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Craft market exposure helps local businesses like Natura Soap Company of Corner Brook build a customer base

Mikaela Wilson of Corner Brook says the city’s Wonderful Fine Market has been an essential part of building her Natura Soap Company business.
Mikaela Wilson of Corner Brook says the city’s Wonderful Fine Market has been an essential part of building her Natura Soap Company business. - Gary Kean

It all started about four years ago when Mikaela Wilson’s dad wanted something homemade as a Christmas present.

After trying to figure out what she would make him, her research led her to the idea of making him some soap.

During the course of looking into making the soap, Wilson learned more about what most store-bought soap was made of.

She did not like what she was finding out.

“I realized the ingredient list on most bath and body care products is kind of scary,” she said. “I started educating myself on it and realized I can make all of this and do it better.”

Some of the locally made products available from the Natura Soap Company at the Wonderful Fine Market in Corner Brook Saturday.
Some of the locally made products available from the Natura Soap Company at the Wonderful Fine Market in Corner Brook Saturday.

Wilson began her own bath and body product business, making all her products from 100 per cent natural ingredients. She was also involved in a research project at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland that looked into the benefits of incorporating local berries into natural soap products.

After taking a year off when she and her partner Tim had their son Clayton two years ago, Wilson is now building up the Natura Sap Company into her full-time job. She produces a range of products from soap bars and bath bombs to moisturizers and shampoos, including some soaps with honey and seaweed obtained locally.

While she has a fully functional online store, she has found attending the Wonderful Fine Market in Corner Brook and other craft fairs and markets in western Newfoundland to be a better way to get the business off the ground.

“I’ve been trying to push online sales, but what I’ve found is my clients are a lot more in-person,” she said while attending Saturday’s final Wonderful Fine Market of this season.

“So, markets like the Wonderful Fine Market are basically essential.”

Wilson has been encouraging the regular customers she has been seeing at these events to purchase from her website now that the market season is essentially over. She also hopes they will keep telling others about her company.

“By encouraging online sales to local clients, they can help spread the word to other people in Canada,” she said. “In fact, I’m already starting to increase sales in places like Ontario.”

While she has tried to expand to even more products in the past, Wilson said she plans to grow the business more slowly for now.

“I am just going to focus on what I have established and what I’m good at and stick to that, rather than branch out into other things just yet,” she said.

www.NaturaSoapCompany.com

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