Entrepreneurs follow their heart and skills
The Hamilton Spectator
What does medical lab technology have in common with making personal care products? More than you might think.
“I happened to have the right basket of skills,” says Nancy Scott, who moved from one field to the other in 2006. “I was familiar with graduated cylinders.”
Since she established eScential Wellness, the skin care and wellness business has been Scott’s full-time job.
From a workshop in her Burlington home, she makes dozens of products, all free from the “toxic 10” ingredients identified by Environmental Defence. There are soaps and deodorants, lotions and facial cleansers, bath salts and eczema kits.
In a roundabout way, Scott says, the business grew out of parenting.
Scott had always been a label reader, someone who did her own sewing and made her own yogurt. When she had three kids though, it ramped up. She realized what went into everything she used around the house and on their bodies.
“I thought, ‘You know what? I can build a better mousetrap,’” she says.
Scott started taking classes to learn about essential oils. They complemented her background in clinical chemistry and she built on them by becoming a certified aroma health practitioner and reflexologist.
Locally, eScential Wellness can be found at Studio 205 and Goodness Me!
Tylor Myers says his first foray into entrepreneurship taught him how not to develop and market an idea.
He launched Novus Language, a website for learning foreign languages online, at a time when he says there wasn’t much demand for it.
He thinks he has avoided that pitfall with his newest venture, Hamilton in a Box. The web-based shopping service brings together local food and personal care products so buyers can shop local with a couple of clicks.
“I think a lot of Hamiltonians are willing and wanting to shop local,” says Myers. “But as soon as it comes to having to drive to either end of the city for a couple little items…?”
He says it can feel like you’ve spent the whole day chasing things you could just get at a department store, which may discourage some people from committing to local shopping.
At Hamiltoninabox.com, consumers can choose from three sizes of gift box and hand-pick five, 10, or one of each of the products offered.
Items include lip balm from Honey and Glow, steak sauce from Cooksville Hot Sauce, tea tins from Ceylon Bush and aloe vera shampoo from Weir’s Lane Lavender and Apiary.
It’s a challenge for Alexis Fletcher to divide time between her three babies — two daughters and Kabuki Spa and Skin Centre, which she established in 2012 — but it’s a challenge she has enjoyed.
Hamilton-born Fletcher, who has a degree in photography, worked doing visual imaging for a photographer. After having her first child, she decided she didn’t want to go back to the job. If she was going to leave her daughter every day, she reasoned, it had to be for something she loved.
So she went back to school for esthetics. Fletcher loved the problem-solving aspect of the job and she felt she had a gift for touch, which is a huge thing in skin care.
That led her to a job at Viva Aesthetics on Dundurn Street. She was always open about wanting to have her own spa, and says she was lucky that Viva gave her responsibilities (including purchasing and offering input on services) to prepare her for this.
Fletcher manages five employees at her own Locke Street spa, though she doesn’t like the term “boss.” In her view, Kabuki is a team.
“It seems in the past a boss or a leader has to behave in a certain way, which is partly true but I think as women business owners it’s time to maybe change that definition a little bit,” she says.
“It’s OK to behave like a woman and be nurturing and be friendly and have fun.”
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