Being a small business owner requires resilience, dedication and drive. It's not for the faint of heart.
Nineteen years ago, long before 'eco' was hip, I founded ORESTA organic skin care in Ottawa in an old corner store on O'Connor Street in the Glebe.
WhenI graduated from esthetics school, I had a dream of working at the Spa in Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario. With great enthusiasm, and feeling very hopeful, I applied for a esthetics position. One month later, there was no call, two months later, still no call. With no other opportunities on the horizon, artist Christopher Griffin told me that if there are no opportunities, you must create your own opportunities and so my entrepreneurial journey began. That was over 20 years ago.
I started my business without any prior business experience, with no business plan or financial backing. What I did have was a passion for skin care and the desire to make clean beauty accessible to women. I wanted to educate and empower women to make healthy beauty choices. I wanted to promote healthy skin and healthy aging with holistic skin care treatments and to support brands that created products made with clean, high quality ingredients. Brands that value integrity from their harvesting practices to their environmental footprint in the formulation of products that are good for your skin and for the planet.
Since failure was not an option, I made many personal sacrifices, compromising family and personal time to grow my business.
This is the reality of all small business owners. We are built on resilience, grit and sacrifice. Being a small business owner is far from glamorous but there is nothing else that I would ever want to do. I am grateful to my family for their understanding and support. It wasn't easy. I am also fortunate to have my sister Laryssa join the ORESTA family and open the second ORESTA location 10 years ago. Her support and love is immense. I would have never been able to grow ORESTA the way that we have without her.
Now, the last few months have felt challenging for us. Closed for spa services for over 7 months has had a huge impact on us, financially and emotionally. While feeling gratitude for the support and kindness of our clients and the unexpected opportunities for creativity, we have also come to realize the loss of not doing the work that feeds our soul. We miss our customers and our treatment rooms.
I have made space to sit with the loss, the doubt and the worry while making time to do things that bring me joy. As an aesthetician, while I pamper others, it's difficult to find time to pamper myself. There are always more important things that need doing, but I have started making a conscious effort to carve out 'me' time. Whether to get together with a friend for a social distance catch up, read (a non-work related book), journal, binge-watch tv or enjoy a relaxing self care beauty ritual, I am working at making yourself a priority. Are you?
October is Small Business Month. Support your local small businesses. We work hard and take great pride in creating vibrant businesses that are the heartbeat of our communities and our economy. Small businesses need your help.