In our new blog series Canadian Makers We Love, we’re highlighting the Canadian vendors that we work with to fill our gift boxes. For the first installment in the series, we spoke with ManSoap Co., a family-owned and operated company that makes one-of-a-kind bath and beauty products. Read on to get to know the story behind the company, which is deeply rooted in family.
Origin Story: Solving a Family Problem
The ManSoap story starts in 2015, with a loving father seeking to solve a problem that his two teen daughters were facing. Kianna and Anika, daughters of Shann and Dana, struggled with problematic skin as many adolescents do, and none of the facial cleansers that were readily available at most stores helped. Frustrated to see his daughters continue to battle with their skin, Shann did some research and discovered that the chemicals that filled most mainstream facial cleansers on the market were likely doing more harm than good. So, he started working to create a more natural alternative that would be more gentle on the girls’ skin.
The formula that he settled on was a simple olive oil-based soap with no scent. Using a skincare regime that involved an all-natural handmade soap allowed Anika and Kianna to get their skin problems under control. From there, friends and family started asking for the soap to address their own skin concerns, and soon ManSoap Company was born.
From Great Idea to Growth
Before they knew it, the family had a business on their hands. Working out of a small basement workshop, they all pitched in to produce soaps and fulfill orders. Orders began coming from all over Canada, with the majority of wholesale orders coming from craft shows. Despite consistent sales and a peak around the holidays, ManSoap remained a fun side project for the family, and eventually, they launched a second business called Brown Bag Coffee Roasters that took up the majority of their time.
This year, however, daughter Kianna decided to take on a larger role in the business and now devotes herself full time after graduating from high school in June. She is learning to be an entrepreneur at a young age, guided by her father and supported by her family. “ManSoap was just sitting there waiting for someone to take it on fulltime, and I’m excited to be able to do that now that I’m done school,” says Kianna.
Having a dedicated person behind the business has led to some serious growth opportunities for ManSoap. This past June they moved into a brand new studio at 1910 Chemin Pink, Suite 108 where products are manufactured, complete with a shared space for meeting with wholesalers.
Despite the recent shifts in businesses around the world, Kianna has been keeping busy by looking for new ways to build brand awareness and boost sales. Prior to the pandemic, ManSoap sales largely came from craft shows, but since social distancing measures took effect she’s had to up her online presence in order to keep sales coming consistently. The company saw a boost in online sales thanks to Father’s Day, and they’ve added gift sets and kits to Amazon to increase their reach. Being forced to explore new sales channels has proven to be a productive challenge for Kianna. These days, she’s adjusting to the new normal, stepping into her role as the boss, and actively seeking out new ways to grow the business.
If you’d like to learn more about ManSoap products, visit Mansoap.co.