West Coast Wildflowers by Alissa Assu

Fashion, Health & Wellness, Indigenous Woman Entrepreneur | Campbell River, BC

Alissa Assu in the Westcoast Wildflowers store

Alissa in her store, Westcoast Wildflowers in Campbell River

Alissa Assu was born in Prince Rupert, BC and raised by her grandmother Emma Derrick from Wet’suwet’en First Nation and her grampa Robert Derrick from the Nisga’a. Alissa is also a second-generation immigrant from Southeast Asia. Alissa owns 3 female-powered Indigenous small businesses.

In 2020, she founded and launched West Coast Wildflowers, a lifestyle boutique inclusive of women-founded sustainable alternatives that showcase BIPOC in competitive retail spaces. In 2022, her husband, Cody Assu, from We Wai Kai First Nation and Haida Nation, and she became the new owners of Bear Essential Oils. Together, they provide an Indigenous wellness brand that honors cultural knowledge, community spirit, and self-care. They pride themselves on offering 100% pure, organic, ethically sourced, and wildcrafted essential oils.

In 2023, Valerie Lamirande, Founder and Creative Director of Raven Song Soap & Candle invited them to be the second generation to turn the chapter and continue the legacy of Raven Song. In 2024, they will have completed year 1 of year 2 mentorship, leading to a pathway of knowledge transfer from one of the Indigenous-owned gold standards of premium, high-quality artisan soaps through the tradition and art of cold-processed soap.

Photo of Alissa Assu

Alissa Assu

Alissa studied at Langara College, Simon Fraser University, and the University of British Columbia. She earned certificates, diplomas, and degrees. From academia to accepting intensive and attention-to-detail positions, she learned transferable skills that contributed to decisions she needed to make and pivoted across her companies.

In 2024, she put a lot of effort into building a team that embraces inclusivity, including having an Elder in residence. It’s been crucial for her to blend traditional business practices with ceremonial meets mainstream business. She says it’s been crucial for her to learn and educate herself about financial literacy.

Alissa’s vision is to cultivate their Indigenous enterprises, nurturing them to become second or even third-generation Indigenous-owned and operated ventures. Whether within her family or beyond, this is her overarching mission—a legacy of empowerment and prosperity for generations to come.

 

 

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