gray contour

Toronto dad laid off from full-time job develops and launches own skincare brand

A Toronto dad who was laid off from his full-time job used his time at home with his kids to develop and launch his own skincare brand called Gray.

DeJean Gregory was working as a forklift driver in a warehouse of a chemical wholesale distributor before being laid off in April 2020 because production was slowing down and the business wasn't deemed essential.

He started working on his own brand around January 2021, and a year later in January 2022, Gray was launched.

"I was using a face moisturizer that kept breaking me out and I could not find a better alternative," Gregory tells blogTO.

"I then started to study the ingredient labels of moisturizers in major stores and learned that a lot of moisturizers contained ingredients that are not beneficial for the skin. Frustrated by this fact, I knew there should be a better moisturizer available on the market."

He actually took courses in chemistry, cosmetic chemistry, and formulation after realizing he had an insatiable curiosity to find out more about what we're putting on our skin.

"During this time I went through hundreds of different ingredient labels and tested many products," says Gregory. 

"I learned that most moisturizers contain a lot of ingredients that aren't beneficial for the skin, the PH wasn't optimal, or specific ingredients weren't being included at effective rates."

Gray moisturizer is pH balanced and contains 12 ingredients intended to restore, hydrate, and moisturize without greasiness. The product is fragrance-free and intended to be super simple.

The brand is named for his son, Grayson, who turns four in April. He's also a dad to three girls: seven-year-old Gabby, one-year-old Gianna and two-month-old Grace.

Even with four kids, Gray is a total one-man operation.

"I used my knowledge from studying chemistry and savings from my previous job to create the brand and formulate our hero product," says Gregory. 

"During this time I learned many skills along the way that would help launch the brand. I started with doing the design for the brand, which eventually led me to do the photography and video for the brand as well. Once most of the visual elements were complete, I was able to design and develop our website."

You can buy Gray moisturizer online for $60 for a 50-ml tub, and hopefully it will be the first product in a full line.

"We eventually plan on expanding our product line so people are able to have access to a full routine that they trust will improve their skin," says Gregory.

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