With the FIFA Women’s World Cup rolling through Vancouver, our entire country only wants one thing for our national team, the trophy! This week’s featured entrepreneur has a few things in common with our squad. She’s strong, competitive and Canadian.
Her Wearables is a local jewelry business founded by Kelsie Sheren, a Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. Not only are we showcasing a local, budding entrepreneur this week, we’re paying homage to every soldier that’s ever put their live on the line for us.
Who are you? Tell us about your business and what inspired you to create it.
My name is Kelsie Sheren, and I’m 25 years old. I am a Veteran of the Canadian Forces turned entrepreneur. I began my company, Her Wearables, in November of 2014, and I am so in love with it!
I started this company as a therapeutic way for me to get my mind off of things and find a way to help other Veterans who have fallen through the cracks. The Canadian Forces has many soldiers come home who are suffering from PTSD and many other problems, yet the majority of the time are just set to the side because of a lack of funding by the government or simple legality issues.
I believed there had to be a way for me to help my fellow service men and women but in a way that I could handle as well. I did a tour in Afghanistan in 2009 and came home with PTSD. My business is a multi collection of four separate lines – each different in their own unique ways. We currently have The City Collection, The Stone Collection, The Free Collection and The Gunner Collection.
What has been the most challenging part about running this business and how have you addressed it?
When I began this company I knew it would be challenging in every way possible, but I was not quite ready for how challenging it could be. I have been extremely fortunate to have an very supportive and business savvy husband with a few companies of his own. He really has walked me through the process in terms of the business side and I have worked my way through the design and application side.
The part I find most challenging is getting the word out about our jewelry, and getting enough awareness for the cause we support (Wounded Warriors). With fashion as I’m sure you know, it is a very fast moving animal in the sense that it is always going different directions, styles, colours, materials, chunky, slim, bold, simplicity, or timeless and whether or not a style lasts long or not. I always feel the pressure to keep up or create new trends.
How has Vancouver’s rising startup community played a role in the development of Her Wearables?
To be honest I was born and raised in a small town in Ontario. I grew up in what some like to call a farm town and was really never into fashion, now that is very different today! I moved to B.C. about six years ago when I met my husband, and this is where I have stayed since. But definitely living so close to Vancouver has had such a large impact on the development of Her because when you have such a beautiful city with all types of people you get to see so many different styles. There really is no wrong way to do something. Also the level of acceptance towards Her is really picking up and the goal is to make Her a house hold name in women’s jewelry. I am very proud to sell Her in B.C. and cannot wait to expand across Canada, U.S.A. and eventually worldwide.
What core problem is your company specifically solving and/or what’s the main value you provide?
Awareness, and helping other Veterans who are not receiving the help that they need. These people give their lives to our beautiful country and yet when they come home and are no longer useful to the Forces they get thrown to the side and many vets are living homeless on our streets. We are trying to raise awareness for PTSD and my generation of Veterans suffering from PTSD. We need to grow to give back even more and I believe that there is a serious epidemic of Veterans suffering who need help. That is why a portion of our proceeds are going directly to foundations that provide those services, such as Wounded Warrior Canada. This is my way to give back, and I couldn’t be happier to have found a way to help others who are suffering.
How did you end up becoming an entrepreneur and what challenges did you personally overcome to succeed?
I became a entrepreneur one day out of the blue. I knew I wanted to help, I knew I needed to do something and I knew if I was going to start something I was going to give it my all. The next day I turned to my husband and said “I would like to start a jewelry company.” He looked at me for a second and said “alright what do you need.”
I personally have overcome and am still working on the challenges that I face everyday being a young Veteran with PTSD. The idea of working a normal job with daily triggers and issues that come with PTSD isn’t possible for me, but I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky vets who was given help when I needed it and that is also what sparked my want to start Her. Seeing how lucky I was to have the team I had to support me and knowing that I was just one of the lucky ones and knowing how many are not.
What entrepreneur has inspired you the most for running your business and what makes them so special?
My husband really, as strange as that sounds. He has two very successful companies that he started at a young age and has taken to a crazy level, his drive and perseverance to be so successful has rubbed off on me. Seeing what a company or business can do to help so many other people is unbelievable and it really is contagious in that way. I get inspiration from so many different outlets but the most really would be my husband.
What Vancouver celebrity/influencer would you most be excited to have as a member of the team and why?
Honestly, it’s not about a specific person or influencer, but more like anyone who would be willing to support the cause and help raise awareness for Veterans who are suffering with PTSD, and other mental or physical issues. I would be excited to have any celebrity be a part of our team as long as they support and believe in what we are trying to do – help Veterans through Wounded Warriors.
We are also in talks with Madeline Merlo, an up and coming country singer from Maple Ridge, to come on board as a brand ambassador. She is only 21 years old, but is one hell of a country singer! She truly believes in the cause of helping Veterans, and has even traveled to Kuwait to perform for our troops, along with multiple bases across Canada. We hope to release more info on this shortly, and maybe even a few new products with Madeline’s influence. Stay tuned for more!
If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?
That it’s not going to be easy, and sometimes it’s going to feel like everything and everyone is against you, but to take a deep breath, you’ve got this!
What are some accessible resources used and winning habits you have developed to learn and grow as an entrepreneur?
Accessible resources would be definitely Google! But honestly, in this day and age we have no excuse to not finding an answer for something. Pick up a book or open a computer and ask the question you need to know to grow, most of the answers are out there if you look hard enough. Time management is key and knowing when to push forward on some things, and when to pull back on others.
What’s your advice for current or future entrepreneurs?
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs.
Vancouver Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs and startups that are making a local and even a global impact. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send an email to casey(at)vancitybuzz(dot)com to explain why you’re a fit.