The Squamish Chamber operates on the unceded lands of the Squamish Nation (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw). We are grateful to work, live and play on their territory.
More than just a beautiful place to live, Squamish is where beautiful ideas and products come to life. Our community is filled with creative souls and innovative thinkers. People who are truly passionate about what they make, whether that be chocolate infused with Pacific Northwest flavours, skincare products that draw from the ceremonial aspects of plants, unique furniture shaped out of wood and metal, or a women’s line of activewear designed to bring out their wild side.
As we all enjoy the fruits of their labour, our support of these independent local businesses has ripple effects that contribute to the growth and health of our entire community and our environment. According to LOCO BC, locally grown or made product results in a greenhouse gas reduction benefit of between 5% and 66% compared to imported products.
Check out these diverse product offerings created by local visionaries:
Ethnobotanist Leigh Joseph of Squamish First Nation, Sḵwálwen (skwall – win), founded Sḵwálwen Botanicals an Indigenous skincare brand that honours cultural knowledge, Indigenous plant science and self-care. Using sustainably harvested and sourced botanicals, Sḵwálwen unites ancestral traditions with modern beauty rituals, empowering people to connect to themselves and the natural world.
Sḵwálwen wild-harvests a portion of their ingredients and works in partnership with local Valley Buds Flower Farm to grow some of the other wild plants and native species needed.
“Giving back to the land and Indigenous communities is at the heart of who we are,” explains Leigh. To date proceeds from the Ceremony Series, a seasonal offering of small batch skincare and wellness experiences, has raised $3,500 for organizations that support Indigenous causes. The hiýáḿ Project, launched in spring 2021, is a collaboration with Satinflower Nurseries that facilitates thousands of seeds planted on Indigenous lands. To help fund the initiative, Sḵwálwen partnered with Supported Soul on the Resurgence Collection of eco-friendly yoga mats, with 12.5% of mat sales donated to the hiýáḿ Project.
Bewildher is a slow fashion activewear brand empowering women to be wilder. All garments are ethically sewn in Vancouver, in a female-owned factory where employees earn fair wages. Founder Nadine Manson’s revolutionary approach to manufacturing encourages slowing down rather than speeding up production, emphasizing quality over quantity. Every step of the process, from using material made from recycled plastic bottles to the sustainable packaging, is eco-friendly, ethical and green.
Bewildher uses the services of many local businesses to market and distribute their activewear, and all their models are local women. A donation is made to the local non-profit Girl In The Wild with every order, and monthly contests support related initiatives such as Indigenous Women Outdoors and the Howe Sound Women’s Centre. Partnerships with these organizations and other local brands, including Supported Soul and 1% for the Planet, helps boost the local economy.
Nadine is truly inspired by the Squamish business community:
Drew De Panicis founded Bueno Custom Furniture in 2013, turning his passion for creating unique, high-quality furniture out of wood and metal into his profession. He loves working with his hands, seeing drawings and ideas come to life, and collaborating with clients to customize something beautiful for their space that will last a lifetime.
After many years working out of a community workspace in Vancouver, he is very happy to have recently moved back to his home town of Squamish and set up his workshop here. Drew says the companies he works with in Squamish are top quality. He also believes that keeping things close to home makes the journey more enjoyable and is always on the lookout for ways to give back and support the local community.
Born and raised in Switzerland, Yoann Guidi first became fascinated about turning cacao beans into a chocolate bar after visiting a chocolate factory in his early 20s. Years later, he got serious about it, first as a hobby and then a business. Schoki Chocolate, a husband-and-wife venture, opened for business in 2020. Their core values: traceability, sustainability and ethics. They purchase the finest cacao beans through farmer co-operatives that ensure fair wages and good environmental practices, and add flavours inspired by the Pacific Northwest.
Other than essential ingredients sourced from southern countries, Schoki (a colloquial way of saying chocolate) is committed to buying local. “Supporting local businesses and this community has always been important to us,” says Yoann. The small new company also aims to give back, donating 1% of sales to select organizations that contribute to protecting the planet and enhancing the community.
The Guidis feel deeply rooted in the Squamish community and are grateful for all the support they receive from locals:
We hope you enjoyed getting to know these four one-of-a-kind local businesses. Here’s how you can continue to show them love and support:
1) Buy local made
2) Shop in store or online
3) Share your love for local products on social media
About Guest Blog writer RRM Creative
Proud to be based in Squamish, RRM Creative is a talented group of hardworking professionals who are well experienced (20+ years) in creative communications, strategic branding, art direction and project management. Whether you have a one-time need or seek all-encompassing marketing solutions, they’ve got you covered.
About Love Local. Love Squamish
This project is brought to you by the Squamish Chamber of Commerce, made possible thanks to funding from the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Government of Canada.