OC alumna Adrianna Stange has launched a company that provides subscription boxes curated with local products from small towns across the province. Not only does the company support local makers and creators, they also pair each sale with an act of kindness.
Where is your hometown and where are you located now?
Born and raised in Kelowna and now live in Vernon
What did you take at OC/OUC? When did you graduate? What campus did you attend?
I graduated from OC's Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours) program, majoring in Human Resources with a concentration in Communications. I stacked my electives to also graduate with a Bachelor of Arts specializing in Management, completing both in June 2017.
What is your current job title?
I work in forestry full-time in the HR department, and am the Founder & Co-owner of Townships and Tales.
Tell us about your company
I am the founder and co-owner of Townships and Tales, which I operate with my husband and business partner. Townships and Tales is a seasonal, curated subscription box supporting entrepreneurs, artisans, and artists in small towns across British Columbia. Every item is handmade and each purchase is paired with a local act of kindness. We believe that this is so much more than e-commerce, it’s really a movement. Our goal is to create a ripple of kindness so strong, and so powerful, that it will be felt across all small towns in BC.
We run the business out of our home in Vernon and all of our suppliers live in towns that have populations under 45,000 people. We ship our boxes four times a year in March, June, September, and December. The boxes contain five to seven products that may include housewares and décor, beauty and personal care, gourmet, accessories, stationary, and artwork. We want the products to reflect the values of the towns they come from, so the product variety will change each season. Our boxes feature a different regional district within B.C., and our June box is all about the East Kootenays; it includes seven products from six suppliers in five towns.
What we're most excited about as we launch is our commitment of pairing every purchase with an act of kindness; we use a 1 for 1 model. When someone orders a subscription box we do an intentional act of love in the North Okanagan; this could include paying for the order of the person behind us in a drive through window, yard work for seniors, driving someone to an appointment, or something completely different. The intention is to create a ripple of people paying it forward so that we all benefit and create a stronger sense of community.
Why did you choose your program at OC? Would you recommend it? Why/why not?
chose OC for several reasons, I wanted small class sizes, professors who had real world experience, opportunities to learn outside of the classroom like the competitions I did, the Honours research program, my study abroad, and I wanted a school in my own community that gave back. I would highly recommend the business program at Okanagan College. OC gave me connections to employers and community groups, professors who went out of their way to help me, an environment that made it easier to learn, and it was the best value for the cost.
What were some of your most meaningful memories during your time at OC?
I had the opportunity to compete on the Queens ICBC HR team and the HRC West competition teams in 2017. My partners and I placed first in both, which was a first for OC in both competitions. My coaches, professors, and support from the school was absolutely amazing through the entire process.
Who was your biggest influence during your time at OC?
I can't give enough credit to my competition coaches, especially Roger Wheeler. He pushed me out of my comfort zone many times and it always paid off. It's amazing to have a professor act as your cheerleader and support you, you wouldn't find that in a large university with hundreds of students in a class.
What do you think has been the biggest turning point for your career success?
I had a successful career working in human resources until COVID-19 happened and I was laid off, like many others. It caught me by surprise, but it also gave me time to think and prioritize. I was unemployed for eight months, and in that time I created a business with my husband. I am back to working full-time but continue to grow Townships and Tales because I can see the difference we are making in many different communities across B.C., especially throughout the Okanagan.
How does your current position relate to the program that you took at OC?
I took as many courses as I could related to entrepreneurship and I'm glad I did. Although I didn't expect to start a business during the pandemic, I wrote a full 40-page business plan and used some of my old notes and textbooks to get started. I did a full presentation to friends and family as if I were back in school to pitch them the idea and gain feedback early on. If I were to pare down every lesson from OC, it would be this, OC taught me how to learn. How I approach problems, where I research, how I ask questions, and how I built this business is based on the foundation OC helped me build.
What advice would you pass on to current/future students?
It's easy to get caught up in classes and want to focus purely on that, but my advice is to try different experiences, just jump and see where it takes you. Try a competition, a co-op term, study abroad, or volunteer work on campus, and see where it takes you. Those extra activities were the highlights of my degree program and made my resume stand out to employers.
When you’re not working, what are you doing?
I live a pretty full life right now, but when I'm not working, I spend time in my garden, volunteering, and am planning on starting an MBA program next year.
To learn more about Township and Tales visit www.townshipsandtales.ca or follow @TownshipandTales on Instagram and Facebook.
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