Adri, Jess and Z as pirates, Montreal 2013.
Hello! I'm Jess, and Stark has been my passion (and job!) since 2011. I'm mama to my son Z., 2 elder Siamese cats, a bearded dragon named Nora and a PomChi puppy, Loki. I have always loved skincare and "making potions" since I was little, but Stark has grown as I have... in fact, incremental progress is the name of the game! Our formulas continue to evolve, as do our methods and supply chains, constantly re-evaluating how to do things better for the environment and for our customers.
From once basic kitchen-counter made creations to playful-yet-sophisticated formulas made in micro-batches by our lab, Stark gets better with age (just like you!).
How it began
Stark started back in 2011, when brand founders Jess and her husband Adri would walk along the canal in Montreal. Adri was finishing his PhD and Jess had quit her last “real job” in a high-paced fashion start-up due to her anxiety disorder. The long-walks became the catalyst to commit to her lifelong “top-secret-ambition” of designing her own all-natural but un-granola skincare line. Despite her fear of even saying her dream out loud, her future husband supported her idea 200% and she married him on the spot. ;)
During these business brainstorming walks, the two observed how the plants and animals thrived in this area of the city (particularly the tenacious Red-winged Blackbird) despite derelict factories, that Red Roses Farine place, beer breweries and new condos sprouting up like mushrooms, as well as the infamous extreme climate variations this part of Canada experiences throughout the year. The resiliency of this nature within the city inspired Jess to use this idea as the muse to create a skincare line that specifically helps the skin of urbanites adapt to their environment; be it pollution, too much sun or too much air-conditioning. Or you know... blasts of arctic air that freeze your eyelids shut.
How it’s made
Stark is both simple and sophisticated by combining old-world plant wisdom with modern cosmetic science. Every product is created by hand in small batches in a meticulously kept tiny lab, or by Jess herself. Stark uses resilient plants such as adaptogens and antioxidants to help skin function it’s best, by fortifying against external aggressors such as airborne VOCs, smoke, and pollution. Infusing herbs that help skin adapt better to its environment, using aromatherapy to ease and soothe the mind (and create an awesome, sensorial experience), and high-end, all-natural ingredients create synergistic formulas that create a joyful self-care moment, while making skin look freaking amazing (I mean, it’s all one could ever want, right??)
And since our products focus so much on the environment, we’re concerned about our own impact has a business. We modify our ingredients every few years to reflect the pressures the beauty industry imposes on the environment... making increasingly sustainable choices, instead of following trends.
Another thing you’ll notice about Stark is we have extremely minimal packaging. Nothing unnecessary in our boxes, making them gloriously lackluster when unboxing! ;) Who cares? The good stuff is inside the bottles! We continuously strive to create a brand that is more and more waste-free, a project that we explore constantly.
We also continuously improve our products without raising prices… something we can do by being a self-sustaining micro-business who relies solely on website sales! (No pressure… but I do rely on you! Please help spread the word about our brand!)