Triple J’s owner Jordi Mikeli-Jones, left, and manager Keighlan Gustus, pose for a photo behind the counter of the new Art and Apparel store in Whitehorse on Nov. 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Triple J’s expands offerings with new skin care line

The products feature Canadian ingredients and environmentally-friendly packaging

A Whitehorse brand that’s become synonymous with tattoos and cannabis is branching out into another field — skin care.

Triple J’s launched its own line of in-house-made personal care products in November in the boutique space next to its downtown cannabis store, an addition that owner Jordi Mikeli-Jones said is “one of the things we’re most proud of.”

“I think we’re paying tribute to our brand, which is by Yukoners for Yukoners,” she said at an interview at the boutique on Nov. 27.

“We really wanted to develop something that was modern, minimalist, handmade with love, small-batch.”

Current offerings include muscle rubs, lip balms, beard oils, salt soaks, bath bombs and salves, with plans to add sugar and salt scrubs, soaps and, potentially, DIY kits for customers to create their own products.

The products do not contain any cannabis.

Mikeli-Jones said that while she’s had “a vision, a hope” for years now to create a line of cannabis-infused topicals, legislation would require her to obtain a processor’s licence, putting that dream on hold.

However, as luck would have it, Triple J’s manager Keighlan Gustus had previously worked for another business hand-making skin care products, and during a brainstorming session one day, suggested Triple J’s should launch one, too.

“It was really one of those, we were spitballing … and I said, ‘We should do skin care,’” Gustus recalled. “And (Mikeli-Jones) was like, ‘I’ve been dreaming of doing skin care’ and suddenly we were doing skin care.”

Gustus, who also has a certificate in aroma therapy, has been leading the product-creation effort, formulating concoctions in a lab set up in the building’s basement with the help of a few assistants. One of her biggest objectives, she said, is only using Canadian ingredients that are “sustainably and ethically sourced.”

“We’re not going to go our of our way to use an essential oil that perhaps isn’t sustainably harvested right now, or from a source that isn’t sustainably harvesting,” Gustus said, explaining that, for example, Triple J’s isn’t using black spruce essential oil because the trees are “basically clear-cut through B.C. forests.”

Instead, products that needed a spritz of spruce have blue spruce in them instead, which Gustus said is harvested more sustainably, and the spruce tips used in one of the bath salts were picked locally.

The ingredients and creation process aren’t the only things that are hyper-local — the names for different formulas, of which there are currently 15 across the entire line, are distinctly Yukon, too.

Among them are tombstone (“soothe your vast crevices, tend to your rugged peaks”), gold rush (“forge on, there is passion in your heart and gold on your mind”) and grizzly nectar (“don’t feed the bears please, they have their own nectars”).

The chinook salt soak (“the adventure is treacherous, but the glory will be worth its weight in gold”), which contains juniper, rosemary, eucalyptus and bergamot, was designed with Mikeli-Jones specifically in mind.

Both Gustus and Mikeli-Jones said that ensuring that the products’ packaging was as environmentally-friendly as possible was a priority, too.

“I think it’s very important to note how much effort we have put, and money, into ensuring our packaging is eco-friendly, and I know that’s a term used so often but it’s really the essence of who we are… We want to minimize the footprint we’re leaving on our environment,” Mikeli-Jones said.

“As a business owner, as a manager, as an animal lover, as a parent, I mean, we have to be mindful of what the state of our world is in, so we stayed away from plastic as much as humanely possible.”

Every product comes in a container that’s recyclable or reusable — glass bottles with wooden corks for the body rubs, cardboard tubes for the lip balms, and tins for the salves. The only plastic items in the entire line are the droppers from the beard oils, which Gustus said she unsuccessfully tried to find alternatives for.

Gustus and Mikeli-Jones acknowledged that Triple J’s is entering a somewhat saturated market, with several other local businesses also offering locally-made soaps and body oils.

However, they said they think they their focus on sourcing ethically and sustainably as well as being eco-conscious makes them stand out from the rest.

“This is not a money-making initiative, this is just … a fusion of our passions,” Mikeli-Jones said.

“We think there’s a niche market for what we’re doing.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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