Funded and led by Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation, the WE-CAN Project inspires and empowers existing and aspiring women-identifying entrepreneurs by providing them with tools, resources, expert mentors, networks and community building to expand existing businesses and to launch new ventures.
Reduce, reuse, recycle – those are the three pillars of recycling and a sentiment that is certainly exemplified by WE-CAN client Dani Warman, owner and founder of Newboro Soap Company in Newboro, Ontario, just north of Kingston.
Dani launched her business in 2020 when her love of making soap became more than just a hobby.
“I had been making soap for about several years and giving it away to friends and family as gifts before I realized I might have a business on my hands,” she says.
After retiring pre-pandemic from a busy and stressful career working in airports, Dani decided to transform her love of handmade soap making into a cottage business.
“I had always dreamed about starting a business of my own and even had the perfect spot to do it, but I was still scared,” she says. “Finally, I just went for it.”
Dani’s deep love and deep respect for nature have strongly influenced her soap making business which uses all-natural, earth-friendly ingredients. She also uses minimal, recyclable, reusable and compostable packaging (or no packaging at all) in her sales approach.
Today, Dani sells her soap and bath products to customers of all ages, though most of her clients tend to be women over the age of 40. The business also offers refillery services, including using eco-friendly containers so her customers can bring their empty bottles to be refilled at the shop.
“Everything excites me about where I have been and where I am headed,” shares Dani. “I love helping people and giving them solutions for their skin irritation concerns. I’m also thrilled about introducing the concept of the refillery since it’s the perfect way to promote my products and sustainability beliefs by allowing my customers to minimize the purchase of single-use plastics.”
Recently, Dani joined the 2023 WE-CAN Growth Stage Mastermind cohort. The WE-CAN Project currently serves 30+ women-identifying entrepreneurs in the greater Kingston and Quinte areas through one Growth Stage Mastermind and two Early Stage Masterminds. The current round of Masterminds is running from June 2023 until November 2023 to help participants expand their network and grow their business. The bi-weekly Masterminds allow participants to work through business challenges, give and receive peer feedback and be accountable to a designated group of other women entrepreneurs as they progress.
Of her experiences so far with the WE-CAN Project, Dani says her time "has been so positive and inspiring and helpful. I’m looking forward to the next stage with this wonderful program.”
To learn more about the WE-CAN Project, visit the WE-CAN page on the QPI website.