Business Name: Avalon Rose Botanicals
Based In: Kelowna, BC
Products Include: All natural plant-powered skin care, body butters, bath soaks, foot care & more.
Learn more about Avalon Rose Botanicals in our interview below.
Avalon Rose Botanicals Kelowna, BC
How would you describe your business?
Since this brand carries my daughter’s namesake and given the current state of the world, from divisive, dangerous politics to the climate crisis, I knew I wanted to be very clear and intentional about the values that I’d be governed by. It had to be sustainable, fairly priced, transparent, and most of all small. I didn’t resonate at all with the capitalist mandate that profits need to increase quarter over quarter. I believe really strongly that the future of retail (and communities) has to be local. I love that we’re a boutique and I want to keep it that way.
All of our products are handcrafted in our Kelowna, BC lab in small batches with ingredients sourced locally or imported by Canadian companies. We choose organic, ecoCERT, fair-trade, planet friendly ingredients, even if that means our formulas cost a little more to make. They are packaged in recyclable glass bottles and jars with aluminum (finally!) lids.
We have a strict NO YUCKY STUFF commitment. We don’t use petrochemicals, phthalates, parabens, sulfates, silicones, synthetic colour, or artificial fragrance. We use an ecoCERT preservative in our water-based products and all our cleansers are pH balanced and formulated with natural surfactants.
As you can imagine, given everything my daughter has gone through with her skin, this one is really important to me. If it’s on a dirty list ANYWHERE, you won’t find it in anything we make. Sometimes, almost always in fact, this makes formulating trickier, more costly, and requires more customer education. It’s a ton of extra work, but it’s also WAY more rewarding when I finally get it right. When I know I’ve got a really great product, full of skin-friendly bio-active ingredients, with nothing toxic or unnecessary, at an accessible price, there’s nothing like it. When people love it and buy it again and again, I feel so humbled and proud. It’s a hard feeling to describe and one I know I’ll never stop being surprised and delighted by.
What inspired you to open your shop?
My daughter, Avalon, one of my preemie twins, was born with really reactive, eczema-prone skin. Even products that claimed to be for sensitive skin would make her skin break out. I started to research ingredients and discovered that ‘parfum/fragrance’ was proprietary and therefore exempt from ingredient disclosure. As long as it conformed to certain health standards, companies were not required to list ingredients that were included for colour or fragrance. After using one of these so-called sensitive skin products, Avalon’s legs would be covered with extremely dry, itchy, red patches. That’s my little baby, you know? She was 3lbs 8oz when she was born. It was heartbreaking. So, I learned as much as I could about eczema and decided it would be easier and safer for me to make my own moisturizers for her. The first products I formulated were the Gardener’s Salvation body butter and Repair Balm, and they are still the only moisturizers I use for Avalon’s skin. Her skin improved and I was fascinated and also annoyed by how not helpful and almost shifty the whole beauty industry started to feel to me.
Well, I have ADHD and I can never just learn a little about something, and seeing how much Avalon suffered, and how needless it was, just lit a fire under me. You know, I grew up on Salt Spring Island, BC on a 13 acre woodland forest, so my siblings and I spent A LOT of time outside, building forts, collecting berries and other plants, so I’ve always loved flowers and gardening (I’m actually a trained florist, too). I loved learning about the active constituents in certain plants and their histories. I ordered hundreds of oils and extracts and tested different formulations. There were so many elements to consider and I loved the challenged of finding the perfect balance of active ingredients, texture, natural scent.
By this time, I’m 40 years old and I have twin toddlers and you can imagine how much sleep I’m NOT getting. I’d never really taken care of my skin but I had crows feet, dark circles, and extreme dryness. I looked into anti-aging products and again was just annoyed by how expensive they were, especially now that I knew how affordable, even the highest quality ingredients actually were. The face creams were full of fillers, stabilizers, silicones for skin feel, alcohols to evaporate, emulsifiers… just so much stuff that’s not actually there to help your skin at all. It was that combined with the fact that most skin care products have one active ingredient, so you had to invest in a whole medicine cabinet full of products to have anything resembling an effective skincare routine.
