The Journey of 7 Fathoms

Ritchie Perez Photography

 

Nestled in the rugged landscape of Grates Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, 7 Fathoms Seaweed Skincare Company has emerged as an innovation in action force in the skincare industry. Their innovative seaweed extracts, derived from Laminaria digitata (oarweed) and Fucus vesiculosus (bladderwrack), are showing promising anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This article explores the journey of 7 Fathoms, the science behind their products, and the personal story of the Howells, the family behind the company.

The Science Behind 7 Fathoms’ Seaweed Extracts

In June 2024, 7 Fathoms revealed promising findings from bioactivity tests conducted at Memorial University’s Marine Institute. Dr. Robert Helleur, a former Professor of Environmental and Analytical Chemistry, and Dr. Wayne Gulliver, a Professor of Medicine specializing in Dermatology, highlighted the potent bioactive elements in these brown seaweeds. The seaweeds are rich in fucoidan, a polysaccharide known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The company’s in-vitro tests demonstrated impressive results. The Fucus vesiculosus extract exhibited high antioxidant activity, with DPH radical scavenging activity measured at 10.6 mg TE/100 mL of extract. Additionally, Laminaria digitata and  Fucus vesiculosus, extracts showed significant anti-inflammatory values, with 36% and 38% sPLA2 inhibitory activity, respectively. These findings suggest that seaweed components like fucoidan and polyphenolics could improve skin health by mitigating the effects of sun exposure and environmental pollutants, and by helping to build the skin barrier. Moreover, these seaweed extracts may help manage skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.

The Innovative Approach of 7 Fathoms

Courtney Howell, CEO and Co-founder of 7 Fathoms, expressed strong confidence in the company’s innovative approach. The positive results from in-vitro assays, customer testimonials, and their green extraction process highlight the efficacy of their products. “In addition to the exceptional humectant and moisturizing properties of our seaweed extracts, our findings demonstrate that we are successfully developing solutions for occasional skin flare-ups and chronic skin issues,” Howell stated.

7 Fathoms has developed a novel, sustainable extraction process to create premium seaweed extracts, transforming wild seaweed from the North Atlantic into high-quality skincare products. Their unique, holistic approach preserves the full spectrum of bioactives found in seaweed, ensuring the natural potency and effectiveness of their products.

The Journey of Terrence and Courtney Howell

The story of 7 Fathoms is deeply intertwined with the personal journey of its founders, Terrence and Courtney Howell. The couple met in 2004 while teaching in South Korea and bonded over their shared love of exploration and food. After spending time in Louisiana, Courtney’s home state, they decided to set down roots in Terrence’s ancestral home of Grates Cove.

Their entrepreneurial journey began with Grates Cove Studios (Grates Cove Co), (is it possible to have Grates Cove Co. linked?)  a combination of an arts center, restaurant, and vacation homes. The couple’s passion for food and art is evident in every aspect of their business. However, it was a beach walk that led to their discovery of the healing properties of seaweed. Terrence, whose hands were often raw from woodworking, noticed significant improvements after handling seaweed.  He later realized that the seaweed was helping the contact dermatitis around a site on his body where he requires a medical appliance.  This sparked their interest in creating skincare products from seaweed.

Their first extract, derived from Laminaria digitata, was introduced in 2019 and became the foundation of their flagship product line. In 2023, they introduced a second extract featuring Fucus vesiculosus, which will be the basis for their upcoming product line. The Howells also plan to enter the functional food industry with innovative formulations like Seaweed Vegetable Broth and Partridgeberry Kelp Drink.

The Howell Family’s Connection to the Sea

The Howell family’s connection to the sea goes beyond their business. Their 15-year-old daughter, Phoenix, often joins them in harvesting seaweed, and the family spends a lot of time exploring the coastline. This connection to the sea and the natural world is a central part of their life and work.

Courtney, originally from a small fishing community in Louisiana, finds a parallel between her upbringing and her life in Grates Cove. “I always joke that it’s like a parallel universe to here. My father was a shrimper, so we lived that fishing way of life where your life is very seasonal because you work right on the water,” she said.

The family’s life in Grates Cove is filled with adventure and a deep sense of belonging. From watching icebergs sail by to listening to singing whales, their everyday experiences are intertwined with the natural beauty of their surroundings. This connection to nature is reflected in their business philosophy and their commitment to sustainable and holistic practices.

The Future of 7 Fathoms  

Looking ahead, 7 Fathoms aims to expand their product line and continue their research into the therapeutic properties of seaweed. They are dedicated to sustainable seaweed harvesting and advanced skincare solutions, guided by a philosophy of respecting nature’s incredible research and development. As they continue to innovate and grow, the Howells remain committed to their vision of offering products that harness the full spectrum of seaweed’s benefits. Their journey is a testament to the power of curiosity, passion, and a deep connection to the natural world.

In a tiny land between the barrens and the sea, the Howells have found inspiration, perspective, freedom, and a place they can finally call home. Their story is not just about business success but about the art of unpolished living, embracing the imperfections and finding beauty in the unexpected.

We are proud to be building and growing 7 Fathoms with our Grates Cove team, all whom live in Grates Cove.

Making sure that every product we create is wholly sustainable and respectful of the ocean –and the Earth’s – health and biodiversity. Because we believe in the nurturing power of seaweed.