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Raise Her Up: Jess Tetu

6-minute read

A serial entrepreneur with a dedication to philanthropy, Jess Tetu is also a public speaker who has been making an impact on her community since the age of 15 years old. Read more to find out how she has become a national award-winning philanthropist and successful entrepreneur.

Raise Her Up - Jess Tetu - Poppy Barley
Raise Her Up - Jess Tetu - Poppy Barley Raise Her Up - Jess Tetu - Poppy Barley

"I'm not successful DESPITE the hardships and adversity I've overcome, I'm successful directly BECAUSE of them."

“It’s not just about a product, it’s also about what you represent and who you are. ”

Raise Her Up - Jess Tetu - Poppy Barley

What I'm reading:

Bring the Joy by Jessica Janzen (Calgary author.)

What I'm listening to:

I’m usually listening to Carrie Doll’s “The Inner Circle” podcast.

Workout of choice:

Anything outdoors at the lake. Jogging in the forest and mini workouts are my favourite, especially while embracing the beautiful nature all around.

What I'm doing when I'm not at work:

Working ;) – spending time with my kids and watching their sports. I love to travel and spend time in nature.

Unpopular opinion:

"I'm not successful DESPITE the hardships and adversity I've overcome, I'm successful directly BECAUSE of them."

Raise Her Up - Jess Tetu - Poppy Barley

The What

What sparked your entrepreneurial spirit?

To give you some background, my journey is a long one. I grew up in a small town and we were very poor. My father was an amazing man but struggled with extreme alcoholism.  We spent in women’s shelters (which is why I’m so connected to women’s shelters now) and when I was fifteen, my parents separated and we lost our home.  I got on a bus, moved to Saskatoon on my own, and lied about my age to get an apartment and quickly got a job to survive. I then finished high school and helped my dad throughout some of the hardest years of his struggling — he was an incredibly kind and educated man.

I then met my first husband, married, and had a baby. Things took a terrible turn and he became an addict and my home was filled again with domestic abuse. I fled that relationship and focused on being a single mom. I  bought my first business (Just for You Day Spa) that I was working at during college, with everything against me, (that's an entire story on its own!). I then remarried, had two more children, and continued to expand my business. My main focus has been giving back to the programs and charities that supported my family.

I lost my father very tragically to addictions almost six years ago and created a foundation to help the families of those struggling. I will continue to give back and commit to keeping it my top priority.

I went on to be recognized across the country for entrepreneurship and public speaking and was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 and one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2019.  As a public speaker, I share my story of strength and resilience from stages across the country (and recently spoke with Jillian Harris in Edmonton and Calgary!) My national tour was canceled due to COVID but I’m hoping to again stand on stage and help others and make an impact for years to come. 

Could you tell us more about both of your businesses?

I am the sole owner of four Just For You Day Spas in SK and Alberta. We provide an escape for our guests to relax, and focus on self care. Lia Reese Canada is a SK beauty brand that promotes creating an impact in our community. Many of our skin, beauty and body products donate back to multiple charities across Canada.

What would you classify as your most meaningful professional and personal achievements?

Being named one of Canada’s Most Powerful women, made me realize how far I’ve come and that the platform I’ve created in my career needs to be used to continue to create good. It reminded me the importance of supporting other women and how powerful believing in yourself and working hard to achieve your dreams truly is.

What women have impacted your life the most (personally or professionally)?

Multiple women in my life have been huge inspirations both professionally and personally. SO much so that I created “The Inspirational Twelve” line, named after the twelve most inspirational women in my life that helped make me the woman I am today.

The Inspirational Twelve is a collection of luxury lip glosses that donate back to a charity of the named woman’s choice.  Some of these women are my family members, teachers, friends, and mentors. One of the most impactful being my best friend, Aly. She helped named the collection and specifically helped me create a scent and colour for her gloss to donate back to breast cancer research. Aly passed away with me by her side a few years ago and I will continue to raise money for her cause and many others for years to come. 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?

Don’t spend so much time worrying. Believe in yourself, because things will always work out if you just continue to try hard and if you always choose kindness.

What’s one piece of advice you’d share with a budding entrepreneur during this pandemic?

Get creative. Find support. Hire a mentor. Get focused and keep going!

What professional or philanthropic projects do you have in the works for the rest of 2020?

Working on an Alberta expansion currently…. Big big things to come!!

Learn more about Jess and her accomplishments through this link.


Photography by Karyn Kimberly

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