That’s when I fell in love with the idea of creating face serums. I was able to create all-active formulations, one with water-based extracts like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and sea kelp (LUMINA Hydration Serum) and one oil-based formula with bio-retinols and antioxidant and more than 20 other botanicals (LUMINA Active Phyto-Serum).
My face felt amazing. I actually liked looking in the mirror again and I couldn’t stop smiling at myself when I did. Even the process of applying a serum, you have to be thoughtful and gentle with your skin. I found that started to give me precious moments of peace, I realized I was nurturing self-love in myself. That was a real surprise.
After awhile, I shared the serums with my sister, who was also a new mom and she immediately loved them too. She was even surprised to find her chronic acne was clearing up.
I took about two years, but finally, I thought, maybe this could be a business. And, in November 2021, I launched. I love that our products help people to nurture self-love and that I’m able to present a different perspective about skincare than is so often the motivation in our current beauty industry. I didn’t want to create a brand about changing what we are but rather loved the idea of embracing our natural glow, our wrinkles, all of that, and shifting the focus of a skin care routine from anti-aging, say, to developing a loving relationship with oneself. I hoped others would experience the same sense of love, presence, and self-acceptance I had, by applying the serums every day (or weekly, or once in a blue moon).
I didn’t want to contribute in any way to a negative body narrative. I want us to laugh and smile and love ourselves, and that singular focus has driven me every step of the way.
Kelowna BC Skincare Brand
What’s your best selling product and why do you think it’s so popular?
Our bestselling product is our LUMINA Hydration Serum. One of my favourite things, actually, is introducing people to our LUMINA Hydration Serum, especially people who don’t really do skin care. I love seeing the surprised and gleeful looks on their faces when the feel how soft, glossy, and supple their skin is.
Like everything I formulate, our LUMINA Hydration Serum has a pretty epic list of active ingredients, including our proprietary multi-molecular hyaluronic acid solution, silk peptides, bio-fermented sea kelp, niacinamide, quinoa protein, and sea buckthorn berry. There’s also organic aloe vera, roman chamomile, and cucumber to help soothe sensitive and/or reactive skin. I wanted this product to be jam-packed with proven-effective vitamins, nutrients, and botanicals and to deliver a massive hit of deep hydration.
And, of course, with our precious planet in mind, we package it in a beautiful amber glass apothecary bottle. Our standard 30ml bottle is priced at $32 and usually lasts 1-2 months.
I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to include in this formulation for such an accessible price. It’s pretty much everything you need to keep your skin hydrated and nourished in one easy step.
What’s your favourite product from your shop?
The product I simply can’t get enough of right now, is our LUMINA Ceramide Eye Serum. It’s also the newest addition to our LUMINA skincare collection. Remember those dark circles I mentioned earlier? Since the beginning, I knew I wanted to create an eye serum. Our undereye area is tender and delicate, and requires special treatment. She needs pampering, is what I mean.
The elixir in this rose-quartz roller ball bottle feels like magic. Caffeine extract along with our proprietary turmeric+evening primrose complex are combined to help speed circulation and constrict the blood vessels which are responsible for dark undereye circles. Cucumber and aloe vera are included to help reduce puffiness.
But what really takes this one to the next level is the ceramide complex. This skin-identical lipid concentrate mimics the structure of the skin barrier by filling gaps in the lipid bilayer with tiny ceramides, non-animal cholesterol, and fatty acids molecules. And, since they’re naturally part of your skin, ceramides are ideal for even the most sensitive skin types.
It helps your skin rebuild itself from the inside out. It’s hard to overstate how amazing it feels to see my skin so smooth and glowy even when I’ve had a rough night’s sleep.
What’s your favourite local Kelowna business?
I absolutely *LOVE* Love Co Ceramics. This collection of incredible cute pottery creations are handmade by fellow Kelowna-ite Briana Paulson. Her handmade heart mugs are the most adorable thing you’ll ever see. They are the perfect shape and weight. AND they’re so well-made, they survive the dishwasher and are microwave safe! Welcome to your new favourite coffee (or tea, like me!) mug.