By Emily Cunningham

Introducing Greenvines: The Moringa Vision Spreads to Taiwan

Greenvines is a certified B corp committed to formulating 100% natural effective skincare products with ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients. We're thrilled to partner with them to bring True Moringa oil to Taiwan. We sat down with founder and CEO Harris Cheng to learn more about Greenvines' vision and mission. Stay tuned for more stories from our partner brands.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start Greenvines

I grew up in Taiwan, worked as a marketing consultant, a banker, and then started Greenvines with two classmates in college to pursue my passion in entrepreneurship and social impact! At Greenvines, our mission is to sprout a more genuine, healthier lifestyle that sustains with innovative fresh and personal care products. I obtained my MBA degree from MIT Sloan School of Management.

In my spare time, I love traveling, reading, and playing guitar. (actually my wife was the vocalist of my band in college).

Tell us a bit about introducing green beauty in Taiwan - has their been widespread acceptance or some resistance?  

It may be hard to believe, but the density of organic stores (like the smaller version of Whole Foods) in Taiwan could be one of the highest in the world. Thus, the green beauty market in Taiwan has been steadily growing over the past few years, and we are increasingly seeing more people accepting and even having more interest in knowing where our products come from, not just our food, but our beauty and cosmetic products. As our consumers ask questions about sustainability and putting ethical matters into their pruchasing criteria, Greenvines continues to raise our standards on our green personal skin care products to meet consumers’ needs.  

What made you choose to work with moringa oil?

I am a graduating MBA student at MIT Sloan and will return to my startup in Taiwan! My company Greenvines does innovative organic sprouts and use the extract for natural personal care products. Just like True Moringa, we are very concerned about sustainability and really admire what you're doing!

I want to more about the product and see if there's any chance we can collaborate to promote moringa oil!”

This is the e-mail I sent to the co-foudners of True Moringa on May 26, 2014. Through a mutual friend at MIT, I learned how the company had been driving changes in Ghana. They replied and we met at Flour Cafe at Cambridge, MA. When the True Moringa team first told me about moringa’s story, I was absolutely touched, and also amazed at its benefits on health and our environment. As Greenvines’ skin care philosophy is about giving skin its real and only needs, we found that moringa oil could be the perfect product to fit in our philosophy, and with the fair-trade purpose behind it, we felt it would be an honor for us to promote moringa oil with our customers in Taiwan. And this is how the story began.

Tell us a funny story about introducing moringa oil in Taiwan.

We introduced moringa oil in summer last year and it was going pretty well, but when the temperature began to drop, we started to receive a lot customer complaints because the oil became slightly frozen as, in Taiwan, most people don’t have a heater at home. It was a lot of fun - my team brainstormed different ideas with our customers to change the consistency of the oil from soaking the bottle in hot water, to using a warm hairdryer! We really felt accomplished when more and more consumers started to learn how a 100% natural oil would change states in different climate conditions - and they were ok with it.

What's been your greatest challenge so far?

To formulate a natural yet effective green personal care product is much more difficult than we imagined. We need to define what “natural” really means or how “sustainable” it is before we include any ingredient, especially for formulation. We even desire to go beyond the organic standard to create sustainable supply chains that work for everyone involved. 

What does social and environmental impact mean to you, and how do you want to encourage our readers to get more involved in creating a better world?

“To sprout a more genuine, healthier lifestyle that sustains” is Greenvine’s mission statement, and reason for existence. As the third B Corp in Taiwan, we strive to bring positive impact through innovative green products, consumer education, and community engagement. Earlier this year, we just won “Best for the World” award among 1900+ B Corps around the world for environment! 

What's the next big thing for Greenvines?

The next big thing for Greenvines is our rebranding project coming in 2017, as we are hoping to bring a brand new image of Greenvines to public. We will go for radical transparency in terms of labeling, and we will introduce Taiwan’s (probably also the world’s) first box of organic sprouts with carbon footprint certification!

We are also very looking forward to be part of True Moringa’s incredible journey - to  create the largest organic certified moringa farm in Africa!