Origin Story

        Cindy's face laser cut on wood discs on birch wood


Dr. Ward’s Fresh Mists originate from way back during the beginning of the pandemic (as did a lot of things).  Cindy Ward, serial entrepreneur and PhD holder in social psychology was, like most people, extremely unsatisfied smelling her own stinky breath beneath her face mask, when one day she stuck a piece of chewed up mint gum in the corner of her face mask before heading to the bathroom of a restaurant.

It was like bells went off and the clouds opened up to sunshine and a big beautiful (minty fresh) sky!  No longer need we endure our own coffee breath and garlic burps from an ill-chosen lunch of Caesar salad before a big meeting.

But alas, Cindy was not much of a gum-chewer; it was simply an accident of the day.  But it led to an aha moment!  The very next day she went to a baking supply store and bought 10 different baking extracts; like almond, mint, mango and cherry – and experimented with the flavours inside her mask.  Unfortunately, the extracts turned out to be a bit sweet . . . and more than a bit sticky.

She was still determined to find a way!  But the last thing Cindy was going to do was use a chemical spray or household cleaner to freshen her mask – gah, to have those chemicals right at her mouth and breathe that in all day was absolutely out of the question. Even the remnants of a clothes detergent after a wash was still a scary prospect.

But then it struck her! Essential oils are simply pure pressed plants, like the concentrate you would get from pressing grapes. People put essential plant oils in diffusers all day long to get the therapeutic and aroma benefits into their breathing environment.

YAY, essential oils! Nothing could be more pure to nature than using plant extracts!  After all, plants are nature’s oldest healers and there is a ton of scientific evidence that plant oils do all kinds of good things for our bodies and minds.

Plus, essential oils are scientifically known to be natural cleansers with anti-bacterial properties  - - they literally "eat" bacteria and fungus that cause things (and us) to stink!  Pretty cool, eh?

But there was just one catch:  In a concentrated form, plant oils have an overpowering smell to the nose and can also irritate the skin.

So, the research began, and with a few trials and errors, Cindy found a great way to dilute essential oils into distilled water by using a food-grade emulsifier to help the oils mix with the water in a stable, clear water-based formula!

AND VOILA  -  Cindy’s Mask Fresh Mist was born!!

And talk about a fun research project to do while the pandemic was keeping everyone indoors with nothing to do! (and going berzerk!)

It didn’t take long for Cindy to get creative.  Using her highly developed skills as a bartender in a previous life, Cindy developed five unique signature blends designed to delight the nose with ultimate freshness and scent blends that give us joy!

Like Lavender-Lemongrass for that fresh linen smell. Like Berry-Mint for the minty and sweet freshness of berries in a bowl. Like a blast of Citrus with lemon, lime, grapefruit and blood orange. Like the smell of a fresh pine forest as the sun rises on the dew of the forest floor. And, of course, like the minty mint reminiscent of Cindy’s first attempt to make an all-natural mask refresher spray. 

Five plant-based scents to delight the senses! 

And fresh as the day is long ! 

But it didn’t stop at MASK mists (after all, the pandemic wasn't going to last forever, right?). 

It wasn’t long before Cindy was getting spectacular feedback: This mist has saved my life, I can’t believe it makes mask-wearing tolerable. And then . . .”I started spraying it in my car . . . I use it to mist inside my stinky shoes . . . I use it on my sleep-aid mask at night . . . I mist it on my pillow before bed . . . I use it to spray the inside of my kids’ lunch boxes . . . I mist the clothes I buy at 2nd hand shops . . . I use it on my body and under my arms . . . I spray my hubby’s hockey gear . . . I mist it on my yoga mat before and after class . . .

With such a heavy demand, Cindy had to quickly step-up her garage-based production and she kicked it up into high gear, ramped up her business and started producing mists like a woman gone mad! 

This is where is gets fun!  -  Litres and Litres of hand-made batches started getting made every week – a production process Cindy still continues to this day with pride.

First, there were ROOM Mists; for rooms, pillows, curtains, carpets and simply all-over.

Then BODY mists came along, for a natural way to deodorize and feel fresh. These were a huge hit. More and more people are finding that they don’t like the lingering smells of perfumes but still want to smell fresh – in other words, to smell like themselves (but fresher, with a light scent that dissipates).

Shoe and Foot mists were also a big demand!

Cindy created two plant-oil blends that were particularly good at fighting odour-causing bacteria:  Linen and Forrest (with two ‘r’s, after her Son's name) so these became the all-natural Shoe+Foot mists  -  using oils like lavender, peppermint, thyme, lemongrass and tea-tree.

One year into it, and Dr. Cindy Ward was facing a challenge of keeping Shoe+Foot on the shelves!  And, it’s no wonder. We all have stinky feet and shoes! 

It won’t be long before you find Dr. Ward’s SHOE+FOOT on the shelves of your local drugstore as the perfect all-natural odour-fighting alternative to chemical powders and sprays!  (yay, Cindy - way to kill it in the mainstream market : )

But let's continue . . . Cindy didn’t stop there. There were still so many uses for all-natural deodorizing and cleansing sprays. 

Yoga lovers were using it for their mats before and after classes and misting their gym bags and workout clothes afterwards, so Cindy developed YOGA Fresh Mists for just this purpose.

And then came WaterBaby. Cindy’s special pet project specifically designed for denims, bras, outerwear and clothes that we want to keep fresh, but don’t want to throw in the washing machine every day. 

A little known secret is that Cindy is an avid swimmer; swimming almost every day. If she could change out the chlorine pools for a fresh river or lake that is 78 degrees every day, she would, but alas, water is still water.  And one day, in the pool during a routine lane-swim it dawned on Cindy that she is indeed a “water baby.” But then again, aren’t we all? Born of the mother’s womb is all of us. It’s the same reason that every person of every nation loves cheese! (thanks Moms)!

Of course, it is a double-entendre that all of Dr. Ward’s Fresh Mists are water-based.  So, YAY for WaterBaby! A perfect way to have fun with the brand and be true to the real Cindy.

All-in-all, one could say that Dr. Ward’s Fresh Mists are simply the most simple ingredients that nature could give us: plants and water!

Cindy likes to joke that her mists are so natural, that you could drink them too and it wouldn’t hurt you, it would just taste bad, lol . . . but legally she can’t say that (so don’t tell anyone that you read it here), so what we say instead is:  Crafted with care and safe for the whole family!

And, Made in Canada, proudly in Kitchener, Ontario! A community Cindy is avidly involved in. Read more here.

And this is the origin story of Dr. Ward’s (aka Cindy, the doctor).  Pure values. Pure heart, and pure living!  That is Dr. Cindy Ward’s way. (and, uh, a moderate amount of cheeseburgers and wine and singing songs around a campfire : )

And if we can crush some life out of the chemical companies along the way, by becoming SO POPULAR that people won’t need or want chemicals any more, then that would be the cherry on the top for Cindy.  YAY . . . let’s crush chemical companies! lol

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See us on Dragon's Den!

The Dragon's loved our all natural Fresh Mists and you will too. Easy-peasy freshness that's mist, mist, ahhh!

Check out Dr. Ward's incredible pitch on January 4, 2024 at 8:00 pm on CBC!