BioSpa (Quann) Cosmeceuticals, Inc.
337 Central St., Summerside
This company manufactures and distributes a novel professional skincare line under the brand name Quannessence. The products are made with plant extracts that have an active role in promoting skin health, treating skin conditions, and reducing the effects of aging. Several ingredients used in the products are derived from plants and technologies that originate on PEI.
Reid Barnett and Sharon Quann are co-creators of the line. All products are manufactured in Summerside for distribution throughout the Maritimes and other parts of Canada. The facility in Summerside includes a spa run by Sharon, as well as a lab and production area.
Sharon Quann has been a practicing aesthetician for over 30 years, and owns Mystical Touch Holistic Beauty Therapies. Reid Barnett is a qualified skincare formulator who has established product lines that improve skin conditions using natural ingredients. About six years ago, they began to investigate the development of products that address gaps in the industry. They wanted to produce a functional, clinical line using plant extracts.
They did a great deal of research, and started their product line with six serums in 2011. The line has grown to 17 retail products and four products targeted exclusively to the professional skincare industry, which includes aestheticians and dermatologists who address common skin conditions.
One of the plants used to make the botanical extracts used in the skincare products is fireweed, which blooms throughout PEI in July. They also use abysinnian oil produced by Technology Crops International in Kensington in their line of creams, lotions, and cleansers. Extracts from Labrador Tea, Canadian Willowherb, and other botanicals which grow on PEI are also incorporated in the line.
“We try to put the essence of PEI in our skincare products, and we are always trying to actively expand our use of locally-sourced ingredients from PEI and the Maritime region,” says Reid.
Expanding the brand image
After developing the product line, they began a marketing strategy. They hired a local company to establish brand recognition and establish a new trademarked logo. They changed from plastic to glass containers, and developed professional labels and high-end boxes to give the products a clean, professional, and elegant presentation.
“Our products are very cost effective and potent – a little goes a long way,” says Reid. “A single drop is enough to do your entire face.
“Many people send us before and after pictures of how our products have been effective for them. The unsolicited testimonials are a big part of our marketing strategy.”
How does this product stand out in a competitive marketplace?
The skincare line was developed to address skin conditions that professional dermatologists and aestheticians see most often: wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, acne, rosacea, and sensitive skin.
“It is really important that the products are only available to professional skincare providers,” says Reid. “When aestheticians do a treatment or sell products, they want it to be exclusive to their industry. One challenge is that virtually every professional line is available through the Internet, where customers can buy it more cheaply. That devalues the industry. Our products are available only through professional skincare providers.”
One Quannessence product is Qtox Tightening Serum, a topical alternative to Botox that minimizes the look of wrinkles. It has three different peptide technologies which relax frown lines and expression wrinkles.
Breakout FX is targeted toward acne-prone skin. It contains extracts of Canadian Willowherb, which is a natural source of anti-inflammatory and anti-acne compounds, along with other active technologies.
To address the demand for good quality anti-aging products, they have introduced the Infinity Series, a high-end premium product line. A serum is available now, and other products will follow shortly. One of the technologies used in creating this line was found in bacteria growing in the Antarctic. This bacteria contains a compound that protects itself from freezing. They have extracted that compound and synthesized it, and have found it to be a potent anti-wrinkle product.
In addition to Reid and Sharon, there are two production people at present.
Future hiring needs
“We will likely need at least one other production person, possibly two, in the next year,” says Reid.
They are also planning to hire a sales force to develop markets. “The sales position would be a hands-on person dealing directly with professional skincare providers. This role requires a combination of proven sales skills and an understanding of the sector. Preference would be given to former or current aestheticians. There would be a requirement for extensive travel and proven self-motivation.”
“Men’s products are the fastest-growing sector in professional skincare. We will be launching a men’s moisturizer in the fall. We have extensively tested these products over the last year and have had very good results.”
Future product development will incorporate additional Island-sourced ingredients from the land and the sea.
The company is working on expanding direct sales and distribution in Canada. They are talking to other distributors, and are also using Facebook as a resource for developing new markets.
“Continued research into local and regional plant extracts is fundamentally important for us to maintain our product differentiation. We have already established a private label deal and we are looking at co-branding as well.”
They are also investigating bringing retail targeted products to market in the future. “We don’t want to compete with our professional line, which has a higher concentration of active botanical ingredients, but we see some of the technologies appealing to a broad audience.”
For more information, visit www.quannessence.ca.
Bioscience jobs are posted on the careers section of the PEI BioAlliance website at www.peibioalliance.com.