Shop Local: Alchemy North
We are lucky to live in a city filled with so many talented makers! I love being able to talk to these makers and find out more about their process and what got them started. Our Shop Local series is one of our most popular and we have quite a few coming in 2018. Today we’re talking with Alchemy North abut what got them started and what we can expect in the future.
We first heard of Alchemy North at one of the Makers North markets and I was instantly drawn to their beautiful display and branding. Owners Melodie and Amy have done a great job of creating quality skin products and I think we can all agreed they nailed it with their branding.
What is Alchemy North?
To put it simply, we are a kind, conscious skin care brand dedicated to optimal skin heath using high quality, natural ingredients. But below is much more interesting and explanatory.
Who are we? The answer to that lies in it’s title. It’s a very old term. Alchemy is a blend of science, nature and spirituality. It was regarded as an art of creating with chemistry and natural ingredients that resulted in amazing concoctions. That’s what we do -we blend science and nature but do it with love, and a great respect and consideration for our planet and all it’s inhabitants. The North part comes from our geographic location. We are a Northern Ontario skin care line that was born in Sudbury, and within weeks sprouted up in Muskoka as my business partner (Amy) joined me (Melodie) on this venture. This is why we have a Northern Ontario, cottage feel to our branding. It’s because it’s who we are, what we represent and we aim to make the North proud. Our spiritual side comes not from religion, but from the dedication to make positive impacts in our communities with our involvement with sexual assault services and anti-human trafficking organizations. We love our community and have received the same love back. We believe in unity and that’s our spirituality.
What inspired you to start Alchemy North?
From an early age I was interested in learning how everything worked. I wanted to create anything that came to my imagination. I began drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil. At the age of seven I was painting with oil and watercolors, sculpting, oil pastels and sketching with charcoal. I got my first sewing machine at 9 and made many creations without patterns. To this day I do not know how to follow a pattern -I make my own. At 12 I began cooking from recipes I would see on the food network (my favorite show at the time). I got into musical instruments, I won many art competitions, had my art work in the Sudbury Art Museum representing my highschool. It evolved from there. I began making cold process soap in 2002 and quickly got into cosmetics. I made everything I could think of, and i was (and am) driven to make it better than anything I’ve used off the shelf. During college and university I took a break, but got back into it after my twins were born. I was searching for high quality products that were 1) all-natural and 2) didn’t contain toxic ingredients (those two items are commonly found together). I couldn’t find anything satisfactory. So I created it. Everything I would make for myself began to sell out. I would sell out of items before it was even created. Just the mention of a new product and it was all sold. I had friends, friends of friends, colleagues, family and strangers knocking on my door to purchase my personal stash. That’s how it began; on its own. So I went with it. Within two weeks I was overwhelmed and needed help. That’s when Amy came on board and the rest is history.
What is one thing that sets you apart from other similar businesses?
Our brand is built around the anatomy and physiology of the skin and one of it’s essential components: the acid mantle. I was in university when I first studied the acid mantle and learned how its protection is essential for beautiful, clear and healthy skin. I used this knowledge and blended it with nutrient-rich, super food ingredients for ultimate health, results and performance. Our products maintain the acid mantle and provide probiotics to support its health and vitality. Much like our gut, our skin has and needs balanced microflora to keep it healthy. Many other products contain harsh ingredients with improper pH levels that strip the acid mantle and distrupt the balance of the skin’s bacteria that can lead to acne and other skin issues. Continuously stripping away the acid mantle can create a dependency on that product, leaving your skin vulnerable without it. Other products can also contain preservatives, parfumes and other toxic ingredients that are not only harmful to your skin, but your whole body. Preservatives are great for killing bacteria, but it’s not an ingredient I want on my face, seeing how heathy bacteria is integral to a healthy acid mantle. So we don’t use preservatives, harsh, toxic ingredients and parfumes.
We aren’t in the business of creating customers; we are in the business of providing exceptional products that are safe, high quality and full of nutrient-rich ingredients. We aren’t going to sell you a jar moisturizer full of water with a small percentage of skin care ingredients, we are going to sell you a jar full of skin super foods. You can count on our quality and integrity.
You’ve been selling at quite a few markets, do you have any tips for other creatives who want to start selling their own Handmade items?
Yes! Absolutely. And my door is always open if any of them if they want to reach out. Even if they’re in the same field. Hello! Insta-friends! Send me a msg on Facebook!
There’s a few important thing to consider when attending markets:
A) Your display. This is crucial. I’ve seen vendors with killer items get passed by because their display didn’t impress. People shop with their eyes, so draw them in with a beautiful and carefully thought out display. Keep the display clean and minimal, not to overwhelm the prospective buyer. This way your items aren’t lost among a sea of distractions. “One to sell, one to keep” is my motto. Have one of each item on the table at a time with a tester. One to sell, and the tester to keep on the display. Restock as you sell.
B) When you start out, learn about business, profit margins and pricing. It’s an art, but if you do it incorrectly you can flop before you even hit the ground. You dont want to lose money, and you need to pay yourself for your time. Its a difficult one, but here are some things to consider: What are similar products selling for? Are they priced right? What are your goals? Do you want stay small? Do you want to sell to stores? These questions are important. Learn, ask questions and price accordingly.
C) Do research before you apply to a market. How many people attend? Do they advertise? Basically, will it be profitable? It’s better to attend a few well prepared markets with high traffic, than every single market you can. Be selective.
D) Learn to take great photos. You’ll need great product photos (along with a great display) to get into the best markets.
Do you have any plans for new products?
We have some killer new products that we developed a while ago and will be releasing soon. It’s very exciting, and we cannot wait! But it’s all about timing and not growing too big, too fast. Amy and I both come from businesses backgrounds (yes, I was a professional student) so we know it’s best to grow slowly. We get asked all the time for specific products, so I know our clients will be very happy when we launch them.
Find our more about Alchemy North on their website and be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram.
January 17, 2018
December 12, 2017