Every month, discover a Sherbrooke Company Profile…
R&D; design and production of hazel wood necklaces and bracelets; skin-care products made from hazel wood extract
- Created in: 2003
- Number of employees: 50
Being and remaining a pioneer and leader in its field is an amazing feat that Pure Hazelwood has kept repeating for over 15 years. The secret of its success lies with innovation driven by a desire to offer high-quality, effective wellness products for the entire family.
This path took the Sherbrooke-based company from a cottage-industry production based on traditional beliefs to standardized, scientifically tested production. To reflect this transition, Pure Hazelwood has just launched a new streamlined, modern image.
Pure Hazelwood’s research-and-development (R&D) department has put the company at the cutting edge of knowledge about the beaked hazel, a shrub that is indigenous to Québec.
Since 2011, Dr. Mariana Royer has supervised a unique research program in the department to account for the mechanism of action of hazel wood necklaces in contact with skin and to test the properties and bioactivity of hazel wood extracts.
Her work, in conjunction with Université Laval, has yielded preliminary results, specifically that hazel wood extracts contain high amounts of polyphenols, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects.
As a result, the company is continuing its biotechnology investigations in cooperation with independent research partners, which include TransBIOTech, a biotechnology research-and-transfer centre (CCTT).
“By gaining a better understanding of this raw material, its properties, and how bioactive compounds are transferred through the skin,” pointed out Dr. Royer, “we will be able to make our products even more effective and develop new ones, while still meeting the highest quality standards.”
Pure Hazelwood’s research activities are already attracting attention. The company was a finalist for the Prix Innovation Chimie verte 2013, an award for innovations in green chemistry presented by the Centre québécois de valorisation des biotechnologies (CVQB – Québec centre for biotechnology development).
Specialized Equipment Serving Quality
Its concern for quality led Pure Hazelwood to custom-design its own equipment, which, in turn, increased its productivity.
Hazelwood twigs are graded and listed according to very specific criteria. This elaborate grading system then allows employees to assemble necklaces and bracelets with greater consistency.
This is a major esthetic concern for the company, which also pays special attention to the beads, pearls, and stones it selects for its bracelets and necklaces. “Our ‘therapeutic’ jewelry collection has over 120 necklace and bracelet models, and we are constantly redesigning them to keep pace with fashion trends, so that all of our customers—babies, children, teenagers, and adults—can find something that appeals to them,” explained Geneviève Lagacé, Chief Executive Officer, who owns the company with her spouse Patrick Lafond.
Continuing to Stand Out
Pure Hazelwood has changed a lot since the couple made the first necklace for their daughter Sarah-Maude in 1997. Officially founded in 2003, this innovative company has continued to steadily grow as represented by the fact that it now has 50 employees and its sales volume has quadrupled in the last five years. Pure Hazelwood products are known and recognized, as is its spokesman, Marcel Leboeuf. Its products are retailed at over 2,000 points of sale in Canada and sold around the world through its Web site.
“In the next few months, we will be stepping up our sales efforts in the United States and Europe, where we have had points of sale for almost a year now, and the response is very positive,” stated Lagacé.
There has been at least one constant over the years: Pure Hazelwood has remained committed to being a leader in its field. After being the first to develop hazel wood necklaces and bracelets for children and adults and to scientifically study the species in Québec, Pure Hazelwood has now become the top supplier of hazel wood extract, a concentrated bioactive compound obtained from waste from the jewelry production process. This ecological development of the raw material has also enabled Pure Hazelwood to become the sole supplier of hazel wood skin-care products, such as its moisturizing lotion and zinc ointment, which have been approved by Health Canada.
The Resource and Safety First
The company also looks to the conservation of the hazel where it grows. In doing so, the company has instituted systematic harvesting methods used by trained harvesters during a specific window of time in the year, all in an effort to enhance the growth of these shrubs in the wild. “This is also how we make sure that we are harvesting the hazel twigs with the best properties,” pointed out Patrick Lafond, a forestry graduate.
The wire and fasteners used in the production of the necklaces and bracelets are also put through strength tests at accredited laboratories to make sure that the final product is safe for the entire family.
3551, rue King Est, Sherbrooke (Québec) J1G 5J4
819 791-0777 / 1 866 535-0148