New businesses: Xenja Wear and Love Bamboo, Love BC

A young Grand Forks mother has found a niche selling homemade bamboo apparel out of her yard.

Kendra Begg operates Xenja Wear out of her house and Love Bamboo Love B.C. out of her shed on Central Avenue in Grand Forks.

A young Grand Forks mother has found a niche selling homemade bamboo apparel out of her yard.

Kendra Begg started the business two years ago and has used social media to spread the message about her product, which she sells out of her shed. Begg actually operates two businesses: Xenja Wear, which is where she makes the clothes, and Love Bamboo, Love BC, which is the home store where she sells the products.

In addition to bamboo clothing, the store also sells honey from Kelowna, organic skin care from Lumby, Habby Jack’s hot sauce from Kelowna and more.

“(I carry) lots of other vendors and B.C. artisans who make products,” she said. “I wholesale them or take them on commission and sell them at the store.”

Begg started the store when she and her family moved to Grand Forks.

She imports bamboo and makes all the clothing she sells herself. She also wholesale sells it in other stores.

“The bamboo I use is called viscose bamboo,” she said. “It’s the inside pith of the stock that runs the water up and down the entire stock. They take that out and brush it out and spin it into a yarn like you would with wool or cotton.”

Begg creates her own patterns and designs for her clothing in her home.

“I make them for women who aren’t the perfect model—if that exists,” she said. “We get bombarded all the time in the media about this perfect body, the 32-24-32, size zero, body types that are unrealistic and, I think, unhealthy.”

Begg said she creates clothing for the actual women who has perhaps had a baby and maybe has bigger hips or a bigger chest.

Begg has operated Xenja Wear since 2010. She and her husband moved to Grand Forks in April 2014.

She started selling her wares at the farmers’ market and also did pop-up stores at Serenity Spa in Christina Lake and Body Edge Fitness in Grand Forks.

“Avalon Gardens and I then partnered up in December 2014 and did a pop-up store in the old Value Drug Mart at Christmas,” she said.

Begg and her husband renovated the house they bought on Central Avenue and began selling products out of the shed as Love Bamboo Love BC in March of this year.

In just a short time, the business has done very well. Begg has been able to bring on several people to help her. She has done her best to hire people who need a lift such as those on disability or income assistance to help them out.

“I wanted to give people a chance to gain a skill set they wouldn’t otherwise get doing meaningful employment, not busy work,” she said. “I have people working for me that I’ve taught to cut patterns, how to do proper seams. I’ve even had people work sales, customer service and inventory control.”

Begg said she has four subcontractors working for her since coming to Grand Forks.

Recently, Begg met with a group of fellow mothers at Boundary Family and Individual Services Society (BFISS) to discuss being a mother and operating a business.

“They asked me to come and discuss first of all why I would start my own business and what it’s like running my business while having children,” she said. “They also asked me to discuss my products and my business.”

Begg said family dynamics and opportunities for women have changed in the last several years.

“I talked about the ‘momprenuer’ era,” she said. “It’s a lot of moms who are becoming entrepreneurs and starting a business.”

Begg said the first couple of years of owning her own business was tough.

“I had a lot of people telling me I couldn’t compete with the States,” she said. “I had people telling me that people in Grand Forks don’t spend money on things. I was told small businesses don’t do well here.”

She started out in Grand Forks setting up at the farmer’s market. She found out quickly that people here do support a business selling quality products.

“That was when I realized that if you have the right product and the right customer service, people support you,” she said.

Begg said the store is doing so well that she will be able to draw a wage herself for the first time in five years as well as pay for a full-time and a part-time employee.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s allowed me to build roots in this community really quickly. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people I wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise. I get to do what I love. I love to sew; I love to create.”

Begg added that having her own business allows her the flexibility to work the hours and times she wants. She is able to take time off to spend with her children as much as she wants.

Just Posted

West Kootenay highways a mess as heavy snowfall continues

‘Roads are very icy, people have to be patient and have to slow down’

Over $25,000 raised for Columbia Basin literacy

Success for 2018 Books for Kids campaign

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Grand Forks bantam team takes Nelson tournament

The team dominated the competition with some outstanding displays of skill and technique.

Donate to the Grand Forks and District Public Library

The library is undertaking significant washroom renovations.

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

UK Prime Minister Theresa May wins party no-confidence vote, but troubles remain

May won the vote of 317 Conservative legislators with a 200-117 tally

B.C. trustee’s anti-LGBTQ comments got him barred from schools

Barry Neufeld calls vote to leave him off liaison list ‘workplace discrimination’

Firm says trees obstructing vision at Humboldt Broncos crash intersection

Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured in the collision at an intersection north of Tisdale

Man charged after B.C house fire triggers high-grade explosives

Thomas Daniel Kendall charged with causing bodily harm by failing to properly store explosives

Most Read