“I have daughters and I want them to know the same animals that I know and I want them to have access to clean water.”
Descending the hidden staircase attached to the Princess Cinemas, unassuming customers are greeted by a stylishly decorated boutique, housing a variety of home and health merchandise from makeup to potted cacti. With such a warming atmosphere, it is surprising that the store is not more widely known.
This hidden treasure of Uptown Waterloo is Truth Beauty Company, owned and singlehandedly operated by Jen Freitas, whom we were fortunate enough to sit down with last Saturday to chat about her business. She started Truth Beauty just two years ago, after realizing there was not yet a store that addressed her needs for organic, natural, and eco-friendly health and beauty products. Filling that void in the local community and being mindful of prices for a younger population, Freitas has managed to grow Truth Beauty into an impressive business that offers products no other store provides. On the topic of product selection, she told us, “I’m very particular about the products being totally clean and totally awesome.”
Freitas is very much aware that the products we often use to improve our health can actually end up harming it. She said, “A lot of mainstream products contain chemicals that are endocrine disruptors … [cause] weight gain, [a] lower sperm count, [and] can affect your fertility.” Many common beauty products can even contain carcinogens. Being both a community and globally-minded business owner, she also thinks a bit bigger in terms of impact. Talking to us about a wide range of environmental issues, from bioaccumulative ingredients to plastic microbeads, she said, “All of the stuff that we’re using in the shower every day, to brush our teeth, wash our hair, goes into our water … We need to think about where our stuff ends up.”
Currently, the beauty industry is dominated by big brand drugstores, but this does not intimidate Freitas. She has been able to distinguish her store by being inclusive and making an effort to advertise the organic and eco-friendly health movement as one that can be joined by everyone. Most remarkably, she has managed to maintain this vision while also providing a wide range of products that covers “everything you’re going to find in your bathroom from haircare to skin care to deodorants to make-up.” She also tries to cater to markets often overlooked by offering baby care and men’s products.
Not only having strong opinions about organic and eco-friendly products, Freitas believes strongly in women being able to balance work and family. “Just because we can be mothers doesn’t exclude us from being professionals or business owners … we want to be involved with the business and with our politics and with how our community grows. My child is part of that.” Certainly, Freitas is the perfect advocate for these beliefs as she manages to run Truth Beauty alone while also caring for two daughters.
As a mother, Freitas is aware and enthusiastic about young people. Her advice for future entrepreneurs is to cultivate “adaptability and persistence” and “to feel strongly and passionate about what you want to do.” Freitas admitted that owning a business is not an easy task, but to her, the rewards far exceed all the hard work. She also keeps young people in mind when purchasing for her store. She told us that she tries “to bring in products that are accessible in terms of price point, so that [young people] can also enter the realm of green living.”
This mantra is evident throughout the store and she is committed to taking her company to the next level. “I want an empire!” she exclaimed. “In the next two years, I’d like four stores… within Ontario … and in two years we’ll reassess and maybe another 40 stores across Canada.” This is good news for customers who want the greenest things they use to be their beauty products, not their cash.
Location: 46 King Street North, Waterloo, ON
For students: Mention you are a WCI student to get a %15 discount