Throughout her impressive career, Kristen Bell has made her mark in a lot of different ways. We know her as hard-edged sleuth Veronica Mars, reformed terrible person Eleanor Shellstrop on The Good Place, Disney’s own Princess Anna and for her hilarious and candid posts on social media about motherhood, life and her husband Dax Shepard. And while fans are always keeping a close eye on what Bell is doing next, launching Hello Bello, a line of plant-based affordable baby-care products, may not have been what they were expecting.
But for both the actress and Shepard, who are two of the company’s co-founders, it was a natural fit. “My husband and I are both from Michigan, and we grew up knowing that our family had to live on a really strict budget. That has never left our mind, even now that we live in California and go to a fancy baby boutique, buy whatever we want and not have to look at the price,” Bell tells us while in Toronto. “There are a lot of people doing great work in this space, making things safe and effective for our kids and the planet, but we saw the need for an accessible price point.”
After debuting in the U.S. earlier this year, Hello Bello is now available in Canada online. We sat down with Bell to talk about starting a company, working with her husband and how motherhood has changed her mindset.
On what makes Hello Bello stand out
“Dax always says [the brand] is ‘your mom’s ingredients at your dad’s prices.’ I’m the mom who reads every label. I’m obsessed with what’s in things, food or otherwise. And we realized that we would never just start a baby line. We had to check two things off the list: accessibility and price point. So we partnered with Walmart, and they were able to give us economy of scale and the accessibility to make really healthy, effective premium baby-care products available to people on a budget.”
On using her platform
“I would be stupid if I didn’t take this opportunity to grab the microphone I’ve been given and say, ‘Here’s what I want to do.’ When you’re in the position of having a platform, you can easily contact people and create a team that knows what they’re doing. For Hello Bello, I was looking at resumes. That’s an incredibly unique position to be in, and I’m very grateful for it. I was very clear with my partners on this. To be blunt, I said: ‘I don’t need another paycheque. I have a real good job. I’m already overpaid. So if we’re going to do this, let’s do it right.’”
On becoming an entrepreneur
“I never thought that I had the wherewithal to start anything like this, to take a kernel of an idea and turn it into something. But what I’m really good at is finding the smartest person in the room and hitching my wagon to them. It’s what I did with Mike Schur [creator of The Good Place] and [Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas]. And our two partners in this business are very smart. And they took [what I wanted to do] really seriously.”
On how having children has changed her mindset
“If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have said that I was thoughtful about my decisions. But now I know that I am. I can confirm that every decision I make thinks about the greater good. The keys to the planet don’t belong to me, they belong to [my kids]. I’m not one to wallow, like ‘I’m past my prime, I’m not getting young roles.’ I’ve had my experience. One thing I love most about myself is that I’m really good at sharing, and I’m happy to allow my kids to have that experience. Right now, I have this opportunity to leave the planet a little bit better than I found that –environmentally, socially, generally. My baseline desire is to increase happiness and reduce suffering wherever I can.”
On working with her husband
“I love it. It’s one of the reasons we did this together. I know it’s not the same for everyone. But I chose [Dax] to be my husband because I think he’s the best hang out there. I trust him implicitly, and that’s what I want in a partner.”