After living a very stressful lifestyle in her role as a paramedic, Angela found the need to make a change, and in doing that, she returned to her roots in healing and energy work, and that led to the founding of “Tofino Soap Company,” a business that is sustainable at all levels, and where creativity, love, and community are the focus.
Angela believes in a higher power, and that everyone has their own special calling, a path in their lives where we all leave things better than we found them, making the world a better place.
We had the opportunity to speak with Angela, to learn more about her passion, her business, and the heartfelt story behind her favourite product, a collaboration with The Smiling Blue Skies ® Cancer Fund.
How did you get started?
After years spent being a paramedic, and devoting all my energy to this role, I made the decision to return to my family roots and my education as a healing practitioner.
My ancestors were healers. My uncle created dream catchers based on birth charts, and a safe and sacred space for sweats and vision quests. My aunt has a private healing centre. I felt a pull towards this same passion that is so grounded in my heritage.
While in Hawaii, I learned traditional coconut oil soap making, and when I returned to my home in Tofino, I felt a strong pull to continue perfecting my craft. Soap bars were beginning to fill all the nooks and crannies in our small apartment, and a few people who worked at “The Wickaninnish Inn,” suggested that I sell my soaps at the “Tofino Public Market,” so that’s what I did, and the soaps were a huge hit. That’s where my Tofino Soap “hobby,” turned into “Tofino Soap Company.”
What is your mission statement?
To honour long established traditions, celebrate community spirit, through sustainable eco-conscious products, and to nurture people’s inner passion and inspire self care, by creating beautiful products to enjoy yourself, and to gift to others.
Tell us your experience as a female-driven business?
The natural drive that women have, their special sisterly bond, and the desire I have to see women be successful in their own right, is empowering to me. The support and encouragement that we can offer one another, along with shared mentorship opportunities, has really had an influence on me.
What can you tell us about your trials and victories as a small business?
Learning to delegate was and continues to be, very challenging to me. Overcoming the pressure from others to increase my production, was a significant trial for me too. My integrity and passion remains intact, despite these challenges, and we continue with our small batch standards and traditions in relation to all our products. “Bigger does not mean better” when it comes to my company.
How do you cultivate work-life balance as an entrepreneur?
I think it naturally occurs because of where I live. I am surrounded by the wilderness and what I do does not feel like work, because it is truly my passion. When I was a paramedic however, there was a distinct work-life balance, because it was necessary to my sanity, but “Tofino Soap Company” is part of who I am, and the creative process is therapeutic for me.
What has been the best part of being a business owner so far?
Honestly, I do not feel like a business owner . . . even now! When you have a passion that turns into your business, I think your feelings and approach are entirely different. It makes me very happy when I create something that people love.
What are your goals for the future?
There is a difference between business goals and life goals. For me, goals are self limiting, because my business is so much a part of who I am, in my every day life. I live my life with purpose. I get great joy from connecting with people and sharing experiences, and making memories together. It is so important to me to always live with love in my heart and share that with others, and I am fortunate that the products I create are so much a part of who I am.
I do not want to limit myself. An idea may be sparked tomorrow that will become my next creative project. Passion is a fuel for me, and provides me with the dreams that become the realities, like building a collection for the “Ancient Cedars Spa” at “The Wickaninnish Inn,” or working with Karyn Craven, from “Burning Torch” in Los Angeles, California, or, collaborating with award winning brands like “Ivan Meade” and Victoria McKenney of “Enviable Designs” in Vancouver. If I followed specific goals and plans of action, the universe would have pulled me in a very different direction, and passion projects like these may have sat on the back burner and may never have been possible.
What inspires you?
It sounds corny, but everything that inspires me is based on Love and Freedom. Connecting with people inspires me, being challenged inspires me, the underdog inspires me, nature inspires me. I am so lucky to be surrounded by lush, temperate rain forest, which is so rare in today’s world. Every day, I can watch wolves, bears, rare varieties of birds, while listening to the winds and ocean waves. What could be more inspiring than that . . .
What pushed you to make the decision to pursue the life of an entrepreneur?
I don’t feel that anything pushed me when it comes to “Tofino Soap Company,” but rather, I feel it was more of a pull, because the first business I owned was a medical company that provided on sight emergency medical support, and that business was all about “the push.”
This business is all about “the pull,” because it comes from inside of me, from my heart. My spirit pulled me towards my creative self, and “Tofino Soap Company” was born.
What is your current favourite product you sell and why?
In June, we introduced a custom candle collaboration with The Smiling Blue Skies ® Cancer Fund. All the proceeds from the sale of the candles support cancer research that benefits both pets and people. This project was inspired by my Riley. My mentor, Suzi, is the founder of Smiling Blue Skies, and she introduced me to my Riley. I feel like he saved a part of my soul.
After being a medic for so many years, I found that parts of me became harder, because I had no choice but to protect myself. This was necessary because I was working in such extreme situations.
Riley was so much fun. He gave unconditional love, was always smiling and singing. He was my bright light. Watching him and having him in my life for so long, restored many positive things in me, including my faith, and that passion was poured into this special collaboration.
We lost Riley to cancer nearly two years ago, and through his loss I created the product that I am most connected with. Riley’s loss inspired me in a very different way, touching my life, and fuelling a different kind of creativity.
Each one of us is touched by cancer in some way, and Riley’s candle taught me that there is always “hope,” and it made me reach out to people even more in my daily life.
Angela’s story is inspiring and we love seeing how getting back to her roots created her future. Be sure to check out “Tofino Soap Company” online and give her love and good vibes on Instagram!