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Indigena aims for higher-end market with creams, soaps that contain plants, berries, seaweed

Lisa Walsh founded Indigena Skincare six years ago. Her products contain botanical extracts derived from plants native to Newfoundland and Labrador. As the formulator, she makes most of Indigena’s offerings, which range from face creams to body treatments and exfoliating soaps.

Paul Daly/The Globe and Mail

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Ms. Walsh, who harvests herbs, berries, seaweed and other ingredients for her products, avoids chemicals at all costs. “We don’t use anything that’s animal-derived except beeswax, and we use all food-grade ingredients,” she says.

RAY OF LIGHT

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Plants such as Labrador tea and partridgeberry (also known as lingonberry) are Indigena’s secret weapon. For three years, the company has been studying these flora with scientists from the National Research Council and Memorial University of Newfoundland. One academic finding, Ms. Walsh says: To survive in a harsh and volatile climate, plants that grow in the province have higher levels of antioxidants than similar species elsewhere.

White Willow Photography

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Indigena is ready to patent its first botanical blend, which has anti-aging properties, according to Ms. Walsh.

Indigena Skincare

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Sales for the past fiscal year were less than $1-million – a number she’d like to quadruple within four years.

Paul Daly/The Globe and Mail

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Indigena plans to grow by focusing on higher-end products, Ms. Walsh says. A 30-millilitre jar of its Labrador Tea Face Creme goes for $95.

Paul Daly/The Globe and Mail

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Ms. Walsh has turned down three offers to move production to China and sell Indigena’s products worldwide, she says.

Paul Daly/The Globe and Mail

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“I don’t want to take something that is so unique and Canadian and have it made somewhere else.” She wants the business to go big, but on her terms.

Paul Daly/The Globe and Mail

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