1840 Journal

Meet the artisans, discover their expertise, and share their passion.

Creators

Cheer the body and mind.

For Catherine Therriault, everything started as a youthful adventure that eventually materialized into an explosive, innovative, and successful business. The bubbly founder isn’t formal about it. “At Les Pétards, we offer ecological products that smell good and are fun,” she says.

When the project came to life in 2013, it felt like a completely different era. “Five years ago, ecological products were for hippies,” she remembers. “There wasn’t an interest for natural products like what we see these days.” The creator opted to put a playful spin on things to get the word out. “So that’s what Les Pétards have always been about: putting an ecological product in the hands of someone who isn’t necessarily interested in natural products,” she explains. It’s this quest, as she calls it, that motivates her. “It’s what I like, actually. Reaching people who aren’t already enamored with the product.” Throughout this journey, Les Pétards are concerned with offering a product that is respectful of the environment. “The consumer has no work to put in!” Catherine notes.

Les Pétards offer a bit of everything. “My customers aren’t just eco-friendly, they’re also folks who like to have fun in the shower, who like the packaging and the smell, and who want a complete experience.” The playful products are indeed presented in attractive and colourful packaging and they have funny names, thought up by Catherine herself. “I have lots of fun!” she says enthusiastically. “It’s something I love doing, and it comes pretty easily to me.”

Each product is created with care and respect for the environment, even down to the smallest detail. The packaging and tubes are made of recyclable plastic and everything is Quebec-made, even the labels. All materials are biodegradable and eco-friendly.

“I do a ton of research every time I look for a new ingredient to know its impact on the environment,” the creator explains. Les Pétards offers products that are between 98% and 100% natural.

The only compromise is fragrance, which is concocted with the help of essential oils. “The product is excellent, but the customer buys it because they think it smells good,” the entrepreneur explains. This challenge pushes her to find new avenues that curious and locally-conscious consumers can explore. 

As Catherine explains, the type of work needed in the cosmetics business varies greatly from step to step. “In manufacturing, it’s a man’s world,” she explains. “There’s a lot of heavy lifting. It’s a very physical job and not very glamorous,” she says. “We wear steel-toed boots, a smock, and a hairnet. We work hard and we sweat because it’s so intense,” the creator stresses. This is in stark contrast to the extremely polished final product that results later.

“I’m really passionate about cosmetic chemistry. It’s super stimulating,” Catherine says. This aspect of production speaks to her intellectual side, all the while being able to spark her creativity. Contrary to traditional soap-making, experimentation is a big part of Les Pétards. “I like tradition, but I also like going a bit crazy with it,” she says. “I develop things quite differently. I use very technical materials, which helps create an ecological product with surprising textures,” she explains. “My working method is similar to cooking. There’s a creative side that I like, of not looking at what already exists. It’s all about getting to the final product that’s in my head using chemistry, tradition, and everything that's been done before,” she explains passionately. Cooking, technique, chemistry, marketing, and branding are all sides of the project that captivate the inventor. “Catherine is Les Pétards,” she exclaims. “It’s truly a part of me.”

 

While she’s always been interested in skincare, it’s during her studies that the idea for Les Pétards was planted in her mind. She spent three years developing the concept and putting together recipes. Only months after getting her diploma in fashion marketing, Les Pétards came to fruition in September of 2015. Catherine was 21. “I tested lots of things to figure out what Les Pétards would be, and what I wanted to do with it,” she explains. “Sometimes we have to try different things to find what we like, and we learn about ourselves through the process,” she confides. She ended up opening her laboratory and boutique on Montreal’s North Shore, an adventure that lasted two and a half years. “Les Pétards was a dream for me. I really saw it as a store. After two years, I just closed it in January because I realized that I don’t like running a boutique!”

During this pivotal year, the creator's plan is to return to her roots in the Eastern Townships where she’s from and begin a new exciting chapter in Les Pétards’ story.

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