Breaking the personal hygiene Routine: A Calgary Growth Story
January 6, 2020
When you think of your morning routine, you probably think of brushing your teeth, washing your face, applying deodorant, chugging some caffeine and dashing out the door to work. In this hazy start to the day, have you ever stopped to think about what you are putting into your body? Calgary sister duo, Neige & Pippa have, and they’re on a mission to change it!
Enter Routine Cream, an all-natural skincare company, with their flagship product being natural deodorant.
Neige Blair, Co-Founder of Routine, got the idea for the company when she couldn’t find a deodorant that worked. Leveraging her talent for developing self-care products, Neige started combining ingredients, and sharing the product with friends and family.
“I was convinced I had a product that the world needed, but I was hesitant to start a business as deodorant isn’t necessarily ‘sexy’,” Says Neige. Neige tapped into her creative side and gave each of the deodorants a personality through scents, including: Cat Lady and Like a Boss. After determining the product and the creative, Neige paired up with sister-in-law Pippa, bringing Pippa’s analytical lens to the company. And since that December 2011 craft fair, the two have been busy building Routine.
Being an all-natural skincare company, Routine is creating an emphasis on social, environmental and health awareness among consumers. Using natural ingredients like dietary magnesium, sodium bicarbonate, activated charcoal and prebiotics, citizen’s (Routine’s unique name for their customers) can gain confidence by smelling how they want, without all the chemicals. Routine is also reducing waste with all products being sold in re-fillable containers and 18 months ago successfully launched a Canadian refill program.
Demand for the product has increased exponentially with Routine earning international attention and expanding to distribution retailers as far away as the Middle East and Europe.
“Convincing people to touch their armpits has been our biggest obstacle,” Says Pippa, “Since the 50’s, media has made the armpit sinful, dirty, and something not to be touched.” And for eight years, they’ve been changing opinions and shifting the status quo, encouraging people to love their armpits. “Touch’em up we say!”
While continuing to educate consumers, they are also overcoming obstacles inside their business. Since inception they have worked out of five different manufacturing locations across Calgary and are in the final stages of completing a new facility called Co-Lab. This facility will be use for future product development.
Being a family business, it is obvious that community is at the root of Routine’s success and it’s something Routine hopes to nourish with their new Co-Lab space. “We want to offer a place for local businesses to rent and prevent some of the challenges we experienced,” share Neige. This new facility will be a home for other local Calgary businesses, creating a larger community of like-minded companies.
Routine’s community shows up everyday through their citizens, with Neige and Pippa receiving ‘love letters’ of feedback on how well the product works on a daily basis. “Ultimately, they’re telling us our deodorants have provided them with confidence to live their lives without worrying about whether or not they will smell.” Says Neige.
Looking into the future, Routine has plans to expand deeper into the US market and continue to grow market share and brand awareness in the EU and the UAE. With goals to open flagship Routine stores in major North American cities where citizens can refill all their routine products from an expanded product line including: deodorants, body and home care products.
Topping off their success, this past fall Routine was named the ATB Small Business of the Year as part of the Calgary Small Business Awards. “We hope this award will inspire a new generation of ‘Made in Calgary’ entrepreneurs. Anything is possible, especially when we are surrounded by such creative, supportive people within this innovative City.” Finishes Pippa.
Look for Routine in stores across Calgary including: Calgary Co-op, SPUD Calgary, Community Natural Foods and more.