#SPOTLIGHT: Province apothecary
Julie Clark sits across from me in a technician’s chair by the window. The sunlight is streaming through the shutters just enough to illuminate the blue glass bottles that sit atop the table she’s working on.
One is labeled “spirulina”, the other “pumpkin”. The face mask she’s mixing together into a paste is sea green - similar to the colour of her eyes. If you haven’t already seen Clark’s face pasted all over the likes of Flare or Beauty Independent, or read about her in Vogue, you might’ve heard that she’s the founder and owner of Province Apothecary - a natural, organic beauty product and skin care line for every body.
All photos by Anastasia Barbuzzi
Five years ago, Clark was working as a busy costume designer and stylist but was struggling with eczema and was drawn away from her career by holistic skin care. After changing paths to study aromatherapy and holistic health in Toronto, she started experimenting with different waxes, oils and herbs in her home that’s just down the street from where the Province Apothecary flagship store is now.
“My life kind of changed over the course of six months, and I was no longer the person I was when I first started,” said Clark, “I didn’t realize how out of touch I was with my body and how my body wanted to live.”
After recognizing the lifestyle changes she needed to make, she set out on her first mission: to make an eczema product that would help heal her own.
Three years of doing facials later and she had the answer.
“That experience of working one on one with someone was groundbreaking. I didn’t know how special it could be until I started doing it and then I just didn’t want to stop,” Clark said.
That’s when the idea came to her. She would blend only the best, organic ingredients together from every province, (hence the brand name), across Canada and continue to help transform people’s skin every day.
When Clark entered the green beauty business, she didn’t compromise on anything. She wanted to guarantee customers that they were buying into something they’d have to replace every six to eight months instead of every couple of weeks.
Not only is every Province Apothecary product good for your skin and the environment, all of them will do double duty. They’ll take off your makeup and cleanse your skin. They’ll be the only products you need to use only once or twice a day.
“We started using blue glass [bottles] so the products are protected because if we’re making the highest quality product, we need to protect it,” said Clark. “I was obssesed with what we could get in Canada. What’s grown close by? What farmer can I work with next? Who’s making maple syrup right now? Who’s making beeswax?"
“I want teenagers to be excited about green beauty and my mom too. For people who aren’t really into it right now, I can’t wait for them to discover it.” - Julie Clark
Province Apothecary has grown to be Toronto’s leading natural skincare brand and one of the most popular across North America, which demands more product out of Clark and her team. However, she continues to take this organic approach to her business.
“I don't pay much attention to the trends in the market, I pay more attention to what's needed,” Clark said. “I needed a cystic spot treatment for our clients and I couldn’t find one, so I made one.”
With such an explosion into the green beauty market you might be thinking: what’s next for Clark and Province Apothecary?
Well, Clark plans on keeping her brand’s home base in Downtown Toronto and hopes to start growing most of her own ingredients on the farmland that her and her partner recently bought in Grey County. She also plans on bringing Province Apothecary treatments and training into other spas and facilities across the country.
“I want teenagers to be excited about green beauty and my mom too,” said Clark. “For people who aren’t really into it right now, I can’t wait for them to discover it.”
To learn a little bit more about Province Apothecary, click here.