At Teadora, Valeria Cole and her husband Tom Moran are creating products that reflect the diversity of Brazilian Botanicals from her childhood. Since 2015, Cole and Moran have been crafting hair and skincare products with ingredients sourced primarily from the Amazon Rainforest. While they want to create effective, healthy, and sustainable beauty solutions for the average consumer, their twofold mission also goes beyond beauty. Cole and Moran use their company to educate consumers about conservation. Additionally, they partner with organizations on projects that protect the Amazon and the communities who reside there.
Although her professional background is in technology, Cole’s passion for conservation began when she was a child growing up in Brazil. Her mother, Jeanette, was an avid conservationist who loved naturopathic health and beauty. “I really learned about different extracts and oils and how local communities in the Amazon use them to care for their hair and skin,” Cole said. After she moved to the United States thirty years ago, she continued to visit Brazil and often brought beauty products back for her friends and family in the States. Cole soon realized that there was an opportunity to bring ingredients from the Amazon to beauty consumers in the United States while continuing to honor her mother’s conservation work.
Teadora is one of very few beauty companies that is partnered with the Rainforest Foundation, an organization that works with indigenous communities to protect the rainforest. Their current project together involves replanting a million trees and preserving 75,000 acres in a protected area of the Amazon between Brazil and Guyana. “It’s actually a drone monitoring project with an indigenous tribe in Guyana,” Cole explained. “We use drones to monitor illegal activities like mining and logging because there are a lot of endangered species in the area.” To support their tree planting project that kicked off last year, Teadora also works with an indigenous community in Brazil who prepare seedlings for new trees. At this point in time, Cole estimates that they have replanted 20,000 trees. As Teadora grows, Cole looks forward to expanding their conservation efforts until they replant at least a million trees.
To source their ingredients, Teadora partners with several communities from the Amazon. “One of the best ways you can support rainforest conservation is by working with local people in the Amazon to make sure that they have economically viable communities,” Cole said. In fact, Teadora works closely with women-led harvesting communities in the Amazon basin to source superfruits like maracujá, copaíba, buriti, and babassu.
In addition to sourcing ingredients from communities in the Amazon, Teadora also actively supports projects that preserve indigenous cultures. When Cole and Moran first launched the company, they partnered with Conservation International and University of Purdue to help create a project in the Kayapo region. The Kayapo, an indigenous community, is one of the largest groups in the Amazon. “We created an audio-visual lab where indigenous women could learn filmmaking,” Cole said. “The biggest thing was for them to have a way in which they could preserve elderly and indigenous traditions for generations to come,” Cole explained. “So that project is still happening.” For Cole, supporting indigenous industries and cultural histories is key to protecting the Amazon overall.
One reason Cole is so committed to Teadora’s giveback is because she wants her customers to know that their business is contributing to specific projects that protect the Amazon. “It is important to me that customers know how they are involved in our conservation efforts,” Cole said. “We have products that customers love and they appreciate that we always talk about our conservation work.” That’s also why Cole pursued B Corp certification, not only passing the stringent certification criteria, but winning the designation of ‘Best for the World’ for the last two years, an honor that only the top 10% of B Corps receive.
It should come as no surprise then that Teadora is entirely vegan, cruelty-free, and toxin-free. “Again, it goes back to my mother, the animal and naturopathic medicine lover, the believer of natural things – that’s how I grew up,” Cole said. “It’s ingrained in my being.” Moreover, as Cole explained, today there are numerous plant-based ingredients that enable companies to produce vegan products. While some of these alternatives are more expensive, countless companies and consumers are opting for vegan, cruelty-free, and toxin-free products..
Nevertheless, for Cole, protecting the Amazon is not only a passion, for a responsibility. “The Amazon is known as the lungs of the world,” Cole said. “I think it’s a responsibility of humans to be activists in whatever we believe in because if we aren’t, nobody else will be,” Cole said. “We have to all do our part.”