Travel & Leisure

The challenges of opening a tea shop in the busy tourist town of Banff

Jolene Brewster’s ties to the Rockies really start at her family’s roots in the area. They are among the pioneers of Banff’s hospitality industry hosting tours and hikes throughout the Rockies since the early 1900’s. The lifelong Banff resident seeks the harmony of nature, activity, & community on a daily basis. With an degree in Land Resource Management, the equestrian and former Stampede Queen (current ambassador for the Calgary Stampede) founded Natur’el Tea in 2005 which rebranded Jolene’s Tea House upon opening a retail spot on Bear Street this year. Jolene’s entrepreneurial spirit is dedicated to a deep rooted passion for people, health, and happiness.

Jess McNally was born and raised in Alberta, and grew up ski racing at Lake Louise. She is passionate about the environment and ecology, and received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Earth Systems from Stanford University. After university she worked as a science journalist and a vegetable farmer before deciding to become a Buddhist monastic. She spent three years living at Zen Mountain Monastery in New York. She travelled to Asia where she was ordained in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She lived in the Indian Himalayas for two years, with most of that time spent in solitary meditation retreat. Afterwards, she spent a year in Madison, Wisconsin, where she was a fellow at The Center for Healthy Minds, which is a global leader in studying mind, happiness and well-being.

About four years ago Jess decided to take off her monastic robes and move back to Canada. Her family had moved to Banff and she’d always loved these mountains, so it was an easy decision to live here.

Jess has always loved tea, and was delighted when Jolene approached her in 2020 to become a partner in the business.

Entrepreneurs are the backbone of Canada’s economy. To support Canada’s businesses, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

Want to stay up-to-date on the latest #entrepreneur podcasts and news? Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter

Sean Hoff Started Moniker, Which Creates Custom Corporate Retreats Across the Globe

Legend has it, Sean Hoff started out his career as a Banker but cast off to start Moniker, after being an attendee on a number of “President Club’ trips and believing he could do it better. Fast forward several years, some amazing adventures around the globe, and a talent for creating magic from a blank canvas. Sean plays the role of creative devil’s advocate, always asking “why not” and figuring out ways to squeeze in that little extra personality to create truly bucket-list worthy programs for their clients.

Visit to open your online shop.

Entrepreneurs are the backbone of Canada’s economy. To support Canada’s businesses, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Sean Shaeffer Discusses the Travel Industry & Getting Through Challenges Like the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sean Schaeffer is CEO of Zoomaway Travel. He has spent the last 30 years in the Gaming and Hospitality industries. He has worked in various areas of the hospitality sector including hotels and large casino operations. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to create his own companies that specialized in technology that assisted hotels and the resort community in better engaging their clientele. In his previous work he has helped pioneer technologies that have changed how booking rooms and activities benefit customers and the hospitality industry as a whole.

Michael McNaught

Michael McNaught is the Founder of RVEzy, Canada’s Largest and Most Affordable RV Rental Marketplace that connects vacationers with RV owners across the country.

In 2016, Michael was injured while on duty at the Ottawa Police Service. After suffering this injury, he saw an opportunity to build upon his idea to create a market place, similar to airbnb for RV owners and vacationers. Exactly one year later, he was pitching this business on Dragon’s Den. Fast forward to present day; Michael is now operating a highly successful, national company where keeping up with annual growth is his biggest business challenge.

Michael’s advice to entrepreneurs is to take calculated risks and pursue measurable results. Listen & watch this chat to get inspired to act on your big idea.

Sky McLean

Sky McLean is owner of Basecamp Resorts in Canmore, Alberta. She talks about being a woman in the male-dominated accommodation industry.