A little over one year ago, Janelle Efoda and Jessie Porter were so excited to start a business that they jumped in headfirst.
Having both worked in the beauty industry for quite some time, one in aesthetics and the other in cosmetology, they saw a need for a beauty supply store in their home town of Terrace, BC. There wasn’t anything like it within a 240 mile radius, so they saw a great business opportunity. However, shortly after investing in a retail space and opening Twisted Orchid in early 2020 the government began to shut things down as a result of the global pandemic
Rather than give up their business dream the pair took advantage of the restrictions and threw everything they had into renovating their shopfront. Using locally sourced up-cycled and repurposed materials they transformed their space into what it is today; a reflection of their business values of minimal environmental impact and ethical, cruelty free beauty products.
They take care in considering the products they choose to stock so they can confidently stand behind every one. Their professional section supplies licensed beauty professionals with cruelty-free hair products, skin care and other basic supplies needed for salon and spa services. They have also recently opened a new Retail section in their store where anyone is welcome to come in and shop for hair and skin care products, even without a license.
They joined the Women’s Enterprise Centre peer mentoring group last fall as an opportunity to find out from other Women Entrepreneurs how to grow their business, get their name out there, and effectively advertise. What they initially thought of as a great way to gain support and network with other women in business turned out to be so much more than that.
The women in our peer group were such a huge, huge help to us – I loved that time, I really did. I’ve learned so much I didn’t think I would. It was great to see other women in business who were like us trying to learn, tying to make things better, trying to grow, it was awesome.
They found that being able to talk to other Women Entrepreneurs in other areas opened their network and feel that they were not alone. When they had the chance to highlight their business during one of the sessions, they got fantastic feedback and professional advice from the women in the group.
We had been so isolated during covid it was so nice to just get to know people from different areas and understand their challenges and our challenges and then be able to work through them together. We really were able to problem solve so many things together, we all got so much out of the experience
Following their experience with the peer mentoring group they have big plans for the future. In five years, they plan to have expanded the business beyond just a storefront. They want to create an education center and bring in educators to run classes and extra employees so they can take a step back to relax!
Q. Tell us about your experience in the WEC virtual peer mentoring group.
The peer mentoring group really interested me as it talked about women getting to help each other and learn about how to grow their businesses and we really needed that because we were so new.
I think the virtual sessions were a really great option for us, because we don’t have a lot of time. We got so much out of that group every Monday; there was just so much information. I could do the virtual group sessions then, because my salon was in my house, I could head to work right afterward. There wasn’t any need to travel back and forth.
The biggest take away we got was when we got to highlight our business and one of the members who works in Marketing gave us some really valuable and insightful advice. She told us about how to promote our business online in areas we hadn’t even thought of like social media apps, themes for posting and graphic design so that was really great to learn.
Q. What do you love about doing business in the north?
I think, for both of us, the North is home. There’s a different kind of energy in our community, because we’re kind of rural. The people take their time to do things, they’re not in a big rush.
One thing we really noticed is that the community has been very supportive. We’ve got some really great customers that are in here all the time to support us. I don’t think you always get that from a bigger city center, because you’re not as known.
Where to Find Twisted Orchid:
3974 Old Lakelse Lake Drive, Terrace, British Columbia BC V8G 3V1, Canada