Métis entrepreneur’s latest venture after Angela’s Organic Pasta

By James Rose
Local Journalism Initiative Reporte

Angela Ross is onto her next venture. After five years of making delicious pasta, Ross has moved onto crafting small-batch artisanal silk-screened apparel. Her business, Valley Life Designs, officially launched on June 1.

“I got the idea this winter,” she said of silk-screening. Through the long hard pandemic winter, she also busied herself with taking courses through the College of the Rockies in business administration. “With each design I do, with each piece of apparel I create, I want to evoke an appreciation for that feeling you may get when you come to the Columbia Valley.” Current designs include water skiers behind boats and lake/mountain landscapes.

Ross is a self-taught skill-screener which is a craft deceptively complicated. “It’s also very creative though, which I am really appreciating.” After finding the necessary equipment to purchase, she put into practice all the hours of YouTube videos she absorbed in learning the ins and outs. Ross has visions of silk-screening, not just T-shirts and tote bags but also beer koozies, hoodies, beach ware and beyond.

“I’m learning every day,” she said from her production facility on Borden Road in Athalmer. The facility is the same one she used when she was the Queen of local organic pasta production. Soon, she plans to turn the facility into a quasi-retail outlet as well.

In the meantime, you can find Ross each weekend at the Invermere Farmer’s Market. She features new designs each week. “The market lends itself to trying ideas out with customers and getting immediate feedback on how popular one of my designs is,” she said. The market is also great for overall awareness of her new business. So is social media, Facebook and Instagram, both of which her company is on.

In looking to expand her business, Ross is aware of funding opportunities through the Métis Nation of British Columbia (MNBC). Keeping on top of all the possible grants and bursaries can be one of the more challenging aspects of being an entrepreneur; time management is an essential component of the entrepreneurs’ toolkit. Ross, however, is up to the task.

“Ever since I was in junior high [in Calgary], I knew I wanted to be in business,” she said. After high school, Ross moved to Banff, where she lived for the next 15 years operating a dog sled business.

“That was how I made it out to Invermere in the first place,” she said. For her one-hundred plus Siberian Huskies, she needed a place to house them. Enter a big piece of land on Kootenay Road #3 in the Columbia Valley. In the early 1990s, she made the permanent move to the warmer side of the Rockies and has worked in various industries since.

With Valley Life Designs, Ross would love to as soon as possible expand the business to the point where hiring employees is sustainable. “In five years, I want to see Valley Life Designs as a household name locally with a possible independent retail outlet,” she said.

Until then, Ross will continue to live the life she espouses through her designs: healthy, active living in the singular Columbia Valley. Says Ross: “I’m just getting started.” For more information and to buy online, visit https://valleylifedesigns.ca/.