What Being 100% Canadian Means to Damiva’s CEO
Posted on March 14 2017
My family were Chinese refugees in the 1940s from the Red Army of the Communist party in China. My grandparents – along with 3 children including my mother – escaped to Taiwan with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the family gold sewn artfully into all their clothing. The gold was used to bribe officials along their escape route and none remains except for a bracelet I now own that was given to me by my mother. From Taiwan, my family made their way to Canada in the 1970s under Pierre Trudeau’s administration. It’s seventy years later and Canada is now the home to my extended family of 37. We have amongst us many business people and professionals including my sister the medical oncologist, my brother the real estate executive, numerous cousins in finance and marketing, a cousin who is a minister and now the next (fourth) generation of whom my teenaged daughters are the eldest.
My grandmother, who was the matriarch in our family, passed away in 1995 in Canada. After a lifetime of poverty in Taiwan, including even selling her husband’s blood for her children’s schooling, when she did finally have pocket money, it was in the form of a pension from the Canadian government. She never knew what to do with this money and either gambled away small amounts playing mah jong, treated her friends and families to meals or gave it away to her grandchildren. She was a force of nature and growing up close to her inspired me in so many ways, including to start Damiva.
Being Canadian is not just a point of pride for me and my family, it’s the reason why I believe that Damiva has been successful in spreading a global message about menopause and why we’re now selling in drugstores across North America.
Let me explain why we are 100% Canadian and how it has benefited us:
- Being Canadian got us onto the Dragons’ Den to spread our message on national TV about vaginal dryness being an issue and an investable business proposition
- Being a Canadian innovator helped us get our big break with drugstore chains who saw and believed that we are, first and foremost, about helping women lead healthier lives with our products
- Our manufacturing and packaging facilities are all family-owned Canadian businesses. We support them and they support us as we continue to grow and scale
- Most of our vendors are Canadian, including our fulfillment house, our technology vendors and raw ingredients suppliers
- Our staff is mainly Canadian and our corporate headquarters is in Toronto, Ontario
- The pelvic health experts, physicians, and collaborators who support us and spread the word to their patients and customers are in pelvic floor and cancer clinics across Canada
- Last but not least, our loyal and wonderful Canadian customers have grown our base of sales and operations into most of the pharmacy chains across Canada and using our domestic market as a springboard, we will have exciting news about our US launch very soon.
We believe that being Canadian helps us in business because we have a global, diverse and open view on women’s health and the issues facing modern women. I am very proud to live in Toronto, named the most diverse city in the world. And I think we have a culture of being really great listeners; we are sensitive and thoughtful. Our Damiva products and offerings reflect that diversity and thoughtfulness.
Whenever possible, we will launch new products in the Canadian market first. Our latest product, Cleo by Damiva, is a completely natural labial moisturizer that we invented and manufactured in response to our Canadian customers who asked us for an external cream (see article). Thanks to your feedback, Canadians and Americans now have Cleo.
In Canada, Cleo just recently launched and is now available in Rexall, Lawtons Drugs and Shoppers’ Drug Mart stores. Please do spread the word to your friends and let them know that your support of this new, start-up Canadian brand has set the stage for an international launch and global awareness of menopause. Stay tuned and watch as we Canucks, at Damiva and with our customers, lead the charge in showing the world how to thrive after age 40.