Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in apparel but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jena Renwick, owner of LYDA Collective, located in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

LYDA creates durable stretch denim pants for active women and men. LYDA stands for Live Your Dreams Actively and was created to empower adventurous individuals!

Tell us about yourself

I grew up in Nelson, BC, which is a world-known mecca for mountain biking. I became involved in the sport when I was 17. It gave me solace, empowerment and helped me overcome a lot of darkness and fears. This was also when I realized there wasn't a durable, well-fitting product offered to active, adventurous women. Most of my friends and I would wear the men's product over the women's because it was more durable and neutral in style.

I received my Bachelor's in Fashion Design and Technology through Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I gained industry experience working for a mountain bike clothing company in North Vancouver (Sombrio Cartel) and working at Arc'teryx Equipment. Both places gave me a diverse range of skills and knowledge to step out on my own as an entrepreneur.

I took a well-needed break from the apparel industry (after my time at Arc'teryx) and began to devote time to personally developing myself, gaining new knowledge and skills. Through this personal reflection time, I realized I didn't want to give up my dream of creating an action sports clothing brand that empowers women. In 2016, I began the first initial creation of LYDA.

Doing what I love motivates me each day. I've always put my focus and energy into things that I genuinely enjoy doing, which makes work exciting and fun. However, it's not been an easy road. Doing what you love requires fierce determination, commitment, the willingness to let go and trust the process, taking it one step at a time, and living in the unknown most of the time. Every area in your life gets tested and is affected.

Having a good morning routine, either starting off with meditation or yoga (or some kind of fitness), always clears my head for a productive day. And drinking tons of water, getting lots of sleep, and eating clean, healthy food contribute a lot to staying creative and motivated.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment has been designing and creating a high-quality product that my customers truly love. I've had people order up to 5 pairs for themselves. It definitely gets me stoked when people are so happy with the product.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things is financial stress which affects every area of your life. This is something I'm still learning about and growing in. But one thing that has been helpful around this is meditation, which helps raise the vibrations of stress into an empowered state of being.

When you're feeling low, the energy you put out is low, and it becomes really unproductive. Having a clear vision in mind, focusing on that, and then being open to how the process unfolds, letting go of control, and taking action on things that are heart-centered have all helped with this.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Get clear on your vision and values from the beginning, stay grounded and connect to your heart when making any major decisions to align yourself on the best path towards this vision. And know that any mistake made is a learning opportunity. Because you will make mistakes, so learn to be ok with that.
  2. Stay true to yourself. Every entrepreneur is going to launch their business in their own way. What might work for someone else isn't going to necessarily work for you. Be ok with being a lone wolf and starting things up in a way that stays true to your values and where you're at in your life. Be open to suggestions, but take them with a grain of salt. There are people out there who enjoy telling you how to run and operate your own business - ensure that the information you devote energy and time to connects to your true values and vision. If it doesn't, let it go. It'll just waste your time and make you feel low.
  3. Put time into the work that's going to generate a good flow of money. This work might not be something you enjoy doing (whether it's marketing, sales, or reaching out to people), but it's crucial for sustaining and growing your business. Make a point each day of devoting time to these tasks; you'll be happy you did.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Make sure you're having fun. If it starts becoming too serious and stressful, you're only going to resent yourself and the business over time. Be playful, be a creative problem solver, and take care of yourself. Take a break when you need one and come back refreshed!

Where can people find you and your business?

Instagram: @liveyourdreamsactively
Facebook: @liveyourdreamsactively

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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