Growing up on a farm in a small mining community in Saskatchewan, Charissa was immersed in entrepreneurship early on in life. After working a 12 hour shift at the potash mine, her dad would come home to work on the farm. He would later start his own grain cleaning business as well as becoming an antique dealer after retirement. Watching his hard work and approach to business sparked something in Charissa that has stayed with her into her adult life. She is a shareholder and investor in multiple companies including BLV Agencies, Tiger Lily, and Rethink & Diversify, and is always looking for new and exciting opportunities. She is a journeyman Hairstylist, is a certified CrossFit coach and Digital Marketing specialist, and is currently working towards a diploma in Graphic Design.
Her first experience in entrepreneurship was when she opened a salon with her business partner. They quickly saw the value in owning property instead of renting, and purchased a building shortly after. Growing too quickly, not surrounding themselves with the right people to mentor them, and overall inexperience caused the partners to part ways. Charissa then took the struggling business and turned it into a profitable salon. Many changes had to be made and they didn’t happen overnight. She started investing in herself and her business. That led to paring down her service menu to only offer profitable services, streamlining her retail, and changing her business model. She learned how to better understand her financial reports which then led her to cutting out unnecessary spending and allocating funds for future projects.
She sold her business and building in 2017 to step back and regroup, continuing to work behind the chair but in a much smaller capacity. This move allowed her to work smarter, not harder, and the success was quick to come. At this time she became laser focused and cut her services back again. Instead of a jack of all trade, she became a master of some, working to perfect her trade. In her new space is when she really started to understand her financial reports, completely took charge of her bookkeeping and dialed in her pricing structure.
The biggest challenge and learning experience was when Charissa and her husband Aaron took over their local CrossFit gym. The official take over date was March 16, 2020. Two short days later, the Saskatchewan Government closed all gyms across the province. Since they were taking over an existing membership base, they had to prove that they were able to provide an in person service when they couldn’t be in person. They signed on every current member from the previous membership base and even reactivated a few from the past. Daily videos, competitions, challenges, and virtual meetups helped grow their community at a time when gym communities were declining. They implemented new programs to engage different demographics, streamlined processes to help onboard members and added additional revenue streams to help increase revenues. They have tripled their membership base since opening and are now hiring a manager to help take the business to the next level.
One of her passions is helping and talking with entrepreneurs about their struggles and wins. This led her to the Esterhazy Economic Development Committee over 10 years ago. She has been a part of many projects with EDC over the years and has recently taken on the role of Vice Chair. She’s been a board member on the Esterhazy Chamber of Commerce as well as the Esterhazy Economic Development Cooperative, a founding member of the community days in Esterhazy, as well as many other smaller roles giving back to the community through projects she and her husband are passionate about.