N.L.’s Tvål has been making handmade beauty products for 17 years

Posted on July 30, 2021 | By: Alexander Chafe | 2 Comments

Often referring to herself as the Swedish Martha Stewart, Dr. Anna Hellqvist grew up making soap and other crafts with her grandmother in Sweden. After an education in science and esthetics, Anna started Tvål with her partner Dr. Jason Bailey in 2004. 

The original location on Duckworth Street in downtown St. John’s sold handmade skin and hair products, which showed immediate success—sales doubled and tripled over the first six years.   


Tvål owner Robert Bailey
Tvål owner Robert Bailey


Growing Ownership Team

Shortly after launch, another family member joined the Tvål team. On a trip home, Robert Bailey visited the store owned by his brother and sister-in-law and was impressed by what they had accomplished. He wanted in. Robert left Toronto to move back home to St. John’s, and officially became an owner in 2006. 

It was a perfect fit. Robert brought 14 years of experience working in the cosmetics industry to the table, which helped expand the product line to include makeup. Tvål’s Smink makeup brand began in 2006.


A variety of Tvål skincare products
A variety of Tvål skincare products


Product Philosophy

All skin, hair and makeup products sold at Tvål are handmade at the store’s retail location with natural ingredients and no fillers. Pricing is intentionally affordable. Robert says this is an important aspect of their business. “High quality products at a reasonable price—a simple model that works, yet it is almost unheard of in the cosmetics/skincare marketplace … We like to look beyond industry standards, and we proudly fly our own way.” 

With best sellers like the Golden Olive Face Serum, Buddha Eye Cream and Coffee Kitchen Soap, growth has been consistent over the years in-store and online (bringing in about 30-40% of sales). Robert says customer loyalty is a big part of Tvål’s sustained success. 


Employee Ana Rose serving a customer
Employee Ana Rose serving a customer


Tvål Customer Service

At Tvål, customer service is paramount. “We treat everybody the same, no matter who they are … everyone that enters Tvål, either online or in person, gets the ‘star treatment’”, said owner Robert Bailey. He added that customers find a welcoming and informal atmosphere in-store that’s “big on fun … [we] have a laugh and make customers part of it.”

When asked about the customers who have supported Tvål for 17 years, Robert noted that “you can’t ask for a better honour.” To foster this loyalty, Tvål launched a rewards program in 2015 using TapMango software, allowing customers to earn points and discounts.  


Inside Tvål’s store on Water Street, St. John’s
Inside Tvål’s store on Water Street, St. John’s


Continuous Innovation and Improvement 

Today, Tvål’s product line includes over 600 items in-store and online, with facial products being their bread and butter. 

Plans for additional innovation are on the horizon. Next on Robert’s list is expanding Tvål’s makeup line and further improving their environmental impact. In addition to their recycling program, use of biodegradable packaging components and their refilling program (launched in 2019), Tvål plans to continue investing in being eco-friendly.  

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