Sue Truman is an enterprising woman.

Sue Truman is an enterprising woman.

Mar. 8: A day to celebrate women

International Women's Day is about enterprising women

  • Mar. 7, 2012 2:00 p.m.

“When I grew up in England, women were to have children and they didn’t spend money on education for you. So it’s something to do something like this,” said Sue Truman, owner of Cabin Creations.

Truman is one of many female business owners in Sooke, who have built successful companies from the ground up. With International Women’s Day rolling around the corner on March 8, Truman reviews her success and giggles at her school girl days in Devon, England, where women were strictly meant for domestic work.

Truman owns a sewing, knit and wool shop, where she also teaches sewing lessons to children. She began her excursion into business nearly 13 years ago with a store selling home-made dolls, which would later snowball into a shop with walls covered in yarns of every imaginable colour, boundless sewing paraphenalia, and an infinite amount of  knitting supplies.

“In a way, I always felt I was insignificant to my brothers,” Truman said, adding her brothers were “brilliant.” Which propelled her to challenge societal views and do more than cook and clean.

“Everything I did went against my upbringing, all my life,” Truman laughed. “I just wanted to achieve something, and be proud and work.”

Kathy Drover, owner of the Reading Room Bookstore & Cafe, has been in operation since 2003.

A former social services worker for over 20 years, Drover has made a second career out of one of her passions — reading.

The bookstore was opened first, and the cafe followed four years later. Drover is the epitome of the hard-working woman. Although opening a second business was twice the work, she still revels in it.

“It’s two separate businesses, I didn’t really realize it would be twice as much work, but it is. It’s very challenging, and it’s always interesting — every day is different,” she said.

Drover has a sense of pride being a surviving business in a time of economic turmoil for many other local operations, but stated that gender has little to do with it.

“I have never thought of myself as a woman business owner, I’m a business owner with the challenges of everyone else,” adding that Sooke has a great model for successful business women.

“I know lots of female business owners here in Sooke that just work really, really hard. Maybe that’s why I’ve never thought about it because I’ve seen so many good examples of business women,” Drover said. “There’s a real core group here  in Sooke that really support each other.”

One of the prime examples of business women in Sooke noted by Drover was Diane Bernard, owner of seaweed-based skin care line Seaflora.

Bernard owns the only USDA approved organic seaweed harvesting business in North America. She also owns one of the largest, seaweed harvesting operations along the West Coast, collecting different species living within the water.

According to Bernard, her company has been increasing their harvest tonnage every year.

Seaflora is in it’s tenth year of operation, and Bernard has much to celebrate, as the company has gone international, selling products in high-end speciality shops in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea. In addition to an overseas market, Seaflora is also found in spas within Canada and the U.S.

Bernard tries to produce her products as locally as possible, and proudly states that the headquarters marked on each label is ‘Sooke, B.C.’

The peculiar, but popular seaweed venture began in 2000 after 12 years of working in politics.

“I’m a big proponent of value-added,” she said. “So I decided to take a wild resource and value-add it and sell it.” Bernard started by supplying seaweed to internationally-renowned chefs, but later focused her business primarily on the spa market for stability and creative purposes.

The skin care line was initially met with skepticism by critics, but Bernard has since proven them wrong as research continues to substantiate the beneficial properties of seaweed, and the ability of skin to absorb nutrients topically.

“We’re so different from other seaweed companies out there. We’re in charge of our resource, we know how to harvest it, we know how we handle it,” Bernard said, adding the nutritional properties of her seaweed products are not harshly stripped like other seaweed extracts  on the market.

“We have 700 species sitting off this coast, we knock the socks off of the world in terms of the quality of seaweed,” beamed Bernard. “We don’t mess with the seaweed — we juice them, blend them, grind them, mix them.”

“People love it, our customers love it and our spas love it,” she said.

Although Seaflora has met with great success, Bernard has to force herself to celebrate, at the behest of her employees.

“My staff is pushing me, ‘You got 10 years here, you got to have a party,’” Bernard repeated. The beginning of the celebrations will start with an anti-aging line that will launch in Vancouver on March 19. An open-house at Seaflora’s new headquarters in Sooke will follow shortly afterwards.

The skin care line can be viewed at: www.sea-flora.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Colwood Fire Department

Saanich-based St. Luke’s Players community theatre company has been making the most of their opportunities to keep busy during the pandemic, including staging a Christmastime panto of Alice in Wonderland on Zoom. (Courtesy St. Luke’s Players)
Saanich’s St. Luke’s Players: Bringing the stage to the people

Community theatre company holding online auditions Jan. 23-24 for March production

Frank Bourree was awarded the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s first Governors’ Award of Distinction for his leadership in the business community. (Courtesy of Frank Bourree)
Frank Bourree receives award of distinction from Victoria chamber

Award recognizes positive role model in business community

The Habitat for Humanity Meaning of Home contest is open to students in Grades 5 to 6. (Screenshot/Habitat for Humanity video)
Habitat for Humanity launches national writing contest

Entries accepted from students in Grades 4 to 6 until Feb. 19

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read