Chemistry student’s shaving invention gets thumbs up by Dragons’ Den

Carleton chemistry student Nick May has his foamless, water-activated shaving bar available at the campus pharmacy – in addition to more than 70 pharmacies across the country. (Kristy Strauss Photo)

At only 25 years-old, Carleton chemistry student Nick May has gone pretty far in the business world.

A recent appearance on CBC’s Dragons’ Den has earned him $150,000 – including $100,000 worth of marketing – for his water-activated foamless shaving bar, Remay, that is currently sold in pharmacies across Canada.

“It was just an idea I had when I was a kid,” says May. “I started shaving when I was 14 and I saw problems with shaving cream. It was messy, and that didn’t seem necessary.”

In 2010, May started experimenting with different concoctions in his kitchen. For about a year, he balanced school and worked hard at the invention. Finally, an accident with hot oil created the perfect potion for the foamless, solid shaving bar.

“From there, I started to work on the branding side,” he says. “I started to approach manufacturers and I was pretty nervous about it.”

He first launched his product at Algonquin College’s pharmacy, as well as Carleton’s. He then successfully got Remay onto Rexall store shelves – including Guardian, I.D.A., and The Medicine Shoppe pharmacies.

This past summer, a team of Carleton students were also hired to refine the product – which is now naturally preserved using tea tree oil.

Along the way, May has also earned entrepreneurial awards both provincially and nationally. In 2012, he received the Nicol Entrepreneurial Award, and was named the Enactus Canada Student Entrepreneur National champion in 2013. His appearance on Dragons’ Den was a result of his victory in the 2012 Dragons’ Den student pitch competition.

May was happy with the show’s outcome and the reaction he got from the dragons – including David Chilton, author of the Wealthy Barber.

“It’s impressive you pulled it off. It really is. That’s not easy to do,” Chilton told May, after his presentation.

Robert Burke, chair of the chemistry department at Carleton, watched the episode and was proud to see May’s success on the show.

But he’s not surprised that May has gotten so far in his business endeavours.

“He’s got a good scientific mind and an excellent business mind,” Burke says. “He can make a good product.”

Burke adds that the chemistry department is proud to have a student like May representing Carleton, and he has high hopes for May’s future.

“I hope he completes his degree and then after that I hope he becomes a millionaire,” says Burke. “He’s so dynamic and the kind of guy that could happen to.”

May credits Carleton for much of his success and says he wouldn’t be where he is today without the university’s ongoing support.

“They got me mentors and advisors and even an office,” he says. “It was great.”

He adds that Carleton’s various business competitions and programs helped him along the way and his advice to other budding entrepreneurs would be to get involved in their schools.

“While you’re in school, use it to network with everybody and take advantage of some of the programs that are available,” May says.

While he took a semester off to focus on his business, May plans to complete his chemistry degree at Carleton.

“I look forward to continuing to grow this company in the future and keep on with my education so I can come up with new products.”

This entry was written by Kristy Strauss and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

Kristy Strauss

By Kristy Strauss

Kristy Strauss graduated from Carleton's journalism program in 2009. She is a regular contributor to Carleton Now. She has worked as a reporter for the Kemptville Advance. She currently reports for EMC Ottawa South.

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