Lessons from Canadian Businesses | Indigena Skin Care

“I think we have to look at ways we can continue to help each other and to buy local. Whether it is a local designer or skin care product or local food. I think people need to zoom in and focus on buying more local things. This will help our economy bounce back and protect the people in [our communities]…”
– Lisa Walsh, Chief Mermaid, Indigena

The Business

Indigena produces natural skincare products using northern boreal indigenous extracts foraged from the land and surrounding sea of Newfoundland and Labrador. Prior to starting Indigena, Lisa Walsh, Indigena’s Chief Mermaid, owned three salons and loved making people feel good; however, the chemicals used in her businesses were making her sick. The creation of Indigena enabled her to continue to do the work she loved without putting her health at risk.  Indigena uses multiple botanical, edible actives to create products that target ageing, problematic, and sensitive skin through their Glowing, Clearing and Calming Collections. Innovation is their #1 ingredient.

The Challenges

  • When the pandemic first hit, it was surreal and difficult to grasp the gravity of what was happening.  Business stopped overnight.
  • Sales through grocery stores and retail locations slowed, and tourism customers (hotels and resorts) were stopped indefinitely.  
  • With her compromised immune system, Lisa could not go out to promote products or make deliveries.

The Response

  • The Indigena team analyzed and updated their website and now use it to tell more stories. This pivot paid off as online sales have surpassed other areas of income, for the time being.  
  • Indigena Created an effective, natural product to help protect the community. They partnered with the National Research Council (NRC) to create a Health Canada approved hand sanitizer using aloe as a base. The sanitizer is being sold online and Indigena has donated it to long-term care homes and first responders.

The Advice – What We Learned

  • Think about the needs of the community and what you can do to repurpose what you have in your inventory. 
  • Establish good communication with your suppliers. Gain an understanding of risks to your supply chain. If you have enough cash flow, buy supplies that may not be available in three or four months due to stresses on your supply chain. 
  • Lisa says they’ve never felt so good in their community. It feels like everyone is pulling together regionally, provincially, as a country and as a world – even though we are all separated. The quote, “We are all in this together,” really is true.
Indigena Skin Care
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