The Advisor

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Karen Dewling: 2019 Trendsetter Award


Karen felt stifled in traditional work settings. As someone who came from a family of entrepreneurs, she wanted the freedom to break away from traditional work environments and do something creative, so in 2016 she and her husband created East Coast Glow, an iceberg water cosmetics business in Bonavista.


East Coast Glow offers cosmetic products made from wild ingredients that the team ethically forages along the coast and in the ocean. These products are available for sale at the studio in Bonavista, are shipped to wholesalers across Canada, and can be purchased through the company website.


Karen draws inspiration from a variety of sources. Her mother started a business when Karen was young, Karen says, “and that really played a role in my decision to take the leap to leave the corporate world and venture out into the unknown.” Nature is clearly a major inspiration, not only as an idea but as a direct source of ingredients for the company’s product line. After a chance meeting with a kind Inuit elder in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, who told Karen she had that “east coast glow,” Karen resolved to build a business that would create connections between people and the wild.


The exciting part of entrepreneurship, Karen says, is that it offers something different from the daily grind and really puts you in the driver’s seat of your own life. “This is both incredibly exhilarating and terrifying—all at the same time!”


One key to Karen’s success, she feels, has been learning how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. An introvert by nature, she has always sought the solitude of a forest hike or a good creative project. Karen’s husband and business partner is more extroverted than she is, so they complement each other’s personality quirks. He pushes her to do the hard things, when sometimes she just wants to retreat to the production studio. Another key is determination: “When I first started this company as a sole proprietorship in 2010, I was learning how to make soap in my kitchen with my baby daughter strapped into a bouncy chair, watching me trying to figure it all out. I feel very proud to have been able to set an early example for my children that hard work and being passionate about what you do leads to success.”


That determination is paying off for Karen and her partner as they look forward to growth and change in the coming months. An environmental focus that moves farther away from plastics and packaging, a redesigned brand, and a bigger facility are all in the works: the future looks glowing at East Coast Glow.

Trendsetter recognizes an entrepreneur who owns and operates a successful business that employs innovation and original thinking in both its operational and promotional activities. This entrepreneur's business stands out from others in its industry for setting trends and turning traditional ideas on their heads. Supported by NLOWE

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