Business Profile
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • March 2012

Just Act Natural

The green movement continues to grow in the country despite a multi-year global recession, with more solar panels installed in 2011 vs. 2010; more green buildings being erected; and more green consumer products being purchased, according to the 2011 Green Brands Survey.

In other words, “green” isn’t going anywhere.

One shop that encompasses the green consumer products end of that equation is Just Act Natural in downtown Appleton. This eco-lifestyle store is a one-stop shop for all things green. The shop is a mini department store of sorts, selling items such as organic cotton clothing, reusable bags and bottles, non-toxic cleaners, natural body care, safe toys, baby items, recycled greeting cards, gifts and more.

The store opened – appropriately – on Earth Day, April 22, 2009. Next month the store owners, J.C. and Dianne Paustian, will celebrate the store’s three-year anniversary. “It’s hard to believe it’ll be three years already,” J.C. said. “It took us almost three years from concept to opening the doors in 2009, so that means Just Act Natural has been in the forefront of our minds for about six years.”

The thing that the Paustians wanted to showcase was the green products themselves. Back several years ago it was hard to pick up and hold a green product. Online green stores have been around a while, but brick-and-mortar green stores not so much. “People could order just about anything online, from stainless steel water bottles to an organic cotton baby onesie to safe nail polish,” according to J.C. “But to actually find it and look at it in a store was pretty difficult.”

With two small children of their own, the Paustians know how important it is to convey the message of buying the right item that is safe and healthy, not just “green.” Body care products are big sellers in the store and are also in the category that gets the most research when bringing in something new.

“Dianne and I look at ingredients on body care products and compare them to the Environmental Working Group’s Web site called The Cosmetics Database (http://cosmeticsdatabase.com),” J.C. said. “They research over 70,000 products and rank them on a ‘hazard scale’ with zero being the best and 10 being the worst. This is our bible.”

The homework is done for customers so they don’t have to spend time sifting through brands, products or ingredients trying to figure out which ones are safe, healthy or environmentally friendly and which ones are not.

“We would never bring anything into the store that we wouldn’t use ourselves or on our kids,” added J.C. “There’s just so much ‘greenwashing’ going on today that consumers have to be careful in what they’re buying.”

“Greenwashing” is a term used when a product or company markets itself as green or environmentally friendly and it isn’t. A company is inventing a bogus green logo; claiming something is recyclable when it isn’t; calling something “organic” when in fact, that word has no legal definition outside of the food industry; etc.

One green logo that is king of the hill is Green America’s Seal of Approval, which Just Act Natural can proudly display. The store is also listed in the National Green Pages – “the Yellow Pages of authentic green businesses and services across the country,” J.C. said.


Just Act Natural is located at 129 E. College Avenue in downtown Appleton. Store hours are: Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm; Saturday 10am – 4pm; closed Sundays. Go to http://justactnatural.com for more information; find them on Facebook and Twitter; e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or call 920-574-2932.

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