Born and raised in Quesnel, Erin Josephy has let her entrepreneurial spirit lead her to new horizons.
In 2016, Josephy, 29, along with her life and business partner, Paul Baluch, created Vancouver-based Kismet Industries – specializing in self-care products. Bath salts, mist sprays and body scrubs are some of their more popular items, which are now sold in more than 400 retail locations in Canada and the U.S.
The decision to start her own company, and the flexibility that comes with it, is something Erin has watched through the first-hand experience of her family.
Her grandparents, who immigrated to Quesnel from Europe, founded Richbar Nursery Golf and Gardens in 1957. The nursery, golf course and gardens are still owned and maintained by the Josephy family where, from a young age, Erin learned the inner workings of the family business.
“My brothers and I were always helping out around the nursery, and spent a lot of time there growing up,” Erin said. “It’s a seasonal business, so their busy months from March until June would be really busy. Then on the flip side in the off season when the nursery was closed we got to do a lot of cool things for vacations as a family – so I think it showed me the benefit of hard work and then having that flexibility of making your own schedule and that really intrigued me.”
Originally planning to become a lawyer, by the time she had graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, Erin decided school just wasn’t for her.
She’d completed a business degree and signed up with Student Works Painting to dip her feet into the business world.
“My partner and I were really looking to learn something new and the online world was intriguing to us, but didn’t know what we should be selling,” she said.
“At the time I started paying closer attention and noticing that the self-care products I was using – I was having trouble finding products that had clean ingredient lists, nice branding and were still at an accessible price point. I guess it just came out of frustration.”
From there, she started selling and creating products she had an interest in and the business took off.
Erin now has a small warehouse in East Vancouver with a team of six people who help make and ship the product – which spans 10 items now sold in retail locations such as Anthropologie, Hudson’s Bay Company, Indigo Books and Music and Whole Foods Market.
“It’s just been really cool to grow to the point where I’m just proud of the team that we have behind the brand,” she said.
“It’s been fun to see people who care about something you created and get excited about what we have coming up and what’s happening with our growth.”
Erin said it would be amazing to be able to grow the business to the point where she could offer her products in Quesnel stores in the future.
“It would be really awesome,” she said. “We’re looking at expanding this year so there might be something some of those stores finds interesting.”
She added the city she grew up in still holds a special place in her heart.
“I do miss Quesnel, and it’s always nice to come home to visit my family,” she said. “Sometimes when I crave a little bit of a slower pace it’s the place I that, when I’m feeling overwhelmed or tired of the big city, I can always come back to and it just refreshes you.”