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Inside the offices of abnormal beauty company DECIEM

Located in Corktown on Richmond Street East, the black facade and bright yellow entrance door of the new DECIEM HQ stands out in stark contrast to its surroundings.

It's hard to call this space just an office given the sheer number of operations that run within it on a regular basis. Previously located in Leslieville, the DECIEM team moved into their new facilities four months ago and have since been running the logistics, administration, design, testing, and manufacturing of 8 beauty brands with over 300 different beauty products from this location.

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DECIEM which stems from the Latin word for the number ten, is a boutique beauty company that creates, manufactures, and currently ships eight different beauty brands.

Their best-selling product is Hand Chemistry - an anti-aging hand cream, which retails at $20 at Shoppers Drug Mart. Other brands they manufacture include Fountain, Inhibitif, Hair Is Fabric, and Ab Crew. DECIEM sold its first product in April 2013, recently shipped its one millionth product, and has $33M in retail sales across 17 markets.

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The full-time team of 40 did all the interior design and planning of their own space, which they created by joining two old buildings together. Brandon Truaxe, the CEO and Founder of DECIEM, is an inspiring ball of energy as he takes me around the space.

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To the right of the entrance is the design, sales, marketing, and logistics team work space. Just behind them is the lab where the company's in-house chemists work on new formulations and products. Given the collaborative culture at DECIEM, it's not uncommon to find Brandon, or Nicola, the deputy CEO in the lab testing and discussing a new product with one of their chemists.

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The beauty world is fairly predictable: there are ten major labels like L'Oreal and EstĂŠe Lauder, that manufacture most of the products you see when you walk down the beauty aisle in a typical department store.

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Startups in the beauty industry tend to take their ideas to a lab to manufacture, so even the brands that are not under the big ten are stock formulations from the same labs with minor differences.

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DECIEM's approach to beauty products is drastically different. It's rare for a beauty startup to house their own lab and manufacturing facilities in-house as well as all the packaging and shipping. The advantage to having eight brands under their roof is that each brand gets its own timeshare of all the different processes within the facility.

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The manufacturing, filling, packaging, and supply room is located in the west wing of the building, with soaring 25-foot ceilings to allow for the mechanics of the machinery that operates within it.

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On the north west side of the building is the supply and storage area, which houses all the raw materials that go into the products. Further west is the main manufacturing area with mixers of all shapes and sizes that can work with 50 to 1,000 litres of product.

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Having sophisticated machinery on premises allows DECIEM to be agile and cost-efficient in their approach to bringing new products to market.

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New products are dreamt up by chemists in the in-house laboratory and sent to several third-party labs to test for sensitivity, heat etc.

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The final formula is sent over to manufacturing where product creation specialists pick out the supplies needed, pour them into the giant mixers, and send it off to filling. It's like a large-scale cooking operation, but for beauty products!

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The filling stations feel like they belong in a How It's Made video. There are three different stations on the premises that are used based on the amount of product being created. The fully automated station averages filling, sealing, and packaging 70 tubes a minute and can do up to 10,000 products in an hour.

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Logistics of such a large scale operation are hard - and harder still given the fairly central location of the company's headquarters. DECIEM has three loading docks in their facility and continue to maintain both of their old offices as warehouses to keep up with demand.

In the lower level of the building is the company's own water filtration system, where 20ppm city water goes through 17 stages of UV filtering, de-salting, and reverse osmosis to distill it down to 3ppm. This water is then pumped back up to the batching room to be used in the products.

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The upper level of the two buildings houses the finance and administration teams as well as Brandon's office, which is more of a shrine for the DECIEM product lines than a place where he actually works.

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Future office development plans include converting one of the board rooms into a Moroccan tea room, putting a giant blackboard on the middle wall, and setting up some patio furniture come summer time.

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To find out more about DECIEM, watch this video about their abnormal journey into the traditional beauty industry and how they're shaking things up.

Photos by Jimmy Lu


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