MEET THE MAKERS
At The Maritime Box, our goal is to be more than just another retail platform. We want you to connect with the makers of the unique products that go into our Nova Scotia and Maritimes themed gift boxes. Here you can learn about what inspired them to start their business, the hurdles they overcame, and what keeps them going.
Who knows, you might come across a story that inspires you to finally turn that dream of yours into a reality.
My path to becoming an entrepreneur in the beauty space was unconventional. It all started when my oldest son Eli was just a baby. As a new mother, I was looking for safer alternatives to use on him. While there were many “safer” brands, none of them were doing things the plastic-free way, and many were still using harsh ingredients such as sulphates.
Before I knew it, I was doing a lot of reading and researching what cosmetic formulators were doing. I guess you could say; I was a prime example of “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” But I also knew that whatever I created, wouldn’t come in a plastic bottle. I mean, just because shampoo has always come in a plastic container, doesn’t mean that’s the only way. Not to mention, when you have a baby, everything comes in plastic bottles, from the baby oils to powders.
Not long after, Upfront Cosmetics was born, and I was on a mission to keep our customers safe from harmful chemicals while protecting our environment from unnecessary plastic waste.
Upfront Cosmetics stands out for many reasons. First of all, our eco-friendly bars are made to provide a salon-quality finish. All of our products are pH-Balanced for your hair which is not common in most other bar brands. We also formulate our vegan, cruelty-free bars with no sulphates, parabens or synthetic fragrances. In an extremely under regulated industry, we promise to always be upfront with our customers and always make the truth of our creations accessible for your discovery and understanding.
My personal favourite product is our Nurturing Shampoo Bar. I love this bar because it is made with tea tree oil which is extremely beneficial for both the hair and scalp. The earthy scent gives me an instant boost of energy during my morning showers which I love. This bar is extremely hydrating and is a total must-have, especially throughout the winter months when skin starts to get flakey creating dandruff.
I am so happy with how far Upfront Cosmetics has come in just one year’s time and I wouldn’t change anything that I have done to get me here. However, if I had to give ‘past me’ one piece of advice, it would be to not be afraid to ask for help when needed. I am definitely getting better at reaching out to trusted individuals, but when I first started, I was a little hesitant to do so as I felt like I had to be the one to know and do EVERYTHING.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of many others and I am so grateful for that. I have definitely come to learn that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness but actually a sign of strength and confidence. I believe that there is always room to learn and grow as both an individual, and as a company, and I have come to realize that in order to find that growth it is important to lean on others to guide me in the right direction and lend a helping hand.
Throughout my journey with this business, I have gotten frustrated and overwhelmed beyond belief a countless amount of times. However, I have yet to get to the point where I want to call it quits. I have attainable goals for this company and I try not to let anything get in the way from me reaching them. Although there are days that can seem discouraging, I try to remind myself why I am doing what I am doing and continue to push myself through it.
When I am not working, I am spending time with my family. Family time is so important to me and I try to soak up every minute I can with my littles.
I was born and raised in Nackawic, NB and now I am raising my own children here. I love the sense of community this small town has. I also love how beautiful it is here, which is something I often take for granted, but this town is surrounded by scenic views all around.
If I had the opportunity to choose who I would have dinner with, dead or alive, I would choose Michelle Obama. She is such a sophisticated individual who is an advocate for so many things and I really respect and admire everything she stands for.
If I could have any superpower, it would definitely be to be able to be in two places at once. Being a Mother and a business owner can be challenging, and if I had this superpower, I feel like so many of the problems I face day-to-day would be solved.
I am a Human Services Councillor, so if I were not a maker, I would definitely be doing something in that field of work.
We are two friends who sew independently and decided to collaborate on social media and in an Etsy shop and local craft shows.
We focus on creating reusable products that are beautiful and ultimately compostable.
We love our reusable serviettes. We enjoy sewing them from gorgeous fabrics and curating them into sets so there’s a colour or theme for everyone.
We sew what we enjoy making and using ourselves. We should have focused more on that from the get go.
We love sewing so it’s tough to envisage quitting. We have had to dial back on requests for massive orders though as that would have had us quitting.
We both love cooking and gardening plus lots of fresh air activities. We also both love filtered coffee!!
We live near the beautiful coastal area of St Margaret’s bay. We both love the sea as well as the many trails in the area.
Michele - Jeff Goldblum & Penelope - My grandparents
Michele - To conjure up a butler! & Penelope - Teleportation
Still sewing probably!
The Island Potato Soap Company started to produce bar soap in 2016. The soap is made with certified organic potato juice and oils. Most soaps use water which is then mixed with lye. Instead of water, we have substituted potato juice. Our skin cream was developed the following year. 80 percent of the skin cream is made with potato juice.
Our business is unique because we are the only commercial manufacturer in the world that uses potato juice to make bar soap and skin cream. We are the first soap company on PEI to be featured on Dragon's Den.
I don't have a particular favourite. I am researching new products, finding new markets etc.
Never give up. Always look for new opportunities and find ways to improve your business. Refine, refine, refine. Avoid time wasting projects.
There was never a time that I wanted to call it quits.
In my free time, I like to compose music mainly for piano and violin. I am also a potter which I primarily do in the winter months.
We live in the country on the North Shore of Prince Edward Island. We have a large vegetable garden to take care of. I am also working on our century old home, liking painting, scraping and repairing spots which need attention.
Who’s the person, dead or alive, that you would want to have over for dinner?
Full time composer