IMPACT! Alumnus Moves

Stephanie Brown has recently launched a new social enterprise built around an understanding of core environmental & social operating principles that she learned at the 2012 IMPACT! Sustainability Champions Training in Ottawa. Congratulations Stephanie!


From the Ground Up: The Story of Sweet Pea Essentials

Sweet Pea Essentials provides handcrafted, all-natural soaps for infants and children. 

A budding entrepreneur from an early age, Stephanie Brown juggled multiple babysitting jobs for local families while pursuing her undergraduate degree. One of the toughest challenges she faced was keeping children excited about personal hygiene. More often than not, requests to wash hands before dinner or take a bath before bedtime were met with reluctance. There had to be a better way to make kids excited about cleaning up!

The idea for Sweet Pea Essentials came to Stephanie after working as a Canadian International Development Agency intern in Ghana, where she supported the business expansion of a local women’s shea butter cooperative. Working alongside the women to make shea butter and soap marked the highlight of her experience. She was struck by just how natural the soap was; the shea nuts were picked from trees, then kneaded by hand, and finally transformed into the butter used in soap.

More importantly, Stephanie interviewed the women and learned the far-reaching effects that earnings from shea butter had. The income generated from their work allowed the women to, among other things, build homes for their families, send their children to school, and invest in more nutritional foods. In this way, the women’s entrepreneurial spirit was empowering and driving the local community in a real and sustainable way.

When she returned home to Ottawa, Stephanie recognized that a growing number of her generation were concerned with global issues like international development and environmental sustainability. As more and more of them were having children, they were looking to integrate their values into their parenting. It was with this in mind that Stephanie launched Sweet Pea Essentials: a business using nourishing, plant-based ingredients to produce soap products that children can enjoy and parents can appreciate. Additional training and mentorship provided by The Natural Step Canada’s IMPACT! Sustainability Champions training program assists her in keeping social and environmental sustainability principles at the core of her social venture. 

Sold in fun shapes, sizes and colours, Sweet Pea Essentials soaps offer parents a practical and eco-friendly way to keep their children clean and entertained while bathing. Moreover, the shea butter used for the soap is sourced directly from Ghana allowing Sweet Pea Essentials, and its customers, to support the livelihoods of Ghanaian shea butter producers.

Moving forward, Sweet Pea Essentials is looking to expand its soap set collections and add a line of bath books, all the while continuing to integrate social and environmental goals into its core mission.

Business Owner: Stephanie Brown

This fall, The Natural Step Canada has partnered with The Otesha Project, HUB Ottawa, and the Centre for Innovative Social Enterprise Development to deliver an amped up extended program including a bike tour, extra business plan coaching, and a coworking membership at HUB. Don’t miss this opportunity to get your project off to an accelerated start!

Applications are due September 15th for the Ottawa training, and October 27th for the Guelph training. Check it out.