Her thesis was on the application of Polymer Coatings for the Fabrication of Copper-based Containers for the Ultimate Disposal of Canada’s Spent Nuclear Fuel.
The young scientist planned to apply for a professorship position at Queen’s University and the RMC, after her graduation but always, in the long term, her overwhelming desire was to carry on the legacy of Cher Mere, a line of natural beauty products produced by her mother, Cheryl Bowles at the Herbarium in Tacarigua.
As it turned out, academics took a back seat and Bowles-Mortley decided instead to build upon the dream that her mother Cheryl “had the gumption to go after” and on August 13 this year opened the first Cher-Mere International Spa at 68, Brock Street,Kingston, Ontario.
“It was a day of many emotions- anticipation, happiness, pride, with the most prominent one being pride,” said Bowles-Mortley.
“The opening was well received and I look forward to many other spas to come in the future.”
Cheryl Bowles, herself a biochemist and graduate of Concordia University, is known for her work in wellness and for the production of a wide range of natural beauty products which all started when her mother, the late Merle Waldron-Bowles, a hair stylist of more than 50 years, suggested to her daughter that she does “a hair food for us in the Caribbean.” Bowles was then gainfully employed as chief chemist, head research and development with a large international locally-based company.
“I did (as her mother suggested) and so Cher Mere was created in 1986. It means “dear mother” and reflects a part of my name and a part of her name,” said Bowles.
“My mother would have been very proud,” she said of the opening o f the Canadian outlet. In TT, there are four Cher Mere Day Spas and a kiosk of the Cher Mere brand of products can be found at Long Circular Mall. A Cher Mere Day Spa is also located in Barbados.
Coinciding with the Kingston, Canada opening was the move of the Port-of-Spain Spa after 13 years, from 89 Tragarete Road into a gingerbread house painted in eyecatching colours of green and orange and boasting large, airy rooms at 4 Broome Street, St Clair
Noting the response by the patrons at the Kingston, Ontario opening where people booked appointments, bought Cher Mere products, which were well received as were the spa services using Cher-Mere spa professional line, Bowles said:
“I felt good to know that the product truly is a global product and service with universal appeal. On opening day, Bowles-Mortley, who lives in Ontario with her Canadian husband, Ted Bailey and three young children and is managing the Canadian spa, was able to offer all Cher-Mere products and services - facials, manis/pedis, body therapy - utilising five Canadian staffers trained by a Cher-Mere senior aesthetician from Trinidad.
“In Kingston, there is a very natural and organic niche market for alternative products to those that are available in the pharmacies today,” she said, adding that she was looking forward to expanding spas in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa using the Ontario outlet as a model spa.
“(We would be able) to see what people like and don’t like and then you will be able to tweak to suit the environment, humid summers, long dry winters and look at how we can acclimatise the product to suit that market,” she said. Bowles-Mortley is confident that Cher Mere can handle the competition, noting that other spas do not manufacture their own cosmetics and that Cher Mere’s facials/ massages offer a slightly different experience to spas in using products that are made in Trinidad.
“Not only are products natural/organic, we try to use environmental friendly techniques, and materials to make Cher-Mere products,” she noted.
Meanwhile Bowles, back in Trinidad from the Kingston, Ontario spa opening, sees the need to share the secret of an organic natural Caribbean and is already looking at reformulating products for the Canadian winter.
“It is all exciting and I am enjoying it,” she said.