Creating A Sustainable Skincare Brand With Recycled Coffee Grounds

Meet Hanieh Leva, Founder of Lola Scrubz, a natural coffee scrub line that uses recycled coffee and 100% natural ingredients. 

Hanieh Leva is an entrepreneur, photographer, and visionary who is passionate about the environment. She is a healer, a nature and wellness enthusiast. She also believes in the freedom of art and expression and loves to network with the community. Hanieh was born in Iran and during the revolution, her mother took her and her sister and flew to Canada. Despite not knowing English, her mother set foot in an unknown country with a 6 and a 2-year-old, as she wanted them to have a better life. Leva admires her strength, determination, and courage. So, whenever things get difficult with her own kids, she thinks about her mom and resets quickly. She is Hanieh’s idol, hero, and someone she inspires to be as a mom and a human being. 

Even in Canada, they moved many times as her mom wanted to raise them in a better neighborhood and school area. She hated moving and starting over every time with new friends but feels that’s what took her out of her comfort zone. Studying psychology in college, Hanieh took sales jobs as a professional. It was the only job she was ever attracted to and used her psychology background to convince people to buy things they never knew they needed. 

Hanieh had a business acumen ever since she was in school. Her first brush with business was when she single-handedly organized an after-prom event at 17. She talked to a hotel owner outside the city of Toronto for the stay, rented a school bus, promoted the event, and hosted it successfully. Although her motivation was money, she was driven by the urge to create experiences as taking decisions and being resourceful comes easy to her. 

Talking about her company,  she says, “We have two driving forces: one is the ‘Love your body movement,’ and the other is environmentally focused.” She and her sister, Jennifer started Lola Scrubz during the pandemic. Both of them struggled with body image issues growing up and starting a coffee scrub line; they want women of all shapes and sizes to love the skin they are in. It all started when Hanieh got to know that the coffee that ends up in landfills releases methane gas, which has a greenhouse effect 28 times higher than that from carbon dioxide. Coffee can be acidic when added to the soil but can have nourishing benefits when applied to the skin. Hanieh herself suffers from eczema and dry skin, and it has helped her a lot. They have collaborated with a local coffee shop to recycle coffee grounds and create scrubs with 100% clean ingredients. For every sale, they plant a tree and hope more businesses will join the initiative. 

Leva and her sister were let go from their jobs due to COVID. So, they decided to start a venture, but it did not come without its challenges. While formulating the clear skincare ingredients, they had to ensure they avoided any chemical ingredients that could hinder the effectiveness of the product. They worked with a cosmetologist to tweak the formula and keep it 100% natural. 

Initially, for months, they had zero sales. There were times when they felt discouraged, as it cost money to keep going, and with zero cash inflow, they wanted to quit and look for a job. But the pandemic also opened new doors for them, where even the big distributors connected with them to source local Canadian products. 

The business is slowly growing as things are starting to come back on track. When asked about what changes she wishes to bring in the world, she says, “My favorite quote is from Gandhi- we must become the change we want to see. And I want to see more love resonating in people’s hearts. I would love for more people to wake up to the environmental stresses, and animal cruelty.” She wants to affect the world in a positive way. Leva believes in the importance of meditation and connecting with our higher self. 

Hanieh knows that failure is a necessity and unavoidable. It’s a part of our growth, and we just need to stop thinking about what people think of us. She stresses the importance of listening to your instincts and not about what people think of us. You just need to be your authentic self, and everything else will fall into place. Leaving an inspiring message for her readers, she says, “Your net worth is your network, so choose your friends and people you surround yourself with wisely. It’s important to not put so much weight on people’s opinions, don’t be afraid of losing people. Be afraid of losing yourself by trying to please everyone else around you. What people think of you is truly not your concern. What people expect of you is also not your concern. But what you think of yourself and what you expect of yourself will have everything to do with the quality of life you will live.