DU NORD SKIN CARE products are formulated with ingredients such as tree bark extracts, leaf waters, essential oil from Spruce needles, and glacial clay—all sourced from the Canadian ecozone.
It’s not uncommon for clean, green, and natural beauty brands to draw on stories of climate, terrain, or the wisdom of indigenous peoples. In this way, DU NORD SKIN CARE is not an exceptional brand.
But Ursula Snyder is making products with naturals from the North that work for peoples skin and for their lives. It’s a brand that meets sophisticated, environmentally conscious consumers where they are and invites them into the world of luxury skin care.
Here, Snyder shares a profile of herself and the brand.
Name: Ursula Snyder, PhD, Director and Founder
Indie Beauty Company: DU NORD SKIN CARE
Launched: October 2017
Headquarters: Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada
Cash flow: I have funded the business with my own savings, a business line of credit, and with family assistance. I own the business as sole proprietor and have no investors. I received one small travel assistance grant in 2018 to attend the Beauty and Money Summit in New York City in September 2018.
Of course, DU NORD SKIN CARE ultimately has to be a viable enterprise, but what is most important is that my customers feel they are indeed receiving extraordinary value for their money. I’ve received remarkable feedback—principally that using DU NORD SKIN CARE products has led to visible and significant improvements in my customers’ skin and that they love the scents and feel of the products. That is worth everything to me.
Indie how? I consider an indie beauty brand one that has been developed by a single person, or small group of people, on the basis of a powerful vision or mission to satisfy a personal care / beauty need or desire. Generally, this vision has arisen from a profoundly personal experience. It is a brand that at the outset has no ties, financial or otherwise, to any major company involved in personal care / beauty manufacture, distribution, marketing and sales. It is often a wild, daring and heartfelt experiment! An indie beauty brand is generally of interest to a more select group of potential consumers.
Team work: 0 employees. At this stage, I am the creative driver, scientist / research director, formulator, tech, janitor, and sales and marketing team…. I do have a general accountant for assistance at tax time, but otherwise I also handle all the financial aspects.
Distribution: Currently, I sell nationally and globally via my ecommerce website dunordskincare.com and locally on an individual customer basis. I have no retail or wholesale markets.
Years in beauty: I have no prior experience in the beauty industry. My educational background is in pure science (I have a BSc in physics and a PhD in molecular biology). My >30 years of professional experience has revolved around health and wellness (particularly for women) and social determinants of health. I worked as a science and medical writer/editor for many years and held senior editorial positions in medical communications companies from 1993 to 2006. I’ve worked also in the physical fitness industry since my twenties and continue to do so.
Years at DU NORD SKIN CARE: I began R&D early in 2014.
Entrepreneurial experience: I’ve been running Ketch Harbour Yoga for almost 12 years. But, to be frank, this experience has not been so relevant for DU NORD SKIN CARE. KHY is a very simple (also one-woman) operation; DU NORD SKIN CARE has emerged as terribly complex!
The business: DU NORD SKIN CARE manufactures, in a small-scale production process, a seven-product line of luxury, natural skin care based nearly exclusively on northern plant-based ingredients. The products are designed to be suitable for all skin colors and genders. They are vegan, cruelty-free and eco-responsible.
The wow-factor: DU NORD SKIN CARE offers an unusual, sophisticated and luxurious sensual opportunity to delight in the beauty and phytochemical potency of northern plants; an effective way to take care of one’s skin, naturally and eco-responsibly; a way to foster one’s own well-being and that of the planet.
DU NORD SKIN CARE is not a “Nordic inspired” brand but a much more inclusive and nature-inspired Northern brand. DU NORD SKIN CARE features ingredients derived from northern plants that have a history of use in medicine and skin care by Indigenous peoples of North America and Eurasia and traditional European cultures as well as innovative northern-plant based ingredients that have been developed with sustainable and eco-responsible processing technologies.
Each product in the facial skincare line has a distinct skin-care function and contains ingredients based on northern plants native, or long-adapted, to a particular Canadian ecozone, a northern region that spans many countries, or a northern plant habitat.
In addition, DU NORD SKIN CARE is a member of 1% for the Planet, so one percent of all sales go to environmental organizations particularly concerned with the care and protection of northern plant biodiversity and habitat. DU NORD SKIN CARE is a clean, green, ethical brand offered by an indie beauty company for whom authenticity, integrity, and transparency are foundational.
DU NORD SKIN CARE offers a simply wonderful and holistic way to help put one’s best face forward and to feel good in one’s skin!
The customer: A bit more unusual perhaps than typical for the beauty industry. Only due to lack of experience, I didn’t set out to imagine a target consumer other than someone who wanted clean, green, ethical and effective skin care first and foremost and beyond that a brand that was unique—someone who might find a brand based on northern botanicals worth a try.
My vision for a target consumer has emerged from my current base of customers as follows: Someone, aged >35 - 70, generally in a top middle/lower-upper income bracket who is more likely to currently work in a field that requires creative and analytic thinking, who traditionally may not be a high-end beauty consumer but is a person who cares considerably about their overall health, wellness and appearance.
They feel they deserve lovely ways to take care of themselves physically and emotionally and are accustomed to buying high-quality consumer products that reflect their values and taste. Sustainability and eco-responsibility, unique manifestations of creativity and/or evidence-based efficacy, and beauty / design are important factors in their purchasing considerations. They are motivated to purchase DU NORD SKIN CARE because they are intrigued by its basis on northern botanicals; its unique bringing together of nature, science and art / design—from the formulations to the packaging and branding—and by its emphasis on eco-responsible luxury.
This consumer wants to see and feel positive results for their skin and experience a sense of well-being—that their skin-care ritual performs and allows for a bit of relaxation and delight. They demand extraordinary value for their money. If even in a small way, the DU NORD SKIN CARE brand reflects who they are and how they want to be seen, and are seen, in the world.
Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: Take a business course that you have to be present for physically and that includes entrepreneurs from a wide variety of businesses who are at different stages of growth and development.
For example, I am taking a series of courses related to exporting. The conversations I’ve had with other entrepreneurs have been extraordinary. I have learned more from them and their experiences than I could have imagined.
Just one: Asked about her go-to product, Snyder says it’s the DU NORD SKIN CARE PRAIRIE Serum. I use it twice a day, every day.
Outside of my own brand, I am obsessed with fine perfume. Right now Le Labo’s Santal 33 is my go-to.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.