How COVID and Cancer Jump Started My Beauty Brand

By Michelle Welch

Allow me to introduce Omi & Cookie, a brand-new sensation in the world of luxury sustainable beauty. Omi & Cookie is a bodycare brand that blends the allure of the Caribbean with a commitment to mental wellness and environmental stewardship.

Omi & Cookie: Where Nature and Beauty Unite

Omi & Cookie was founded by me, Dr. Michelle Welch, to celebrate the beauty secrets and highlight traditional ingredients of the Caribbean islands in a way that respects nature. I was raised among the enchanting landscapes of Barbados, where I discovered a passion for both nature and skincare. Although I was born in Barbados, I have lived in and visited many of the islands of the Caribbean, collecting beauty secrets along the way. I have always been fascinated by skin care, and after completing my medical degree I worked for 5 years in general dermatology and aesthetic medicine in Barbados. Since moving to Canada more than 10 years ago, I have used my experience and knowledge in managing the skin effects of the harsh winters and hot summers for myself, family and patients. 

The effects of COVID were felt all around the world. Not only did this affect my family on a health level, but I started to notice changes in my skin as well. In 2021, things were starting to look up – we were slowly moving away from the effects of the pandemic (both physically, mentally, and economically) and found we had much to look forward to. But only one year after the birth of my daughter, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After undergoing treatment, I experienced new skin challenges such as dry, hyperpigmented skin and slow to heal scars. It was a stressful and overwhelming point in my life and I started making soap as a fun creative outlet. With 2 young children and a pandemic raging across the planet, I found myself desperate for ways to find solace and just pour into my own cup. I wanted something different and soap-making became that for me. 

Creating and using these beautiful soaps that felt so creamy and dreamy on my skin made me feel pampered, I was also obsessed with avoiding harmful toxins. Drawing inspiration from my Caribbean roots and driven by my dedication to preserving our planet, I started incorporating plant-based ingredients and beauty secrets I had grown up with to address my skin concerns. Eventually, inspired by my daughters’ names, I created Omi & Cookie—and a range of tropical-inspired sea mineral soaps that not only rejuvenate and nourish the skin but also champion eco-conscious living.

“A Sea Bath In A Bar!”

The journey to launching my beauty brand has been challenging but rewarding. We make luxurious sea mineral soaps for eco-conscious individuals, seeking to pamper themselves while making a positive impact. With every purchase, a percentage supports mental wellness programs for kids and mothers in Ontario and Barbados.

All of our products are crafted with pure, plant-derived oils and butters, and 100% natural plant-based Caribbean botanicals. Each soap embodies the essence of a tropical paradise, capturing the crystal-clear waters, lush greenery, and intoxicating scents that I grew up cherishing.

What Sustainability Means To Us:
Our focus is on sustainability and safety, and we practice that through using safer printing dyes, recyclable packaging and energy efficient production practices. We are very intentional about what we put into our soaps as well as what we leave out. While we are all about encouraging people to practice self-care luxuriously, it is very important to us that doing so shouldn’t come at the expense of our beautiful planet. We have intentionally left out ingredients that are toxic to our bodies and waterways such as parabens and phthalates. We also took the stance not to include Palm Oil. This oil in itself isn’t harmful, but it is in such high demand that the farming practices surrounding it have resulted in massive amounts of deforestation and lost habitats for thousands of animals every year.

No looking back:
It is amazing how much can change (and practically overnight!) if you are open to the possibilities and have a genuine desire to help others. When I started on this journey I wasn’t planning to make a business out of it, I was just in a place where I really needed to find ways to prioritize self-love and self-care. Around this same time I found Rachel and the Hello Seven community and my life has transformed as a result. Don’t underestimate the value of small daily gestures of kindness towards yourself as you work towards your goals. In time, these will grow. Something as simple as a luxurious shower routine can launch your self-care practice. It did for me. Initially, finding solace for 10 minutes in the shower was about all I could manage. Now that has bloomed into so much more.

Michelle Welch (she/her) 

Founder, Owner 


Try “A Sea Bath in a Bar!” 

Drench yourself in vitamins and sea minerals for softer, more supple rejuvenated skin 

IG: @omiandcookie 

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