In the 21st century, career paths are seldom a straight line, but Charlee Roy's has more detours than some. When Charlee opens her store – NakdBasics Aromatherapy Hub - in downtown Owen Sound on April 1, it will be another landmark on her remarkable road.

Charlee is a long way from the Goth teenager who was "frankly not interested in anyone else's rules"; who left her parents' Jackson home, dropped out of school and lived homeless in Owen Sound.

After getting her education and working as a veterinary technician and a sous chef, Charlee recognized that her future lay in human healthcare. She became a Registered Practical Nurse working in community care, and now teaches in the healthcare programs at Georgian College.

Charlee's interest in natural care products began when she started to research solutions for her own severe acne. She began making skin care preparations for herself and in the third semester of her nursing studies she was looking for a way to turn the products she was making for family and friends into a way to finance her education. "I think I Googled 'Owen Sound Business Grant' and up popped the Business Enterprise Centre's Summer Company. Jen Black was unbelievably helpful." Starting with a $1500 grant in June 2015 to buy her raw materials in bulk, by December Charlee had paid her year's tuition with her profits.

"Essential oil have been used for their natural healing properties for over 5000 years," says Charlee, who is adding these to her product line, but recent popularity has brought concerns around quality and appropriate use of the products. The purity, dilutions, carrier oils, and suitability for children and elders are all important considerations for effectiveness and safety. NakdBasics will be selling oils from Ashbury's, a family-based Canadian business with natural sources. "Essential oils should never be ingested without the instruction of a licensed aromatherapist or Naturopathic Doctor," Charlee warns, "Even a few drops can damage the throat, the kidneys or liver. These oils should be treated with respect like prescribed medication."

"I worry about customers getting their information and products from people whose only training is YouTube videos; who don't understand the chemical properties of the products," says Charlee, who is taking her last exams this week to become a clinical aromatherapist, certified by the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists. She wants to "change the game", helping people educate themselves so they can use the products effectively to meet their own individual needs.

The new NakdBasics store at 1088 3rd Ave East will feature additional products from aromatherapy jewellery to soap and candles to coffee, tea and honey – all from local producers and makers. The grand opening is April 1 from 11 to 3 – further details are below.

Charlee is on a healthy path,  but she has not forgotten that life on the street. She now volunteers with Safe 'n Sound Homeless Initiative, raising donations and awareness for the project in our downtown.


NakdBasics 1088 3rd Ave. East

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