Perhaps to the surprise of many of you, I followed up on a friend’s suggestion to write a column about a mother-daughter entrepreneurial venture, one that involves the sale of female brassieres, panties, nightwear and exquisitely designed men’s underwear.
So I proceeded to Starbucks in West Kelowna for a coffee meeting with the owners of Esteem Lingerie and then on to their shop.
I entered past the front door into a veritable sea of undergarments.
My initial thought was thought am here on business or am I not?
But it only took the first few moments with store owners Angela O’Brien and her mother Florenda Pickett to realize that I was in for a steep learning curve.
This mother-daughter team are true Okanagan entrepreneurs in every sense.
Angela began her story in Kamloops and adopted the traveling bug early after graduating from Simon Fraser University.
She spent 10 years in the insurance industry with BCAA/CAA before taking a break, time off which gave Angela a better insight into her customers’ needs.
While working and travelling in Ontario, Angela met her future husband and began to prepare herself for new roles in her life.
Meanwhile, her mother Florenda had artfully begun the genesis of their venture, exploring creating custom made bras for women.
Little did Florenda know that the demand for not just custom made bras would skyrocket, but it created an niche for a shop that carried better quality and better fitting bras.
More importantly, it served to educate clients on what constitutes a good fitting bra and how to wear a bra properly.
Florenda jumped quickly on the perceived entrepreneurial opportunity and wrote up a business plan for what would become Esteem Lingerie.
Originally, she had three business partners, none of whom worked out. So the call for daughter Angela to join her became loud and clear.
Both mother and daughter have strong business role models and mentors from the insurance industry as Florenda specializes in operations and finance with Angela taking on training and development.
Angela emphasized to me that both she and her mother take mentoring others seriously to “give back” to others what they both received in their career development.
Angela became a mother in 2007 and 2009 and she, her understanding and supportive husband and children are nicely settled in West Kelowna, close to the store.
Esteem Lingerie’s mantra is very simple: “Helping women feel better about themselves.”
That is a remarkably beautiful gesture about our two family entrepreneurs.
And, as Angela didn’t wish for me to feel left out, she quickly showed me their line of exquisite male underwear which makes Jockey shorts instantly become antiquated.
I would like to close this column and ask my mother-daughter entrepreneurs to explore a new division of Esteem which might be labelled: “Foundations for Aging Men.”
Please check out this great professional outlet at www.esteemlingeriegroup.ca and begin your “new you” journey.