Set the Scene
Founder Kimiko Foster struggled with acne from an early age of 10 years old. Her teens were spent hiding behind makeup and long hair and trying all the over-the-counter skincare products she could find. It felt like desperation. Multiple trips to the dermatologist and a few steroid prescriptions later, her face cleared up… kind of. The products had bleached her skin and the acne still came back when the prescriptions ran out.
Finding the Problem
Fast forward eight years. Kimiko was in her second year of university and diving deep into her environmental studies degree and in her free time practicing yoga. She found out she was allergic to gluten and dairy and with a switch to a more plant-based vegetarian diet she stopped wearing foundation. Her skin wouldn't clear up consistently until she started making her own products a few years later.
Two things happened at university that would plant the seeds for the future of Miiko Skin Co.
1. Kimiko learned the skin is the largest organ in the human body and can ingest many of the ingredients it is exposed too.
2. Commercial personal hygiene products are highly unregulated, and many of the common ingredients in these products are toxic at high doses.
She found herself asking...
“How come the picture of health has only included diet and exercise when there is evidence showing the ingredients we are ingesting everyday through our skin and lungs can contribute to obesity, hormone disruption, cancer, and cardiovascular disease”.
Rise to the Challenge
Feeling full of energy to change the world Kimiko started her first business after graduation called Seeds of Change Workshops. Her goal was to teach everyone who was interested in how to make their own household products and empower them to reduce the number of toxins they were ingesting on a daily basis through DIY (do-it-yourself).
Kimiko taught over 50 workshops to hundreds of people from the age of 5 to 85 but she knew that her lessons in sustainability were not sustainable for her lifestyle. The burnout was real.
Kimiko was challenged to ask herself what's next? How could she bring the teachings from her workshops into a product line?
What if you could buy a skincare product and read all of the ingredients and recognize what they were. What if you thought to yourself - “Hey I have all of these ingredients in my kitchen”.
Miiko Skin Co started with 6 products, a face wash, face toner, two face oils, makeup remover, and a body oil.
The first customers were the people who had attended workshops and wanted to try the products. Kimiko put together an event where people could try the products, teach them about their skin and the purpose of the recipes, and then she served food and beverages made using the ingredients from the skincare.
The first few years of business were a whirlwind of learning experiences. Miiko Skin Co has grown into a team of incredible young women working everyday to help grow the business. The business won two awards for sustainability and entrepreneurship, developed six new recipes for products, moved into a manufacturing space, and connected with their first 25 retail stores who would carry their products in BC.
Miiko Skin Co started refilling their face care products at various retail locations and continue to work towards offering a beautiful and simple skincare product line without waste.
There is nothing Kimiko values more than community, and her decisions with the company are shaped by the feedback loops and requests of the customers (many of whom have watched the entire story you just read uncover completely).