Spring is absolutely beautiful - I hadn’t been since our 8th grade school trip (!!), and I am so excited to take the kids in a few years. We spent Tuesday morning sightseeing before the scheduled events began - we left our hotel in Georgetown for coffee around 8am, and came back 4 hours later with 6 miles logged! We had visited The White House, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, The World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and The Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. We felt so grateful for such a beautiful day in the city, visiting and paying our respects.
We had a relaxing afternoon and a fun welcome reception that evening. So many of my friends (many whom I’ve never met!) were in DC for this trip - it was really incredible to be doing this work in DC alongside so many powerhouse women.
Wednesday morning, the day we had been waiting for!! We had an early breakfast and loaded in our buses to take pictures at The Lincoln Memorial. Meetings with offices on Capitol Hill began promptly at 10:30am - we were all eager to get back and begin.
There were about 200 of us brand advocates total - 25 women in my actual group - 10 groups of us all together. Our group had constituents of: Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Montana and Illinois. We were all in our own conference rooms, having virtual meetings. It was disappointing not to meet in person, and I was skeptical when in our training they said the meetings would be just as impactful - but they were, they really, really were! Each meeting was about 20 minutes long, and they all went very smoothly. Beautycounter did an incredible job organizing and executing a truly flawless and deeply impactful “lobby day.” Every person in the group got a chance to speak - we were all assigned a part. In each group we had these roles:
Introduction to Beautycounter and the work we are doing
Storyteller #1 (these speakers shared their personal stories and why this cause matters. In my group, many of these “story tellers” were cancer survivors)
Questions/Wrap Up Speaker
We had a meeting every half an hour for most of the day. Some were real tear jerkers - most of the story tellers were cancer survivors, those without a family history and no genetic component to the cancer. During our "prep" meetings the week before, we were told many times that Hill staffers are super busy and overwhelmed, and that they'd likely be busy and not fully present during the meetings. Well, that couldn't have been farther from our reality. In each meeting the staffer was totally engaged, truly glued to what we were sharing. We truly felt like we were able to relay our message, and felt hopeful that with a lot more "pounding the pavement" we could make an impact and change the landscape of this virtually unregulated industry.
For those curious, these are the offices we met with:
Representative Lori Trahan (D-MA)
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
So much happened in our meetings, as you can imagine! I am going to highlight the main take aways from all 5. Here are some bullet points from my notes:
- Covid highlighted the need for closing the gap in health disparities. (Meeting 1)
- Meetings are so much more powerful than emails, so keep coming to DC! (Meeting 1)
- Tying in these personal stories are so helpful. (Meeting 1)
- "Keep pounding the pavement to keep this issue top of mind". (Meeting 2)
- With all that's been going on with health and safety the last 2 years, this issue is top of mind for many. (Meeting 3)
- This one fired us all up so much: to paraphrase - change never occurs with out outside community involvement, regular consumers make this happen! It's been too long since we've done something to make sure our personal care products are safe, and the scary part is the damage is cumulative. So, thank you all for being here! Most consumers think there is someone protecting us from harm. It's absolutely not true. (Meeting 4)
- Legislator calendars are stuffed. There is big power behind a lot of these personal care companies, and many special interest groups fighting against the work you all are doing. (Meeting 4)
- Beautycounter is incredibly well positioned to help. (Meeting 4)
- You all brought up a lot of very surprising info! (Meeting 5)
- I am surprised to hear about PFAs in cosmetics, I am well aware of the issue in agriculture. (Meeting 5)
And so we end with the question of the hour - how can you help? I've got some answers:
- Text BETTERBEAUTY to 52886 to urge congress to pass more health protective laws in the personal care industry. This text auto generates an email that once you fill in some super basic info, it will send off to the congress person in your district.
- KEEP TEXTING! Make it a point to send this text above once a week, once a month...honestly as often as you can. One office shared with us that once they get 50 calls or emails about a certain topic, they start to look into it closer as it becomes clear the constituents care about this issue.
- Start learning, and keep learning! Watch the TOXIC BEAUTY documentary, or the new "docuseries" on HBO called NOT SO PRETTY (trailer linked). Also, use the extensive database at www.ewg.org/skindeep to search your products and see how the ingredients rate for safety!
- Use this super handy guide (pictured below), the Beautycounter "Never List". You can keep it in your wallet or somewhere handy, and reference it when you're trying to wrack your brain for which ingredients to avoid.
- Lastly, share what you learn with friends and family! Tell them about these resources, new clean products you're using, and why this slow and steady switch to safer is so important. This information is absolutely too important not to share.
Thanks so much for being here, for learning with me and following along on this journey! Stay tuned for a post coming soon about what bills are currently in the House. For now, check out this link to learn more: Safer Beauty Bill Package.