05 November 2010

Interview with Hurraw! vegan lip balm founder Corrie Colbert

Last week I was pleasantly surprised when I received a sample of Hurraw! lip balm in the mail packed in a very cute reusable tea bag. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Hurraw! they are an all natural raw vegan lip balm company ran by a husband and wife team based in Whitefish, Montana.

For years I had suffered from dry chapped lips and just about given up hope on anything that would work, but with all the care that was put into sending the product to me I figured what’s the harm in giving it shot?

First I tried the Mint lip balm. I admit I am not a fan of Mint when it comes to lip products because the flavor always seems synthetic me. To my pleasant surprise this lip balm went on very smooth and not sticky or greasy at all.

Next I used the lip balm under my lipstick, it held up really good without altering the color.

Lastly I tried their tined balm in Black Cherry; my lips are naturally close to a dark red, so I wasn’t expecting to see too much color, boy was I wrong it gave my olive completion a burst of color by adding a nice soft pinkish red color on my lips. I couldn’t have been more pleased.

After a week of using this product I was very happy with the results. I no longer have chapped lips and now I have a new love for Mint lip balm, that is as long as it’s made by Hurraw!

I guess great surprises do come in reusable tea bags.

Recently Hurraw! founder Corrie Colbert was kind enough to answer a few questions for This Dish Is Veg.

TDIV: Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Corrie Colbert: My background and MFA is in Photography, it will always be a passion of mine. I miss working with it daily but life evolves and lip balm is my life right now and that's cool. I could not have done Hurraw! without my husband, Neil Stuber. He kept telling me to go for it even when I was plagued with doubt about launching a product into what seemed like a flooded market. He is also responsible for the brand's awesome design and making my vision for it come alive! We are fortunate in that we do everything for the brand ourselves from label design to web site, manufacturing, taxes, you name it, we do it.

TDIV: Why did you choose to create a vegan lip balm?

CC: I live a vegan lifestyle and eat a 90% raw diet. It's super important to me to always use vegan products, whether it be food, cosmetics, clothing, shoes, furniture, etc. A good vegan lip balm was an item I was always
seeking out but could never seem to find. My husband and I moved from New York City to Montana in 2007. Montana has a dry climate with a bunch of different terrain from desert to mountains, lakes, rivers, etc. and we are outside most of our waking hours. I became plagued with really dry lips and thus obsessed with finding my perfect lip balm: one that was vegan and made with raw ingredients. I could not find one, so I decided to make one.

TDIV: Was it hard to come up with a raw vegan lip balm?

CC: Honestly, Yes. It took me over two years to formulate and perfect the product. It's pretty easy to melt some wax, oil and flavor together but to get it "just right" was more difficult than I ever imagined. Other than
being vegan, my main criteria for the balm was glide factor, no melting in a pocket and lasting power. Of course then the ingredients had to be raw...then they had to be sourced honestly from fair trade farms...then the temperatures had to stay low to keep the integrity of the ingredients. The test batches had to sit around for at least a year + to make sure they never went grainy (which was a pet peeve of mine) and held up to hot cars, cold ski coat pockets, etc. Looking back, it was a real blast starting a mini science lab with over 250 numbered test batches all over the place. The scribbles and mad notes in my test book hinted at insane! I have the urge at times to keep formulating, to make it even perfecter...but that's just my personality...sometimes you just have to stop already and make it happen.

TDIV: Why did you choose the name Hurraw! as your company name?

CC: I was trying to find a name for the brand that was easy, fun, represented excitement and also hinted to the fact the product was made from raw ingredients. Hurraw! came to me in the middle of the night. It just popped into my head, I woke up my husband and was like what about HURRAW!...and
the rest is history.

TDIV: How important is fair trade to Hurraw! Lipbalm?

CC: Very. "Fair Trade" is a lose term these days and it can mean many things, sometimes it can mean nothing at all. We use it as taken. Fair Trade. Ethically Traded. Sustainably Harvested. It took us over a year to source our raw and organic ingredients as we had to be sure where we were getting them. We pay suppliers and farms direct or if we have to go through a small distributor, they pay market cost (or more) for the ingredients. It's important to me, to the brand, to be honest and to be able to source where the ingredients come from. I know every source, family or farm our ingredients come from. If one orders bulk ingredients from a large Distributor, you don't really know where the ingredients are coming from, how they are handled/stored or how fresh they are. We know the batch dates when our ingredients were harvested, who harvested them and how they were harvested. It's important to me to we support these small organic growers.
It's the only way that makes sense.

TDIV: How close are you to coming up with a lip balm with an SPF in it?

Close! Our all natural spf balm is almost ready and we hope to launch it in Spring 2011!

TDIV: What favors are your best sellers?

CC: Coconut, Vanilla, Grapefruit, Black Cherry, Cinnamon, Mint. Chai Spice and Green Tea are catching up though :)

TDIV: For your tinted gloss would you say it has a fair amount of color to it for someone who just wants a little bit of color to their lips?

CC: Our tinted balms get their color from a wildcrafted alkanet root infusion. Our lip tints are not like opaque lipsticks. They provide just a "hint" of sheer red color. Black Cherry being deeper than the Cinnamon with
Grapefruit having a very barely there sheer pink tint.

For more information about Hurraw! visit www.hurrawbalm.com.

Jodi Truglio | email
Jodi has a degree from UNLV in Journalism and Media Studies. She has been a vegetarian for 15 years and now a strict vegan for two years. In Jodi's spare time when she enjoys yoga and pilates.

Photo credit: Hurraw!