The Meet Cute
It was the busiest night of the year at The Highlander Pub, a Scottish tavern in downtown Ottawa, and Kiersten Hanly was in the middle of her first-ever training shift. Not ideal. The steady murmur of dozens of voices filled the air as she tried to keep mental notes on everything her training manager was saying. Maybe she looked a little overwhelmed, because Jessica McNeil shot her a supportive look and a friendly smile.
“Us curvy girls gotta stick together,” Kiersten said by way of introduction. And the rest is history!
More Than Just Business Partners
A business partnership which started over girl-talk and iced teas is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Jessica and Kiersten are not only close friends and business partners – they’re roommates too. I sat down with these two ladies in their charming living room to get to know the masterminds behind Scrub Inspired. All throughout the house there is evidence of their deep bond – paint nites they’ve enjoyed together, framed photos of fun times, and – of course – their adorable dog Mackie (who loves to beg for food at the table – talk about a guilt trip!). As we settle in, I ask them what they’re looking forward to in the future. “That’s easy,” Jessica laughs. “Scrub Inspired World Domination.”
What are 3 ways you would describe the other?
JESS: Grammar queen, dynamic, the every-woman
KIERS: Robot queen, energetic, and driven
What is your biggest pet peeve about the other?
JESS: Kiersten’s always right. It's the most frustrating thing ever!
KIERS: Jessica always thinks I’m starting an argument. But to be fair to me, I’m always right so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Share something about yourself
JESS: I’m in love with CBC radio. And crosswords. So I’m basically a grandmother. CBC has seriously changed my life. I discovered it when I was 27 and haven’t looked back.
KIERS: Not a lot of people know that I’m a classically trained Shakespearean performer. Pericles is one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known plays – totally underrated and my absolute favourite! I also love Hamlet. I love reading classical literature because it’s almost like a whole new language. I always like to say I speak English, French, Shakespearean, and gibberish.
Which Scrub Inspired scrub is your personal favourite and why?
JESS: Oatmeal Coffee. Cannot live without it. Hands down, it’s my favourite! Even after we’d started Scrub Inspired, I had really bad acne. I’ve struggled with acne my whole life, actually. I was discouraged because I had really bad skin and was trying to start my own skincare company. How are we going to go out there and tell people to use our products when I can’t even heal my own skin? So we did research. A lot of research, actually, and came up with a scrub with a ton of healing, natural ingredients. Straight from the get-go, I noticed a difference in my skin. Now – years later – it’s gone leaps and bounds. I use it every day. If I go even a couple of days without using it, my skin’s just not the same. It’s actually our top-selling scrub. People will come up and tell us that we’ve changed their lives because this scrub has just totally changed their skin. I love that.
KIERS: For me, it’s got to be Coconut Almond. So rich and moisturizing. It’s super soft which makes it perfect for everyday use. We call it “body fudge” because the brown sugar starts to melt on contact with water. The brown sugar is super gentle and exfoliating and the coconut oil just saturates and moisturizes. It’s also really effective for treating psoriasis and eczema.
What makes Scrub Inspired different?
JESS: I’d say it’s the level of care that we put into our brand, our products, and our customer service. If you want to understand how to make your own scrub, we’ll help you. That will never change because what we care about most is educating people and helping them make better decisions for their skin. Our ingredients are another thing that sets us apart. We never settle... we use wholesome, natural, and local ingredients.
Describe your first sale
JESS: I was at work when I got the notification on my phone and I totally screamed and did a happy dance!
KIERS: It’s such a good feeling. And it hasn’t gotten any less exciting. Every time it’s a huge rush because we care so much about this business and our customers.
"People will come up and tell us that we’ve changed their lives because this scrub has just totally changed their skin. I love that."
Any advice for young entrepreneurs or people interested in creating their own start-up?
KIERS: Find mentors. Find good people to work with. Listen to them, but don’t necessarily follow them blindly. People will always offer up advice - it’s up to you to figure out what advice is good and what works for you.
Check back in with The Scrub Life to learn about skincare tips, ingredient benefits, events, and new partnerships. Check out Oatmeal Coffee or Coconut Almond to find out for yourself just why these Master Scrub Makers are so obsessed.