Success Stories

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 16:14

Birch Babe

Nestled amidst the rolling hills and pristine lakes of Lennox and Addington County, Ontario, the remarkable Birch Babe story continues to unfold. A skincare company born from a family's passion for clean living, it’s blossomed from a local gem into a force for good in the skincare industry. 

Founded by Debbie Alger who discovered a passion for clean living during a solo backpacking trip through Patagonia in 2017, Birch Babe began when she returned home to her cottage, retired and inspired to start making small-batch soap and skincare from all-natural ingredients.
Fast forward to 2020 when Debbie's daughters, Kelsey and Lindsay, took the helm as CEO and COO to spearhead its expansion. This dynamic duo both dove head-first into the company’s rebrand, expanding their presence from 30 stores to over 300 across North America including Sobeys and Whole Foods. Sales have skyrocketed from $30,000 annually to a staggering $650,000 in just three short years.

Birch Babe’s success is a testament to the power of local collaboration. The company received invaluable support from Community Futures, which is dedicated to empowering local small businesses. Community Futures not only provided crucial financial assistance but also guidance and connections during expansion while honouring the company’s desire to grow intentionally and maintain its sustainable values. 

This collaborative approach, including a partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), which allowed Birch Babe to access a wider range of expertise and resources, accelerating their growth trajectory on their own terms which involved smaller financing at first. “Working with the teams at Community Futures and BDC didn’t feel like a transaction – because we were partnering up with organizations who share a similar ethos,” says Kelsey. 

Birch Babe remains a female-led family business. Debbie still spends countless hours perfecting and formulating small-batch, clean skincare products for its loyal following, and Lindsay is excited about expanding their production capabilities and supply network “To bring more of what’s better for our bodies and the environment to more people”.

The Birch Babe team prioritizes sustainability, using as many locally-sourced ingredients as they can, and minimizing plastic use. Their commitment to the environment extends beyond their products; they recently relocated to a secluded cottage near Northbrook for its clean water, and to help foster an even closer connection to nature as they manufacture in-house.

Birch Babe isn't resting on its laurels, either. They are constantly innovating, recently launching a new natural skincare line called Birch Baby, specifically for infants. This expansion required more equipment and formulations, and they partnered with a reputable lab to ensure they can meet the demand of larger stores without compromising on quality or ethical sourcing: all of their products are certified organic, dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic and chemist approved.

While Birch Babe has experienced tremendous growth, the team prioritizes a healthy work-life balance. Kelsey, Lindsay, and Debbie have redefined their roles, allowing them to focus on specific areas of the business. They are dedicated to the Birch Babe mission and excited to connect with other sustainable and creative businesses in the area.

Birch Babe's journey, sparked by a solo backpacking adventure in Patagonia, has blossomed into a thriving business right here in Lennox and Addington County. Their unwavering commitment to clean, effective skincare, rooted in the family’s love for nature, continues to guide them. As they expand, Birch Babe promises to remain a champion for sustainable practices, ensuring their products are as good for your skin as they are for the planet.

Community Futures may be able to help you with strategic consulting and/or a business loan. If you have a hurdle you are trying to overcome with your business, reach out to Brad at ">