Young: Diversity in life can lead to an entrepreneurial discovery

Changes in personal circumstances may invariably lead to opportunities for new venture creation via the self-employment option.

Changes in personal circumstances may invariably lead to opportunities for new venture creation via the self-employment option.

Yes, it does happen more times than we might realize, and often in the most unpredictable fashion.

I met the subject of my column this week in the most roundabout fashion I could fathom—a weekend that my wife and I unexpectedly spent recently at the Silver Star ski resort.

On our way to Salmon Arm, we stopped in Vernon for directions, only to be told there was a monstrous motorcycle rally that weekend in the area.

Walking out to my vehicle and with the windows already down, I yelled out to my wife- change of plans, dear, Silver Star it is…

Fast forward to the very pleasant accommodation we enjoyed, as my wife couldn’t stop remarking about the personal care products we discovered in the suite bathroom—shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, etc.

And so it went right up to arriving back in our home hacienda. Well, I couldn’t let her joy end now, could I?

So I contacted Kiley Routley, founder of Back to Earth Enviro Products located in Coldstream, ranting about the joy her products had instilled in our weekend.

Routley was nice enough to later drive down to my corner of the valley and meet with me to tell her story.

Originally born in Prince George, her family, which would include two younger brothers, subsequently moved to Vernon,   where her father owned a golf course.

No doubt due to their dad’s influence, Routley and her brothers had golf sticks in their hands when others reached for tricycles and Yogi Bear toys.

In 1997, she completed her Visual Arts degree from the University of Victoria. A year later, she married her high school sweetheart and moved to the Kootenays where her husband could complete his teaching degree.

During this period while living in Castlegar, the couple had their first child.

In 1999, Routley began to feel the itch toward self-employment and participated in the Community Futures program in her area to acquire business development skills.

In 2000, after she and her husband relocated to Vernon, the couple had their second child while Routley was exploring self-employment with a hobby interest of her—starting a business called Tree House Photography.

At this same time, she was collecting antiques that would present to her a source of creative inspiration with their uniqueness.

In 2004, after enjoying her new venture as a home-based entrepreneur for about two years, she decided to sell it to a friend, as the couple’s third child entered the family domain.

After that, the fun began for this relentlessly tireless female entrepreneur.

Back to Earth Enviroproducts was actually created as a genuine venture entity in 2007, as Routley had met a classic herbalist who exposed her to developing medicinal products from native B.C. plants.

The entrepreneurial bug bit quick and deeply.

Routley fell in love with creating cleaning products. She took educational classes and learned to create a range of personal care and cleaning products that she began to market at the Vernon Farmer’s Market in 2008.

She told me with great pride that a turning point with Back to Earth was having her products picked up by facilities at  Silver Star and elsewhere in the Vernon area, as word of her product diversity and quality began to spread.

So, dear readers, here we have it—yet another entrepreneurial venture that began in the kitchen, with someone fascinated by aromatherapy, herbarium, the art of soap making and other earth friendly products.

This has led after countless hours of research and practical training to Kiley Routley soon obtaining her credentials as a genuine herbalist.

And the range of products for this young company today is truly amazing.

Routley closed our visit with a reminder that she and her husband had found a great retail space in Vernon, and will focus, in part, on bulk sales of their wide range of personal care and cleaning products.

She gifted me with a first-time for Joel—a shaving soap bar. I can honestly tell all, this simple but quick men’s shaving tool provides for a quick and very clean shave.

Shortly, you will be able to order Back to Earth products online, but to learn more about her company products go to

Joel Young is an entrepreneurial leadership coaching, educational, consulting and founder of Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs society.



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