Elliot Kimelman’s C-Spray is available online at amazon.ca. (photo from Elliot Kimelman)
Going for a swim is something many people enjoy. But, many times, even if you shower right after, you can still smell the chlorine. If only there was a way to prevent that. Now, thanks to Winnipegger Elliot Kimelman, there is.
Kimelman attended Gray Academy of Jewish Education for elementary and high school. He took to swimming as a child and kept it up, eventually becoming a swimming instructor in Grade 10.
“I was really enjoying my job, but that’s how the idea for C-Spray started – because my skin started getting really irritated by the pool water,” he explained. “I have quite sensitive skin, so it bothered me a lot. I knew I had to be in the pool for work, but, at the same time, I could literally feel the damaging effects on my skin, which I didn’t like.”
He tried various products, but didn’t find them very effective. So, he researched the topic more deeply and found that certain combinations of minerals and vitamins have the potential of eliminating chlorine molecules. And, with help from some friends who were studying chemistry at the University of Manitoba, he developed a chlorine-eliminating body spray.
“Basically, I found that Vitamin C is one of the active ingredients in a solution I created that eliminates chlorine on skin, hair, swimsuits, or anything,” said Kimelman. “I felt that this was cool and very interesting.
“I started creating the solution, just for myself, and I used it and loved it … and didn’t think much of it. Then, I was discussing it with my coworkers and friends, and they all said, ‘Elliot, you have a really interesting product there. Why don’t you try bringing it to market?’ So, I thought to myself, ‘That sounds great. But, how do I do that?’”
He was in high school at the time.
In Grade 12, Kimelman enrolled in an entrepreneurial program for students, called Junior Achievement. When his group was looking for an idea for a product or a service to create in a four- to five-month period, Kimelman pitched the idea of C-Spray and the group liked it.
“They all thought it was quite unusual,” he said. “They didn’t really understand it. I don’t think I understood it at that point. But, they didn’t have any other interesting ideas, so we thought, ‘Why not?’ That’s when C-Spray was born.
“I was the president of that entrepreneurial group. And so, we met every week for five months. We created this product – the beta version, the testing, the prototype – and we brought it to market, in the sense that there were a few trade fairs that were organized for us that we sold the product at … which was all very exciting.”
Then, Kimelman found his first client – the owner of Swimming Matters, a swimwear accessory outlet in Winnipeg. They were interested in the product and agreed to carry it on a trial basis.
But, being part of a short-term program, C-Spray was shelved when Kimelman’s Junior Achievement stint ended. He went off to business school but soon decided to re-launch C-Spray, which he did this past summer.
“At that point, I’d studied business for almost two years,” he said, “so I had a better sense of what accounting was, what marketing was, how operations worked, etc. And, I felt I might as well try to start this business up again when I come home for the summer…. I arrived back in May and I put the pedal to the metal, and basically started C-Spray again. I started Winnipeg production, getting all the pieces moving. Then, of course, the most difficult part – getting the sales. I started talking to everyone I knew, every store I could think of – a store for luxury swimwear, cheap swimwear, anything related to aquatics whatsoever.”
Kimelman has been getting feedback from a wide range of customers, from high-end swimwear retailers who are worried about chlorine on their swimwear, to people who swim all the time and are worried about the chlorine’s effect on their skin and hair.
C-Spray has been on sale via amazon.ca, as well as at 10 other retail outlets in Winnipeg and Toronto. The product comes in two spray bottle sizes, 240 millilitres, which should be good for about 160 uses, and half that size.
“How it works is, after you swim, whether in a chlorinated pool or hot tub, you get out, hop in the shower and rinse off whatever pool water you have on you,” said Kimelman. “Then, you spray an ample amount of C-Spray all over your body and hair – anywhere you’d like to eliminate chlorine…. It doesn’t actually turn soapy … there aren’t any additives in it whatsoever. You spread it around your body and hair, and then shower as usual. You can use whatever products you’d like. At the end of the process, you’ve completely eliminated chlorine, which soap alone doesn’t do.”
Kimelman said that, even in saltwater pools, high levels of chlorine are used, so you should follow the same process.
While other products on the market claim to eliminate chlorine, Kimelman has found that they mostly just mask the smell.
C-Spray differentiates itself in a few ways. First, it is made with a combination of vitamins, minerals and stabilizing salts. “There are no additives, parabens (preservatives), perfumes, colours or sulfates,” said Kimelman. “It’s a completely natural, raw formula, which a lot of customers like.”
Second, he said, “When you do chemical tests to other products specifically marketed as being chlorine-eliminating shampoo and body wash … in beakers, you see the concentration of chlorine via these DPD tablets…. C-Spray eliminates the chlorine instantly, but these other products either don’t or they only mask the smell of chlorine, but it still exists. So, C-Spray is more effective than most sprays on the market.”
The only reason you will not find C-Spray in retail stores in other places in Canada, including Vancouver, is because Kimelman has not yet had time to spread the word.
“I’m happy to work with any retailer, to give some samples or give an introduction remotely,” said Kimelman. “My plan is now to primarily focus on maintenance and building the company slowly and organically while I finish school.”
Rebeca Kuropatwa is a Winnipeg freelance writer.