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From COVID To Hair Care – How This Entrepreneur Made The Leap From Salon To Product Line

It’s no secret that the beauty industry has been hit hard. 

But for Ashley Brewsmith, founder of Proudest Pony, the long-term closure of her popular Toronto salon was her gateway into something bigger.  Enter: a new Canadian-made, salon-quality, eco-friendly hair care brand. Proudest Pony’s shampoo and conditioner bars are vegan, cruelty-free, plastic-free, paraben-free and SLS-free — oh, and each bar lasts longer than 3 regular-sized plastic shampoo bottles. 

We caught up with Ashley to learn how her successful pivot was driven by one purpose: to leave a positive impact on the world. 

When did your love affair with hair start? 

By grade 7, I was using sun-in on the front sections of my hair. Then I used bingo dabbers to tint my lightened strips all the colours of the rainbow. I was also constantly cutting my friends’ hair — apparently leaving quite the mess in my parent’s bathroom on the regular.

How did COVID-19 impact your hair salon and then inspire you to launch your first hair care line? 

When we were first ordered to shut down, I was so confident that we were going to be back within a few weeks. But we’ve been closed for a total of 11 months now. I always knew that I wanted to have my own line of hair care products and when the pandemic hit it heightened my awareness of how connected we all are and how the choices that each of us make impact one another. That really inspired me to make a hair care line within that awareness. And I had the time to do it.

Tell us what makes Proudest Pony one-of-a-kind. 

Proudest Pony is professional hair care without the plastic, with the high-quality ingredients you would expect from a salon-quality product.

What are the benefits of moving to sustainable hair care? 

The product lasts longer! The concentrated ingredients are not watered down like the liquid/plastic bottled options. Our bars can last 80 to 100 washes, which is equal to about 3 bottles. Plus, it feels great using a product that you know is keeping additional plastic out of our landfills and waterways.

What has been the biggest challenge in launching your first product line? 

Honestly, getting items (like moulds and materials) shipped during the pandemic has been an exercise in patience.

How about the most pleasant surprise? 

I started out with this dream of creating silky, hydrating conditioning bars that would leave my hair feeling buttery soft, and not only was I able to accomplish that dream but I was able to do it using sustainable and organic ingredients.

What motivates you? What keeps you inspired? 

I am motivated to be a better steward of this land we call home, to leave a better future for my children, and to offer something that has a positive impact. 

I’m so inspired by all the positive feedback from customers I have received thus far — knowing that I am giving people an option that is both environmentally friendly and also a really great quality product inspires me every day.

Want to shop Proudest Pony? Visit their website to learn more & follow them @proudestpony!

Sarah Johnson

Sarah is a copywriter, content creator, and small biz enthusiast. You can find her at