North Vancouver-based Satya Organic makes topical anti-inflammatory skincare solutions
Patrice Mousseau likes to do things differently. When the doctor prescribed her eight-month-old baby topical steroids for eczema, Mousseau—who is Anishinaabe and a member of Fort William First Nation—bought a $15 crock pot on Facebook to make a safer, simpler, botanical-based solution.
“I looked at existing medical research, I looked into different studies that have been put out by different universities, as well as anecdotal evidence from traditional medicine,” she recalls. The process took months, but the outcome was bigger than she ever anticipated: Mousseau's product started selling well at farmers’ markets arounds B.C. (the first one being in Port Moody in 2013) and culminated into her first official business venture, Satya Organic, at the end of 2015.
“Initially I just planned to do it for my daughter's eczema,” says the founder and CEO. “But people have really expanded beyond that to using it for things like psoriasis, rosacea, rashes, sunburn, bug bites, wound healing... I have a customer who called it the Frank's Red Hot of skincare,” she adds with a laugh.
As a first-time entrepreneur, Mousseau was able to do several other things differently. For example, in the beginning, Satya’s order fulfilment system depended on shipping products to stay-at-home moms across the country, who then shipped them out to customers. Not only did this translate to lower shipping costs for Mousseau (who bootstrapped the company with no assets), it was also a way to support people who were deemed “unemployable” because they couldn’t work regular work hours.
“We're really about the full package,” says Mousseau, who has two full-time staff on her team. Her company is currently in the process of being B-corp certified. “The oat bath that we just launched—it’s a beautiful, organic, gluten-free colloidal oatmeal. We put actual calendula blooms so you're floating in the bath in flowers. And we also have a QR code that leads to a Canadian Indigenous music playlist... And then, when your bath is done, you can plant your own calendula plant from what's in the bath. It’s always like, how do we do better? What are the other layers that we can add to the products and to the company?”
Mousseau is a former journalist who grew up in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. In 2020, she moved Satya from a manufacturing facility in Vancouver to one in Vaughan, Ontario so that she could get its products FDA-approved. Now she’s a single mom and entrepreneur in North Vancouver, and her small business is celebrating big milestones like being a go-to for American actress Selma Blair and being in 1,100 Shoppers locations across Canada.
“To be the first Indigenous brand in a major retailer such as Shoppers Drug Mart is not only something to celebrate but it encourages other Indigenous businesses to dream big and demonstrates that there is room for them too on these shelves,” Mousseau shared in a release.