St. Po­ly­carpe sis­ters put­ting na­ture back in skin care

Foun­der inspired by beau­ty around her

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

A St. Po­ly­carpe wo­man has tur­ned ta­king care of skin with na­tu­ral in­gre­dients in­to a thri­ving bu­si­ness that’s crea­ting a buzz lo­cal­ly and far­ther afield, and she says it was the na­ture around that was her first ins­pi­ra­tion.

Ju­lia Sin­clair-Smith star­ted ex­pe­ri­men­ting with pro­ducts for her com­pa­ny, Smith Farms, in 2009 and then laun­ched a year la­ter with her sis­ter Re­bec­ca Sin­clair-Smith. Ju­lia says she was inspired to create her own line of health and beau­ty pro­ducts be­cause she was ti­red of not being able to pro­nounce the names of the in­gre­dients that were in the hair and skin goods she was buying.

“I couldn’t even pro­nounce most of the names when I read the in­gre­dients and just thought there had to be a bet­ter way”, Ju­lia said. So she set out to make her own pro­ducts vo­wing to not use anything she couldn’t eat or pro­nounce. “That doesn’t mean we want people ea­ting our pro­ducts, though”, she no­ted with a laugh.

The sis­ters, who grew up in Mon­treal but spent wee­kends and ho­li­days at their pa­rents St. Po­ly­carpe farm, al­so at­ten­ded Sou­langes Ele­men­ta­ry School in Saint-Té­les­phore when it was still a one-room school­house (it has now ex­pan­ded to in­clude a se­cond class­room.)

“It was won­der­ful going to school there. There were anyw­here from eight to 16 stu­dents at the school each year so there was no such thing as bul­lying or peer pres­sure, eve­ryone just hel­ped each other out. It was nice,” Ju­lia, who was in Hud­son last week for a pro­duct de­mo at Que de Bonnes Choses store, which car­ries her line, re­cal­led.

And the avid out­doors-wo­man and run­ner who now lives full-time at the farm says she’s inspired to keep things na­tu­ral be­cause of the na­ture she’s sur­roun­ded by on a dai­ly ba­sis.

She works on each pro­duct un­til the re­cipe has been per­fec­ted.

“What I’m doing is not ro­cket science, it’s going back to a sim­pler way of doing things. It’s using na­ture to take care of ourselves and lu­cki­ly it is ve­ry ef­fec­tive.”

First pro­duct

Using her food pro­ces­sor, Ju­lia, who had a back­ground in fa­shion de­si­gn and gra­phic de­si­gn be­fore star­ting the skin­care line, first crea­ted an emul­sion hand cream.

Her main goal was co­ming up with so­me­thing that wasn’t grea­sy.

“I hate it when my hands feel grea­sy af­ter put­ting lo­tion on, but I nee­ded so­me­thing that was ea­si­ly ab­sor­bed in­to the skin and hel­ped pro­tect it at the same time,” she said.


Using sun­flo­wer and cas­ter oils then ad­ding aloe ve­ra, cha­mo­mile flo­wer, vi­ta­min E and wa­ter, she even­tual­ly per­fec­ted her first pro­duct, which seems to be a hit with users, ma­ny of whom rave about the pro­duct’s be­ne­fit for those who suf­fer from ec­ze­ma.

Ju­lia, who now works th­ree or four days a week in an in­dus­trial kit­chen she ins­tal­led at the St. Po­ly­carpe farm, al­so uses in­gre­dients like sweet al­mond oil, apri­cot ker­nel oil, bees­wax, ci­trus ex­tract, co­co­nut oil, goats milk, gra­pe­seed oil, and more to pro­duce the pro­ducts.

In all, the sis­ters – Ju­lia works in pro­duc­tion, while Re­bec­ca fo­cuses on mar­ke­ting, gra­phic de­si­gn and ad­mi­nis­tra­tion from her Mon­treal home – re­main a two per­son team, though they have re­cent­ly ta­ken on a part-time as­sis­tant. Their line in­cludes pro­ducts for the face, hands and feet, lips, and bath and bo­dy.

Smith Farms is ma­king a name for it­self. Its pro­ducts have been men­tio­ned or na­med to ma­ny “best of” lists in ma­ga­zines like Châ­te­laine, To­day’s Pa­rent and Fa­shion ma­ga­zine where the Vi­ta­min Rich Hand Cream was na­med one of the most wan­ted pro­ducts for the sum­mer of 2012. Meanw­hile, Dres­sed to Kill ma­ga­zine tou­ted their hair and bo­dy oil as ones to try. And news­pa­pers like the Mon­treal Ga­zette, La Presse and The Globe and Mail, have al­so writ­ten about the sis­ters.

For now they’re fo­cu­sing on gro­wing the brand with the al­rea­dy es­ta­bli­shed pro­duct line, but say they do plan to in­tro­duce a new bo­dy-but­ter lo­tion next month.

In ad­di­tion to Que de Bonnes Choses in Hud­son, Smith Farms pro­ducts can be found at health and well­ness stores in the re­gion like Vert et Es­sen­tiel in Vau­dreuil, Chez Iris in St. Po­ly­carpe,

Bio­tope Ali­ments San­té in Vau­dreuilDo­rion, as well as at ma­ny si­mi­lar stores in Mon­treal. They are al­so sold on the Smith Farms on­line web­site.


Ju­lia and Re­bec­ca Sin­clair-Smith are a two per­son team.

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