Meet Ella Nunes, The Woman Behind Ella's Botanicals
Posted: Sep 21 2015
Here at The Chic Canuck, we love the people behind the brands we carry, just as much as the product they create. Get to know the talented, Ella Nunes of Ella's Botanicals!
The Chic Canuck: How did Ella’s Botanicals Start?
Ella’s Botanicals: It actually all began when myself and my (now) hubby, Lawrence, went out to Vancouver 20 years ago. Lawrence was suffering from some stubborn eczema patches. I had heard about Poplar Buds being used to make a soothing ointment so we went looking for them in the woods but we went too late in the season because the buds were all dried up. So I got some herbal books and decided to make a Calendula infused oil and then make a balm with some local beeswax and we were blown away by the awesome results! This balm seemed to work magic on everything we used it for and has been perfected into our best selling Skin Rescue Balm. I dreamed of one day having my own line of products and sharing my passion for herbs and aromatherapy with the world.
TCC: Tell us a bit about your creative processes.
EB: It’s all about textures and scent for me! I use essential oils daily so usually a scent blend or idea for a product develops naturally, and then I begin experimenting with ingredients and test the products on myself and my family. If the texture or consistency isn’t right and I don’t think I can make something people will enjoy using and smelling, that meets my standards of quality, I move on to the next idea.
I’m also ingredient obsessed so I’m always reading about interesting ingredients and their properties, and often get inspired that way to try new things and create the very best products, even perfecting what we already make.
TCC: Tell us, what does your day typically look like?
EB: I often wake up at about 6, read and catch up with emails. I always start with a glass of lemon water and then make a good, strong coffee! Then I make breakfast and lunch for my son, Liam, and delicious smoothies for both of us. I get Liam up and ready and drop him to school or camp, depending on the time of year. If I need to pick anything up for business (like ingrediants and supplies) I will do that right after dropping him off. I try to squeeze in some sort of exercise most days, it all depends on the weather and how much time I have before picking Liam up and getting everything done for Ella's Botanicals!
Each day is a little different—making or labeling products, going to meetings or getting caught up with office work—but I always start by examining orders waiting to ship and start packing. My sister works for me—she has very high standards, as I do, so our products are always the best they can be. My Mom comes by once a week and does all of our accounting—thank goodness! Throughout the day I take a few moments to post on Instagram and Facebook, as it’s very important to stay in touch online. There are always supplies to keep track of, inventory to stay on top of and the continuous planning. I love it!
TCC: What are some personal highlights, milestones from your work history?
EB: A few years ago, we were working with a large distributor, things started going in a direction that I wasn’t enjoying, wasn’t true to my brand and was causing me to lose so much money I was on the verge of closing down. I broke away from them, re-branded and went back to doing things on my terms. Aside from a few challenges, things have gone well. I’m so grateful for the customers who supported us through it!
Being featured in the Toronto Star and National Post have been big highlights. Being a grassroots brand starting in an apartment with a dream, not really knowing what I was doing, and being able to stay in business, with that same passion and integrity, is something I’m very proud of.
TCC: What does a perfect Canadian day look like?
EB: Sun shining brightly and a great, long hike in the woods!
TCC: What do you think makes Ella’s Botanicals quintessentially Canadian?
EB: We source as many ingredients as we can locally, like the herbs we use, our beeswax, hemp seed oil and oat flour. I’m constantly looking for more Canadian ingredients to use in our products and I’m developing some new ones around Canadian ingredients like BC glacial clay and arctic mineral salts!
TCC: What are some important values/ideas that you hope to convey with your brand?
EB: Our slogan is, Authentic, Like You! Being authentic is the core of our brand. We don’t use anything we don’t believe is clean, natural and healthy. Like our brand, our customers are authentic too! They know their ingredients and trust that we are making the very best products out there because it’s what the brand is based on. We don’t follow pretentious trends in the beauty or even the “green” beauty industry, we just do what we do, as we always have, before it became super trendy. If I wouldn’t use a product, I won’t make it and if I don’ t feel like I can make something better then what is already on the market I won’t do it. Our world is filled with so much stuff, it’s better to have less stuff, but only really good stuff!
TCC: If you weren’t doing this you would be…?
EB: I’m an entrepreneur so I’d have another business for sure! I’ve always dreamed of owning a juice bar/cafe/artisan bakery with lots of healthy and delicious stuff!
TCC: What are some other Canadian brands that you want us to know about?
TCC: What’s your personal favourite product from your brand?
EB: Skin Rescue Balm—formerly called Magic Balm but Health Canada made us change the name because we can’t tell people our balms are actually magical. You’ll just need to try and see! But I use our balms everywhere, all the time and always have one with me! Can’t survive without it!