It Is With Great Pride We Share Janna's Story With You...
Janna Said’s passion for nontoxic living is part of her DNA. As she tells it, “My father was recycling back in the 1970s before people even really knew what recycling was.” Janna’s dad would collect and save newspapers and aluminum cans and turn them in at a sorting station in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he would only receive pennies per pound. But he didn’t do it for the money – it was just really important to him that these items didn’t go to the landfill. “As a kid, I did think he was crazy. We’d stop at rest stops along the highway and collect cans that had been left there. It’s not something any kid wants to do but that instilled in me from a young age to care for the environment.”
Fast forward many years to when Janna started thinking about becoming pregnant.
Her passion to live healthier once again grew and lit a fire in her, one that pushed her to really think about the world around her and what she was putting in and on her body. Her husband was part of her decision making too – he didn’t want her to clean the bathroom while she was pregnant. Janna swore off wearing nail polish as well, and hasn’t looked back in the nine years since. “It wasn’t even based on anything we’d read, just an intuition that the fumes couldn’t be good, that none of these ingredients were healthy to have near your body.” Starting with cleaners and food – like milk and eggs – Janna slowly began to trust her hunches and suspicions. She read a lot too – “The Omnivore’s Dilemma rocked my world about food!”
In 2015, a friend introduced Janna to a direct sales company in the beauty industry, founded by a then-15-year-old girl committed to creating and distributing home, beauty and skin products that were safer and nontoxic. Janna started buying a few products, became an independent consultant for the company and began to develop her interests and passion further, until they snowballed at a rapid pace.
In 2016, Janna crossed paths with Kristi Marsh, Executive Director of the Savvy Women’s Alliance, at an event a friend brought her to. “Kristi’s pretty well known around this part of Massachusetts for her impact on the nontoxic world so when she looked at me and asked, ‘When are you starting a chapter in Holliston?,’ I knew it was only a matter of time before I did,” Janna says with a laugh.
Today the Holliston, Massachusetts chapter of the Savvy Women’s Alliance boasts 25+ members, up from eight when it launched in November of 2017. To hear Janna tell it, her chapter began organically (no pun intended!) with four friends from town, who told their friends, who told their friends.
“I think of women starting chapters in brand new territories, where they have a harder time getting started because they feel alone or their town isn’t quite ready for change, but with more and more chapters springing up, it’s not going to be as isolating. We can help make it more mainstream and commonplace.”
For Janna, one of the most rewarding parts of her journey has been the ability to connect to so many different people who have varying experiences and areas of expertise. It’s part of what’s enabled her chapter to grow so quickly. Another reason for the success of Janna's Holliston Chapter is her ability to listen to her members. She incorporates the members need and wants and has many great ideas herself. This holiday season she made Snowmen from 100% wool dryer balls as teacher gifts. How cute is that?
We envision many of our chapters will be having a workshop on this gift idea next fall!
“It’s been exciting, and it hasn’t felt that hard or challenging to grow our chapter because this town has enough people who are ready to receive our message,” explains Janna. “There are enough women, and men, in this town who are on a similar journey and when you have the opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals, it seems like a no-brainer.”
Janna and her chapter have a lot of goals and tasks they want to accomplish for their town, and Janna’s confident they’re going to make things happen and really affect change. Just recently one of Janna’s chapter members posted on her personal Facebook page that she wanted to try to ban glyphosate, a weed killing poison in Roundup - and sadly also found in popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bags – from the town. One local farmer tagged Janna and asked, “Is this what you do?”
“I was an elementary school teacher for 18 years. It was very rewarding but being home with my two young children, this has given me another really important purpose,” says Janna.
From helping her dad recycle to watching him compost his small garden, Janna now has taken that spark within her DNA and made it her life’s mission to advocate for others, noting that working with the Savvy Women’s Alliance is some of the most important work she’s done lately.