Q&A With Seed Phytonutrients Founder Shane Wolf

Seed Phytonutrients’ unique line of skin, hair and body care is new to the Pharmaca family. We love their commitment to sustainability, organic farmers, seed diversity and so much more. To help you get to know the Seed line, we spoke with Shane Wolf, Seed founder, about the origins of this amazing new line available in Pharmaca stores and online.

What was the impetus for creating this line?

Seed Phytonutrients came to fruition due to a culmination of partners dedicated to creating a harmonious environment of beauty, agriculture and sustainable business. Our goal at Seed is to radically shift what is identified as and considered sustainable and natural, as well as begin an important conversation about the beauty industry’s impact on the environment and consumers’ health and wellbeing.

Why was it so important to ensure the packaging was as sustainable as possible? Was there a lot of trial and error in developing it?

All the videos and photos out with plastic in our landfills and floating in our oceans are just devastating. Did you know that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish?! We must do something about this as an industry.

To challenge the beauty industry’s waste practices and plastic usage, Seed Phytonutrients partnered with Ecologic Brands, extraordinary pioneers in sustainable packaging who know that paper is far more likely to be recycled than plastic. Our objective has been to reduce the amount of plastic that we need to use to begin with. Even when plastic is composed of post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials as it should be, it still may end up in the ocean or in a landfill.

We were excited to introduce the paper bottle concept because we have a vision that one day the entire industry could evolve to more sustainable options.

Seed Phytonutrients uses PCR whenever and wherever possible. Our bottles are made of 100 percent PCR paper with a PCR plastic liner. Both of these elements are recycled and recyclable. And our Facial Cleanser comes in the first shower-safe paper bottle in the industry!

We also only use materials that are compostable—that means there is no glue holding our packaging together. Our plastic pouch is 60 percent thinner than any other plastic on the market and our unique pump evacuates up to 98 percent of the available product—an innovation that also lightens the carbon footprint.

As you can imagine, creating the first shower-safe paper bottle that didn’t instantly fall apart in your bathroom wasn’t easy! There were many chemicals we could have added to the bottle that would have worked, but these obviously weren’t an option. So when Ecologic discovered a natural mineral extract that kept the paper shower-friendly, we were beyond excited!

How did you choose the seeds that are incorporated into your formulas? Any other seeds that you can foresee using?  

Preserving seed diversity is a brand obsession and extremely important because it creates diversity in plant species that protects them from pests, diseases and changes in climate. If you think about it, humans have been cultivating seeds for thousands of years. But recently, 93 percent of seed varieties have been lost. We work with our brand partners to grow and sell open-pollinated heirloom seed varieties.

For the first collection, we chose to feature sunflower seeds from Barefoot Botanicals in Pennsylvania, and camelina seeds from Dayspring Farms in Georgia. We then cold press the seeds to extract their high-quality oils; it’s one of the safest and purest ways to do this, as it doesn’t use chemicals or heat—which means all the vitamins and nutrients remain intact.  Sunflower seeds possess amazing hair and skin benefits, as they are super rich in vitamin E and a powerful antioxidant. Camelina seeds are known as “the better flax,” since they’re packed full of powerful nutrients and omega-3s to brighten, nourish and help prevent aging.

As we develop more products, we will seek out only the most potent seed oils that have proven benefits to our customers.

What’s the best part of working with small farmers?

Organic farming is a tough business, and one where it’s hard to make a long-term profit. It takes three years to get certification for an organic farm and during that time, farmers can’t market their products as certified organic. Startup costs are very high, and as a result many are forced to transition back to conventional farming. We take great pride in supporting organic American farmers to ensure they are able to continue their way of life, and at the same time make what we do possible.

We pay our farmers for 100% of the crop the day they plant the seeds, regardless of the yield at time of harvest. This allows farmers to reinvest in their farms and plan for their future harvests. And in Doylestown, PA, we’ve become part of a community with our farmer partners and their farms have become a working lab for us, so we visit them frequently so we can test and learn beside them.

Each line has a different scent. Tell us how/why you chose the scents.

We are kind of obsessed with our aromas, and spent a lot of time blending essential oils to create unique, complex and 100 percent natural scents that our customers are finding addictive! Our hair care, for example, uses a sea salt and bergamot blend that blooms in the shower leaving it smelling like a spa. The body care products feature an irresistible teakwood aroma, while the face products have an elegant, mild and beautiful natural aroma with notes of rose, davana and chamomile.

Tell us about any new line extensions you’re working on.

We just launched in April but are working closely with our customers to develop new formulations based on what they are requesting. We are also working on new packaging ideas; we love that we’re reducing plastic by more than 60 percent, but we’re committed to pushing sustainability even further!

Why did you choose to partner with Pharmaca?  

We want to be wherever our consumer is. She is intelligent, informed, enlightened, healthy and committed. We are continuing conversations about the future of the beauty industry and are excited to work with a retail partner like Pharmaca who shares similar values, and is already a force for positive change in the beauty world through their focus on sustainability and natural ingredients.