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Women We Admire - JESSIE LYON


Our Women We Admire series is our way of supporting and sharing the stories of incredible women whose values match ours. Today, meet Jessie Lyon.

How Jessie Lyon Built A Social Enterprise With Blankets

It all started with a VW Jetta full of artisan-made blankets from Ecuador. Now, Pokoloko is a full-blown social enterprise that curates and sells unique, high-quality artisanal goods from around the world. Read our interview with Pokoloko’s Brand Director, Jessie Lyon, where she talks about the importance of finding meaning in your work, giving back, and her favourite Province products, of course.  

Tell us about yourself.  What first inspired you to start your business or go into the field? 

As I started my career, I sought something truly meaningful and something that reflected my values. 

My happy place was working in different cultures abroad and challenging myself on cultural and linguistic levels while managing projects that demonstrated positive social impact.

I returned to my hometown from a year in Nicaragua, where I helped a youth group start a bike rental service. Not long after, I met my now business partner and boyfriend, Case. Case suggested we start our own conscious business selling blankets made by his Ecuadorian artisan friends he met on a recent trip. So we filled Case's VW Station Wagon, called Goldie, with these blankets and sold them to boutiques across the Ottawa Valley. Gradually, we created the first Poko customers, so the Pokoloko story began.

What motivates you?

I'm motivated by the community surrounding me, my team, our customers, our artisan partners, my partner Case, and the greater Poko community of family and friends that have been an integral part of what makes Pokoloko real. 

I'm also driven by a belief that anything is possible and a genuine love for my work. I love connecting and collaborating with other people and building something out of nothing. 

Pokoloko is a social enterprise, and the opportunity to keep growing our funding to local and global philanthropic partners keeps me inspired and focused on what is most important to me.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve learned from your industry?

When a global pandemic stops the world, the things that matter most are the relationships surrounding you.

What’s your greatest accomplishment? What do you still hope to achieve?

My greatest accomplishment is the network of connected human communities and the resulting positive economic and social effects. I'd love to continue to hone in on how Pokoloko can benefit our world. I'd like to craft our business so it can support an ever-increasing philanthropic funding channel that invests in our natural spaces and the quality of our communities.

What are your top three favourite Province Apothecary products and why?

Moisturizing Oil Cleanser + Make Up Remover because it makes removing make-up seamless. Hydrating Rescue Balm because it's so effective. Sleep Well Wellness Roll-On because it calms so nicely.

Check out Pokoloko’s incredible artisan-made items here and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @pokolokoltd.

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