Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brenda Shaw, co-owner of Okotoks Natural Foods, located in Okotoks, AB, Canada.

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

We, James and Brenda Shaw, began our journey in the health industry in 2004- beginning our store ownership in 2009 and acquired Okotoks Natural Foods in 2016. We strongly believe in leading a meaningful and balanced lifestyle with our family and thriving within the opportunity to help others do the same. We desire to work together with our suppliers, the community, and our staff to ensure the availability of the best health and wellness choices in the Foothills area. We believe in supporting our area farmers, food makers, small local brands, and those who work towards building a healthy and sustainable community.

Tell us about yourself

I was inspired to begin my health journey back in 2000 when I picked up my first Alive health magazine. It was a passion that blossomed quickly as I started to work in a local health food store in Calgary and began classes at Wild Rose College of Natural Healing to become a Clinical Herbalist.

My motivation is fueled by seeing the difference in whole organic foods, natural body care products, supplements, herbal formulas, and the knowledge of how bodies work can make in a customer's life. To have someone return to the store with a smile on their face and gratitude that our store, products, and services have benefited them or their family is all that is needed for us to feel the importance of being where we are.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Just getting to where we are today! We have had numerous ups and downs with the ride of the economy, the effects of a pandemic, and the aftermath of a large-scale flood that shut us down for seven months. Every piece of the puzzle, whether good or bad, has contributed to where we are today and made us who we are. Going through all the challenges and still being here today with a successful business is a huge accomplishment in itself.

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

It's definitely the workload and responsibility of a couple of full-time jobs. There is often a lot of juggling to ensure that we keep a good balance between work and home. Remembering to give importance to having time off, real time off without needing to be connected to the daily affairs of the store and recharge with the other things that also bring me joy day to day.

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

Believe and trust. Things won't always run smoothly and go as planned, and that's ok. It's part of the journey! Search out like-minded individuals or mentors who can help guide you along your path and provide wisdom and encouragement when needed. Fuel yourself with things that fill your cup both in your work life as well as your personal life to keep that ongoing balance and joy.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.