Today I am very excited to kick off a 'behind the brand' series featuring our 2017 vendors. We see their amazing creations on line, we anxiously await their arrival to our homes, in their carefully wrapped packages, and we enjoy their products and the love that goes into creating a quality hand made product. But do we know much about the product designers and the process of turning raw ingredients into the products that we love so much? One of the amazing things about Indie brands, is the intimacy. The personal touches. The pure love of the craft and the connection with us, the consumer.
With Indie brands we have a unique relationship with the makers that you don't get to experience much anymore in this world of hustle and bustle, and instant gratification. Oh yes, we still want our orders NOW (I mean it is HARD to wait for all the pretties!) but when the package arrives with a hand written note and candy, and is decorated with stickers and ribbon, we realize that these products are like children to these makers that they lovingly shape and mold into full grown products that are ready to present to the world. And we appreciate every painstaking detail.
The Brains and Beauty Behind the Brand will be your peek into the creative minds and the process each brand has followed to get where they are today.
Today's Brains and Beauty Behind the Brand interview features the Toronto duo of Alana Henriques and Lan Tran of CANVAS Lacquer. Alana answers some questions for us.
Indie Expo Canada: How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, and goals.
CANVAS Lacquer (Alana): We met on the first day of Grade 3 and have been best friends and collaborators ever since. CANVAS lacquer was born in 2014, from our love of independent cosmetics, commitment to cruelty-free beauty, and the desire to run and support women-owned businesses.
Alana and Lan of CANVAS Lacquer
Indie Expo Canada: Tell us about your brand. What sets you apart?
CANVAS Lacquer (Alana): We make exclusive, hand-blended small batches of our polishes, and once they’re gone…they’re gone. Recently we’ve added luxury cuticle oils to our roster, and we have had an incredible response. Customs are also our favourite thing to concoct, and we can do personalized fragrances/oils in addition to making you that one of a kind lacquer.
Indie Expo Canada: What is your workspace like? Do you have any employees? Do you have plans to expand in the future?
CANVAS Lacquer (Alana): We make everything ourselves, in Lan’s plant-filled apartment in downtown Toronto. Picture the lab from Breaking Bad, but much sparklier and with cats and you’re not far off.
Indie Expo Canada: Do you have a favourite product or collection that you have created?
CANVAS Lacquer (Alana): We would never put out anything we didn’t 100 percent adore, but there are a few stand out faves. Our Ice & Fire was our first large collection, and I’m a huge Game of Thrones nerd, both book and show. Our Stranger Things collection is definitely one where we put our love of the story and characters into the colours and it translated really well. And of course we love our city so much so the CANVAS the City editions were special to us.
Indie Expo Canada: What is your favourite season in relation to your brand?
CANVAS Lacquer (Alana): We’re both summer babies and love all things vitamin D. Summer makes holos sing, thermals pop, and even people who don’t normally wear nail polish often get pedicures. More surfaces to show off our products are always a good thing. We love summer markets too, as people are generally more relaxed and willing to try something new.
Indie Expo Canada: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
CANVAS Lacquer (Alana): Recently we got picked up by a great local salon called Pause Beauty Boutique. Not only are they selling our products but they are also using them for all nail services as well. We’re super excited about it!
Indie Expo Canada: Is CANVAS lacquer a full time job, or do you have another job as well?
CANVAS Lacquer (Alana): We both work full time jobs. CANVAS is definitely a labour of love for us and our favourite creative outlet. It’s our happy place.
Indie Expo Canada: Tell us about you. What other hobbies, talents, or passions do you have? What do you do in your spare time?
CANVAS Lacquer (Alana): I’m really into writing and I run a private, online group for young, women-identified people to share their writing. It’s a really important part of my life and has gotten me through some dark times. Lan is the ultimate gardener, and her place (and hence our workshop) is home to an ever-growing assortment of plants. She’s also an incredible paper artist and nail artist. We’re thinking of getting into making our own fragrances also. Forever crafting.
Tuna and Wheezy
Shady and Bulldozer
Indie Expo Canada: What is your current best-selling product?
CANVAS Lacquer (Alana): We’ve made some polishes that got such a crazy response on social media that they sold out before we could even put them in the shop! Our Spring Forward cuticle oil has been selling like hotcakes both in person and at Pause Beauty Boutique.
CANVAS Lacquer at Pause Boutique
Indie Expo Canada: Any spoilers or sneak peeks of upcoming products or projects?
CANVAS Lacquer (Alana): We are working on some “remixes” and will have more info available soon.
Well there you have it folks. The first peek at the brains and the beauty behind CANVAS Lacquer. I hope you enjoyed it, and will come back to read up on all the other brands we have coming to Indie Expo Canada on June 04.
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