Joella H., Owner
Joella H., Owner
Coming from a long line of strong, vibrant, indigenous women, Joella’s matriarch has have taught her how to create and make The Yukon Soaps Company happen. Through her line of hand-crafted soaps, she works hard to encompass all that has been passed on to her from her matriarch of teachers, healers, bush women, social advocates, and cultural leaders. She does this by using local plants, employing local youth, using Nyak Dun beadwork and plant knowledge, and the Northern Tutchone language wherever she can. She is an Indigenous, Northern, community advocate, with an over-arching goal of empowering northern peoples and engaging with their lands.
What is the best part of what you do and why?
I want people to know that when they support my business, they are supporting my mission to empower and nurture an indigenous community in the Yukon. Our communities and my business are guided by traditional principles based on compassion for others and helping people on their journey of transformation into their bestself. In Canada’s North, Indigenous communities like mine, draw on our cultural resiliency and connections to the land to support our people through trauma, addictions, and other mental health issues.
I also hope to be a part of an economic shift in my traditional territory. For too long, our economy has been dependent on resource extraction. I see my company growing and being able to employ and provide meaningful skills to people who want to create products made with gifts from the land.
I want to create a safe space for women and 2SLGBTTQQIA+.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Root your business with your values, and do not be afraid to have “making money” as one of your values. In indigenous communities, our economies were circular and regenerative based on concepts of sharing and gifting. Although that may look different now, we need money to survive, to grow our businesses and feed our families.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur in a small northern community has incredible challenges. From barriers to entering the wellness and beauty market, supply chain issues before and especially during a pandemic, to the tiny post office and bank not being able to provide the services I need. There are small difficulties that can be figured out, and there are longer term challenges that call for action and changes to government policy.