Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

October 21, 2008 23:59 ET

Lilli Pie Lotions Natural Spa creates a northern oasis - Rebecca Brauen wins BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Yukon

WHITEHORSE, Oct. 21 - Rebecca Brauen's thriving business,
Lilli Pie Lotions Natural Spa, was born of necessity. Forced to leave her job
when her young daughter, Lilli, needed time to heal from an early childhood
health condition, the single mother sought another source of income. A little
research led her to begin making her own natural skin care products. Since
then, Rebecca, 33, has transformed Lilli Pie into a flourishing full-service
day spa that features all of her own products. In recognition of her success,
Rebecca has won BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award for Yukon and will be honoured
tonight at a ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia.
"I did some research into products that had become popular-like shea and
cocoa butters-and began making my own in a garage," Rebecca explains.
Initially sold to a local salon and at craft shows, her products were soon
picked up by retail outlets in surrounding communities. Following the birth of
her second daughter, she took a job at a restaurant and then saved enough
money to consider starting her own business. She decided to take an
esthetician course to complement her products, and then opened a boutique in a
local mall in 2005. Three weeks into her lease, she realized the location was
completely wrong and decided to move, even though it would mean paying rent on
two places for a while. "I survived because failure just wasn't an option,"
she says.

Formula for success

Despite the start-up challenges, Rebecca was able to bring part-time
staff on board after just six months. She now has a team of five, including
three full-time estheticians and two assistants. "We established a great
reputation early on because I added perks and extras that people really
appreciate. It was tough in the beginning, but it really paid off in the long
run." From the start, Rebecca has been very active in the community. In
addition to providing gift certificates for every type of fundraiser, she
donates her time and products to local women's groups and others. "I show them
skin care recipes they can make at home with ingredients they already have in
the house; we'll make some on the spot so everyone can try them." Supporting
women in general is very important to Rebecca. "Self-care is a form of
empowerment. It says 'I'm worth it' to mothers and wives who can feel isolated
in an often thankless, under-valued role."
Today, with a sizeable clientele, the company has remained debt free.
Lilli Pie Lotions Natural Spa is the only business of its kind in the region
that makes and sells its own products, while providing a full range of
esthetic and spa services. Rebecca opened the full day spa this past summer,
with 2,000 square feet and four private treatment rooms. Clients can now enjoy
massage, body wrap and waxing services, on top of manicures, pedicures and
facials. Rebecca is looking into the possible addition of a hair salon and
also plans to take her Yukon Green specialty products across Canada. Yukon
green clay, extracted locally from the earth, is popular for its healing and
detoxifying properties. "We're going to promote my Yukon Green products in
small health food stores across the country," she says.
"Rebecca is a great example of entrepreneurial vision at work. Combining
determination, hard work and a sound strategy, she has transformed her ideas
into a highly successful business," says BDC President and CEO Jean-René
"This award is really a first for me," says Rebecca. "The recognition is
a great feeling. But I feel rewarded every day when I walk into work, and
every time a client leaves with a smile on their face."

Highlighting young leaders

BDC's Young Entrepreneur Awards are a highlight of Small Business Week.
They recognize the entrepreneurial spirit, and the business and leadership
accomplishments, of Canadians between the ages of 19 and 35. Winners from each
province and territory are selected by a panel based on the originality of
their business concept, success, growth potential and social involvement. The
panel also considers the entrepreneur's age when the business was started and
any special challenges that were overcome.

Small Business Week partners

Contributing to the success of this year's Small Business Week and Young
Entrepreneur Awards are the following national sponsors: Rogers, Western
Economic Diversification Canada and Export Development Canada. Privileged
partners are the Pan Canadian Community Futures Group and the Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, which has been a privileged partner of the event since 1981.

About BDC

BDC is Canada's business development bank. From 94 branches across the
country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing,
venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. BDC works with
entrepreneurs in all industries, through all economic cycles and focuses on
helping small and medium sized businesses in their development projects, local
and global. BDC manages a $10.6 billion loan and investment portfolio and
serves over 28,000 clients. Small and medium sized businesses make up 99.7% of
all employer businesses in Canada. Visit for more information.

Small Business Week is a registered trademark of BDC.

Contact Information

  • BDC Media Room: (604) 893-7343, 1-877-232-9321; After October 21: Johanne
    Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, (514) 283-7929