Nova Covington

Founder & CEO, Goddess Garden

What inspired you to start your business?

The possibility of making a change. When I started Goddess Garden over a decade ago, there were no options that were safe for my baby’s sensitive skin as well as the environment. I’m an aromatherapist and my husband, Paul, is a biochemist, so together we created products that we really believe in using pure botanicals and organic essential oils. Even today, and every day, I’m inspired to make a difference by creating better products for us and the Earth.

What three traits define you?

Passion, persistence and positivity. I’m most motivated by passion—for protecting people and our planet, and generally making our world a better place. When I’m working on things that truly matter, it’s easy to maintain a positive perspective. Making change takes one little step at a time, like in Hawaii where we effected change by giving away sunscreen samples and lobbying the government to ban chemical sunscreens. Hawaii passed the bill this summer, and we got to be part of that. I’m so lucky to be doing what I’m doing!

What women inspire you?

My grandma is really one of my biggest inspirations. She was the mayor of a small town in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and has been the most significant influence on how I view women as strong leaders. My grandma went on to be the editor of the town’s newspaper and also published a book. I was—and still am—inspired by her. She’s 96 now.

What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?

Huge things are happening in the sunscreen industry at the moment. Consumers are demanding more transparency, and we’re starting to see Hawaii, the Florida Keys and many other locations banning chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone and octinoxate that have been shown to harm coral reefs and cause hormone disruption. Our products have always been free from these chemicals and good for our environment!

As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?

Ideas! I recently started an ocean conservation foundation, Protect Our Mother, to help preserve and restore vital ocean habitats like coral reefs and kelp forests for our marine mammal friends. Coming up with ways to have a positive impact, like this nonprofit, is what inspires me (and yes, sometimes keeps me awake at night).

What are the biggest obstacles you see for young female entrepreneurs?

Financing. Pure and simple. We need more financial support for women starting their own businesses. Look at the success of microloans world in third world countries: women create profitable businesses. Their children’s lives depend on it. I believe women make amazing business owners, and I would like to see more women owning large and profitable businesses!

What do you love about being a business owner?

I love having the ability to create new things that don’t even exist yet in the world today. I see opportunities for improving our skincare products everywhere. I love that. Inspiration (and hard work) are key qualities for being a successful entrepreneur. Love what you do!

How do you define success?

Making a difference and living a life that I am proud of. For me, it’s important that I use my energy to make positive change happen. This has been essential to my company from the beginning. We’re here to solve problems, leave a minimal footprint and make a positive impact, while also being profitable.

It’s also true that success can exist in the little choices we make every day. People can have an impact by doing things as simple as choosing cleaner products at the grocery store. Seeing the power in everything we do and wielding it purposefully can shift industries and make a huge difference over time.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Just trust yourself. Paul Repetto, one of the founders of Horizon Organics, told me I should stop hiring consultants. He said to just trust myself. It’s really a requirement for being an entrepreneur.

What’s your favorite career moment?

A highlight of my career so far was standing next to Governor Ige in Hawaii as he signed the first ban on toxic chemical sunscreens into law. That was a huge moment for our coral reefs and our beautiful ocean. They will benefit immediately from decreased exposure to these harmful ingredients. It felt so good to be part of the democratic process as it effected positive change!

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

I have an idea for a vlog called “the Easy Environmentalist” with quick, easy tips to help people make better choices for the planet. Also, I would do more yoga and meditation because I think it’s so much easier to make the world a better place if we are more calm and in touch with ourselves.

How do you unwind after a long workday?

My girls are really great for getting me out of work mode. They are, and always have been, the inspiration for everything I do. Spending time with them helps me put everything in perspective and reminds me why I do the things I do every day. And most importantly, they make me laugh. Laughter is the best stress reliever.

Fill in the blank:

When I face a challenge, I... overcome it one step at a time or find a way around the obstacle. There is always a way.

If I could go back in time, I would… trust your intuition and don’t second-guess yourself.

The one thing I couldn’t live without is… sunshine! And my family, of course.

By this time next year, I will be… partnering with like-minded organizations to spread the word about ocean conservation and restoration efforts along with Protect Our Mother.

The best thing that happened to me last week was… launching Goddess Garden’s brand new Baby line! Find us now on Target.com, Amazon.com, GoddessGarden.com and coming soon to stores near you.

To get my creative juices flowing, I… take a walk in nature.

Goddess garden

Goddess Garden was created by a mom for her daughter, whose skin reacted poorly to conventional body products. Founder Nova Covington was inspired to make all her family’s products, using all-natural, botanical ingredients that were safe and effective. Goddess Gardenis best known for their reef-safe, certified-organic, mineral sunscreen, but they also offer certified-organic facial care, essential-oil perfumes and an aromatherapy line. All products are designed to help take chemicals out of daily life and are idea for people with sensitive skin.

Learn more.