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This article is part of a series of profiles on young entrepreneurs in the Okanagan and will be featured in the 2021 Level Up magazine.
People don’t expect the boss to be the tiny blonde girl in a hot pink t-shirt.
“Their reactions get me every time,” said Samantha Ulasy, the 26-year-old owner of Margaret Valley Landscaping with a laugh.
In fact, she’s experienced gender stereotypes throughout her career in maintenance, garden centres, when she worked for a previous landscaping company and even now.
Originally, she had wanted to work in a greenhouse.
“I always thought landscaping was a man’s job,” she said.
“There was always someone asking to speak to my boss,” said Samantha, ”but they would always be sent back to me because of my knowledge and standing in the company.”
After three years of working with her previous employer, Samantha realized she was definitely capable of doing the work on her own.
“I had so many ideas, so many things I wanted to do and so much to offer, but I always had to go through someone else. I decided to become my own thing and create what I want,” she said.
Margaret Valley Landscaping was born in the spring of 2019 with Samantha at the head of the company, one employee and occasional help from her parents.
Although they are well-known for holiday and seasonal displays, the core work is maintenance and renovations, all designed and executed by the small team.
While some clients are wary at first, Samantha says that once the work is done they are thrilled with the outcome.
Margaret Valley Landscaping bases each project on solely what the client wants and who they are.
With such a wide range of services, Samantha is able to provide everything - whether it’s building structures or designing a new garden.
“I’m able to add a feminine touch and pay more attention to detail,” she said. “I find it’s an advantage.”
Fast-forward to now, Samantha was crowned best landscaper at the Best of Kelowna Awards 2020 and also won bronze in the best young entrepreneur category of the awards.
She also works with big-name clients such as Jillian Harris, the TV interior designer and Instagram influencer, and ET Canada host Cheryl Hickey.
What started as a childhood love for plants and art turned into a diploma in Horticulture from Red River College in Winnipeg and, now, a very accomplished company.
Her success has become an incredibly empowering motivator in her life.
“It’s a fun advantage to have and what is so great is that there is still so much room to grow because I'm still growing up myself,” sums up Samantha.