Continuing with our Interview Series, where we showcase vegan and eco-friendly products, today, we’re putting the spotlight on Lowen’s, a brand from Canada, offering cruelty-free products for all.
At OhSo, our mantra is to support the promotion of vegan and eco-friendly products. Vendors who have had a small market to cater to until recently, don’t always carry a 100% vegan brand because it is too expensive to cater to such a limited market.
To survive over the years, most brands actually had to produce products made for a wider market. Lowens does produce products with bees wax, for example. But, as you read the interview, Chad himself has noted a growth in demand for more vegan products. And that is giving his business the power to concentrate more on 100% vegan products.
From our part, we fully support this endeavour.
Welcome to OhSo. Can you start by introducing us to your vegan brand of products?
Lowen’s Natural Skincare is a family-owned and operated skin care company based in Calgary, Alberta.
Conceived by a veteran Pharmacist committed to using organic, fair-trade, and/or locally-sourced ingredients, Lowen’s creates unique skin care products that are safe, effective, long-lasting, and affordable
How old is your business?
Who do you cater to? What kind of people, age-group are you seeing most interest from?
Initially our demographic included users and/or parents with children that had skin sensitivity/allergic issues and found themselves out of options. This was our breakthrough demographic. As time went on and consumers became more eco-conscious, they gravitated to our evidence based approach to natural skincare using unrefined, locally sources ingredients – backed by our third party certifications via PETA and the Environmental Working Group.
How old is your average customer?
How was your business affected by the quarantine period of the pandemic? What measures did you take to keep afloat? How is your business now that we are re-opening?
The pandemic has had little impact on us as we do not have a physical location and are primarily an ecommerce store. Many of our retail partners did close and those orders fell off but this was offset by the gravitation towards greater online shopping. With reopening, our retail partners are taking on inventory again and we have a few more stores that are carrying our line.
In your country, how do you perceive the local vegan & eco-friendly market, in terms of business and how do you see the local consumer?
I would say that it is growing and in the land of the Calgary Stampede, livestock farming and oil and gas, this says a lot.
Give us a little background about your country and how veganism is perceived. Is there a cultural clash? Does local media give space to the vegan lifestyle in news channels, lifestyle channels, magazines, etc?
The conservative agenda in our province does not serve vegans as it does not many other groups. Unfortunately, we will have to wait and see what the future holds in terms of government. As far as the general population, I do see some media support and business organisations (e.g. belocal.org) that are supportive of a far more inclusive culture.
How do you manage to reach out to your clientele? Social media? Advertising? Other? How hard is it for you to market your business?
We use our various social media platforms, mailing lists and get a lot of brand awareness through the Environmental Working Group.
We certainly agree that marketers are clamoring for easy money – now more than ever as I feel business and consumers are growing tired of the “influencer” and the questionable credibility of such.
We play the slow game. Build out mailing list, engage regularly and promote values based posts on social media, vs using the platforms to simply sell product.
A little more background to the local vegan scene. Do major supermarkets, for example, in your country offer a good array of vegan products on their shelves?
They do. As well we have a growing number of vegan restaurants and the population is getting more used to the idea of obtaining protein from non animal sources. We do have a strong lobbying component that drives the Canada Food Guide from the farming industry so it will be some time before push back overcomes this.
Well, I’m not specifically vegan. Most of our product line is however and the animal sourced ingredients we use are limited to honey and beeswax. However, we are reintroducing our line of vegan lip balms in response to consumer demands.
What drove you to open a vegan business? And what difficulties, if any, did you come across to achieve your objective?
Animal welfare is very important for me – growing up around farms and working on a few as well as being exposed to animal testing during my time as an undergraduate student in Pharmacy. I feel that animal testing is unnecessary and deplorable in many cases and that drives us to source ingredients that have not been tested on animals and not test our formulations on animals either (only on willing humans)