The Stories Behind 6 Made-in-Canada Brands

Canada has some of the best brands in the world, but even though many are Canadian-based, you may be surprised to hear that not all are Canadian-made.  To learn more about why Made in Canada matters, click here.

In celebration of our nation’s 152nd birthday, we are rounding up some of our favourite Canadian businesses that keep their product manufacturing within Canada and sharing the stories behind their brand.  We hope that our roundup will kickstart your local shopping journey and inspire you to shop Canadian.

Nettle’s Tale Swimwear
MADE IN: Vancouver, BC

Five women in Nettle’s Tale Swimwear on a beach in Vancouver

WHAT’S GOOD: These swimsuits made for real women (and named after real women) garnered a loving following after their Crowdfunding campaign of 2014 —Nettle’s Tale Swimwear received 7x their initial goal! Founder Julia Church makes it a point to feature real women (curves, no curves, different heights and ethnicities) in her campaigns, many of which are her friends. Nettle’s Tale swimsuits are hand-made in Vancouver. 
AWESOME PRODUCT: Our top pick is the Magic swimwear bottoms that can roll up (for a vintage pin-up look) or down (for optimal tanning) as you please. They come in a variety of fabrics from solids to stripes and seasonal florals. 

Elate Cosmetics
MADE IN: Victoria, BCelate cosmetics eye shadows

WHAT’S GOOD: Elate Cosmetics started in founder Melodie Reynolds’ basement and launched in 2014. As a former makeup artist working in the beauty industry for 20 years, she designed her brand to be sustainable: Elate features Bamboo lipstick packaging, seed paper packaging, and interchangeable eye shadow palettes. The products are natural, toxin-free, cruelty free, vegan, gluten-free and Melodie has even committed to getting Elate to become the world’s first zero-waste cosmetics company—currently they’re 75% waste-free! Aside from all the do-goodness of this brand, the best part is that prices on par with MAC.

AWESOME PRODUCTS: Of the 115 items in their product lineup, their hero product is the Essential Mascara that’s made without phenoxyethanol. It was launched 6 months before any published reports deemed it’s not okay to use the ingredient.

Wise Men Care
MADE IN: Montreal, QC

wise mens care product range, stories behind made in canada brands

WHAT’S GOOD: When one of the founders, a barber by trade, got together with a couple of friends, sustainable men’s personal care brand Wise was born. Shampoos, pomades, face creams and more are presented in sleekly-designed reusable glass containers or recyclable refill pouches that use 80% less plastic than your regular bottle. Each product features a star Canadian ingredient, including glacial marine clay from northern British Columbia, white birch bark extract found in the Canadian Boreal forest, sea kelp harvested off the coast of the Maritimes.

They products are free of fragrances, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and are also cruelty-free. The only thing stopping them from achieving vegan certification is the use of beeswax, found only in two products for its moisturizing properties. As if this Montreal-based brand isn’t awesome enough, for those who are constantly travelling, products come in TSA-friendly glass bottles.

AWESOME PRODUCTS: The Birch Bark Daily Shampoo is one of the most popular products. It’s not made with sodium laureth sulfate and other harsh chemicals, giving it a velvety (not bubbly) foam that makes it luxurious to wash your hair on the daily.  

Mary Young Lingerie
MADE IN: Toronto, ON

mary young lingerine, stories behind made in canada brands

WHAT’S GOOD: Before the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and brands started using feminism as a selling point, there was Dove, and on an independent scale, effortlessly beautiful lingerie brand Mary Young promoting self-love, individuality and acceptance. Crowned the “antithesis of Victoria’s Secret”, Mary Young products don’t use underwire, padding, or lift technology. Plus, images on Instagram are untouched, stretch marks gladly included. When you go onto the website, the first thing you see is a sense of community, not e-commerce, where the Self Love Club (a series of positive talks) is promoted over product. 

AWESOME PRODUCTS: Her most interesting pieces are anything that include a mix of cotton and mesh, and for this summer season, the Charlie Crop.

Yoga Jeans
MADE IN: St-Come Linière, QC 

yoga jeans, stories behind made in canada brands

WHAT MATTERS: Since 2011, Yoga Jeans has been creating jeans locally in Quebec. Founder Eric Wazana told us, “Local production also allows us to have great quality control over the things that matter to us most. Being in Canada, we have some of the most restrictive laws when it comes to our environment and its water. Our latest investments in the washhouse facility also allow us to treat our own water.” Some other sustainability initiatives include reducing water consumption through ozone technology, using laser techniques to create different washes and finishes (vs using pumice stone or chemicals), and creating quality products with responsibly grown cotton in North America.
AWESOME PRODUCTS: Jeans so stretchy (featuring 4-way stretch, Soft Touch, and a non-gaping waistband) you’ll want to do yoga in them. 

NENA Skincare
MADE IN: Richmond, BC

Nena glacial skincare products flat lay with clay on wooden spoon and lavender

WHAT MATTERS: And of course, our round-up wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to us!  Based in Richmond, British Columbia, NENA is owned by Ironwood Clay, a family-owned company that has been specializing in natural clay skin care for the past 30 years. The glacial oceanic clay we sustainably harvest has been maturing off the west coast of Canada for thousands of years. Formed by the movement of glaciers in convergence with ocean waters, it contains more than 60 skin-nourishing minerals and rare earth elements.  

AWESOME PRODUCTS: We only have four, and don’t want to pick favourites! But if you are to only try one product from NENA’s 4-step skincare system, begin with our Glacial Clay Mask. Studies have shown that our clay produced a significant average reduction of 95% in skin surface sebum after application of Glacial Oceanic Clay on the face, along with an immediate effect in reducing the appearance of dilated pores.

Shop Nena skincare

 We hope made-in-Canada is something you’ll consider when making your next purchase. Good luck on finding products proudly made in O, Canada!