You may or may not have noticed, but Vancouver has a new kid in town. Alberta-based natural beauty line Rocky Mountain Soap Company debuted this holiday season with two brand new stores in Vancouver - one downtown in Bentall Centre and another in Burnaby's Metropolis at Metrotown.
With a focus on high-quality, all-natural ingredients, Rocky Mountain Soap Company (RMSC) is directly in the same market niche as other lines like Lush, Saje and The Body Shop. Like them, RMSC has committed to the all natural claim wholeheartedly and possibly even more so than the others as the brand has a "no-go" ingredients list and even their stores must pass a certain "toxin-free" standard. That means no lead, mercury, sulfates, artificial colors, parabens, glycols, GMO, or even animal by-products in any of their products. Period.
Recently I got a chance to talk with founder Karina Birch about her little family business that could:
Describe your journey to becoming CEO of Rocky Mountain Soap - how did you get started and what motivated you to focus on natural skincare? Did you always know you wanted to run your own business?
I started Rocky Mountain Soap right out of university and I believe my lack of experience was an asset. When you are naïve you question everything and you discover new ways of doing things. 100% natural has always been the right thing to do and the healthiest choice which is important to me. I can’t say I always wanted to run my own business but now it seems like fate.
What makes Rocky Mountain Soap different from all the other all-natural, organic lines out there?
We take natural very seriously and hold ourselves to the highest standard when formulating our products. On top of this, we believe natural is more than the ingredients we use, its also about sustainability and health. Our stores are built with reused materials that are non-toxic and we are working on a sustainable packaging project. We live it culturally as well by offering running, spin, yoga and cross fit classes weekly at the workshop. We have baseball tournaments and keep composting worms under the sink in the office. Natural is a way of life for us.
What new products are you most excited about for 2015?
Tinted lip butters, bath bombs, new face products, an amazing new floral scent and SOAP FEST in August!
What trends do you see happening in beauty for 2015?
Its going to be about solution oriented products. While scent is important, the trend will be about products that truly work and provide results.
What are your top 3 tips for maintaining your skin as you age? How old should you be to start caring about anti-aging?
1. Sun in moderation
2. Omega Fish Oils daily in winter
3. Once a week face scrub to keep pores clean
Start in your teens!
Describe your daily beauty routine and what products you use.
I use our Cleansing Oil every night so when I wake up my skin is clean and hydrated. I do a quick rinse with warm water, apply Beech Tree Bud Eye Cream and Pomegranate Day Cream…I add a drop of Cleansing Oil during the winter for extra hydration. I also use a few pumps of Cleansing Oil in my bath…I can’t live without it.
It's so hard to find accurate ingredient information online. What are some of your trusted resources?
I don’t have one that I think is better than the others but here is where I go…Think Dirty is a great APP, Skin Deep Database and Queen of Green’s dirty dozen.
Do you have any tips for how consumers can become more savvy about what products they use?
Know the top 5 ingredients to look for (Parabens, Pthalates, Sulfates, PEG’s, Triclosan)…usually near the bottom of the ingredient list. Look for products that have very simple ingredients. If it looks too complicated it usually isn’t a healthy choice.
If you weren't a CEO of your own beauty company, what would you be doing?
Any resolutions for next year?
Hmmm, yes. Calmness.
Love her answers. You can tell she truly embodies her company's philosophy. Besides getting to chat with Karina, RMSC was also kind enough to send over a bunch of their products for me to try out.
Blossom Berry Bath Salt ($5) is a refreshing mix of jasmine, gardenia, vanilla and berries alongside soothing epsom salts to relax and rejuvenate. I love jasmine and gardenia so I can't wait to have my whole bath smell like this! And at only $5 for a very sizeable pouch, it's a great deal.
Foot Butter ($15) kinda looks like deodorant, but is actually a foot balm! Made of 70.9% organic ingredients, this moisturizing foot balm contains cocoa seed butter (#2 ingredient!), carrot root extract, grapefruit extract, fir needle oil and vitamin E. It smells amazing as well; kinda citrusy and spicy.
Sugar Scrub in Sugar Plum (LE, $23) contains cocoa seed butter, jojoba, coconut oil, sugar plum oil, vanilla, cinnamon and vitamin E, as well as cane sugar of course. This scrub has a thick, syrupy texture. I'm still using up my L'Occitane Aromachologie scrub, but can't wait to crack this puppy open! This scrub is also available in a variety of other flavours like french lavender, cherry, apricot and blood orange.
Sugar Plum soap (LE, $5.25) is a 100% natural soap for the body. It contains a luxurious mix of coconut, cottonseed and olive oils, as well as jasmine, cinnamon, ginger, jojoba and violet. The smell is slightly reminiscent of lavender, but brighter so it's more rejuvenating than soothing. Overall, this soap smells very clean and simple, which I love.
Lemongrass body lotion ($20) is a little pricey for the size, so it remains to be seen if it's good as its claims. This lotion contains a mix of safflower and coconut oils, shea butter, chilean soap bark, lemongrass and rosemary.
Lemon lime lip butter + Peppermint lip butter ($5 each) are fantastic lip balms that smell amazeballs and provide lasting moisture. Like all the other products, the ingredients inside the lip butters are impeccable: beeswax, sesame seed oil, shea butter, cocoa seed butter and vitamin E. My only complaint using these is that they're a little hard at first due to the beeswax, but warm up after a few seconds. I love slathering this on all day.
Have you tried Rocky Mountain Soap Company yet?
Tell me what you think!