April MacKinnon lives and breathes natural living.But how she got here is a winding path.
April grew up in Sackville, New Brunswick, a small town of 5,000 people dreaming of big things elsewhere. A born creative, the family lore includes a story of April being delivered at birth holding a pencil in her hand. Creative hobbies abound in her life and include many fibre arts. A trip to Toronto at the age of three and shock of seeing skyscrapers for the first time and a later love of math led to a dream of becoming an architect.
Gardening played an important role in April’s childhood. Her grandparents grew enough food to provide for their large family over the long winter. Her own parents did the same. For several generations her mother’s family had been beef farmers, milking their cows and churning their own butter.
April was accepted into architecture school only to decide to become a civil engineer instead. A marriage, a career and a pregnancy later, April began learning about the ingredients in our personal care products and how their ingredients can affect our health and the environment.
A life-changing experience with the birth of her daughter and led to April leaving her career as an Engineer. She began using cloth diapers. Confronted with a lack of information and environmentally conscious options for babies in our region she began an online business that consisted of educating others and selling cloth diapers and other baby accessories from her home in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 2007 April had a second child and a growing cloth diaper business. She won the SavvyMom Mom Entrepreneur of the Year award for Atlantic Canada in 2008 and was giving monthly workshops in the community on cloth diapers and baby carriers. In 2009 the little diaper business became too big to remain home-based and a retail storefront was opened.
April acquired Anointment in 2009 at the same time she was opening the retail store. She was selling Anointment baby care products in her shop, knew the founder well and at risk of losing the popular Halifax Farmers’ Market line in her shop, purchased the business. Trained in soap making April was now raising two children, operating a retail store and spending evenings and weekends producing skin care products for her own shop and a handful of wholesale clients.
In 2010 as a result of her own birth experiences, April became a trained postpartum doula.
In 2011 April was expecting a third child and the call of the rural lifestyle she worked diligently to leave behind was calling louder. Longing to putter in a garden, keep chickens and raise their kids with the same subsistence lifestyle she had grown up with, she and her husband decided to let go of city life and continue their dream of living with simplicity and sustainability. The store was sold and they purchased a 150 year old Victorian farmhouse on the outskirts of Sackville, New Brunswick returning to her family roots.
In 2013 Anointment celebrated 10 years in business with a completely new look inspired by the weathered barns dotting the Tantramar Marshes and the farmhouse she calls home. Refocusing and rebranding has allowed Anointment to grow rapidly from 18 stores in 2011 to over 100 across Canada and the US. April was awarded Business of the Year (under 10 employees) by the Greater Sackville Chamber of Commerce. Anointment Herbal Clay Cleanser and Shea Butter Cream are currently in the running for a Clean Care Award and Baby Oil has been selected as a finalist in the Eco Choice awards at NY NOW (August 2014).
Ten Things You May Not Know About April:
- She doesn’t watch television.
- She always requests carrot cake and cream cheese frosting for her birthday.
- She loves to sew.
- She has learned to knit about six times and it never seems to “take”.
- Her family have a love of retired racing greyhounds and usually share our home with at least one.
- Her childhood nickname is “Apes”. No one calls her that anymore.
- She is left-handed.
- Spontaneous dance parties erupt in her kitchen regularly.
- She has a goal to one day write a book.
- She doesn’t like driving.
- Bonus: We are now raising Indian Runner ducks and are completely in love with them and their silly antics!