When we embarked on our journey to build a purpose-driven brand of products that fulfilled our own health, sustainability and social ideals, I had no idea we could come this far in just 8 months. Thanks to a great manufacturer (Hypoindustries), Brand Strategy team (Futurity), Copywriter (Anders) and Designers (Atom Studio), we have reached the seventh stage of our journey, “giving back” (read on to learn more). Our brand destination was to make local, healthy products that improve quality of life, that are packaged sustainably and give back to the communities that we live in. Our brand strategy was to “skate where the puck is going” knowing that society and consumers are demanding purpose-driven values in their products.
Join me on our journey to see how we got to the “giving back” stage of our development….
Stage 1 – The Chemistry
It started with the most amazing chemistry I never heard about, HOCl. It’s Mother Nature’s perfect solution, an antimicrobial created by our white blood cells to kill unwanted bacteria, viruses & fungi, while promoting healing of inflamed, injured or damaged skin. It’s sting-free in wounds, helps to balance the pH of skin and is a great toner to help prevent and heal Maskne. It’s even used to wash out open wounds during surgery. It’s suitable for even the most sensitive skin because it’s native to our bodies.
We can increase its concentration to better oxidize odor molecules and eliminate odor causing bacteria, making it a powerful deodorizer on sports gear, athletic apparel and even skunk smell!
With HOCl as our foundation chemistry you’ll notice our first set of values as product differentiators:
- 100% pure HOCl
- Zero unwanted ingredients
- 100% natural
- Hypoallergenic (because it’s the same chemistry all mammals produce in their bodies)
- Fragrance-free (Did you know that fragrances are a common skin irritant?)
Stage 2 – The Products
The products we decided to create are governed by three different regulatory frameworks. We’re grateful to have our fearless regulatory champion Doug McFadyen, with the help of Dell Tech, to guide us through the rigorous processes to meet regulatory compliance for these products:
People Products (skincare focus)
- Skin Rescue spray to clean, tone, repair, deodorize, reduce inflammation & protect against Maskne
- Face & Body Wipes (available in 1 week)
- Butt Wipes… yup, they’re called Butt Wipes, haha (available in 1 week)
Places & Things
- Everywhere Deodorizer that actually eliminates odors (see Rethink Stink blog) rather than masking them with toxins and fragrances (like products that rhyme with “Free Bees”)
- Clean & Disinfect spray (regulatory approval in progress)
- Clean & Disinfect wipes (regulatory approval in progress)
What’s next? Pet products! We’ve used our skin products on many pets as a first aid spray on cuts and scrapes. Our deodorizer has shown amazing results (all explained by science) that even worked on skunk-sprayed dogs… it eliminated the smell with two applications a few hours apart. Stay tuned as we explore the regulatory constraints in the pet product market.
Stage 3 – Reduce Unnecessary Plastic Waste
We decided to make all our wipes with biodegradable fabrics, eliminating single use plastic wipes that result in tonnes of unnecessary plastic waste going into our landfills. We’re honing our supply chain to be closer to home and to include sustainable biodegradable fabric options, including opportunities to introduce hemp-based wipes with Bast Fibre Tech and Norafin. The carbon sequestration potential of hemp, combined with it being grown in our own back yard, is an exciting proposition for Alberta!
Stage 4 – Reduce Carbon Footprint & Contribute to Local Economy
- Making our products in Alberta provides jobs and reduces shipping-related carbon emissions for Albertans.
- Changing our packaging resulted in a 90% reduction in plastic per package, allowing us to fit 20% more packages in a box for shipping.
- We have evolved our supply chain to be as close to home as possible and reduced our reliance on overseas shipping. This also affords us shorter, more reliable lead times.
Stage 5 – Sustainability & Affordability (Refill No Landfill)
Reuse is critical, and often overlooked, as a primary mechanism to reduce recycling demand and plastic waste. We encourage “refill not landfill” on all our bottled products. By providing refill options we give the consumer a more affordable way to enjoy our products with less environmental impact.
Stage 6 – Circular Economy
Hypoindustries, our manufacturer and parent company, joined the Canada Plastics Pact in spring of 2021. It’s been exciting to be at the forefront of setting Canada’s Circular Economy direction for years to come, shoulder to shoulder with large organizations like Canadian Tire and Walmart. Our plastics achievements to date:
- Reduced plastic used in packaging by 90%
- “Refill not landfill” options for all our sprays.
- Partnered with ColorMasters to bring their new 100% recyclable mono-plastic flexible film to the Canadian market. We’ve tested it and it looks great! We plan to use it for our next flexible plastic packaging order.
Did you know that flexible packaging accounts for half of the plastic used in packaging consumer goods and only 1% is recycled?
What’s next? Find partners to help us get Post Consumer Resin (PCR) content in our rigid bottles (contact me if you can help), and continue to partner with ColorMasters to innovate with PCR content in plastic film.
Stage 7 – Give Back
We made it. This is the last step major step we had hoped to achieve in 2021. We are excited to announce FundraiseCanada.com, our first “give back” initiative. We imagined sports teams and schools trying to raise funds in COVID-restricted circumstances. Soliciting funds and delivering product are dreaded by many sports-parents.
FundraiseCanada.com offers a fully transparent fundraising option with locally-made, eco-friendly healthy products, with no touch, direct delivery and a high commission (25%). It’s our chance to offer lifestyle packages for supporters that can help players/parents raise funds quickly and easily. It’s as simple as emailing a link or posting on social media to engage your supporters. Contact me to sign up your team.
What’s next? We’d like to partner with other local brands to expand what’s offered on the FundraiseCanada.com platform. It’s our chance to grow a “buy-local-fundraising movement”. Stimulating the local economy, while funding youth sports and recreation with healthy sustainable products just makes SENS. If you’re a local Alberta brand and want to discuss, please contact me.
We’ll be focusing on the next steps and obstacles we identified in each of the stages mentioned above, and looking to collaborate with other local entrepreneurs.
The greatest opportunities in my career always appeared when I focused on executing a task, worked hard and kept an eye out for an open door. We will be working hard… LMK if you see any open doors I should be looking at.