There’s been a lot of talk of how people should be supporting downtown businesses lately, and downtown’s newest addition, Ruby Rose, is quite a community-minded shop, so it offers double the Karma points for Christmas shopping. (Yes, they do gift certificates.)  

Ruby Rose is a “brand new beauty bar with a unique concept,” located above Fogtown Barber at 134 Water Street. It’s run by a woman who got tired of being run off her feet in the hustle & bustle of the corporate world. She clipped her ties to the Communications world to let her entrepreneurial spirit soar.

Done with the 9-5, “and putting money in other’s people’s pockets,” she’s focussing now on “providing a place for women to take some much-deserved time for themselves.”

After the birth of her children, Melanie Crocker became acutely aware that there were conflicting messages towards women when it came to self-care and new motherhood. While there was a high expectation for women to look their best and “appear like they had it together,” there was also “an undercurrent of shaming for those who took time to treat themselves to some much needed ‘me time.’”

So she obtained her certifications in the beauty industry, and set out to create a space where women could indulge in some shame-and-guilt-free TLC. She’s recently made the move from her home to the retail location on Water Street.

Though it first started to service new moms, RubyRose is “also a fun safehaven for all women who want to experience some pampering with no judgement or worries about inferiority or body shame. I’ve had some women say they won’t go to certain stores or have certain services because they feel stupid asking questions, or they don’t want to have to show their body. Sadly, we get that. Fortunately, we’re over it.”

Ruby Rose offers services such as manicures, pedicures, and facials, but specializes in lashes and microblading. They also sell products, like face masks, foot creams, etc, and will be building a base of products from local vendors as well. (Go pitch your stuff!)

Melanie also hopes to focus on products that are socially responsible. While attending a networking function for female entrepreneurs, she was advised to look in to Haitian Castor Oil as a multi-functional beauty product. After some extensive research, many conference calls, and a trial run, she is thrilled to be one of only two suppliers in Canada for this product.

“It was important for me to find a product that delivered results, but just as importantly, served a greater purpose, that being sustainability and economic growth for the people making it.” The castor oil is 100% natural and harvested and produced in Haiti, primarily by female farmers.

“Given the manufacturer’s values, and the relationship our province has with Haiti through other organizations, I felt this product was a great fit for us.”

While fine-tuning the vision of her business, Melanie became aware of the Momma Moments initiative, a support program through Choices for Youth for young, single mothers. The Program was created in response to young mothers and mothers-to-be who were unable to find healthy ways to interact with other moms, share experiences, learn healthy habits, and enjoy much-needed breaks from the rigors of raising children in a safe environment.

Community partnerships were always part of the soul of Melanie’s business plan, so she reached out to Jeannie Piercey, Choices for Youth’s program coordinator, to extend Ruby Rose’s services to Momma Moments’ participants. Now, each young woman in the program receives a service on her birthday, as well as a complementary mini makeover for important events such as job interviews.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for Momma Moments,” says Piercey, “Many of our participants don’t feel they are worthy of these types of services, so being given access to them will surely enhance their self-confidence.”