Author Billion Success
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Kristina Shea, an emerging leader in the Canadian wellness space, is savvy, smart, and spirited. With a strong business background as a senior marketing executive, anyone who knows her will agree she is heart centred, too… and these days she has stepped out on her own into the entrepreneur space as the founder of BlueSkys Life™, a modern, inclusive and holistic wellness brand. Kristina is particularly focused on women’s wellness and education — including an important cannabis component, in keeping with the all-natural element. Additionally, she regularly donates her time and talents to make things better for others, speaking on women’s leadership and entrepreneurship as well as wellness and health has a diverse and impressive background. Shea has been successful in everything she has touched — from teaching fitness and dance in the studio to her high-level corporate roles in the boardroom.
What is BlueSkys Life all about?
BlueSkys Life™ is a wellness company, which is all about our “WHY” — with a focus on natural, plant-powered health and overall wellbeing — we are a purpose-led brand. We carry products for your body, mind and home from teas and supplements to small indulgences. Sustainability and inclusivity are key to the BlueSkys Life’s core values, not only in the products we carry, but in how we do business.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?
I was burnt out… I wasn’t taking care of my overall wellness and health. I was feeling unfulfilled and I had nothing left to give. People always say you can’t pour from an empty cup, and my cup was empty. I had lost two husbands — widowed twice — I realized very much how much life and time are precious. You really have to live your life, and not only live it — but make it count. After many, many years of corporate climbing and working for someone else tirelessly — I realized if I was going to work that hard, it should be for myself, my terms and with my core values. I want to elevate wellness as a whole, not only for myself but to truly help others live a better life. I was laid off of a corporate job because of the pandemic, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It gave me time to reset and get me focused on where I wanted to go, and what I truly wanted to do with the rest of my life. I realized I was living a life I was not happy with, and I didn’t want to go back to the old “normal”. I wanted to create a new and better normal. People ask why BlueSkys Life is spelled with a Y — it is not a spelling mistake —lol — it’s because it’s all about your “Y. Definitely a great conversation starter.
Live life well, with kindness and purpose. Life is not about the title, the house or the car you drive — it about your way of life — and spreading a contagious carbon footprint of joy. Holistic Happiness™!
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur, and why?
Perseverance and thick skin. You are going to get a lot of No’s, naysayers and people who put limits on your business idea. You must learn to overcome the No’s and persevere in your direction. There will be some hard days when you question everything. There is no easy button. Tune out the noise, keep going and follow your vision.
Communication. If people don’t know about your business, what you are doing or who you are serving, you have problems. If people don’t know where to find you, no one is going to come to your website or your business. You must know how to explain what you do and why to YOUR ideal audience. This takes practice and refining your message. It is an evolutionary journey for sure. You also must communicate with your employees, your clients, your customers. Communication is all about relationships, which includes listening to your stakeholders, team, customers, banks, strategic alliances. Communication is the key for life and work.
Curiosity. I have always been an eternal student. I am always ready to learn new things and adapt. I embrace change and transformation. This brings innovation and disruption. Think outside the box for solutions to problems. Think differently, creatively, strategically — there is no limit, there is no ceiling. That’s where true innovation happens This is where new businesses and ideas are born from.
What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?
Thinking BIG, with a global mindset. With the power of all of these online platforms, ecommerce, media and PR, I really aim to make this a global company. We have started in our local area — we are going to grow & cultivate BlueSkys Life™ from there.
How do you separate yourself from your competitors?
I feel many wellness companies simply sell supplements or a quick fix. it’s not just about taking a pill, or just about taking CBD, it’s about incorporating wellness as a way of life. BlueSkys Life™ integrates education as a key component of our brand, our community, through our online presence. So, it’s not just selling products — it’s about helping people create a healthy and happy lifestyle and live their own BlueSkys Life! There is no magic pill. The magic is in how you decide to incorporate wellness into your life. Wellness is not a one size fits all. Health and wellness is like a tailored suit. Everyone is unique, and what fits one person may not fit another. It is finding your own style of living well that suits you.
What were the top three mistakes you made starting your business, and what did you learn from them?
Mistakes are learning experiences, and if you are an entrepreneur you are going to make a lot of mistakes — so learn from them. I feel mistakes are not failures. I reframe them as learning opportunities.
- One thing I learned early on is regarding partnerships. Really do your homework about the individual — just because you like someone or are a friend, doesn’t mean it would be a good partnership in business. You must do your due diligence. They must share a similar work ethic, core values, financial commitment and vision. Just as most drive-thru weddings in Vegas do not work out, rash decisions in business partnerships are the same. It can be very complicated and costly to end a partnership. What I personally learned from that is that it can be harder to get out of a business partnership than a marriage — so you have to think very carefully about the union and find someone who compliments your skills (with different strengths than yourself) and truly brings value to the table.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself— first of all you won’t get to everything, you will just burn yourself out, run out of time and money. Consider recruiting seasoned advisors to help you formulating and strategizing your ideas. Also consider hiring co-op students or graduates in digital marketing for social media and marketing support or other skillsets you require. Know your strengths and also know what you are not good at. Hire or contract people who can execute the skills that are not your core strengths.
- Don’t underestimate the capital you will need to execute your start-up. Many businesses believe they can open a business with $X amount. Unfortunately, unexpected costs and challenges do come up. Rarely does everything go to plan. Ensure you have a realistic and additional buffer for risk. Plan your cash flow, ensure you have liquidity to pay your suppliers, and don’t underestimate costs. Be conservative. This is crucial for a business to be sustainable. Work closely with a trusted business financial advisor, and your accountant. However, at the same time, don’t let fear prevent you from pursuing your goals, perhaps plan your business in phases, so it is more financially fit as you grow.
Tell us a little bit about your marketing process, what has been the most successful form of marketing for you?
I aim to create a brand that is not just about products but a media platform that provides strong awareness to wellness issues and education. I want to build strategic alliances that are inclusive — my goal is raise the bar and elevate wellness as a whole. I believe I can achieve this with strategic alliances such as with aligned vendor partners and cobranding, that are in-line with our core values. Working and elevating your partners as well as your own business and vice versa is a win-win strategy for both parties. I also recommend incorporating an integrated mix of all marketing channels, such as social media, digital marketing and networking to cultivate your brand and relationships with your audience. It truly is the micro-actions that build to a macro-effect.
What Is the one thing you do daily to grow as an entrepreneur?
I schedule time in my calendar to meditate in the morning and at night and put my intentions forward for the day. I visualize my overarching purpose and goals for the day. At the end of the day, I evaluate my successes and what I could have done differently. I also practice Blue Sky Thinking during my week (which can be scheduled; however I usually have better ideas when I am doing other things like cooking or going for a walk) where I think creatively with no boundaries or limits.
If you only had $1000 dollars to start a new business, knowing everything you know now, how would you spend it?
I would utilize the power of the internet. Build a personal brand combined with an ecommerce site online — that’s where I would start. People connect with people, not just non personal big brands with no heart. Today, businesses can reach anyone, anywhere digitally, literally the world is your oyster! Get online!
What is your favorite quote?
“Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
– Change is transformation.
How can we get in touch with you?
I would LOVE if you reach out, for collaboration, a general conversation or to learn more about BlueSkys Life™, please do message me. Email: Kristina@blueskyslife.com via Social Instagram, Facebook @BlueSkysLife, and LinkedIn