Satya Organics Creates Skin Care Products with Positive Impact

Victor Hugo Ramos
Patrice Mousseau leads Satya Organics, a British Columbia-based skin care company that is part of the Level program offered by B Lab U.S. & Canada.

This article is one in a series about business leaders in the Level program, now in its third year. Through the Level program, B Lab U.S. & Canada aims to support and partner with business leaders who are women of color to amplify their economic reach and community impact.

Patrice Mousseau started Satya Organics out of a real need that has evolved into a mission to help others lead better lives. When her baby daughter girl, Esme, was suffering from eczema, the doctor prescribed a topical steroid. But Mousseau knew there had to be a better solution. She used her research skills as a broadcast journalism to examine existing medical research, traditional medicine, and university studies. Soon, she was experimenting in her kitchen crockpot. She eventually developed a botanical-based, anti-inflammatory balm that cleared Esme’s eczema in just two days.

Satya Organics has grown from its start in Patrice Mousseau’s kitchen to be on shelves in hundreds of stores across Canada.

Mousseau saw potential for the balm beyond her Vancouver kitchen to help the 15% of adults and more than 20% of children with eczema. “Satya is growing and building an international brand to address a worldwide problem,” she says. Now, Satya Organics products are available in hundreds of stores across Canada. They recently became available online to U.S. customers and are exported to Hong Kong.

For Mousseau, the company’s positive social and environmental impact is just as important as the product’s success. “My legacy for the company is to show other companies that they can have high standards,” she says. In addition to pursuing B Corp Certification through the Level program, Satya Organics has Leaping Bunny certification for products that are not tested on animals. Other third-party verifications include plastic-neutral from Plastic Bank and carbon-neutral with Great Bear Rainforest. “All our packaging is compostable, recyclable, or refillable and we have plastic-free samples,” she says.

From the start of Satya Organics, Mousseau prioritized positive impact and says more companies should do the same. “I am a very small company. I’m operating this from my home, basically. And if I am able to achieve B Corp Certification and do all the things I’m doing with the packaging and the innovations and the initiatives, any company should be able to do this. They need to be stepping up.”

She also hopes that Satya Organics creates positive impact for future generations, including her daughter Esme — the inspiration for her business. “Because she sees her mother doing these things, that means so much to me — that she feels limitless in her opportunities and bold in her conversations with other people, boys in the schoolyard, and men as she grows older,” Mousseau says. “She is never going to feel limited by her sex. It’s for her to feel powerful.”

The Satya Organics line has expanded from its original balm to include a variety of skin care products.

In the Q&A that follows, Mousseau shares more about her journey as an entrepreneur, the importance of becoming a B Corp, and how to support her community.

We want to first acknowledge the impacts of the recent Canadian wildfires. Can you share a little about what is going on in the communities you interact with and if/how people can assist?

Mousseau: It started months ago, at the beginning of the wildfire season. We did a fundraiser for the K’atl’odeeche First Nation, with donated products from Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses to use as prizes for donors. For the Northwest Territories right now, it’s just kind of a disaster, and we’re waiting to see where it is that we’re going to be able to help. Because the problem has become so much bigger than the beginning of the wildfire season. In fact, the woman that I was coordinating this with, who lived in a neighboring community, has been evacuated as well. We’ll find out where we can best serve, and then we will let people know if there’s a way that they can support these communities moving forward.

Satya Organics was started because your daughter had eczema. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey and any hurdles you might have as an Indigenous entrepreneur?

I started this without ever having a business. My background is not in business; it’s in broadcast journalism, radio, and television. I was a single mom, and had no assets to borrow against. Who would lend me money, right? I had no collateral. Not to mention the fact that being a woman of color, an Indigenous woman, it’s not exactly who people are running out to lend money to anyway.

Through certain groups and organizations, I was able to access small grants to start. I used my first grant to buy a bigger crockpot so I could produce more. When I started, I’d be putting my daughter down and working at night. Then I was able to access other programs and other grants as well. You just kind of find a way, and a lot of that has to do with the community. There’s no way that I could have succeeded without being in the community, just for this support.

They always talk about the old boys’ network and how it makes things that much easier for them, which it absolutely does. But we have the ability to build our own networks through community and be supportive of each other, because it’s a very lonely road. You can not do it without community.

You have a lot of commitments within and beyond Satya Organics. What was compelling for you to dedicate the resources to the process of becoming a B Corp?

I’ve wanted to become a B Corp for years. In fact, we tried to get our B Corp Certification by hiring a student, trying to do it ourselves and it was just way too hard. Without the Level program and getting a consultant to go through this process with us, there was just no way that this ever would have happened.

I have friends of mine, companies that I look up to that are B Corp Certified. And I’ve always wanted to, as I’ve always put it, grow up to be a B Corp. And we’re finally doing this process, which is incredible. I’m so excited about the fact that this program exists, because the reality is that unless you make it accessible for People of Color and Indigenous people, you’re going to have a very monochromatic B Corp community.

And the fact is that the B Corp community has a lot to learn from us. Giving back and being responsible to everyone other than ourselves is inherently baked into who we are, our community, our planet, and our families. These are things that we think about and where B Corp has gaps. And we are going to be able to show them those gaps and help them to fill them. I don’t mean just by us showing up and saying, “Oh, look, we’re doing this!” We’re actually going to make your systems better.

Learning more about your day-to-day work, I would imagine the B Impact Assessment reaffirmed a lot of what you are already doing. Is that the case? What’s the legacy you want to leave behind?

There were things we’ve never tracked, and a lot of what we do. So the process has been great in bringing a focus on what we were already doing. In addition, there were things that we had never formalized, like our staff policies. So that was good to nail down. We were doing everything we needed already to become certified, but it was a great process for clarity. I’m very proud that we’re going to be able to say that we are B Corp Certified. It is a gold standard, and it helps people to understand what it is that we do.

B The Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.

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