Nova Scotia·OWNING IT

This Halifax fragrance company hopes to inspire other girls and women of colour

In our new series Owning It, we check in with entrepreneurs across Nova Scotia. Ariel Gough and Edwina Govindsamy own Bailly Fragrance in Halifax.

‘Hopefully they’ll be able to look at our journey … and see themselves’

Edwina Govindsamy, left, and Ariel Gough started Bailly Fragrance in 2018. (Claire Fraser for CBC)

What's it like to be an entrepreneur in Nova Scotia right now? We emailed the same list of questions to a number of different businesses. In our series Owning It, we're sharing their thoughts on everything from morning routines and core values, to backup plans. 

Video series produced by Amy Grace and Claire Fraser for CBC (filmed in November). Graphics by Bria Miller. 

Name: Ariel Gough & Edwina Govindsamy
Business name & location: Bailly Fragrance, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Describe your business in one sentence: We make fragrances made for sensitive noses and skin.
When did you start your business: 2018

Q: What's one thing that really helped you start up this business?

A: Meeting each other helped us to start Bailly. We are both entrepreneurial at heart and had lots of ideas, but neither of us ever pursued them. When we met each other, we immediately knew we wanted to start a business together. We met consistently to brainstorm ideas and when we came up with one that we were both passionate about, we went for it.

What are your core values? 

Bailly's core values are authenticity, impact and empowerment. 

How has your business plan transformed during COVID? 

We were fortunate that our customers are accustomed to purchasing via our online store, so COVID-19 pushed us to double down on our digital strategy. The pandemic also provided us with the opportunity to slow down and give more thought to various parts of our business that we have been meaning to re-evaluate, such as manufacturing and supply chain management. 

How will you know when your business is sustainable?

We will know that our business is sustainable when [we] are meeting our financial goals, minimizing our environmental footprint and having a positive social impact.

What will that mean to you? 

It will mean that we have managed to build a values-based business.

What is one thing you try to do each morning to start your day?

Go for a walk.

What's one thing you try to do every night?

Our skin care routine.

Govindsamy and Gough say they are both entrepreneurs at heart. (Amy Grace for CBC)

What local business do you look up to?

We admire everything that Sheena Russell is doing with Made With Local [snack bars]. Building a consumer-packaged goods business isn't easy and there are so many moving parts that you have to navigate, but Sheena has managed to build a successful business with a large retail presence that also has a significant social impact. She is incredible.

What's the best piece of financial advice you've ever received?

"Money should do work for you."

If your journey as an entrepreneur was a road, what would it look like?

A road that is full of twists and turns with low valleys and steep hills along the way.

What's your backup plan?

We are always brainstorming ideas for new businesses that we could start.

At the end of the day, what are you most proud of?

We are most proud of how far we've come with Bailly. To not only get started but have a business that has been featured in national and international publications with so much more to come is unbelievable to us. We want to be an example to other women, especially women of colour, who may be thinking about starting a business. 

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.