By Rick Garrick
THUNDER BAY – Fort William’s Patrice Mousseau kicked off the March 1-2 Aboriginal Women’s Business Entrepreneurship Network conference with a keynote about her successful Satya Organic Skin Care business.
“I love my life, I love my company,” says Mousseau, who previously worked as a journalist for about 15 years, including with APTN and CBC. “Quite often I’m just like: ‘I can’t believe that this is what I’m doing now’.”
Mousseau, who lives in Vancouver, started up her company after developing her steroid-free Satya Organic Eczema Relief skin balm to treat her eight-month-old baby’s eczema skin condition.
“It’s a horrible skin issue — it’s red, itchy,” Mousseau says. “It’s a really uncomfortable skin disease and as a baby she was scratching so bad that she was actually bleeding on her crib sheets. It was really killing me as a mom because I couldn’t do anything.”
Mousseau decided to look into alternative treatments for her daughter’s eczema after her doctor prescribed steroids. When she discovered there wasn’t anything that she wanted to put on her daughter’s skin, Mousseau used her research skills to look at traditional medicines and some academic studies from different universities.
“And I took all that information and created something in my crock pot in the kitchen,” Mousseau says. “Her eczema cleared up in two days. And then I mentioned on Facebook on my mommies Facebook group that I made this and does anybody want some. And within seven weeks I had sold 70 jars.”
Mousseau decided to start up a business to sell her product after attending a women’s business conference. She got USDA Organic certification for her product and also submitted her research to Health Canada.
“I wanted people buying my product to know that it was sort of the best of the best,” Mousseau says. “I have glass jars, they are more expensive and heavier to ship, but they will never leach into your product. I have quarter-turn air-tight metal lids because when you have a baby in your arms it is super hard to get a proper lid off.”
Mousseau says her paper packaging is made from 100 per cent recycled materials and printed with veggie and soy-based inks by a business that uses wind-power offsets.
“I know that I created something that is not damaging to the environment, that’s inline with what I want to do,” Mousseau says. “Maybe it costs more, but people pick up on that integrity that you have.”
Mousseau began selling her product at farmers markets and then approached a retail store. When the manager declined to carry her product, Mousseau asked her if she had any skin issues and to try it for free.
“She called me the next morning and said: ‘I am going to carry your product,’ because it worked just like that for her,” Mousseau says.
After getting her product into about 70 stores, Mousseau says a national distributor expressed interest in selling the product across the country.
“I said no, because I wasn’t ready,” Mousseau says. “A year ago now I said I was ready, and we went from 70 stores to 400 stores in two months. So that was a little stressful but awesome at the same time.”
After doing her first media promotion about the product on CBC Radio One, Mousseau’s product was sold out in all of the stores within days.
“I did $37,000 in seven days,” Mousseau says. “But then I had no product, and I had people calling me: ‘Where is my product, we need more product.’”
Mousseau offers her product for sale online at: https://satya.ca/