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Friday, Oct 7, 2022

STYLE | ‘Nice, Symbiotic Fit’

Christopher Gavigan, a co-founder and chief purpose officer of Jessica Alba’s six-year-old Honest Co., said customers who contact the company, which creates eco-friendly products for babies and the home, might be shocked to receive a callback from Gavigan himself.

“Every single week, I call five to 15 customers – happy ones, upset ones,” Gavigan said.

Gavigan said he once got this indignant return call after leaving a voice message for a customer: “Someone called me and is impersonating your founder.”

Gavigan proved to the caller that he was, indeed, himself by connecting via Apple Inc.’s FaceTime video chat app and taking her on a virtual tour of the company’s Playa Vista headquarters.

Gavigan’s customer reach-outs represent a small part of the company’s efforts to stay in touch with them. The executive said the internal customer service team makes between 2,000 and 5,000 daily “touch points” with customers via social media, live chats and other digital connections.

Gavigan’s commitment to transparency is apparent not only by his actions, but in his office. He acknowledged a need for some privacy within Honest Co.’s open floor plan, but chose glass walls in order to remain connected to the staff. His door is rarely closed.

“I run right on the line between introvert and extrovert, so I replenish in quiet time,” Gavigan said. “Then I get full and excited when I’m in spirited environments. It’s the friction of every executive, to be available, but I need that focused and self-reflective time in order to fill up.”

Gavigan met company founder Alba at the L.A. launch party for his 2008 book “Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home.” He said Alba was eight months pregnant and was both inspired and shocked by some of the book’s content. Rather than warning shoppers of the potential dangers of toxic products, Gavigan, Alba and the Honest Co. team decided to create safe products families could trust. The list includes bath and beauty, cleaning solutions, vitamins and a range of baby products, including diapers decorated with girl, boy and gender-neutral pattern options.

Gavigan’s office reflects the company’s goals for its products. Gavigan describes a perfect office atmosphere as “orderly, bright, surrounded by objects of meaning, with natural finishes and tones; clean and fresh.” An air purifier and a large potted plant help clean the air, and a FluidStance balance board stands ready to keep Gavigan on an even keel.

Gavigan said Alba focuses on vision, creative development and awareness of the products, and Gavigan calls on his expertise in science-based research and development.

“We come together in a nice, symbiotic fit,” he said. “Most people aren’t toxicologists. It’s hard to navigate a marketplace full of unpronounceable ingredients. Instead of focusing on what to avoid, let’s be the good news, and the solution.” — Diane Haithman

Honest Co. sponsored the clean-up and renovation of an Oakland day care facility. (Photo by Thomas Wasper)
Gavigan relies on this inspirational aphorism. (Photo by Thomas Wasper)
Employees gathered around this vintage steel desk for brainstorming at the company’s former office in Century City. “And I love the color.” (Photo by Thomas Wasper)
This Hawaiian volcanic stone is thought to exude positive energy. It sits atop Gavigan’s go-to
books on the environment. (Photo by Thomas Wasper)
Gavigan cites Environmental Protection Agency stats saying indoor air is two to five times more
polluted than exterior air. This Dyson air purifier helps. (Photo by Thomas Wasper)
Gavigan’s glass walls embody his commitment to transparency in business. (Photo by Thomas Wasper)
Gavigan met future business partner Jessica Alba at an L.A. launch party for his book. (Photo by Thomas Wasper)


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