Text: Anie Rouleau
Many entrepreneurs will tell you that reaching the 5-year mark for a business is an important milestone. That’s usually the point when you know—or at least have a bit more assurance—that you have an appealing concept that meets the needs of the market.
Today, I’m proud to share that The Unscented Company is celebrating its 5th anniversary, and that I’ve succeeded in building a company that’s socially and environmentally responsible in addition to being profitable. I’m especially proud of the fact that I’ve been able to grow my business while staying true to my values.
How did I get here? Partly by having a clear mission and vision, but also by taking one step at a time. With this strategy in mind, I wanted to share 5 key moments in TUC’s history that helped us get to where we are today.
OHIn case you didn’t know, before The Unscented Company, we had a commercial line of OH products that were exclusively sold to companies. So, I would have to say that our first defining moment was the decision to drop that line to focus solely on TUC. It’s taken 10 years of work to get to this point, but I have no regrets about taking this first step.
Credits: Chanel Sabourin Photographe
Refillable packagingWhen we created The Unscented Company, we also introduced the refillable boxes you’re familiar with today. The design and look have changed slightly since then, but the goal remains the same: to reduce our plastic footprint and eliminate single-use plastic.
We want to be part of the movement and part of the solution. This is the mission TUC was built upon, and these refillable formats enable us to follow through on that mission while saving 1 383 545 plastic bottles from landfills since we first introduced them.
Credits: Chanel Sabourin Photographe // Alex CD Photo
GoopGoing back to 2018, the company wasn’t at the stage yet of being able to work with influencers to spread the word about the brand. So I was very surprised when I got a call telling me that someone was interested in meeting with me. Apparently, this person had just discovered The Unscented Company.
A short time later, I showed up to a small restaurant in the William Grey Hotel with my product line to meet Elise Lowan and Gwyneth Paltrow, Goop’s respective Creative Director and Founder.
Since the Goop platform seeks to offer products that are good for us, the environment, and the home, they wanted to add TUC to their selection of home goods. After considering the potential opportunities it represented, I couldn’t turn the offer down. Today, I’m happy to say that I was right to follow my intuition, as the resulting exposure TUC received was phenomenal. It was after this Goop meeting that I was invited to participate in Dragons’ Den in Toronto.
Even though the idea of going on the show seemed impossible—my stomach did backflips just thinking about it—I finally accepted the offer. Unsurprisingly, Goop and Dragons’ Den literally turned the company around.
Credits: CBC // Radio Canada
Key playersThese two media appearances started a chain reaction. When you start talking about a company everywhere, a lot of new doors suddenly open. Following my participation in Dragons’ Den, Canadian Tire and Bulk Barn came knocking.
I’ll always remember the email from Bulk Barn. I was in a meeting when I opened it, but I stopped listening as soon as I saw the impressive size of their order—probably our biggest order to date!
As for Canadian Tire, our paths first crossed during the filming of Dragons’ Den. The Canadian retail giant had committed to helping 2 companies from the show distribute their products across the country, and TUC was one of them. Greg Hicks, President of Canadian Tire, even told me in person!
These two companies—Bulk Barn and Canadian Tire—marked our expansion on a national level and gave me the necessary momentum to bring my company to where it is today.
Credits: Julien Payette-Tessier
International outlookThen came our development in the U.S. and internationally—on a smaller scale. That aspect of the business is still in development, but signing with Whole Foods in 2019 was an important first step that allowed us to see the opportunities in that market.
Credits: Goor Studio X Paul Vitale // Slowood in Hong Kong
Each of these moments allowed us to move forward a little bit more. To fulfill our mission a little more. To make our vision a little clearer. What’s next? New products that are always true to who we are that will help you—and us—eliminate single-use plastic.
I am proud of what I have built with my team, and every day I wake up with butterflies in my stomach, ready to build for tomorrow.
Credits: Chanel Sabourin Photographe