Today is International Women’s Day, a day where the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women across the word are celebrated. Saskatchewan is flourishing with talented, unique, and qualified women-owned business. Today, we’d like to introduce you to two of them.
A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to chat with Meghan Hawkins and Cristie Zyla, Co-Owners of The Prairie Grazer in Saskatoon, as well as Lisa McIntrye, Owner of The Optical Shoppe in Regina, to understand their entrepreneurship journey and to get their thoughts on this year’s IWD theme, #BreaktheBias.
WHAT SPARKED YOU TO START ON YOUR ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNEY?
Meghan and Cristie: The Prairie Grazer was born around a campfire in Saskatchewan. Meghan had recently returned from a trip to Tofino where she had come across a little charcuterie shop that was extremely popular with the locals. She knew Saskatoon needed something like it! She approached Cristie with the idea, and after much research and planning, The Prairie Grazer was born!
Lisa: I grew up in a multi-generation family business. I think it was in my blood to become an entrepreneur, deep down I always knew I wanted to be my own boss. After working in the family business for a number of years, we decided to sell, and I was on the hunt for my next adventure. I became aware that the previous owner of The Optical Shoppe had a desire to retire. After research and negotiation, I decided to jump in with both feet and take on my own business.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE ASSUMPTION PEOPLE MAKE ABOUT YOU, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Lisa: I’ve experienced many challenges relating to stereotypes, including being called “young lady” in a condescending tone. Because of my gender, I also am frequently underestimated in my knowledge and negotiation skills, particularly when working with industry suppliers and sales representatives
WHY DO WE NEED MORE WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS?
Meghan and Cristie: Women are consistently underestimated, particularly in business. As women, we have qualities that make us strong leaders, and those qualities are often underutilized. It is important to have more women in leadership roles so we can serve as role models and inspire the next generation of future women leaders.
HOW CAN WOMEN WORK TOGETHER TO #BREAKTHEBIAS?
Meghan and Cristie: As women, we need to support other women entrepreneurs, but also consider them our equals. By approaching every interaction as though we are equally qualified, we can help others to see our strengths as women. Know your worth and recognize the hard work you have put in to get where you are today! Let’s celebrate our successes!
Lisa: We need to continue to work together toward the same goal of equality. Women need to continue to push the boundaries and rise to leadership positions. We must support each other, encourage our peers, and mentor women coming up behind us.
ABOUT THE PRAIRIE GRAZER
The Prairie Grazer creates unique charcuterie experiences through hand-crafted artisan boxes and grazing tables featuring local products and ingredients. We strive to support local where possible and give back to our community. Learn more here.
ABOUT THE OPTICAL SHOPPE
The Optical Shoppe is a beautifully curated eyewear boutique in the heart of Regina’s downtown. For almost 40 years the store has been leading the way in finding unique frames and the best designer eyewear. We are on a mission to find the perfect frame for every person. Learn more here.
To learn about other great women-owned businesses right here in Saskatchewan, visit our Women-Owned Business Database here.
If you’re a woman entrepreneur yourself and haven’t yet self-declared with WESK, be sure to do so! Signing up is free, and gets you access to an exclusive woman-owned Saskatchewan business logo, social media template, and the opportunity to be listed in our Women-Owned Business Database. Learn more here.