Natural, local, and handmade are just a few words that describe A&R Serenity Co.'s products.
The brains behind the newly-launched beauty and skin care line here in Fort Frances? Local 20-year-olds Riley Pollard and Amanda Caron.
“We want to share natural products,” noted Caron.
"We don't use any chemicals in our stuff.
“If you look at a label for even a bath bomb at Walmart, there's just a bunch of random ingredients,” she added.
“What do [those ingredients] even do to your skin?”
The pair had a mutual interest in making homemade beauty products, so they decided to team up and launch their own business.
Various products that A&R Serenity Co. sells include bath bombs, bath salts, candles, dry shampoo, bug spray, face toner, and face masks, which all are handmade in the kitchen.
The pair said the planning prior to launch was pretty lengthy, taking them almost a year before their vision started to take shape.
“In late 2016, the idea came up, then we made the logo earlier this year,” noted Pollard.
“Then we ordered everything when I came home from school,” added Caron, who attends Brock University in St. Catharines.
“So it hasn't quite been a full year.”
“We set a date when we wanted everything to be launched,” Pollard said.
“Which was May, but it got pushed back to June because our supplies didn't come in on time,” noted Caron.
“It was a lot of planning before we finally launched.”
They duo explained the work behind the operation is a combined effort.
“We make the products together," said Pollard. "But I mostly do the website stuff.”
Having already had experience in website design from his interactive development program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, it was a breeze for Pollard to create the website.
“Then I did the labelling,” Caron chimed in.
“The book work we're kind of working out right now, and the marketing is both of us,” she added.
“It's really mixed.”
All of A&R Serenity's packaging and ingredients are Canadian-made.
“We try to stay within Ontario,” said Caron.
They noted they're trying to cater to the consumers in Northwestern Ontario.
“We want products that are catered to summer here,” Caron explained.
“We are going to try and do sunscreen.”
They also mentioned an idea for a “Rainy Lake survival kit,” which would include their Rainy Lake candle which is infused with citronella, bug spray, and bug balm.
They have many other ideas for products, as well, such as lotion bars and bubble bars.
“We are trying to figure out the right recipes for those,” said Caron.
A lot of which is trial and error, as well as surfing the web and Pintrest for recipes, she noted.
A&R Serenity's products can be purchased through their website, with local pick-up services or delivery by mail.
They also are trying to expand to have their products available at local businesses.
“There's already local stores wanting our products,” Caron enthused, noting they have been in contact with businesses such as Lowey's Greenhouse and Curvy Chick.
They also had a pop-up shop during “Mall Day” on June 29 and hope to do another one at Christmas.
“We received a great response at 'Mall Day,'" said Pollard. ”A lot of people looked at our website afterwards.
“We just want people to know about us,” he added.
The duo noted that juggling full-time jobs this summer with managing their business hasn't been a problem at all, but there is a bit of worry for when Caron will return to school in the fall as Pollard is staying in Fort Frances.
“We both know how to make all the products," Caron noted. ”We will just have to prep a lot before I leave.
“I'll also take some ingredients to school to make stuff there,” she added.
Despite living across the province from each other, the pair see their business going far.
“I want it to go big," said Caron with a laugh. "That's a dream of mine.”
“If we get into Winnipeg or Kenora, that would be really cool,” she enthused.
Caron said they wanted to bring something new to Fort Frances.
“We didn't want to make it look like homemade crafts,” she stressed.
“We want it to look professional, which I think were doing a good job of so far.”