Jess Tetu - Founder & Director of Lia Reese Canada
Tell us about your business?
LIA REESE CANADA - Revolutionizing Canadian beauty with trendsetting cosmetics, award winning botanical skin care, luxurious body care, simple step men’s skin & shave care, and professional skin & makeup training.
How did you get started?
After 15 years in the spa industry, & owning two award winning Saskatchewan day spas, my desire and deep interest in the skin beauty industry led me to create a brand representing my passion for the exciting industry.
What inspires you?
Strong, independent women are my most admirable influence in business. They inspire me to work hard, and believe in myself. I have several inspirational people in my life, almost too many to list. My mother, who worked sometimes three jobs when I was a child, to provide for our family; my sister who has taught me how to problem solve even the most difficult situations; my grandmother who first taught me how to do makeup and to always take a little time to “glam” yourself up! I use to LOVE watching her apply her makeup, and to this day – she has hands down the more gorgeous natural nails that look like they are straight out of a magazine ad! My group of entrepreneurial friends who work together to constantly support each other! Jor, Shan, and many others. My team of managers keep me going every day, and my family supports my larger than life big dreams!
What is your idea of a Modern Woman?
A modern woman to me, is a woman who displays confidence, is courageous, independent, believes in herself & is respected by others! Not to mention a modern woman generally rocks the newest trends, and is current in her social surroundings!
What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?
This is the question I get asked most often in my career as an entrepreneur. My advice is this - Truly believe that you can accomplish what you set out to, and others will believe it too! Make a very detailed plan on how you will accomplish your success and stick to the plan! Speak to professionals and other entrepreneurs, this advice is priceless! Do your homework, and be prepared to give it all you got to see your dreams come true! Most importantly – never stop believing in yourself!
What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?
To not sweat the small stuff! I put so much sweat and tears into starting my businesses, that I took even the smallest things to heart and it really took it’s toll on me emotionally. If I knew then what I know now, it's that if you make a mistake, you can use it as a learning tool and become a great problem solver. It will be ok. You will get through it, and you can’t let it break you down and keep you from pursuing your dreams. You will make mistakes, it’s inevitable. You are human afterall, but it will be ok. Keep working hard and focus on a solution and learn from the mistake!
What is in the future for Lia Reese Canada?
Lia Reese Canada will be a Canada wide brand by 2017. We are working to add several new exciting items to the brand and within a few years we hope to have a flag ship store carrying just LR brands!! (Available now online and in select salon/spas.)
What would we find you doing in your free time?
Is there such a thing for an entrepreneur or a serial entrepreneur? – just kidding! When I’m not busy with Lia Reese Canada I’m running between my two day spas, Just For You Day Spa Regina and Saskatoon. I have three amazing children who are the light of my life. They generally keep me running between hockey and gymnastics, swim & all things kid related! I am extremely committed to giving back to my community as well, so you’ll often find me volunteering, donating, or attending charity events all over SK.
Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business?
I think fabulous celebrities like Oprah, and Ellen are obvious choices, I commend their incredible charitable connections to celebrity. I also think fabulous women like Rachel Mielke with Hilberg & Berk make Saskatchewan proud for what she does representing women. I also would say one of my closest friends Aly, we have been best friends since kindergarten, who immediately following her son’s birth was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer, she is 34 years old. She is an incredible role model to women as she has shown amazing strength through this ordeal. She is a wonderful teacher who offers education to young women interested in the beauty industry, and despite all of this happening in her life, she still manages the time to support me in my entrepreneurial journey. I have named one of my Lia Reese Cosmetics Lip Glosses after her! ALY is available at liareese.com, with $5 from each “ALY” gloss sold going to breast cancer research!
Do you think having a mentor is valuable both while you're starting out and even after you are more experienced?
I absolutely do! I had a few mentors, and I truly believe they are what got me through many rough moments! Their personal opinions and experiences are priceless pieces of advice for a newbie starting out. I was like a sponge, soaking up as much as I could from them! It’s great to keep working with them, to maintain that constant support, and to then offer that support yourself when you find success! I offer mentorship to multiple new business owners or entrepreneurs, in not only my industry but those starting out needing the “how to’s” of getting started!
Do you feel a strong sense of community among business woman and female entrepreneurs in Saskatoon and in Saskatchewan?
I am actually blown away by how supportive business women in Saskatchewan are! So many reach out to me, and we have become almost a close little group of women with similar lives! Saskatoon and Saskatchewan is such a fantastic place to live if you are opening your own business, because not only are they supportive of new ideas, and promoting shopping local, but this province just truly believes in supporting their own! It certainly makes me proud to be Sask born and raised!
Click here to learn more about Lia Reese Canada.
Visit Lia Reese Canada at the Modern Woman Show & Expo on April 16th and 17th at Prairieland Park. Their amazing and talented staff will be showcasing makeup tutorials on stage all weekend. Make sure to mark Sunday April 17th on your calendar because Lia Reese Canada is presenting Gretchen Rossi, former Housewife of Orange County star and the creative director of the Gretchen Christine empire!
Interview by Mandi Brown
Photos by deMo Photography