Vancouver mom entrepreneur Yasuko Brander originally began developing Théra Wise bio-active natural therapeutic ointments and plant based medicinal ointments to help with her own skin conditions. Now her Théra Wise products are sold throughout Canada by major retailers as well as local health stores.
What inspired you to start your company?
I am a life-long sufferer of eczema and atopic dermatitis and was looking for a solution to help manage my condition. My husband has a background in Oriental Medicine and Cosmetic Science. He and I were involved with developing and manufacturing various natural health products at that time and noticed that all over the counter ointments and even homeopathic ointments are petroleum and synthetic chemical based. We wanted to offer a healthier, more effective and ‘body friendly’ option in the medicinal ointment category and I especially wanted to help people who were experiencing what I went through.
Tell us about Derma Wise Skin Care and Théra Wise.
We are Vancouver-based Canadian company producing the Théra Wise line of bioactive, all-natural therapeutic ointments for First Aid/Wound Healing, Cold/Flu, Anti-Acne, Diaper Rash and Hemorrhoidal conditions. Théra Wise products are biodegradable and made entirely from bio-active plant ingredients without the use of petro-chemical based ingredients. A minimum of 99% of the total ingredients are of natural plant origin (excluding water) and a minimum of 35%of the total ingredients are from organic agriculture including certified, non-certified and transitional organics. Théra Wise uses plant material that is transformed with low-impact environmentally friendly processes without the use of hydrocarbon extraction methods. Our line is also vegan friendly with a commitment to providing cruelty free products, free of animal testing on the raw materials and finished product.
What’s your vision for your company?
We want to empower people to make healthier choices for themselves and the planet. To be the name that families can trust and feel good about when they need a remedy ointment to work fast.
What excites you about what you’re doing?
Discovering the wonder and magic of plants, to learn from them and understand their potential to heal us. We are also continually inspired by all of the positive feedback we receive from people who have used and benefited from our line.
What are some early examples of success?
Théra Wise was the first plant-based medicinal ointment line to receive a Health Canada Natural Health Product License. With an approval rate of only one in three applications, the license ensures products have passed stringent requirements for safety and efficacy. This approval was a key factor that allowed us to make health claims required to be carried in major pharmacies such as Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs and natural health stores.
Tell us about some of your challenges.
As with many small businesses you end up doing everything. Time is so precious, I feel like I would need 48 hours a day to properly balance my duties of being a mom and a business woman. Of course we can’t forget about marketing, marketing, marketing, I am constantly thinking about unique and engaging ways to reach our target customers.
What’s next for you?
We are planning to launch a natural diaper rash ointment this summer and organic tamanu oil (which is a rich body moisturizing oil from the tropics). We are also looking for partners for cross promotional opportunities – for example, we may donate products at school fundraising events or to charities.