MADE SAFE is excited to announce newly certified products from a brand new brand, healthynest! These products are crafted specifically for parents looking to consciously curate their own “healthy nest” for their little ones. We sat down with the visionary founder Shazi Visram, former creator of Happy Family Organics, to talk about her newest venture: founding healthynest and their new line of MADE SAFE certified baby and family products.
Q&A with Shazi Visram, Founder of healthynest
Shazi, you have an enormous amount of experience. After everything you’ve accomplished with Happy Family, why start a new company? Why personal care for baby and why now?
I launched Happy Family Organics in 2006 with the goal to change the trajectory of children’s health through nutrition. I was inspired to bring Happy to the world when I learned that there had been (and still is) a catastrophic rise in children’s chronic health issues like asthma, ADHD, autism, and more. At the time, I knew instinctively that if we could provide families access to affordable organic options that we could impact children’s health over the long term, and make the world a better place in the process.
We’ve had a lot of success since those early days, and along the way I have learned so much both professionally and personally. My son Zane, now ten, was diagnosed with autism when he was two. He is the most beautiful boy and has taught me so much, but he has some very real challenges that we as a family face every day. We’re tireless in our pursuit to help Zane, and along the way I’ve accumulated deep insight on what I believe are some of the contributing factors to Zane’s autism.
Our search has brought me into contact with some of the brightest scientific minds across a wide range of disciplines from neurology to developmental pediatrics, toxicology to obstetrics, and the list goes on. I’ve acquired a unique body of experience and knowledge, and feel that it’s my duty to share that with families everywhere. I firmly believe that everyone should have access to this information, and this is really the heart and soul behind healthynest – to take my experience and share it with everyone I can.
Our mission at healthynest is to protect and enrich the full potential of every child. We strive to accomplish this by taking the information I have learned from my personal network of world-class doctors, scientists, and researchers to create a line of pure and effective care products. We also use our platform to share science-backed activities to stimulate their growing brains in all the right ways.
Can you tell us more about that? healthynest is so much more than another personal care brand for baby – how are you thinking about that?
Science is advancing at light speed and many encouraging discoveries of late have been around epigenetics and neuroplasticity. Epigenetics essentially tells us that our environment is in constant exchange with our DNA, turning proteins on and off. This is a sharp reminder of how important it is to focus on creating an optimal environment for our children. Neuroplasticity tells us that the brain changes over time, it’s not fixed like we once thought it was, but that it’s constantly receiving and transforming with each new input. And while this is true for everyone at every age, it is considerably more important in the context of young children because their brains and bodies are exploding with new growth in the first few years of life.
There’s a body of scientific work that takes the best of epigenetics and neuroplasticity called ‘environmental enrichment’ which in its simplest form is creating an environment for children that is full of the kind of stimuli and sensory experiences that wire the brain in the deepest way possible, so that the brain is as resilient, imaginative, and organized as it can be.
At healthynest, we’re trying to bring this deep science into a parent’s everyday routine with baby in a fun and engaging way. There are so many moments I think we as parents gloss over as we’re going about life, trying to get to the next thing, and it’s understandable – raising a baby is so hard! But those moments are actually these incredible opportunities to connect with baby and stimulate their brain. Products are really only one half of what we do. So in addition to making the softest, most natural and effective diaper possible, and the purest MADE SAFE certified baby wipes to make something like diaper change easy – what we’re really interested in at the end of the day is to inspire parents to take a moment to connect with their baby in a new way.
We want parents to slow down, if only for a minute or two, and absorb the beauty of these moments with baby and use them to their full benefit. The impact of those moments really do last a lifetime.
You’ve been working with MADE SAFE since the early days of healthynest – why did you want to work with MADE SAFE from the beginning?
Amy Ziff and I have been aligned since the moment we met on the importance of protecting children from the litany of harmful exposures that exist in the world today. When you stop and think about it, it’s deeply alarming to consider the world that our children are going to inherit if we don’t confront these challenges systemically. Beyond a shared alignment on the problem that faces all of us, Amy and I also share a passion to contribute to the solution, each in our own way.
Why are you proud of the MADE SAFE certification?
We’re proud to be part of this community that is moving the needle in a significant way in an industry that has really lost its way when it comes to prioritizing the health and wellbeing of all people, and most importantly children.
I know that the standards MADE SAFE has set will continue to challenge the old way of doing things, until hopefully one day we’ve all come around to a deeper understanding of what is at stake for our children, for our world. MADE SAFE is an important voice in that fight and I’m proud to be working with them. They have been a great partner to us in making good on our mission to protect children’s health, because at healthynest we aren’t playing around.
How has MADE SAFE helped in the process of creating/bringing these products to market?
The MADE SAFE certification is unique in that Amy and her team evaluate not just the products themselves but the full lifecycle of the product. MADE SAFE has been helpful to us in considering not only the origin of the ingredients and the way we formulate, but also taking into account our packaging and the way our products move around the world.
For people considering starting a family, bringing a new child into the world, there is so much information out there. What do you say to someone thinking about this big step?
Well I always start by saying that this will be the most beautiful experience of your life, and that it will change you in such a profound way; one that you could never have anticipated. It truly is the most amazing experience life has to offer, so enjoy every moment and remember to trust yourself: trust your instincts, because you have everything within you to love and raise this child.
My second piece of advice is to learn as much as you can about what you can do during pregnancy to set your child up to become the fullest version of themselves. This is much of what we hope to offer at healthynest – advice that cuts through the abundance of information out there on how to have a healthy pregnancy.
So much happens during pregnancy that informs baby’s future life. Taking a high quality prenatal vitamin and understanding what minerals and nutrients your body needs along the way (because it changes every trimester) is really crucial, and that’s something I wish I had known early on. We’ve developed what we consider to be a really groundbreaking prenatal vitamin with Dr. James Adams of the Neurological Health Foundation that is the result of a review of 350 peer-reviewed research papers about the optimal nutrient profile during pregnancy.
We’ve chosen the highest quality ingredients because the vitamin category can be such a black box when it comes to quality of raw ingredients. In fact, it would be exciting to translate the rigor of the MADE SAFE standard to the vitamin category! It’s another area that deserves attention – perhaps that is something to work on in the future…?!
Thank you Shazi! Any final thoughts for our readers?
Thank you to Amy and the MADE SAFE team for always putting children’s health first. We have a lot of work to do, but together I know we can do it.
For a current list of MADE SAFE® certified products from healthynest, visit this page.