Brandon Morrison, 29
UNITED & FREE SKINCARE INC.
Life Story: “Looking back on it, I know my childhood was a bit different than most people’s,” says Brandon Morrison, who grew up in Halifax and graduated from St. Mary’s University with a BA in philosophy in 2011. From a young age, he and his older sister, Kaleena, helped out with their father’s natural and organic ice cream company, Black Bear Ice Cream Emporium. They filled orders for hotels, weddings and their dad’s three stores, and spent weekends at trade shows or markets giving away samples and taking orders. Learning how to formulate natural products came in handy later in life when they launched a plant-based, vegan-friendly natural skin care and hair care line, United & Free, in 2016. Now both living in Vancouver, the siblings do demos at natural product stores and summer farmers markets for their own business.
The Bottom Line: United & Free’s half-dozen products are sold in around 30 stores from Vancouver Island to New Brunswick, as well as online. The company plans to quadruple its national sales distribution and expand worldwide within five years. Sophie Uliano, author of New York Times bestseller Gorgeously Green, is a fan, and U.K.-based Pebble Magazine touted United & Free as one of the top 13 vegan skincare brands worldwide.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Ready, Fire, Aim is a great book by Michael Masterson, but the advice resonates with me the most. I tend to be one of those people who overthink and overanalyze everything. Sometimes it’s just about doing it and getting it out there. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect from the start.
Your favourite book, album, song, movie or TV show is…
I like all kinds of music, from jazz to funk. The songs my father used to play in his band years were mostly jazz or funk so early on I gained a taste for it.
My favourite book is Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre because each time I’ve read it I’ve been able to take something away. It’s amazing to me how crucial existentialism is to our everyday lives—how the concepts of Being and Nothingness play a role in our everyday existence and oftentimes we don’t realize it.
Who is your role model or mentor?
Some very important people in my life would be my parents, for their tenacity and never really giving up on anything in life. My dad taught us a whole business skill set.
What’s your biggest regret?
I’m not really the type of person that lives with regrets. I believe that any events that happen, happen for a reason, and this is the path you’re set on. There aren’t any real missed chances to regret because you technically are where you should be at this point in your life. That being said, I’ve been living in British Columbia for almost two years now and have yet to spend a day snowboarding or travelling around. So, in the coming years I will be setting some time aside to enjoy exploring this beautiful province.
A little-known fact about you is…
Being from Nova Scotia and a formulator at heart, I can actually brew a pretty good beer, wine and mead.