Kym Rempel is the owner and creator of Anto Yukon, a bath and body company unique to the Yukon. Her products are made from all-natural ingredients that are locally collected, processed and produced in small batches in her studio.
“Soap is definitely the biggest seller,” explained Rempel. Anto Yukon’s all-natural and vegan products, made with natural clay, have been a huge success not only in the Yukon, but also in other Canadian locations. Rempel also produces essential oils, some made specifically for muscle pain and arthritis, as well as muscle and facial rubs and bath salts.
“The thing that has really kept me going is that I fell in love with essential oils and scent creation, and I really enjoy coming up with exciting and new combinations.”
Rempel started making soap in 2013 after her mom had signed her up for a fun soap-making class. After she finished school, Rempel moved to the Yukon and continued to pursue soap-making on the side. She then started to sell her soaps in local shops, such as Aroma Borealis and the Collective Good. With a background in resource management and GIS mapping, Rempel worked in government for a while. This experience also influenced her soap-making and eventually she decided to focus on her creative work full-time—just about to complete a second season—based out of her store in Carcross.
As she progressed in making soap and started to sell more products, Rempel was stuck when trying to find a name for her franchise. Where did the name Anto Yukon come from? many might wonder.
Rempel had quite the explanation: “I couldn’t come up with a name,” she laughed, “so a friend of mine told me everyone loves their dog … name your company after your dog, and that’s what I did!” The name stuck and, eventually, once her company started to take off more, she decided to add Yukon to “Anto,” naming her soap and oil franchise Anto Yukon.
Rempel draws her inspiration from some of her favourite Canadian landscapes, and as an avid traveller she has explored many exceptional places. “Every soap relates to its name in some way or another,” she explained. Fox Lake soap includes fireweed, which has covered the Fox Lake landscape since a massive forest fire burned through it in 1998. Miles Canyon contains juniper and sage, which are native to the area. Dawson City soap is blackened with activated charcoal and includes a line of gold mica through it, hinting at the Klondike Gold Rush days. Carcross Desert helps dry skin and includes lemongrass and Kluane, and one of her best sellers includes Kluane glacier silt, a natural product that caught her eye when she was working for the Kluane First Nation.
Rempel makes 16 scents, altogether—14 soaps and two seasonal soaps—and over the Christmas holidays she sometimes produces as many as 20 soaps. Each batch of soap takes her a couple of hours to make; however, she then spends hours curing and cutting. She wraps the soaps after four weeks and does so all by hand.
Anto Yukon’s soap wrappings feature artwork by Meghan Hildebrand, a born-and-raised Yukoner who is living in Powell River, B.C. Her artwork is amazing and really creates uniqueness for the products, notes Rempel.
Rempel has also recently started to expand her line of soaps. “I have decided to start a full Canadian line of soaps.” She has big plans for the foreseeable future, as her products are now being sold in more than 35 stores in southern Canada. Anto Yukon’s products were also sold by Holt Renfrew this past year, at five different locations across Canada (in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver), and were featured in the H Project, a Holt Renfrew boutique dedicated to showcasing Canadian-made luxury items. This provided her with a lot of press, and her products have been featured in magazine spots since then.
Rempel has been accepted into EntrepreNorth, an entrepreneurial program for northern Canada. She will be partnered with a mentor and will travel to meet entrepreneurs across the three territories. She shared her excitement about being part of a group like this where she and others can share unique issues that face export businesses in the North, as well as hopefully gaining advice on how to scale.
For more information and location details, and to view Anto Yukon’s products, visit https://antoyukon.com.