Chalk up another victory for the happy accident.
The business: Remay
Established: January 2012
Owner: Nick May
The product: A foamless, water-activated women's shaving cream turned into a solid designed to help speed the leg, underarm and bikini area shaving process.
Laurels: 2012 National Nicol Entrepreneurial Award regional champion; 2012 Dragon's Den Student Pitch Competition winner; 2013 Student Entrepreneur National Champion at the Enactus Canada Competition; 2013 Ontario Business Achievement Awards, Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist; 2013 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, Canadian representative.
Availability: Online and at select Pharmasave, IDA, and Rexall locations.
Like the discovery of radiation or the creation of vulcanized rubber, Nick May's contribution to the battle against body hair sprung from a slip of the hand.
"Shaving cream's messy," says May. "If you're using it in the shower it flings off you or gets too thick, it clogs up razor blades and often contains harmful chemicals. So I decided to make it myself."
Putting his chemistry chops to the test, May was mixing up a test batch in his kitchen one night, when he accidentally dropped the base ingredients of what might have been the "most amazing shaving cream in the world" into a dish of hot oil.
"The powder sunk to the bottom," he recalls, "so I scooped it out of the dish with a spoon and left it by the kitchen sink."
Later that evening, while doing the dishes, he looked more closely at the nugget that had hardened on the spoon.
"I'd figured out how to harden my shaving cream," he says with a laugh. "That was the big aha moment – a mistake!"
May's creation – a paraben-free, foamless, water-activated shaving gel that allows a blade to slide effortlessly over the skin without the mess associated with creams or moisturizers – is packaged in a kind of deodorant stick: women looking for smooth legs, underarms or tidied up bikini areas just roll it onto moist skin and follow with a razor blade for a quick, clean shave.
Remay's gross revenues have grown 200% in the first half of 2013. He's been showered with entrepreneurial awards. And he's done it all by the age of 25.
The product, Remay Vanilla Shower Time, is still patent pending, but has already garnered considerable attention in the shaving lotion and creams market, an industry that Global Industry Analysts, an international market research firm, projects to be valued at $7.9-billion annually by 2018.
Since he formally entered the market in early 2012, May has secured national distribution for his shaving gel, which sells for $9.99, through some 70 Rexall, Pharmasave and IDA locations. Compared with the last quarter of 2012, Remay's gross revenues have grown 200% in the first half of 2013. He's been showered with entrepreneurial awards. And he's done it all by the age of 25.
A former full-time motocross racer, May returned to school at 22 to finish up university requirement courses, with a focus on chemistry. His obsession with creating the perfect shaving substance followed him to Ottawa's Carleton University, where he perfected and started marketing his formula in first year, while enrolled full-time.
"I got it into the school store, then went to the school paper and got a story done on it," he recalls. "Then local radio stations and the city newspaper picked up on it and it just started to snowball from there."
He hustled to get other local stores to carry his wares, providing them with freshly repainted point-of-purchase displays that he'd salvaged from behind a Shoppers Drug Mart. "I told the manager it was for a school project," he says with a laugh. He shopped his solid shaving cream around at The National Women's Show, a consumer event in Ottawa where he met the distribution partner who'd help him land Remay in Canadian pharmacies. When it came time to step up and invest in product inventory, May had to sacrifice one his life's great loves – his motorcycle.
"That was my big risk," he says. "I'd just gotten my professional license after 13 years in motocross and I had to sell [the bike] to buy inventory."
Monies also flowed into his new company, Remay, from prizes awarded to young entrepreneurs – this spring, May became the Student Entrepreneur National Champion at the Enactus Canada Competition, taking home a $10,000 prize (which he rolled back in the business), making him the Canadian representative at Enactus's Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Washington, D.C. in November. All told, he figures he's collected some $60,000 in prize monies for his entrepreneurial work since 2012, all of which he's reinvested in Remay.
Now, with a national Dragon's Den appearance under his belt – where he asked for $50,000 for a 25 per cent stake in the company and assistance with licensing – he's hoping to enter the international market and continue to grow his shaving product and personal grooming line. He's temporarily stepped away from his studies to manage the business. And he's hoping the words of Kevin O'Leary prove to be prophetic.
"When I entered the student pitch competition for Dragon's Den, I won," he says. "It was validation for my idea, and Kevin came up to me and shook my hand and said ‘we're going to make a lot of money with this.' "
With that kind of entrepreneurial encouragement, only time will tell. For Nick May, success could come more smoothly than he ever thought possible.
Arlene Dickinson Enterprises is proud to include Remay in our investment portfolio