|Wednesday, October 7|
|6:00 PM – 6:30 PM||Cocktail Reception|
|6:30 PM – 8:00 PM||Presentation and Q&A|
Co-Owner, Rocky Mountain Soap Company
Retail Innovation Renaissance - The Role of Independent Retailers
Karina Birch’s career path took a significant turn in 2000 when she (a human resources consultant) and her husband Cam Baty (a fishing guide in the Arctic) purchased Rock Mountain Soap Company. The first retail location in Canmore got off to a tumultuous start when their neighbor complained to the landlord that the smell of soap was invading their space. As a result, Rocky Mountain Soap lost the lease to its retail location and $50,000 they invested in leasehold improvements. In 2003, they opened a retail location in Banff which proved to be a success within 10 months.
Based on the values – Be Kind, Positivitude and Give it a Go, Rocky Mountain Soap Company has growth to 11 locations in Canmore, Banff, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Karina believes that an innovation renaissance is taking place and independent retailers are uniquely positioned to adopt innovation much faster than their high volume competitors. She will share her story of how Rocky Mountain Soap Company evolved as a pioneer in its passionate pursuit of innovation in product development, natural, green store design, and staff engagement & customer service.
Karina Birch is co-owner of Rocky Mountain Soap Company. She and her husband, Cam, nurtured the company from its days as a 300 square foot shop in Canmore to the now 11 retail stores, over 700 wholesale accounts and 16,000 square foot workshop. It is a company with a strong culture and eclectic, passionate group of individuals (who at any given moment, might smell collectively like 23 different flavors of soap). The company is on a mission to remove toxins from the bath & body industry and makes a serious commitment to their 100% natural products.
Growing a company while trying to achieve some sanity has had its challenges and rewards. Having some of the best skiing, hiking and biking in the world on her doorstep helps to keep her active and balanced. Rocky Mountain Soap has been on the Profit 100 and Alberta Ventures “Fastest Growing Companies”. Karina has been honored as a female entrepreneur on the ‘W100’ list; a ‘Fierce Woman of Influence’ and sits on the board for EO Calgary (Entrepreneurs Organization).
Connect with your fellow retail entrepreneurs and hear how Karina and The Rocky Mountain Soap Company are surviving and thriving in the face of overwhelming retail competition.