Our little family knows the changing tides of fortune very well and the resilience required to ride these waves. As the Stoics say: the obstacle is the path!
Our story starts in Poland, 1988; Jola Wodzinska and her husband, Stefan Wodzinski, young chemists, packed their bags for a “vacation” in Spain. The little family traveled in a white polish Fiat pretending to be vacationers, with only $500 to their names, a baby girl Nina, a pregnant Jola, and a gold coin passed down the family for generations, often at significant risk. This was no ordinary holiday; they needed to leave to seek a better future for Nina and soon-to-be-born Maria. Arriving in Spain, they registered as refugees with the Red Cross. With only holiday bags, no plan, and no home, they wondered what the next step would be.
With a bit of luck, they found a way to come to Canada. Both Stefan & Jola had to obtain new degrees and received their Ph.D.’s at the University of Toronto. The family relocated to Boston for Jolanta to attend MIT for post-doctorate studies and Stefan at Brandeis University. Following this, both Dr. Wodzinski’s restarted their careers after a long journey to their new life. Feeling behind, they doubled down, and with nose to the grindstone, each found success in their pharmaceutical careers. Jolanta worked for over 20 years in Pharmaceutical Industry in Canada, refining her practice and honing in on her knowledge of pharmacology and drug development, including treatment for skin issues. What seemed like a crisis transformed into a new opportunity.
A MOTHER & DAUGHTER
Dr. Jola alights at the wonder, dazzlement and curiosity of chemistry. When she peers into a microscope, she becomes a young girl, giddy with excitement and giggles: "let's have a peak at what God is doing!", grinning a Cheshire smile.
Maria has always admired this mischievous curiosity in her mother. Jola's ability to not only do her job well, but to be so alive and engaged in her labour, with such joy is inspiring! Maria longed for her own pathway to this wonder and passionate curiosity. She found it in Yoga, the body, somatic practices. Her journey into her own body healing, reclamation and care led her to theatre, community practice and social justice: studying in Paris at a movement school, working for 10+ years in community arts, and running her own theatre company.
Enter March 2020.
COVID-19 effectively closed down all creative industries. Maria was utterly devastated and ship-wrecked, like the Stoic Zeno, lost everything. She could not understand herself anymore... she came to Jola with an idea: let's do something together! The two had always played with skincare together in spare moments, and had grown closer through the process, not to mention, Maria used her own skincare as an actor to have flawless complexion!
Maria, the intensely intuitive being that she is, could just see that there was more to it that just playing together in the lab: they were combining their strengths!
ARTISTRY | CHEMISTRY, INTELLIGENT | INTUITION, LABOUR | PLAY
Almost to their surprise Stoic Beauty had sparked a serious reaction: Dec. 2020, and STOIC BEAUTY was selling out of body butters and face oils! Stoic swiftly scaled into a growing brand with three additional team members brought on the first year; Elizabeth Colleran, Amelia Blaine & Reem Rizk (who redesigned our STOIC logo, so many thank you-s, AYA ZEIN!).
Where are we today?
Dr. Wodzinska carefully creates formulations with curated ingredients that are safe, nourish your skin, AND have a minimal footprint in the environment. But we KNEW we didn't want to just glom onto a trend of "CLEAN BEAUTY." Why? Because with no external standards, the term barely means anything! We took it upon ourselves to research and create a database of over 800+ cosmetic ingredients and follow accredited bodies such as ECOCERT as guides. What we found is that there is NO REGULATORY body that focuses on the water-safety of cosmetic products.
So, our mission became clear. We were more than just a mother/daughter bounded by a love for each-other, artistry/science, banded together because of circumstance, we want to do our part for water justice. Advocating for water justice in our way:
WE FOUND OUR MISSION: WATER-SAFE SKINCARE
With this mission in mind, we started by solving a real problem in our family: rosacea. Harmonia balancing cream (our bestselling night cream) with it’s golden chamomile base has been effective in helping so many to reduce symptoms of inflammation, irritation, and scaling. We have since expanded to offer in addition to a general line of products, our Cosmeceuticals Line, that draws from Dr.Jola’s years of industry experience to formulate and produce effective hybrid products (cosmetic products that have similar if not better results than pharmaceutical or steroid based products). Our innovative products are manufactured and distributed from our lab in Mississauga, focusing on Paraben-Free, Cruelty-Free formulations.
MEETING THE MOMENT
We seek not to create products following trends but those that solve skincare needs with science and artistry. The Stoic Client has skin concerns and would like highly effective and luxurious formulations to solve them. Our water-safe products do not bioaccumulate in marine life and biodegrade safely in our water systems meeting you in the moment