video: More Concerns Arise Over Ava Anderson Products
Sunday, January 31, 2016
GoLocal’s repeated efforts to reach out to the Andersons after an assistant had offered to set up an interview -- and repeated emails and calls -- have gone unanswered.
Fitness and nutrition consultant Merideth Oram wrote “Ava Anderson Scandal: Why It Impacts Female Entrepreneurs” in her blog “Below the Fork,” this week on Wednesday, in which she includes an eighteen minute video outlining the issues with how the company — which admitted to having products containing ingredients not disclosed on the label — addressed the issue.
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“[It] blows my mind. If they just handled the problem and acknowledged the problem, but now they have completely ruined all integrity,” said Oram. “The problem is the entire industry is being questioned. All the progress we've made has been backpedaled. To cite online bullying makes me angry. If you have haters, you're doing something right. [You're pointing] out that the products [people] are buying at drugstores are detrimental to you in the long run. Her walking away because of ‘bullying’ -- it's 100,000 times worse.”
GoLocal Interview with Oram
Oram told GoLocal that after hearing this week that AANT was winding their LLC down and turning the company over to management, when she was forwarded an email AANT had sent saying they’d had a third party test the results with what they said contained “no chemicals of concern,” that she had even more questions.
“When I saw that email I thought it was going to be every product turns out to not have toxins,” said Oram. “I know they addressed the scents actually having synthetic fragrance (not on the label) and issues with he blush, but then the issues with the soap labeling were revealed. I don’t know why they’re not promoting the findings more and coming clean — it comes down to the lack of communication, which is a huge lesson for entrepreneurs.”
AANT announced on Monday that they were closing the LLP, with the Andersons stepping away, due to online harassment of founder Ava; by Wednesday they were blaming vendors for including ingredients on product that they didn’t approve — and hadn’t been identified on product labels.
“I truly want to believe that those reports are correct, and they had no idea. I mean, at some point almost every business get burned, there’s always scrutiny. Take Jessica Alba and her Honest line, she hit hers head on,” said Oram. “I feel that this could have been the same, but I feel that Ava need to speak up — we’re all left with a million questions. She has so much potential. And she’s so young.”
In one email to consultants, AANT had acknowledged a recall of the fragrance line due to lack of disclosure of synthetic fragrance — which one former consultant said that she was shocked at how the company had handled it.
“Last week I scoured the AANT Facebook and Instagram page for announcements about the recall in the foundation and the perfume, or any other products, and there was none at all,” said Janel Kisner, who said she briefly was a consultant for AANT but not actively selling. “I went in the pictures to see if maybe the announcement was a photo announcement, nothing. I did this because someone told me that it was announced. I checked all of my emails (both my current and the one I used as a consultant) and even the junk mail folders, and nothing. Even my consultant didn't know. My post on Facebook inquiring about what happened with the AvaScent was deleted and I was messaged privately. If they had had been more forthcoming, they would have came back stronger, but I think it's ruined.”
Jess Brandt with EcoMamaUSA, who had been among the initial whistle bowers to questions AANT’s products — and commissioned a chemistry analysis of their dish soap ,which she said the results showed that it could not contain the ingredients purported on the label, said she hoped the company could make a fresh start.
“They have enough people who are all behind them, and want a fresh start,” said Brandt. “But I don’t know who gets to walk away from a mess like this and pretend it never happened.”
Brandt said that questions surrounding the “third party analysis” that AANT said they conducted — but wouldn’t not share details or chemicals tested for — brought up a new set of questions.
“OK — so they sat there are suddenly now “no chemicals of concern” — by whose standard? The FDA’s? Show us the results and let us decide for ourselves,” said Brandt. “There’s hundreds for possible things products can be tested for, and every consumer deserves to know. I think if you truly duped by a third party — the suppliers they’re pointing a finger at — you’d think that they’d be shining the light of them, and demanding change.”
Brandt said that she’s affected change at “at least ten companies” by pointing out labeling issues, which she said they all corrected.
“I’ve literally saved ten companies by saying, 'I think you’re displaying the wrong labels', especially ones purporting to be organic. In all of those instances, we’ve had a dialogue, nothing like I encountered with AANT. Transparency — including test results — Is all we want.”
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