Welcome to another edition of #cleanbeautyspotlight this season! Today, we're chatting with Corinne, Co-Founder of Terra Supra with her brother Dean. Terra Supra creates natural, sustainably sourced, and organic body care products centered around touch - one of the most powerful expressions of compassion and love.
What values do you have that you believe you carried into your brand and company?
Dean and I grew up in Alberta Provincial Parks, so we learned early to appreciate nature and to protect the environment. Because of this upbringing, it is important we provide high quality, naturally sourced, sustainable, rigorously tested products, in environmentally friendly packaging. We are also adventurous and both of us left Canada to live abroad in our late 20’s and early 30’s. I lived and worked in the Cayman Islands for seven years and Dean lived and worked in Japan for fifteen years. I think this sense of adventure was also a factor in taking on the challenge of starting a business.
We also love people. My background is in education and leadership, and Dean’s is in broadcasting, finance, and marketing so we know people are our most important resource and we value creativity, collaboration, and education. Dean’s experience in Japan brought us our company value of the Japanese philosophy of Ikigai and my background in educational leadership brought us the Appreciative Inquiry model. Ikigai is the process of looking both internally and externally at the elements of one’s life, cultivating one’s inner potential, and creating balance. Central to understanding one’s ikigai is taking time to ascertain how and where one fits and feels regarding four key premises; “what you love,” “what you are good at,” “what the world needs,” and “what you can be rewarded for.” We love what we do, we are passionate about our products, and we want to help others achieve balance and celebrate simple daily joys. AI is a positive leadership model that focuses us on our strengths and our vision for the possibilities of the future of our company. We honour each others’ strengths, meet and confer often, learn as much as we can about business, are careful to use positive language about our company, and ask questions when we do not know something. We are never afraid to admit we do not know, but then make every effort to learn and find the answers.
We love that you’re a Sister-Brother duo. What inspired you to work together and create Terra Supra?
Our father and an uncle we were close too, both embodied entrepreneurial spirit. Our dad always wanted us to have a family business and was always trying to invent new gadgets. Our uncle created successful real estate and art dealing businesses. Years ago, Dean had a memorable conversation with our uncle who told him if he could “find a product that won’t come back to you sold to people who will,” he would have a winning business. This was Dean’s inspiration for keeping an eye out for a business opportunity and finally last summer, the confluence of experience, expertise, and opportunity happened. Originally, we wanted our younger sister to be involved in our company, so when she declined, our adopted cousin Chad (my brother’s friend) joined us as our Chief Technical Officer and his expertise with machinery and in the laboratory is invaluable. Dean and I are an excellent complement to each other – he is the more emotive, gregarious, creative, “big picture” person, and I am the quieter, calmer, logical, detail oriented partner. A great balance.
Early on we had many brainstorming sessions about our company name and I agonized (and woke many nights) over both this and the names for each of our products. Because our clay salts come from an ancient inland sea, and historically flaxseed is one of the first cultivated crops, I wanted our name to honour this history and honour the earth. Thus, the use of the Latin words, Terra, earth, and Supra, above or superior, for our company. All our product names, including Terra Prima, featured in your summer box, are Latin terms, and our flaxseed oils use Ama, which is flax in Japanese.
Your branding is absolutely gorgeous. What prompted this design and branding for you?
Thank you! We appreciate the compliment! We worked with an incredible branding and graphic design team, Zap Creative, in Saskatoon. We wanted our packaging to be a sensory experience from first touch, and to reflect the equally beautiful contents. The soft texture of the outside of the packages and the muted colour is a reflection of the salt inside. Hannah at Zap gave us the idea to use touch as a focus of our branding and highlight the importance of touch in our lives – it is the only sense we cannot live without. We want our products to transport our customers back to that “first soft touch.” In addition, if you look closely at the background on our salt packages, a topographical map threaded through with gold honours the earth from which our salts come. Our oil packaging has a stylized Japanese wave design also threaded with gold to honour the prairies of Saskatchewan from which our flaxseed oil is sourced.
What’s your favorite part of creating your products?
We enjoy the research and discovery of what is possible with the ingredients we find naturally and locally here in Saskatchewan. We also love the collaborative process within Terra Supra but also with our vendors and suppliers. So far, we have great looking and effective product lines that are natural and organic, and save our customers time in their skin care regime.
What has been your most exciting moment with Terra Supra so far?
Our most exciting moment was when we launched in December of 2020. My brother came across this business opportunity in June of 2020, approached Chad and me in early July of 2020, and we were able to develop products, work with Zap, who also developed our website, acquire packaging machines, packaging, and launch within six months with products we are extremely proud. We know we have tonnes to learn and will work continuously to refine our products and our business, but we are extremely pleased with what we accomplished in a relatively short time.
What was your biggest hurdle in creating Terra Supra?
One of our biggest hurdles was obtaining packaging for our flaxseed oils. Most packaging companies, especially those in Canada have very high MOQs (minimum order quantities) and for a start-up company, this can be problematic – ordering 50,000 units was out of the question. Before we started, we decided we wanted to source as much of our raw materials, packaging, etcetera from Canadian companies, however, this was just not possible. My brother stayed up many late nights and finally secured our oil packaging from China. Happily, our salt packaging is from a company in Vancouver, so we hope one day, we can secure a Canadian supplier for our oil packaging as well.
What advice would you give people interested in starting their own skincare or beauty business?
Do your homework regarding the market – it is highly competitive. Before proposing the idea of starting a company to Chad and I, Dean discovered that clay salts are successfully sold in a market outside of North America, but there was nothing like it here, so we were confident we would find customers for our products. Thus, find a niche, be laser focused, and do not create too much too soon. You can have a single product that earns you a following and revenue without spreading yourself and your resources too thin.
What is your favorite beauty ritual that leaves you looking and feeling naturally beautiful?
While I do not do it often, there is something luxurious and relaxing about having a bath. I also love the feeling of freshly exfoliated skin, so what I love to do is get wet in the shower, turn the water off, exfoliate my legs and arms and then fill the tub with warm water, something fragrant, Epsom salts and soak. After I get out, I slather on our Ama Citrea – my favourite. The fresh orange scent is, as one of our customer’s described, “liquid happiness.”
What’s coming up next for Terra Supra?
We recently soft-launched a new product – a glacial oceanic clay facial mask, sourced from British Columbia about which we are very excited. In the next few weeks, we will begin working with another amazing company in Saskatoon, Open Sail, to ramp up our digital marketing and advertising efforts. We also have a very solid long-term action plan from our vision for our future. It includes an upscale women's line, a men’s line, and obviously, we wish to develop more products from more sources across Canada. We are always looking as close to home as possible to create products, but we are not ignoring the rest of Canada either. We know Canada has an abundance of resources from different regions that have ingredients that fit our “skin-minimalist” credo.
We’re featuring Terra Supra’s Original Clay Salt Exfoliant in our Summer box. What prompted the creation of this product?
Natural, sustainable, and Canadian are three important mantras for our company. It is natural – only four ingredients, sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium and is lab, never animal tested. Not only that, our Terra Prima had to be gentle and effective and it is just that. Whether on the face, elbows, knees, or any other body part, we wanted to develop a product that would quickly and effectively remove dead skin to reveal fresh, beautiful, soft skin. Finally, it is from Saskatchewan, and we are very proud that it is Canadian.