Carolyn Crewe likes a good challenge and about five years ago she was presented with one that led to her starting her own business.
Crewe is originally from Corner Brook and now living in Halifax, N.S.
Her nephew Jackson LeDrew was just a baby when Crewe saw the diaper cream her sister, Stephanie LeDrew, was using on him.
She wasn’t excited about the ingredients in it.
Crewe has her own history of problematic skin. Having dealt with eczema since she was a teen, she knows all about good and bad ingredients in skin care products.
Her concern led to a healthy debate about natural products and ingredients, the perception of natural products being really expensive and the uncertainly, especially around baby products, about whether or not natural products will work.
She started researching what people used before mass market diaper creams were available and to tinker with what goes into diaper creams.
Crewe and Josh Beitel, her partner in life and in business, made a diaper cream and gave it to her sister and some friends who had babies to test it out.
With a diaper cream that seemed to be really effective and made people happy, they decided to try to make some products to deal with her own troubled skin.
And so Duckish, their company offering a line of natural skin care products, was born.
Besides the diaper cream stick, they also produce moisturizers, including a body butter and lotion stick, lip balms, bath salts and bath bombs. All the products are made in a production kitchen in Halifax. They are sold online and in over 75 retail locations across the country, including spas, health and wellness stores and gift shops.
The lotion stick is the one that helps Crewe with her eczema. Unlike traditional pump and squeeze lotions that can be up to 85 per cent water, this one is a solid that is up to five times more concentrated.
Crewe is pretty confident in their products and said that is all they use on their two-year-old son, Quinn.
“The point of this is that you as a customer don’t need to be incredibly knowledgeable about ingredients because we’ve done the worrying for you.”
Creating skin care products was not Crewe’s first choice in careers. She has a science degree from Mount Allison, a masters of business administration from Concordia in Montreal and also attended NSCAD (the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design).
She worked as a graphic designer for the shoe company Aldo and said her background is a bit business, creative and finance.
While not a chemist, creating natural skin care products seems to be where she’s found her niche.
And she has a vision for expanding her company into more products, including deodorant and mini versions of the lotion stick and diaper cream, offering more scents, and getting the word out there on how great she feels the products are.
Where the name comes from?
Duckish is a Newfoundland word the refers to the dusk or twilight. It’s a word that Carolyn Crewe said she heard growing up and thought was a real word until she went away to university. But it’s one that has stuck with her.
“It is my favourite time of day. I guess the idea is that if you were going to take a bath with a bath bomb, or spoil yourself with some really nice, rich, decadent creams, it’s probably going to be that time of day anyway.”