Ruby Archambault Giroux, The Botanist owner
Describe yourself in 3-5 words?
Mum of 2, endurance sports lover and passionate by healthy tasty natural food (almost vegan… still on the process)
How has your sustainable journey started?
I come from a hippie family! My mum always teaches me about the environment, healthy food. I’m coming from a small village in Canada near the Atlantic Ocean and the mountains. I guess it is in my genes 🙂
Can you tell us more about your business?
I left Canada for France about 15 years ago and I discover the Marseilles Soap and black soap to clean everything and really enjoy it. When I moved to Dubai, I had a hard time at first finding my marks. I felt like I had to fit in a bling lifestyle that wasn’t me at all. It was very difficult until I started to make friends and realized that there is a big community of nature lovers, down to earth people, and at that time I realized how much I had changed and didn’t like it. I started to go to the gym regularly, take nutrition classes to learn more. I took the class online with IIN Integrative Nutrition. It was a very interesting to understand different nutrition approach. On the way to health, there is not a simple approach. The best approach is to find a sustainable way to eat that we enjoy.
Then I noticed that as I’m not cleaning by myself, I haven’t been careful with the cleaning products that have been used in my house. I was simply asking my helper what she wanted and it wasn’t a good approach. I tried to find eco-friendly products but I was not happy with what I found so I started to make my own products. I tried them at home then my friends tried them… then it grew!
I started this business mainly for me and I actually tried to please myself with the smells of the products, the bottles, the design. I wanted to make something that will make me happy to use and not feel sorry for the environment and wondering if I was harming my health. And at some point it is like a wheel, you do sport, eat well, take care of your family, of your house and each turn you get a bit more obsessive about all of that and try to improve and so on!!!
What is your vision and how do you think you add value to the community?
I want The Botanist to be sustainable in a global way. This is my main objective. I’m trying to find fair-trade and organic oils to use for the products. It wasn’t possible right at the beginning because of the quantities. I want to improve product sourcing to improve the life of the people that are directly or indirectly in contact with them. And no chemicals or synthetic compounds are very important to me. We need to be careful with the environment and give it some respect.
Can you share a couple of practical examples of your sustainable living that would be useful to others?
I like to recycle a lot! Before I buy a product, I like to ask myself if I can do something with the packaging or not. Mainly for food in a glass jar. Some times with the glass jar it is a bit more expensive but I will be able to reuse it to put nuts or rice and in the end, it will be cheaper than buying the plastic bag version + the empty jar! I reuse them as well to buy bulk products. I follow the page Zero Waste Collective with Doua and she really inspires me with all her daily hacks. I also like to do my own teeth whitener with soda bicarbonate and a bit of coconut oil, surprising! Same for the body scrub, I put the recipe on the blog on my website. Very easy and all-natural! Then you can put it in one of the empty glass jars that you have. Ideas are endless!
Since when do you live in the UAE? What area?
I live in Dubai near to Kite Beach for the past 7 years! Time fly!
Why do you love this place?
I love going for a run at the beach or in Showka. I love the community in Dubai. As we are all expats, we are more close to each other and take better care of our friendship. I have a few very good friends but I also know that if I need help, I can contact so many persons and it is not the case in every country. It gives a feeling of security.
If you would get a magic stick what would you improve and make better?
The list is endless but in the end, it is the daily actions that make you feel good when you go to bed. So day after day, try to offer fresh water to your gardener, try to make your kids do one new activity, try to prepare healthy food, try to pass some quality time with the persons that you love the most. Try to be better at work, learn new things, always improve yourself… get better at life!
Where do you like doing your grocery and why?
Tricky question!!! I’m mainly going to Spinney’s and Grandiose as they are near my place. With a business and 2 kids, my days are quite full and I don’t want to spend so much time driving around.
What is your favorite eco-brand?
I love Shirley Conlon Organic cosmetic products. They are absolutely amazing.
What is your favorite eco-friendly restaurant or cafe?
I’m don’t go out much but I like the Surf Cafe. The Smith Paleo Cafe will open very soon, I’m sure it will become a favorite as well as their muffins are amazing!!! They have a delivery meal plan but the 1st real cafe will open soon; the food is delicious!
The best way to spend time with family and friends?
We have a small garden so we enjoy having friends coming home and organize big diners! (not during the summer of course!) I see my family when I go back to Canada and we spend our day at the park with the kids or going to local farms to pick seasonal small fruits. Simple life!
How do you spend your free time?
I don’t have that much free time but I enjoy going at the gym or reading books.
The best recent discovery in the UAE?
I know it has been there for a while but the cycling track in Al Quadra is absolutely fantastic!
Do you recycle and how?
In my area, we have recycling bins in front of the house so I keep a small bin in my kitchen to collect all the recyclable items. I also do some composting but it is a bit tricky as we eat a lot of fruits and veggies, the composting bins are always full and I need to wait until one is ready to continue. And no, I don’t have space to use more!!!
I got started with composting with the Gobble about 10 months ago. It get full very quickly and i have to continue in empty big bottles of water that i cut. The result in impressive and i use it in my garden.
What is the best way to learn about sustainability and green living?
I think it is one thing at the time. We can’t change all our habits at once. Find something that is sensible for you, can be health, can be designed, can be environment than find what you can do to improve to way you live in this particular theme. And as I said earlier, it is a wheel, you pick the design, add some beautiful plants that help to purify the air, how about the candles or ambiance perfume that you used? Are they full of chemicals? And your cleaning products? Are they triggering your immune system at the same time that they kill the germs? Then slowly, changes can be done in a sustainable way. If we change to fast, we will go back to our old habits. Each process takes time. We need to realize and let the information sink. And read! As many different sources as possible. You will have different theories, studies, opinions. This way, you can find what is good for you and have your own opinions on the subject.
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