My name is Alissa (Ali) Assu, I am the owner of Westcoast Wildflowers and I am Wet'suwet'en from Witset, British Columbia. During the global pandemic, I choose to pivot from the Provincial Coordinator, Performance Sport role at Indigenous Sport, Activity & Recreation Council (ISPARC) to launching an Indigenous lifestyle boutique that honours and creates a safe space for Indigenous artisans and products to be highlighted in the same competitive retail market as other talented makers.
This business was built on a platform to support local, purchase local and grow our local communities, to build meaningful and authentic partnerships across community and finding a team that believes in this mission too.
September 2021, I began the process of making this 'dream' into small actions until it became reality. I outsourced mentors, downloaded NEDC's small business template and wrote a business plan. I started sourcing companies that would trust in this mission and supporting a business launch during the delicate and uncertain times of COVID-19. Soon boxes began arriving at my father-in-laws office, it expanded into his garage and expanded to his neighbour (our family member - Skye Bourget) lash studio on Quinsam Reserve. November 20th, 2021 Westcoast Wildflowers launched a holiday pop-up show. Following this, I called all the cousins and moved the business into a larger retail space. Now, Westcoast Wildflowers has become the largest lifestyle boutique in Campbell River.
As the company grew, I had to match the growth the with new team members. We have a collective of strong and powerful woman leading this mission. We encourage you to visit each staff's profile to learn more. Finally, we have two important men on this team - my husband Cody Assu and Bow. Cody belongs to the Haida Nation and Cape Mudge Indian Band. He is a third-generation commercial fisherman and continues leading his families seine boat - Haida Girl. During his time on the land, he's the unofficial part-time owner. He's our Indigenous model, Cody is famously known for his art of standing still while filming. Do you want proof? CLICK HERE. You can find him fulfilling orders, handling shipments, unload new shipments, pricing and building new displays in the store. Do
WHAT'S NEXT FOR WESTCOAST WILDFLOWERS?
Folk's that for another article!
Misiyh, Gilakas'la and Hawa'a of behalf of our family for joining us on this journey.