Alice Ward Cameron, Alice’s Fresh Pasta, Powell River
As an agriculture student and then as an inspector, Alice Ward Cameron greatly admired the entrepreneurial spirit and independence of food producers.
When she left her job to return to her hometown of Powell River, Alice wanted to create something fulfilling and flexible to fit her family’s schedule. She wanted to “be her own boss” and make connections in the community.
“I loved making fresh pasta and felt that food was my calling. A good meal brings us together, nourishes our bodies and soothes our souls. If my food makes someone’s day better, mission accomplished!!”
Alice’s joy of cooking was instilled in her by her mother, who also gifted her with the pasta machine that started it all.
Alice’s Fresh Pasta has evolved into “Gourmet Meals, Made Easy.” Small batches of pasta noodles, soups, sauces and Gourmet Roasted Nuts are carefully crafted from treasured recipes to offer homemade taste not available in stores, until now!
Whenever possible, Alice uses ingredients from her own garden and local farms.
“Of course I didn’t know how much work my ‘small’ business idea would become once inspiration took hold and growth occurred,” Alice admits.
Featured image photo credit: Jenn Parkin Photography
Alice participated in our One-to-One Mentoring Program in 2018, and was matched with Tara Black, Co-Owner of Origin Gluten-Free Bakery in Victoria.
“My mentor was an incredible woman—the perfect match for me, from the same industry, and very successful. It was so much more than I expected.”
As Alice’s business took off, she needed help finding a way to save for expenses she hadn’t foreseen in the beginning.
She was also finding it tricky to juggle motherhood, marriage and work – a common struggle for many parents – due to the multi-tasking and interruptions that are part of being an entrepreneur.
“I could be off during the day in the middle of the week, but working at midnight on a Saturday! My mentor helped me reconcile the two.”
Since working with her mentor, Alice has upgraded her equipment, improved production and feels optimistic about the future.
I cannot emphasize enough how the personalized focus on my business and my goals helped me succeed. We all have our own definition of success and for me that is happiness, running a self-sufficient, sustainable business, and the ability to work on a flexible schedule.
As an entrepreneur you’re creating your own job, but it’s more than that. You have to take time to work on your business, not just work IN your business and draw a wage. Plans often go awry, and when it comes to business, you can’t learn everything from books, classes or YouTube.
Experience is the greatest teacher. It was an absolute privilege to share time with my mentor. Such consults would cost thousands if you had to pay for it. I am truly grateful to her and to WEC for their support.
Mentee Q & A:
Q. What inspired you to join the One-to-One Mentoring program?
After a few years of having fun creating and testing the market, I wanted to get more serious about my business.
I felt overwhelmed trying to keep up with demand but still wanted to do more despite a lack of time or space. I needed to talk to an impartial, experienced business person who would answer my questions and work through my dilemmas from start to finish.
Q. What are the biggest lessons you learned from your mentor?
We set three goals and dove into the inner workings of my business and my life because time management was one of my issues.
She cleared up a lot of the doubts I was having and, with a few key adjustments to my finances and production schedule, helped me generate and save the money I needed to grow the business.
She also helped me improve my use of technology; tools that I will use long term. The result was newfound confidence and a feeling that I’m on the right track.
Q. What personal growth have you experienced as an entrepreneur?
One of the most fascinating things has been learning from my mistakes. Adapting and finding creative solutions when things don’t work out, which often leads to something even better than originally planned. I’ve learned to be more organized, focused and efficient.
The other important area I have grown in is forming relationships with customers, the community and other business owners. Connection is something we all need.
Q. Where do you see your business in five years?
In five years I hope to have one staff member. I hope to expand the sales of snacks to more retail locations and create a greater variety of frozen meals.
Q. What other services has Women’s Enterprise Centre provided you with?
I took a few webinars offered by WEC, which provided marketing expertise I could not find elsewhere.
Where to Learn More About Alice’s Fresh Pasta
Powell River, BC
Alice sells at the Powell River Farmer’s Market every Sunday during the spring and summer. Year round, her products are available at several retail stores in town, including The Nutcracker Market, Andtbaka Farm, Pacific Point Market, Townsite Brewery, The Chopping Block, Lund Resort at Klah Ah Men, Townsite Fruit & Veg.