This founder of Hammam Spa by Céla tells us how her business fulfills her and about the move to create her own skincare line.
Third-generation seaweed harvester Diane Bernard grew up on the Magdalen Islands off the coast of Quebec, believing the ocean held all the answers for optimal health and wellness, through eating its fresh seafood and swimming in the water to cure skin irritations and breathing issues. She went on to devote more than two decades to the development of the first skincare line formulated from certified organic seaweed, Seaflora Skincare. Since Bernard retired in 2017, her son, Adam Butcher, CEO and director, and his life and business partner, Chantelle Line, sales and marketing manager, now carry on Bernard’s values of environmental stewardship, creativity and family connection.
What brought you to Seaflora Skincare?
I am a serial entrepreneur. After finding success in my own business, I closed it and moved to Vancouver Island to semi-retire. Adam and I met and became friends, until we realized we were in love.
After trying Seaflora Skincare products and seeing my skin transform from showing signs of aging and hormonal breakouts to being absolutely flawless and radiant, I grew passionate about sharing these products with people. I knew Diane wanted to retire and I knew Adam was looking for a manager. Then one day, he came home and said he needed someone who understands sales, who is self-motivated and understands digital marketing, and someone who can speak from personal experience about Seaflora and share their authentic enthusiasm. He was describing me perfectly.
Why is seaweed perfect for skincare?
Seaweed is the richest vitamin, mineral and trace element source in the vegetable kingdom, with 10 to 20 times higher concentrations than any land plant. Mineral content in seaweeds ranges from 20 to 40 percent per 100 grams, compared to five to 10 percent in land plants and vegetables. Seaweeds bathe in mineral-rich ocean water, creating the most highly mineralized plant form on Earth. In seaweeds, minerals are absorbed directly from the ocean in their ionic form, making them more easily absorbed by the body.
Seaweed therapies nourish the skin, stimulate and improve blood circulation, remove toxins from the body and free up detoxification pathways, balance pH, encourage lymphatic drainage, fight inflammation and induce a healthy glow.
How does Seaflora Skincare harness the benefits of seaweed?
Seaflora Skincare evolves from the notion of going to the ocean for good health, thalassotherapy. Our team developed methods of keeping components within these superfoods biologically active and preserved. While the healing properties of seaweed have been known for a millennia, how to effectively retain the active benefits of fresh seaweed was developed through years of research and testing.
People get excited to find an organic, effective, non-toxic product line that is made in Canada! We hand-harvest our three main ingredients, sea salt, sea weeds, sea mud from the coast of Vancouver Island. Where we harvest, we are surrounded by more national and provincial park than by population. As Diane would say, “Vancouver Island is a gift, wrapped in seaweed.”
What are some examples of the company’s sustainable practices?
There is a zero waste program at Seaflora, solar panels on the roof, everything is recycled and composted. George Butcher, Diane’s husband, built the building with in-floor water heating and made the office side all south facing windows to keep product temperatures regulated and employees naturally warm.
People are so tired of green washing, marketing ingredients and toxic or environmentally harmful products. As a two-time cancer survivor myself, it’s like winning the lottery when you find truly organic, superfood, holistic, GMO-free skincare that is extremely effective at fighting the signs of aging. I look younger at 41 than I did at 35, when I was trying every brand I could to fix my angry, hormonal skin.
What is next for Seaflora Skincare?
Throughout this pandemic, we have had to scale down our staff and work from home as much as possible. Even being the only rep, we have still managed to secure new partnerships. We have worked hard to build our online presence. Sales are up annually.
We have come out with two CBD products, as well as a brightening moisturizer. For that one, the National Research Council of Canada performed all of the efficacy testing on the seaweeds we used against other known brightening ingredients on human skin tissue.
For years, Seaflora has been trying to come up with the perfect shampoo and conditioner. We have begun the finalized formulations for a conditioner formula and a revised shampoo formula. Joe, our biochemist, and I have been working on four body oils and we are also creating some of our own essential oils with local Douglas fir and cedar.