Good afternoon! We have Vanessa, creator of Jack59 at the Localite Lounge today. Jack59 is company that makes plastic free shampoo and conditioner bars for really good hair days!

Vanessa, tell me about what inspired you to start your business & why you chose hair care:

It all started with a beach vacation. I brought along a shampoo and conditioner bar from another brand (rhymes with hush) 😉 and was quickly disappointed. The shampoo bar dried out my hair and the conditioner bar was hard and difficult to use. My hair was left a mess and I wondered why. And then it hit me – It was all about the pH.  When I returned home, I started working on my own, pH balanced recipe for shampoo and conditioner bars. I became obsessed with the different hair types and spent months researching the science of hair. With my chemistry background, I was able to create a line of shampoo and conditioner bars that truly work and are pH balanced perfectly to align with the hair’s natural pH. I was inspired to create Jack59 as a way to provide quality beauty products to my family, spend more time with my daughter and make a big career change. I experimented with many products before I decided to focus on hair care. I created a line of all-natural soaps, whipped body butters, bath bombs and many more products but I loved the concept of shampoo and conditioner bars.

How many employees does Jack59 have? 

We have 6 amazing women from Edmonton employed full time and we have 1 other lovely lady employed part time for our markets. 

Did you know that as of 2018, approximately 3 out 4 employer businesses in Canada had 9 or fewer employees? When you shop local, you not only get incredible quality and unique products but you are supporting the employment of many Canadians.

Vanessa, you mentioned you made a big career change, what is your background?

I was in the health care field for most of my adult life and was feeling burnt out. My daughter was spending up to 12 hours a day in daycare and I knew I needed to change something in my life. I attended the University of Alberta for 4 years in the pre-med program with hopes of becoming a dentist. I was nearing the end of my degree when I visited a dentist I had worked with for many years. I walked into his office prepared to reminisce and evoke those old feelings of belonging but what actually happened was very unexpected. Nothing had changed, the people, the chairs, the environment was exactly how I left it 10 years earlier. I had a sort of anxiety attack and realized I could never live happily as a Dentist. I have an incredible entrepreneurial drive and realized I needed to do something for myself, I needed to be creative and flexible. Some people are shocked when I tell them I quit university after I had taken the dental entrance exam. I have never had any regrets about quitting and it has led me to where I am today. I believe knowledge is power and I use that knowledge I gained in University almost daily. Formulating salon quality hair care became my passion and I absolutely love it.

So that was incredibly brave to do a total 180 on your career and so cool that you found something you love to do (and can spend more time with your family). What an inspiration to future entrepreneurs! Tell me more about how you go about formulating a product.

Formulating products takes a lot of research and time and I have a lot of knowledgeable ladies that have helped along the way. There are many goals to keep in mind when formulating a new product. Our main goals are sustainability and offering amazing results. We go above and beyond to include ingredients that will deliver on both of these aspects. We are far from perfect in our processes but as we grow and learn we change and adapt new processes and incorporate new research. 

Tell me about the ingredients you use.

Our products are all vegan and cruelty free. I mostly test my products on family, they love being my test subjects. The bubble makers that we use are derived from coconuts, our nutrients are also all plant derived. Our bars are sulfate free and we have many gluten free options as I found there are not a lot of gluten free, sustainable hair care products currently on the market. We use organic botanicals and our bars are all pH balanced to provide salon quality results.

Let’s talk about plastic waste.

It is estimated that there will be more plastic in the ocean then fish by the year 2050. Tom Szaky, the CEO of TerraCycle explains,”about nine million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year.” More than 552 million shampoo bottles end up in the landfill each year. We encourage consumers to rethink product packaging and to make changes with the products they purchase. Our Shampoo and Conditioner bars are a great way to eliminate a large amount of plastic being added to the landfills each year. We also believe that recycling is not enough. According to an article in the National Geographic, written by Laura Parker, A whopping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled.

That is quite shocking! I have been trying to reduce plastic in our lives as well but it is not easy. Plastic free shampoo & conditioner is definitely a step in the right direction, especially when we have 3 long haired family members our the household!

Any new products in the pipeline?         

We do have new products in the works. Stayed tuned to our social media @jack59bodyco and subscribe to our newsletter.

Awards or accolades received?

We are registered in the Alberta awards competition for our Jacked bar.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today, especially when you are working on moving to a larger production facility. Congratulations on your success!

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