When Childhood Dreams Become a Reality: Meet Andrea Gomez and Rachelle Séguin, Founders of Omy Laboratoires
These 2022 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Start-Up Award recipients are changing their industry
By Sarah Cassidy
Omy Laboratoires co-founders Andrea Gomez and Rachelle Séguin have always dreamt of building a company that can change peoples’ lives, while positively impacting the planet.
For both women, their passion for the beauty industry started early.
Originally from Barranquilla, Columbia, Andrea Gomez immigrated to Quebec with her family when she was 17 years old. Unfamiliar with the language and culture, Andrea had to adapt to her new environment. Dealing with her own skin issues growing up, she could not find dermocosmetic products that were suitable for her skin. She saw the need for suitable products for people dealing with acne and other skin sensitivities at the same time. While Andrea always dreamed of working for a big cosmetics company, she decided she wanted to create her own product that would meet the specific needs of people with skin sensitivities.
As a child making her own perfume recipes from flowers she picked, Rachelle Séguin dreamed of having her own cosmetics company or becoming a chemist in the beauty industry. She was fascinated by cosmetic formulations, reading every label and researching ingredients, questioning why certain ingredients were still allowed to be used in makeup and skincare products. Inspired by science’s ability to improve the efficacy of skincare, she worked in the active ingredients industry to develop new ingredients to use in cosmetics.
Through her work with active ingredients, Rachelle realized how many commonly used ingredients are both bad for the planet and for the people using them. She also became very aware of exploitative marketing schemes some cosmetic companies used. For example, many cosmetic companies sell products to the older population who may have more money, selling “anti-aging” creams for $200, which are made up of the same ingredients as a $20 cream marketed to adolescents. Men’s skincare products are often much cheaper than women’s products, based on the assumption that women are willing to spend more money on skincare. Armed with this information, Rachelle made it a personal mission to make better products for the planet and people.
Andrea and Rachelle met while they were both working at Shoppers Drug Mart as part-time cosmeticians. With Andrea’s background in business administration, project management, a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Human Resources, and her MBA combined with Rachelle’s credentials in science, a Bachelor’s degree in cosmeceutical chemistry and a Master’s degree in pharmaceutical science, they used their complementary skill sets and shared vision of disrupting the cosmetics industry to found Omy Laboratoires.
Treating skincare as a science, combined with their shared passion for helping people with multiple skin issues and sensitivities, Omy Laboratoires was built on Andrea and Rachelle’s desire to democratize beauty and find the right product for the right person the first time. Rather than buying one product for one aspect of skincare, they developed products that would treat multiple concerns at once, at the same price point for everyone.
Omy Laboratoires is the first skincare line to produce completely customizable products, unique to each person. To customize your skincare routine, you can either take a quiz, book a phone or video consultation with one of Omy’s skincare experts, or complete an AI skincare analysis by simply taking a selfie. In addition, Omy is committed to freshness: customized products are made just before shipment to ensure the effectiveness and vitality of the product.
With Omy’s ethos based in the combination of pharmaceutical science and personalized beauty, and their motto of “no compromise beauty,” Omy products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and made with over 95% natural and organic ingredients. With their research labs and manufacturing operations situated in-house as well, Omy is able to control the quality of their products.
Andrea and Rachelle’s mission with Omy Laboratoires is to create the most holistic and effective skincare products that evolve with each customer along their unique life journey. Their goal is to not only improve customer confidence, but also comfort. Many people who experience skin sensitivities, are pregnant, postpartum, or are going through treatments such as hormonal therapy or chemotherapy cannot use products sold in cosmetic stores because of the changes their skin is going through. In order to truly evolve a customer’s skincare products with their needs, Omy skincare experts are available every day of the week. They will build a unique formulation for you and your needs, provide follow-up support, and will update your formulation to meet your needs as your skin changes.
“Caring is our main value. From scientist to skin expert, from manufacturer to shipping handler — we care about how our customers feel. We always try to have a caring process in who we are as a company.”
Being a caring company is at the core of Omy’s values, as their products can impact their consumers’ lives and daily comfort. Omy also focuses on innovation and excellency, creating innovative products while committing to the highest standards and expectations in their products and individualized customer service to implement change in the beauty industry.
As the recipients of the 2022 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Start-Up Award, Andrea and Rachelle would advise aspiring entrepreneurs to trust in their goals and the process of continuous learning.
“There can be a lot of fear around finances when deciding to start a business. But if you believe in yourself and your mission, trust yourself and go for it! You will be proud of what you will accomplish.”
Andrea and Rachelle are also passionate about giving back to their community, with percentages of Omy’s profits going towards supporting organizations such as YWCA Quebec, Egale Canada, and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. Working towards their B Corp certification, Omy is set to launch their refillable skincare products this summer, and they also have plans to change all of their packaging to sustainable packaging.
Andrea and Rachelle also recognize the importance of setting examples and being role models for the next generation of women leaders and entrepreneurs. They make a point of going to schools and conferences where they can talk to, inspire, and provide mentorship to the younger generation of women.
“The more women leaders we have, the more change we will be able to enact in the future.”