What are the next big plans you have for your business?
To create value for our customers by expanding our women’s safety workwear and apparel products. To create partnerships with private and crown corporations by becoming a female-focused supplier of their personal protective equipment programs.
What are three things that you feel have contributed to your success as a business owner?
Unwavering support from family and friends, having the right team, and good old hard work.
What challenges do you feel are unique to female small business owners?
Creating balance between family and running a business. Female business owners are always faced with having to nurture and care for both family and business simultaneously and in equal proportion. Limited and unfair funding options are ongoing challenges that female-owned businesses face, and this is based on gender and cultural biases within the financial system, angel investment platforms, and our society.
What is it like working in an industry that some might see as traditionally male-dominated?
There is hesitance and difficulty in being taken seriously. Business, commerce, skilled trades, and occupational health and safety are also considered to be male-dominated fields. There is this fanciful idea that women must first “be given permission” to pursue careers in these fields.
Have you come up against any bias?
Yes, of course! Biases are unfortunate, but they are not surprising. I have encountered gender bias in trying to get a proper debrief or feedback on a proposal for a bid. When I asked how my business scored on an evaluation criterion, the procurement officer wasn’t forthcoming, and he treated the process as a huge inconvenience.
What advice would you give to other women starting their own business?
Do your research, acquire information, and gain all the knowledge you can. Then create an appropriate value proposition that solves a problem for your potential customers. Have a strategic plan and be realistic about your goals and timelines. Most importantly, know who your target market is and surround yourself with the right team including family, friends, mentors, and potential investors.