BCB MayJune 2022_LR

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/1468031

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Page 26 of 83

MAY/JUNE 2022 BCBUSINESS 27 BCBUSINESS.CA W I N N E R KATIE GAMBLE F O U N D E R , N A T U R E B E E TRUE TO HER NAME, Katie Gamble took a chance in 2018 by launching Nature Bee out of her parents' basement. "I was actually going in to work as a social worker," recalls the UVic commerce grad, whose company makes reusable beeswax wraps. "But I realized at a certain point that I wasn't going to be able to live my life the way I wanted to, just with impact and everything." The 27-year-old decided on her business by asking a question: What products do people use every day that could easily be swapped with eco-friendly alternatives? The answer was single-use plastic wrap. "With Nature Bee, I was able to combine my passion for sustainability and education and impact, and then also hire people with disabilities," Gamble says. From just four pairs of helping hands–her mom and dad, and two staff members–Nature Bee has grown to 12 employees. The Saanichton-based company, which sources its wax from nearby Country Bee Honey Farm, also offers Swedish dishcloths and concentrated cleaning tablets to reduce the waste associated with repurchasing cleaning products. So far, Nature Bee has landed 350 retailers across North America, launched a dishcloth collaboration with Kelowna-based interior designer Jillian Harris and filled custom orders for Lush Cosmetics. It also works with brands to make "eco-swag" by printing logos on its wraps. Rather than overwhelm people with the zero-waste movement, Gamble wants to make it easy for them to buy plastic alternatives. Hence her company's motto: "One small change has the biggest impact." –R.R. W I N N E R JULIE WANG F O U N D E R A N D L E A D S T R A T E G I S T , T I N Y P L A N E T D I G I T A L J ulie Wang always knew how much thought goes into a 15-second ad. As a child, when her eyes widened at Polly Pocket, she wondered why she wanted the toys so badly. "Is it the colours?" she'd ask herself. The Surrey native's interest in psychology and consumer behaviour developed into a passion for marketing. But even with a degree from UBC Sauder School of Business, Wang saw a gap between what employers wanted and what she'd learned at school. To bridge it, she launched her own digital marketing agency in 2019. "One thing we're really big on at Tiny Planet Digital is sup- porting student empowerment, learning and employment," the 23-year-old-founder and lead strategist says. Through the fed- eral Student Work Placement Program and nonprofit Venture for Canada, her firm offers training, mentorship, hands-on experience and internship op- portunities to students. Based in Vancouver, Tiny Planet has grown to a team of six in three years. Having worked with small and medi- um-sized businesses across the country, it recently began focusing on the hospitality in- dustry and environmental non- profits. "Last year, we were able to run a Sustainable Growth Contest where we offered $5,000 of pro bono services to nonprofit and [Sustainable Development Goals]–driven or- ganizations," Wang says. This isn't the first business venture for Wang, who is also an entrepreneurship mentor for Burnaby-based, youth-focused charity YELL Canada. "I used to buy things from garage sales and try to flip them online," she says. "I saw the opportunities that the internet presented to everyone, and it made starting your own business so much more accessible and attainable." –R.R.

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