Feature Story

The Ripple Effect

2022-23 Entrepreneur-in-Residence April MacKinnon (’98) shares lessons of personal, business growth with Mount Allison students
By: Laura Dillman Ripley

When April MacKinnon graduated with her certificate in engineering from Mount Allison in 1998, she didn’t envision her path leading to award-winning skin care and entrepreneurship — or Sackville.

But the universe had other plans.

“My focus on natural skin care and family health really came to light with the birth of my first child and my own postpartum experience. My daughter was a preemie and it was a really difficult time for our family with so many adjustments,” says MacKinnon. “There were a lot of things I loved about engineering, but it was clear a change was needed for me after becoming a parent.”

This realization sparked MacKinnon’s entrepreneurial spirit, launching an online business focused on natural parenting products and opening the Halifax-based Nurtured Products for Parenting store. The award-winning business also served as a community hub, hosting workshops and partnering with other like-minded, small businesses.

One of these partnerships included Anointment Natural Skin Care.

“Anointment began as a soap-based farmers’ market business, run by a friend of mine. We sold the soaps at Nurtured,” explains MacKinnon. “I bought the business in 2009 and in 2011 we made the decision to move our family to Sackville. Anointment came along.”

Moving back to be closer to extended family, MacKinnon focused her career on Anointment, making products from her home. In a little more than a decade the business transitioned from soap-focused to include a full line of skin care products to support comfort in pregnancy, postpartum, new parenthood, and every day. Still producing small-batch projects, the Anointment workshop is now based in Sackville’s Industrial Park and ships products to retailers across Canada and to customers directly.

With a track record like this, it’s no surprise that MacKinnon, now president and director of operations at Anointment, is this year’s entrepreneur-in-residence at Mount Allison. Working through the Office of Experiential Learning and Career Development, she is sharing her insights and journey as an entrepreneur with students and the wider community.

“It’s exciting to meet with students and hear their plans and ideas,” says MacKinnon. I’ve had great mentors throughout my career, it’s nice to be back and to give back in this way.”

One message MacKinnon is working to share with students is the importance of mindset.

“Business growth always follows personal growth — adopting a growth mindset is a large part of business success,” she says.

This commitment to growth mindset, as well as one to community, are values she has continued both personally and professionally throughout her career. And it was these values that helped launch her latest endeavour, a podcast called Ripple Effect.

“The Ripple Effect is a podcast I started in 2019 as a way to rebuild the type of community I experienced as a young entrepreneur and also to help share women’s stories,” says MacKinnon. “We focus mainly on female entrepreneurs and women’s health, interviewing experts including physiotherapists, naturopaths, and lactation consultants. It’s been a way to help build that community through conversation and support others.”

The entrepreneur-in-residence, hosted by the University’s Office of Experiential Learning and Career Development, is part of the Venture Space MtA Entrepreneurial Thinking Incubator, a new initiative for entrepreneurial-minded students to access training modules, funding opportunities, and other supports. The project is supported by TD Ready Commitment.