Exclusive interview: Francine LeClair, Cascadia Soap Co, Vancouver

I am constantly looking for chemical free and natural products for the family. When you have a kid, there are times when they get eczema, hives or other skin issues and it leads you to constantly search for natural products. Same with myself, I try to look for more natural, organic, and chemical free ingredients to put on my face and body. With the variety of products these days, there are really endless options on what you could use. One company that I discovered is Cascadia Soap Company. Some of you may be unfamiliar with this company since it is hidden away inside the Public Market at Granville Island. I have been using the Manuka Honey soap and it leaves my skin smooth and moisturized. It also naturally exfoliates the dead skin. I still use a moisturizer after though. I don’t think there are any soaps in the world that leaves you moisturized enough to not have to use any additional products on top but I notice it doesn’t leave my skin dry right after a shower.

 Francine is very passionate about her line of products. She says: “We have a motto here at Cascadia Soaps ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ Our Customers have been relying on our all-natural, earth-friendly, handcrafted skincare products for more than 25 years. We are a company that is solely committed to providing customers with the highest quality products they love, utilizing the very best ingredients Mother Nature has to offer.”

I asked Francine to tell me a bit about the company.

The Cascadia Soap Company is a small family enterprise dedicated to the creation of natural skincare products.

The Cascadia Soap Company was born more than 25 years ago in Beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Joel, the father of Cascadia Soaps was born on a small farm and vineyard in the South of France. There, he observed his mother making soap the old fashioned way. For his family, the tradition of using available botanicals in the making of soaps, remedies, and infusions goes back many generations. Over the years, Joel and his wife Maureen kept this tradition alive by collecting rose hips after the first frost, enjoying the tender sprouts of spring dandelions and making salves and balms as required.
After 20 years of abundant growth and success, the original parents of The Cascadia Soap Company were searching for the right partnership. And It was then that Francine LeClair passionately joined this family enterprise. Francine’s 15 years experience as a natural health and skincare practitioner was a perfect complement to Joel’s family history in making soap the old fashioned way. Today Cascadia Soaps has been operating here in British Columbia for more than 25 years and Francine now proudly wears the many hats of owning and operating this small family enterprise.

Q:What makes your products different from other soap companies.

A:”We make our soaps in a old fashioned French style which means, including the curing time, some soaps can take up to 14 months to make. This results in a harder, longer lasting, extra creamy lather, and most important, a much more delicate soap on the skin.

We have been formulating and refining our facial and body lotions, for more than 25 years and the compliments we always receive are that they are very rich but light, they absorb immediately and they do not leave the skin oily or greasy looking.”

Q: What is the top seller?

A: “Our top seller for soaps is our Manuka Honey Cleanser, we’ve even had doctor’s that have sent their patients to us to try our Manuka Honey Cleanser for treating different skin challenges such as eczema and psoriasis. Our top seller for lotions and moisturizers is most definitely our Hand And Body Salve for extra dry skin. ”

Q: I noticed you have maple soap and charcoal soap. How did you come up with that?

A: “We were inspired to create our maple soap for the 2010 Olympics which were hosted here in Vancouver, and ever since then there has been such a demand for our maple soaps from tourists visiting and locals travelling outside of Canada that we just keep making it! The charcoal soap was inspired a few years back when us westerners started to discover the ancient benefits of utilizing activated charcoal for external and internal health. We are always up for creating something new, there has never been a dull moment in all the years we’ve been in business. When enough customers ask for something, we just start experimenting.”

Q: What inspires you?

A: “Two words 1) Customers 2) Customer’s Stories

When customers come to us with their skin concerns, we have the opportunity to educate them and offer them high quality, all-natural, earth-friendly skincare products that have been try and tested for more than a quarter of a century to give fantastic results!

What has inspired us all these years is when a customer contacts us after a week or so of trying our products for the first time and shares with us their story about how much they are loving our products.”


Q: Where can I find your soaps?

A: ” Cascadia Soaps can be found at the Granville Island Public Market 7 days a week from 9am-7pm almost year round. Throughout the year, you will also find us at a few other markets and festivals in the greater Vancouver area. And of course we have 24/7 access to our products online. Please visit our website for our full market and festival schedule http://www.cascadiasoaps.com. Simply click on ‘Market Schedule’ at the bottom of our home page.”

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