Jessica Burman - Cocoon Apothecary & Malechemy

Jessica Burman - Cocoon Apothecary & Malechemy

portia-ella wouldn't exist without the visionaries behind our partner brands. These are women who saw something missing in the Canadian market and then found the courage and ambition to make it available. Or perhaps they had a dream to create something to call their own and change the course of life for themselves and their families. We are eager to champion them as individuals - powerful and full of passion. We are proud to offer their creations here at portia-ella; the largest selection of clean-beauty products in Canada.  

Today we meet Jessica Burman, founder and creative director of Cocoon Apothecary and Malechemy, alongside her husband, Lane. "At Cocoon Apothecary, we are passionate about empowering our customers to take control of their skincare routines. We believe that everyone deserves to feel confident in their own skin, and our products are designed to help achieve just that. Our team of skincare experts works tirelessly to formulate products that are gentle, effective, and tailored to different skin types and concerns."

about business

How long have you been an indie-beauty brand owner? 20 years 

What was the inspiration to start your brand? I wanted to create a clean, natural skincare line with the same textures as conventional products so that women wouldn’t have to compromise the quality of their experience in order to use healthier products.

What is your involvement in the creation of your products? I come up with a basic formula and my husband Lane perfects it. I do a lot of the research on the benefits and properties of the ingredients and Lane handles the process and stability of the formulas. In the case of Malechemy, Lane created the formulas but I had some input in the development.

Did everything go as planned as you began to build your business? What were some (positive and negative) surprises along the way? Overall everything has developed exactly how I wanted it to but it was a lot more painful than I expected it to be. There are many obstacles that have to be overcome as a business grows. I developed thick skin over time which serves me well. I learned how to trust the process.

Amid all the challenges of owning your own business, what motivates you to continue chasing your dream? I have no choice but to move forward but I am very encouraged by people who depend on our skincare products and let us know how much they love them. I could never let them down!

Do you have a “best moment” in your journey that you will never forget? A highlight experience or turning point that changed everything? We moved out of our home-based lab into a 5000 sq ft facility in 2014 and were able to buy machinery. Things really took off after that. Opening a spa in 2023 was also a pivotal moment for us and how we are developing as a brand.

Do you have any regrets along your journey? Something you would do differently if you could? I would have spent more on hiring experts from the get go.

about clean beauty

What does clean beauty mean to you? Clean means no petroleum chemicals within the formulas. We are an Ecocert Cosmos brand so we have a guarantee that our supply chain is ethical and sustainable.

Are there certain ingredients (used in the industry) that you can’t believe are still permitted for use in cosmetics? I think the fragrance industry is under regulated and that there are a lot of harmful chemicals that contribute to headaches and asthma and are very concerning for pregnancies. We need transparency and at this point we don’t have it because fragrance formulas are proprietary information.

Is there a star ingredient in your product range? As a brand that helps people with sensitive skin and rosacea, we use a lot of rosehip and rose ingredients in our skincare line.

What is your favorite product from your brand? I haven’t gone a day without Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream since I developed it in 2006. It is why I don’t have wrinkles at age 50.

Share your favorite clean beauty product you use regularly from another brand. Routine deodorant is a staple for me because they are masters with natural scent and it works! I love ‘Rock Star’.

about you

Describe a “day in your life”. Currently, I wake up, skin care, shower, ride my bike to the spa, open it and run around making beds, folding towels, making clients happy, making staff happy. Then I close the spa, go home and work on Cocoon Apothecary tasks, eat dinner, clean, collapse into bed.

Do you have any tips to maintain balance in your day-to-day? Any life hacks you would like to share? Taking it one day at a time and focusing on what is in front of me is important for staying grounded. Sometimes the solution isn’t right in front of me and I have to be ok with that because it will come at the right time. Doing the right thing always gets rewarded eventually.

What brings you joy – besides the brand you built? I love nature and growing things. My dream is to have a farm and distill my own essential oils and hydrosols which I do at a small scale already from my backyard. I also love animals so expect a hobby barn full of wayward animals. Life goals.

What occupies your free time? Or if you don’t have much free time, what do you imagine you would fill it with someday? I’m an aesthetic person so anything to make the world look more beautiful - gardening, interior design, painting. I love creating spaces.