Meet the Birch Babe: Debbie Alger / Founder
Debbie is a trailblazer! Four years ago Debbie hiked solo from the southern tip of Patagonia to the Northern tip of Chile. On this trip she saw a lot of waste in Argentina and Chile however while in Patagonia she noticed that everyone was super conscious about their waste because they were remote. Even while volunteering at Torres del Paine she noticed on a hike with a leader who smoked that he would put the butt in his shoelace until he found a garbage off trail.
It made our mom realize that while she was a conscious consumer before the trip there was so much more she could do to help make a positive impact in the world. So when she came home she immediately retired, moved to the cottage and started making all-natural soap and body products for friends first, then she went to a few festivals and fast forward Birch Babe is now in over 50 stores across North America with a growing online community!
We sat down with Debbie (for her 10 spare minutes a day!!!) to ask her some questions and get to know her a bit more!
Why did you start Birch Babe?:
I'm all about DIY and make my own things. I've always been careful with what I put in and on my body. I rarely eat processed foods and I've always read all the ingredients of everything before it touches my skin or goes in my mouth. So, I started diving into skincare more and became obsessed with health and beauty and now what’s funny is there's nothing I put on my body that I don't make.
Why is what we put on our bodies important?
Because our bodies are our biggest organs and absorb everything we put in them and on them. So, I personally don't want any toxins in my body because toxins break down free radicals and can poison our internal systems.
That's why I love Birch Babe. It's an opportunity to help others by ensuring we're creating products that are not only good for our bodies but also the environment. Our ingredients are marine and kid safe. We're also Certified Natural by CertClean North America's leading certification for skincare which is a big deal to us! I also have a diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation with Formula Botanica the leading online teaching institution for organic formulation and indie beauty entrepreneurship which I can't recommend enough to anyone working with organic ingredients! I love growing and learning!
What's your favourite part about working at Birch Babe everyday:
Oh gosh, one favourite thing? How do I choose? Well, I love getting my hands into all the natural ingredients and luxurious oils and butters. Because they feel so good, creamy and soft. And I just love making products that I know are really awesome!
Now that we’ve grown I definitely love the camaraderie at the studio and working with my daughters. They're hilarious, we have so much fun!
What are your top favourite ingredients:
Wow, this is hard because I've spent so much time picking each for our all-natural and organic-skincare collections...If I had to pick it would be for sure the rosehip butter because it's the softest, creamiest thing I've ever felt!!
Which ingredient has surprised you the most:
The organic rosehip oil! I didn't realize until I did my organic certification the HUGE difference in going botanical with all ingredients, especially this one.
With botanical ingredients the colours are much deeper and richer, especially the rosehip oil It's strikingly orange. Like a blood red orange. It's beautiful.
You can literally see how much more pure the ingredients are and the benefits of using organic oils.
What do you do for fun:
I like to hike in the woods and have friends over for dinner parties (pre Covid of course!). I'm really big on friendship and connections.
I hike everyday for 10-15km and once a year I hike solo in the backcountry with my Cane Corso dog Stella for 4-5 days to clear my head and connect deeper with nature.
A few recent big hikes were to the top of the Appalachian trail, Frontenac, Killarney, and next year will be Sleeping Giant. I’m looking into new boots for the trip. Some friends told me Merrell boots are amazing!
Goals for Birch Babe?:
Burt's Bees has always inspired me but I thought it would be even better if it were plastic free and organic which is where we're going with Birch Babe.