Squamish, Vancouver Island/Coast
Squamish, Vancouver Island/Coast
Sḵwálwen (skwall - win) is an Indigenous business creating luxury botanical skin care and wellness products. Honouring traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) plant knowledge, we incorporate wild harvested plants and organic, high quality ingredients. Our wild plant ingredients are harvested in a sustainable and respectful way and each product has a Squamish name to honour the place where this plant knowledge comes from.
In Business Since 2017
Best Community Impact
What motivated you to start your business and what core cause do you support?
I started my business as a creative outlet for my academic study and research in the field of ethnobotany and Indigenous plant science. Through the course of my studies I recognized a lack of Indigenous voices in the academic literature in my field and as I moved further along the path of entrepreneurship I recognized the lack of Indigenous plant-based skincare businesses as well. Much of what I have learned from my work with culturally important plants is that there is so much beauty, strength and resilience demonstrated in the cultural interrelationships between people, plants and the land. In contrast to this I recognized that the majority of stories in mainstream media in relation to Indigenous Peoples in Canada still focus on trauma-related narratives. I saw an opportunity to share stories, images and context for connecting self care to the land from an Indigenous perspective. The power of doing this through my business platform is that I can share storytelling and create new narratives grounded in the beauty and strength of Indigenous knowledge and people and share this with my growing community of followers and customers. Sḵwálwen is increasing Indigenous representation in the beauty and skincare space as well as sharing the broader story of cultural renewal in connection to plants and the land. By doing this we are adding our voices and perspectives as an Indigenous woman owned business into spaces where they would not have been heard before. Why is this important? My vision is for Indigenous youth to see themselves reflected across all aspects of society, to feel they belong, that their voices matter, they matter. I want the work that I am doing to contribute to creating a path for other Indigenous entrepreneurs as I believe this is one path to economic reconciliation and strengthening Indigenous economies in culturally grounded ways. I have hired five women from my community over this past year and this has been an important and impactful way to continue to grow Sḵwálwen while also considering building and growing a business that directly and positively impacts my community, the land and the plants we celebrate in our formulations. Another way we are giving back is by partnering with Indigenous organizations for our Ceremony craft release series through which we are able to contribute funds to important causes and grassroots work and amplify the messages of our partnering organizations. We also ensure to plant Indigenous plants back onto the land
Why do you deserve to win the Best Community Impact award?
Skwálwen Botanicals is changing the beauty space through increasing Indigenous representation, offering luxury plant-based products that are grounded in Indigenous knowledge and carving out the space for Indigenous plant science to inform beauty. Skwálwen deserves to win the Best Community Impact Award because we are not only benefiting the broader community of customers through delivering high quality skincare offerings we are first and foremost dedicated to making a positive impact to Indigenous communities and peoples in Canada. Skwálwen follows cultural ethics and guidelines and integrates these teachings into the business structure. This means we are always working to ensure our community impacts are aligned with being an environmentally minded business that makes positive contributions to the earth, our customers and Indigenous communities we partner with. Indigenous business is still underrepresented but that is changing. It is essential to recognize Indigenous businesses such as Skwálwen that are making positive contributions and furthering the work of cultural knowledge renewal and leading change in the broader small business landscape. By celebrating a business like Skwálwen this amplifies the work we are doing and helps create more space for other Indigenous small businesses to thrive. Skwálwen is giving back and creating change one plant-based beauty product at a time!
Premier's People's Choice
Sḵwálwen (skwall - win) is an Indigenous business creating luxury botanical skin care products. Honouring traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) plant knowledge, we incorporate wild harvested plants and organic, high quality ingredients. Our wild plant ingredients are harvested in a sustainable and respectful way and each product has a Squamish name to honour the place where this plant knowledge comes from. Skwálwen Botanicals should win the Premier People's Choice award because we are an Indigenous woman-owned business that is giving back and creating social change one plant-based beauty product at a time! Skwálwen is creating change and increasing Indigenous representation through story-telling and bringing an Indigenous voice to the luxury beauty space. You can find Sḵwálwen products in 29 locations across Canada, including 6 Holt Renfrew stores. We have a growing wait list of interested retailers in Canada, the US and internationally. Sḵwálwen has 24k followers on Instagram, our primary platform for sharing the brand’s story, images, products and topics related to wellness rituals and Indigenous culture. We project doubling that figure in the coming months and this is an important platform for amplifying Indigenous issues, important topics of discussion and sharing the beauty and resilience of Indigenous Peoples and knowledge of plants and the land. Sḵwálwen has recently been featured in: Flare, Elle Canada, Cosmopolitan, HuffPost En Route ~ Air canada’s inflight magazine as well as on The Social CTV and Global News Morning Winnipeg. In 2020 Sḵwálwen received the following accolades: *Indigenous Business of the Year Award through the BC Achievement Foundation *Second-place winner of Pow Wow Pitch, Canada’s premier pitching competition for Indigenous entrepreneurs *Currently a SheEo Canadian Venture semi-finalist ~ an opportunity to receive support from a global network of women entrepreneurs creating sustainable business models These accomplishments show the support that the growing Sḵwálwen community shows for the business and I believe Sḵwálwen is an excellent contender in the Premier's Peoples's Choice award. Skwálwen is making positive contributions and furthering the work of cultural knowledge renewal as well as leading change in the broader small business landscape. By celebrating a business like Skwálwen this amplifies the work we are doing and helps create more space for other Indigenous small businesses to thrive!