Natural. Affordable. Healthy. Fragrant. Safe. And most importantly, ingredients you can pronounce! These are some of the things that come to mind when talking about Harmoscent, one of the newest startups to participate in EPICentre’s RBC EPIC Founders Program.
Ana Hassanpour, a 3rd-year Biochemistry student at the University of Windsor, immigrated to Canada from Iran in 2013. When she came to Canada with her husband, they had come to the realization that only one of them would be able to attend University because of the expensive tuition costs for international students. Since she wasn’t in school at the time they arrived, she started experimenting and making her own products using her chemistry background from when she was studying at Azad University.
Ana comes from a very health-conscious family and, after doing some research on current products in the market, she realized that a large number of these skincare and hair removal products available on store shelves were very unsafe. She was concerned and began to search for a natural alternative. This led Ana to Environmental Working Group’s website, a platform dedicated to educating the public on what types of ingredients are used in these types of products. Using EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, Ana was able to determine what ingredients were being used in the products she was using personally but they were not exactly safe based on the information being provided by the database.
Over the course of her research, Ana also discovered that the safest products to use were not always the easiest to find. Ultimately, this created an opportunity for Ana and she began to experiment with her own recipes at home. She used very basic ingredients to start and began to refine her recipes using more complex ingredients which she was able to find from a local supplier in Windsor-Essex.
Ana eventually started showing her friends and family her creations and they were met with praise. She obtained feedback and this ultimately enabled her to enhance the quality of her products. At the same time, Ana’s husband was starting up a business of his own which opened up the doors for Ana to become an entrepreneur herself. “If he can do this, I can do it too,” said Ana about her journey.
She began attending entrepreneurship workshops at the Windsor-Essex Small Business Centre and EPICentre and this motivated her to continue working on her new business. She is now one of EPICentre’s newest EPIC Founders and his ramping up her business over the course of the program. With no marketing whatsoever, Ana was able bring in $2,000 in sales from her current website where she currently sells all-natural products such as sugar wax/paste, lip balm, deodorant, face scrub, bath salts, face masks and body butter/lotion.
Her products have all been met with rave reviews from around the world. She currently has twelve 5-star reviews, all positive. Ana is now using her opportunity in the Founders Program to rebrand and develop her own online shop.
Stay tuned for more updates on Ana’s entrepreneurial journey as she continues to develop and refine her startup. If you’re interested in learning more about Harmoscent or purchasing some of Ana’s products, please visit: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/harmoscent