6 Canadian Founders Who Are the Definition of Turning Inspiration into Innovation

The inspiration for product innovation comes from many different places. Sometimes, it’s a lifestyle change that necessitates new needs that aren’t being met with existing products. Other times, it’s a longing to do and be better, with a focus on personal, societal, or environmental goals.

In every case, successful product innovation is the result of identifying a consumer need, understanding the pain points and desired benefits, and conducting well-designed concept tests. When each step is given the necessary time and attention, a successful end product is the result.

Here are just a few innovation stories to help inspire your journey of new product development.

Choose Life Foods: What happens when you and your siblings grew up loving Jamaican patties, but you transition to a plant-based diet? Toronto’s Carolyn Simon discovered that there were no great tasting vegan alternatives available on the market that truly reminded her of the treat she was raised on. Her penchant for making her own patties was discovered by family and friends who assured her other people were experiencing the same pain point. Her home cooking eventually turned into Choose Life Foods. Keeping in mind current consumer trends, she takes care to use organic, non-GMO, sustainable, fair-trade ingredients.

SELFISH Swimwear: You’ve seen the photos of turtles, dolphins, and whales tangled and dying in fishing line. You’ve probably even wondered what you can do about it. Naomie Caron turned that pain point into a solution with her SELFISH Swimwear company. Again reflecting consumer desires for sustainability and eco-friendly business practices, her business recovers products such as fishing nets and old carpets, and converts them into a new type of yarn perfect for swimwear. The end result is beautifully styled, beautifully coloured, and environmentally responsible swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes.

Ellie Bianca: What happens when you witness gender inequality and decide that you can be the person who creates change and betters the lives of many? You start your own company. For Evelyne Nyairo, an environmental scientist and chemist, that company is Ellie Bianca, an ethical, all-natural skin care line that uses organic oils and butters from women’s collectives in Africa and around the world. Her eco-friendly product helps to support the women who manually harvest and process the vital ingredients for her products.

MagnusCards: What happens when your sibling has cognitive special needs and you can see that they are unable to achieve the same levels of independence and inclusion that other people do? You create a company that encourages companies to make their products and services more accessible. When Nadia Hamilton was just a young child of 8 years, she saw that her autistic brother loved video games and their strategy guides. Based on that insight, MagnusCards provide detailed strategies to aid in the completion of personal tasks such as brushing teeth, making toast, or getting ready for bed. Because of her innovation, her brother and many other cognitive special needs people are able to better care for themselves.

Voluptuous Clothing: What happens when you’re a full-figure model for global brands and retailers and have experience as a child and youth care worker who understood the serious consequences of a negative body image? If you’re Angela Samuels, CEO and Founder of Voluptuous Clothing, you start your own business. She recognized a number of pain points that needed to be resolved, including creating designs that were flattering to the figure and featured bold and stylish design. She’s been instrumental in helping women meet both functional needs of clothing that fits well, and emotional needs of knowing they look amazing in those clothes.

KinkyCurlyYaki: What happens when you realize that so many women are damaging their hair by trying different weaves, wigs, and braids that don’t match in texture? Vivian Kaye decided to resolve that pain point by founding KinkyCurlyYaki. Vivian has always loved experimental with new styles and wanted to use textures that were versatile, easy to maintain and, most of all, looked like her own hair.

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