Even in today’s ecologically conscious times, few companies go as far as Erbaviva does to ensure that their product is sustainable and healthy for our planet from start to finish. With a phenomenal infant skincare line that is as luscious and sweet smelling as a newborn babe, Erbaviva has also developed a large selection of products that pamper and care for the new mommy-to-be. You would think that would be enough, but for the founders Robin Brown and Anna Cirronis it was only a part of a bigger picture. The name ‘erbaviva’ translates as ‘living herbs’ in the language of the owners’ ancestral country; taken from the Italian for ‘herb, or grass’ and ‘long life’. The company is dedicated to promoting long and healthy lives for their customers and every person and place touched by the making and selling of their products.
Those unique and adorable cloth washbags and sachets that they use? The bamboo and reed baskets used in their packaging? Hand-woven by the Pwo Karen hill tribe of Thailand. Since the very beginning, Erbaviva has partnered with the indigenous crafters and artists who live in the remote highlands of the Mae Hong Son province, providing them with fair wages, scholarships and clinics, in exchange for the beautiful weaving and basketry that is native to their culture. These kinds of partnerships help to eliminate the reliance on the kind of slash and burn agriculture that often leaves tribes poverty stricken and malnourished. Instead, it supports and promotes their traditional lifestyles without prematurely forcing this rare, beautiful people into the pitfalls of the 21st century.
The Pwo Karen remain extremely rural, without email or even telephone for communications. To place a wholesale order a messenger is sent from a nearby village. Once the order is filled, it is brought by elephant down from the highlands to the nearest river, where it is then transported by raft to the nearest port. The ultimate goal is that one day the entire organization will be operated wholly by the people indigenous to this region. Thanks to the scholarship programs in place, that dream may soon be a reality. Sop Moei Arts, the non-profit organization that Erbaviva is partnered with, sets aside a portion of all sales into a scholarship fund. Only 30 years ago, when this program began, the Pwo Karen were uniformly illiterate. While elementary schools have recently become available in nearby villages, any continuing education must be sought in towns and cities. The scholarship fund allows the young people of this tribe the option of leaving home to attend school, in the hopes that they will one day return and be of greater assistance in the development of their villages.
Erbaviva is about products made with care from the purest botanical ingredients that are both gentle and beneficial to our skin. Connecting people across worlds, is a happy byproduct.