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- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

When a new NakdBasics store opens in Collingwood this spring, it will be yet another shoot of a business planted in Owen Sound.

Charlee Roy's NakdBasics business was first developed through the Summer Company, a provincial incubator program for students run locally through the Business Enterprise Centre. Her goal was to earn enough to pay her college tuition, but Nakd Basics took her on a whole new path.
The NakdBasics brand name is now on forty products, the most popular of which are manufactured for them off-site to Charlee's recipes and strict standards. Within five months of opening in 2017, she had outgrown her first store and there is more expansion planned in the new 2nd Avenue location in the coming year.iona

The store also carries the products of over thirty other producers, many local and all Canadian.

Building community is essential to the NakdBasics business model, and Charlee is delighted to help others benefit from what she has learned – you can make a living doing what you love.

Courtney McCallum was a loyal NakdBasics customer, making body care products for herself in the store's DIY Room. At the encouragement of Charlee, Courtney offered her lip balm for sale, and the seed was planted. Soon Courtney had left her day job in the dietary department of the hospital and was working as Charlee's assistant at NakdBasics while studying aromatherapy. She now produces her own growing line including lip balms and serums; "Iona & Co" is named to honour the McCallum clan's heritage on the Scottish island.

diyroomCharlee knows that people come to NakdBasics for science-based information as much as for products, and she is completing an herbology course this spring to add to her own knowledge base. An estimated 80 percent of their customers are women and "women care what they are putting into themselves and their children," Charlee says. As an expectant mother of twins she is ever more conscious of the qualities of every ingredient in her products. Courtney and Charlee can customize a small batch of anything to meet the specific needs and preferences of their customers.

And they love to experiment - Creme Egg Body Butter anyone? Cotton Candy Lip Balm? If there's good feedback and demand, they can ramp up production. If not, it's back to the drawing board with no waste.

Amy Amyot met Charlee in another Business Enterprise Centre program where Amy was developing a photography business marketed to minor sports teams – a complement to her parents' Owen Sound camera store.
She became a NakdBasics customer, experimenting with creating bath bombs that would entice her own child into the tub. The first order she created for NakdBasics sold out right away, and when she was excitedly developing new recipes at midnight she knew where her passion lay.

Charlee suggested Amy open her own bath bomb boutique in Owen Sound, but the thought of directly bathbombscompeting with her mentor didn't feel right to Amy. Together the two women began looking for a new community to serve. Collingwood seemed like the right market, and the main street location at 203 Hurontario became available serendipitously. "When we knocked on the door, the owner told us the FOR RENT sign had been in the window less than five minutes."

The store will be a slimmer version of NakdBasics at first, with a more modest range of products, but anything sold at the Owen Sound store will be available for pick-up in Collingwood. "There will some unique elements too," says Amy, "Like a DIY Bar to make your own bath bombs and shower steamers – choose your colour, fragrance, size and shape." The mother of two children aged four and seven is ready for some big life changes, including a daily commute , but clearly she can hardly wait to make the new store her own.

nakdbasics2It is a business model all their own too– not a franchise, not a branch – independent and unique businesses that grow with the successes of their ...mother? Sister? "Women need to lift each other up," Charlee insists. "Why add a big franchise fee to anyone's start-up costs?" She is confidant that Amy will help build both the NakdBasics name and business.
And Courtney will be available to back up both businesses while continuing to grow her own.

The three women operate on an abundance proposition – that there is plenty to go around when you are willing to share resources. They know that the success of each of their businesses depends on the health of the others. "What you put out is what you get back," says Amy without a shadow of doubt in her face.

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