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From salon and spa to manufacturing leader

Success Story Info

  • Organization: 

    EC Labs

  • Region:  Alberta
  • Impact: 

    From salon and spa to manufacturing leader, EC Labs is leading the charge in establishing a personal care products manufacturing hub in Alberta.

  • Project: 

    EC Labs

  • Category:  Advanced manufacturing
  • Story Date:  2021-05-17
Lab technician at work

In just a few short years, EC Labs has evolved from a salon and day spa to a personal care products manufacturing leader. Now, it is ready to kickstart a new sector in Alberta and take on the global market.

Timely support from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) has fueled EC Labs’ journey. It has become one of only a few certified cosmetics and formulation manufacturing firms in North America. With funding through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, EC Labs overcame regulatory barriers, validated its technology and set its sights on the global market.

More recently, WD funding helped EC Labs expand manufacturing capacity and bring new product lines to market. This funding came through the Business Scale-up and Productivity Program. When COVID-19 cases began to climb across the country, EC Labs used this investment to help battle the pandemic. The company quickly adapted its focus to produce hand sanitizers. This pivot helped EC Labs keep highly qualified staff working through the pandemic. And it helped the firm develop expertise in a new product line

EC Labs has grown from 6 employees in 2016 to 37 full- and part-time staff in 2021. With formulations in hand, EC Labs has both expertise in a new product line and worldwide distributors. It is ready to take on the global market.

Closer to home, it is setting up a manufacturing hub that will continue to attract and grow talent, jobs and investment in Alberta.

From salon and spa to manufacturing leader (length: 2:10 minutes)

Transcript: From salon and spa to manufacturing leader


(Various shots of EC Labs products on store shelves)

(LINA HEATH, PRESIDENT, EC LABS) EC Labs is a personal care product manufacturer. We specialize in all-natural and high performance luxury formulations.

(Various shots of EC Labs products on store shelves)

(LINA HEATH - voiceover) Hair care, skin care, body care, any type of topical product.

(LINA HEATH) There actually are very few labs in Canada and even in North America. There are large barriers of entry to become a lab for cosmetic product manufacturing.  

(Laboratory technician mixing chemicals in a beaker)

(LINA HEATH) We founded the company in 2016 and we soon realized it was going to take us a little longer than we anticipated to generate revenue. During that time, we were fortunate to receive WD funding. It allowed us to scale up very quickly. And by 2020, we were a $2.3 million company.

(Various shots of lab activity)

(EVELINE CHARLES, FOUNDER & CEO, EC LABS & CEO, interspersed with videos of laboratory technicians)

Because of the WD funding we've been able to bring a lot of our products to market. We've pivoted and evolved our business and we went from a service business to now product manufacturing.

(Various shots of lab activity)

(LINA HEATH) For the hair care lines, we're now at a stage where the formulations have been complete, and we've secured distributors around the world.

Being recipients of WD funding was almost fate. The machines arrived in January, COVID was announced, we quickly pivoted our company to address the COVID needs. So, we stopped all operations. We focused exclusively on making hand sanitizer.

When we started our company we only had 6 full-time employees and a few short years later we now have 12 employees that are full-time and a roster of 25 part-time manufacturing staff.

We are attracting and growing highly qualified personnel and we look forward to creating a hub for cosmetic formulators to come to Alberta to grow. And we can grow a new skill set for this type of field of cosmetics and formulation.

(Text on screen: WD committed $350,000 in interest free, repayable funding to EC Labs to launch and scale up manufacturing capacity, as well as $100,000 to support certification and access to export markets.)

(Text on screen: @WD_Canada)

(WD Wordmark)

(Canada Wordmark)


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