Founded by clean beauty pioneers, Christopher Gavigan, Jessica Assaf and Laurel Angelica Myers, Prima is a new wellness brand focused on hemp-based cannabinoids and functional botanicals. The company was formed with the belief that self-care is health care and the intention that its collection of products in beauty, body and supplements could be tools for managing wellbeing and combatting stress, which the founders of Prima see as the epidemic of our time.
MADE SAFE: Christopher, you’ve been involved in environmental health for a long time and you’re quite accomplished! Your view is unique, as it combines both the nonprofit and business perspectives on the issue. You were the Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World and also the Co-Founder of The Honest Company. You are clearly committed to helping people find safe products. So now you’re diving into the world of hemp extracts with Prima. Why?
Christopher: Consistently throughout my life, I have been purpose-driven to empower humans (and the planet) to flourish. Over the past 15 years, I’ve focused on purity and prevention to ensure people had access to trusted information and clean products in order to be healthy, happy, and, yes, safe. It has been a combination of social justice, environmental advocacy and conscious lifestyle design. But, as with everything I do, it all needs to be passionately grounded in credible science.
I co-founded Prima with Laurel Angelica Myers and Jessica Assaf to challenge the new epidemic of our time – chronic stress – through education and the development of functional wellness products based on hemp-based cannabinoids. Hemp extracts and functional botanicals appear to hold incredible medical promise to support homeostasis and holistic health. Imagine the ripple effect if we all individually and collectively felt better in our bodies (physical), more emotionally centered (mental), and connected in our community (social)?
MADE SAFE: What do you want people to know about Prima and your vision?
Christopher: With Prima we have started a wellness uprising. In order to effect positive change, we need to begin with “being of service,” so we are focused on becoming an education-first, science-driven, health and wellness brand. There is still a tremendous stigma and confusion about hemp – the sober botanical cousin of marijuana – so first we must educate, contextualize and engage with our community in a responsible way. To follow, we will offer tools to unlock the potentially therapeutic benefits of the hemp molecules to support better balance.
At present, there are plenty of products flooding the market with this CBD craze, but there aren’t any real Brands (with a big B) that have been designed with the sophistication and mindfulness to define a new consumer industry / marketplace. Candidly, what I’ve seen so far in the industry – from outrageous health claims to the lack of experience with compliance, regulatory standards, and batching – scares me but it’s also an opportunity for us.
With Prima, our goal is to bring credibility, ingredient innovation and knowledge, paired with the rigor of science and medicine (all of our formulas are “Doctor Formulated”), and the uncompromising commitment to pure, clean standards and safe ingredient selection to create best-in-class products.
We see ourselves as the shepherds of responsible business ethics and behaviors, with the goal to build a durable brand with industry-defining principles of accountability, transparency, service, and social impact.
MADE SAFE: You live in LA where many trends start. There’s a lot of hype around hemp as the new salve for all that ails us. What makes you think this is more than just a fad?
Christopher: It’s true that hemp is having a moment right now, but I’ve been tracking cannabinoid research for over a decade in the work I did as a Board Member of Mt. Sinai’s Environmental Health Center. The current “CBD hype” is the result of a generation of patients and consumers demanding a better and more natural way to manage their pain, anxiety, sleep issues and general well-being. This is a case when it seems the medical community and scientific research is catching up with the masses to study this already widely-adopted molecule. This is just the tip of the iceberg – I believe we are experiencing a monumental shift towards holistic health, functional botanicals and plant-based medicine.
MADE SAFE: You’ve done a lot of testing on your products and / or demanded it of your suppliers. That’s unusual as it’s not required, in terms of U.S. policy. Tell us why?
Christopher: All three of us co-founders have dedicated our lives to doing what is safe and right as nontoxic pioneers and clean beauty advocates. Our 100% Clean / 0 % Questionable promise is more than a goal, it’s a true representation of our values, our lifestyle, and our belief that brands should be of service to people, especially vulnerable populations.
MADE SAFE: With all the seals and programs out there, why did you want to work with MADE SAFE?
Christopher: For us MADE SAFE is a “no compromise on health” standard that uniquely analyzes ingredients and actually tests products. We are 100% in alignment with Amy and her team who stand behind the pillars of scientific rigor, uncompromised standards for human health AND the environment, and the desire to educate consumers about questionable chemicals and toxicants. In addition, their authoritative database screens for thousands of ingredients on “red lists” from around the world, as well as preventing behavioral toxins, carcinogens, developmental toxins, endocrine disruptors, flame retardants, heavy metals, neurotoxins, high risk pesticides, reproductive toxins, toxic solvents, harmful VOCs, and substances that are toxic to wildlife from being used in any MADE SAFE certified products.
MADE SAFE: As a busy executive involved in an established brand, now founder and CEO of this new company, and dad to four children, what’s your favorite healthy living tip or hack?
Christopher: Stress is contagious and stress erodes relationships, so it’s especially critical for me as a team leader and parent to have a sense of self-awareness about how it affects me. To keep me focused on this sense of self, I meditate early in the morning every single day. Lately I’ve added some metta meditation – it’s the simple practice of directing well-wishes towards others. My other life hacks are to not eat before 4pm every day or after 8pm, plenty of water, 88%+ dark chocolate, and, of course, a complete Prima regime for brain clarity, improved sleep, clearer focus, and full well-being! (Note: I haven’t been sick in over two years!)
Certified Products from Prima:
- Night Magic botanical skin treatment