Roots and Raven: A Journey from Heart to Hand with Tanya Gluvakov
In Alliston, Ontario, there’s a ripple of change – and at its center is Tanya Gluvakov, from Six Nations of the Grand River, and her enterprise, Roots and Raven.
Tanya’s venture sprouted from a deeply personal place. “Roots and Raven was born out of my interest in sharing the positive effect that connecting to land has on both our mental and physical well-being,” Tanya shared. Her first-hand battle with anxiety and depression reinforced the importance of nature in healing. “Having experienced issues with anxiety and depression, I know firsthand the dramatic positive effects of connecting to land by way of growing, harvesting, and using botanical products.”
Roots and Raven isn’t just about botanical products. As Tanya passionately describes, “We focus on sharing not only our botanical products but also how the ‘process’ of growing, harvesting and connecting to the very land that a lot of our botanicals come from.” Tanya envisions her brand expanding beyond its current state, aiming for a brick and mortar store that not only retails but becomes a sanctuary of learning and community.
Tanya’s entrepreneurial journey is a testament to resilience. This summer, she hosted the first-ever “Honouring Anishnabe” section at Alliston Ontario’s potato festival. An event that, for the first time in 51 years, acknowledged the Indigenous community. “Being an entrepreneur has helped me give our people a voice in my small town here in Ontario,” she remarked.
This drive to push boundaries is also evident in her participation in the Pow Wow Pitch competition. Facing initial doubts, she found strength in the support of the community. “I proved to myself, with the encouragement of the Pow Wow Pitch team, that I can do hard things. That already is a win!”
Tanya’s mentors, Tammy Collins and Melissa White from RBC, played crucial roles in bolstering her belief. From being reminded to “be proud of [her] achievements” by Tammy to understanding the impact of personal stories from Melissa, these interactions fueled her determination and gratitude.
When asked about the challenges of entrepreneurship, Tanya candidly acknowledges the uphill climb. From managing supplier costs, inventory space, to juggling the roles of a mom and business owner, she admits, “Being an entrepreneur is hard. But, we can do hard things.”
But it’s not just about business. Roots and Raven offers more than products – it offers healing. Tanya emphasizes the theme of reciprocity as she works with plants. “With every wild forage, there is an exchange of tobacco and an ask for harvest from the plant. The land held me when I was falling. When I didn’t think I could stand back up, she held me up.”
Tanya’s advice to budding entrepreneurs, especially those from the Indigenous community, is heartfelt and empowering. “Doing what fills you up makes the hard days worth it,” she encourages. “One foot in front of the other is so much more than none.”
Tanya Gluvakov’s journey is a beacon of hope, resilience, and the boundless power of connection. Through Roots and Raven, she not only shares a piece of her heart but also inspires countless others to embrace their dreams and the healing embrace of nature. As she herself says, “Get out there. We can all do hard things.”
Register to watch Tanya pitch at the Consumer Semi-Final Online Watch Party on September 7, 2023, at 6 PM ET and vote for Roots and Raven to win the 2023 People’s Choice Prize (#83) before September 17, 2023.