Ahead of International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting seven strong, influential women that not only head their businesses, they do so locally – right in our very own Westshore Town Centre.
On March 8th, the world collectively comes together to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women – the day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific – it’s everywhere.
We’re also doing a special giveaway from each of the seven businesses we highlight this week – read below to find out what you can win!
Today, we meet Wendy Ouelett of Local Reflections and chat with her on what it means to be a woman in business in the Westshore:
Tell us a little about your store: My store has been evolving quite a lot over the last two years, selling unique gifts and clothing, but I do try to keep it to about 70% local, most of the artist have become friends, they support me and I support them. I love that handshake. I am always looking for more locally created art, always.
How long have you owned your business? I started with a booth in the summer months at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, that was back in 2009. I started at Westshore during the Christmas holiday seasons about 7 years ago, and I finally opened my semi-permanent store 2.5 years ago.
What inspired you to open your store? It all started with me wanting to sell my stained art glass pieces. From there it grew, I started carrying other local art glass pieces and then brought in other product like pottery, jewellery, clothing. If the product I buy is not local then I try to make sure it is ethically sourced.
What do you love the most about having a business in the Westshore? The community is growing, but it still has that small town feel, I love the regular customers who come in and we chat away like were long time friends. I have lots of friends and family in the area too, they support me and pass on my name. And of course I only live 8 minutes away and not having to commute is a nice bonus. I find that the other Westshore tenants and employees are always friendly waving and saying hello.
Who are your role models / who inspires you? All The artists that support me, to name a few Mark and Jane with Cornucopia Glass, Joann with JoJo Emporium she is a hard working women in business that inspires me everyday, Liz, Rene, Kim, Vanessa, Krista and so many others. I would not be here if is wasn’t for the local artists. And of course my husband who is so supportive and such a hard worker, he helps me with so many things, I drive him crazy sometimes with all my special requests.
On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to women thinking about starting their own business?
If you have an idea or a dream, work at it, even if it is just small scale to start, every effort you make will eventually turn into something better. I still have so many things I want to do and to grow and everyday it takes effort, but it will eventually pay off. Make sure to ask or seek out other women entrepreneurs, just even to reflect on everyday trivial things. Those talks really help. If you have questions seek me out, I am always up for a good chat and to help.
To enter for your chance to win a $50 gift card to Local Reflections, please complete one or more of the following:
- LIKE Westshore Town Centre on Facebook, and leave a comment below once you have
- FOLLOW Local Reflections Centre on Facebook and leave a comment below once you have (1 entry)
- COMMENT below with your favourite woman in business!
Contest entries will be accepted from the time and date of publishing until 11:59 pm (end date). One winner will be chosen at random and contacted through the platform they used to enter. Make sure to register when commenting below.