At West Coast Woodpickers, we take great pride in setting bold leadership for sustainable tourism in BC, Canada — whether it is by committing to using recycled wood for our products, or by sourcing locally for materials, we are doers. We walk the talk and let our decisions, and products, speak for ourselves. We take accountability by providing exceptional customer service, and our in-house manufacturing process lets us retain the high quality of products we’re known for.
Our ambitions are big – but our roots are humble. We began as a student project through Simon Fraser University’s ChangeLab program in 2015, and were introduced to the concept of a circular economy, where materials are reused and given new life along a supply chain instead of being simply discarded. After ChangeLab, West Coast Woodpicker’s co-founder Michelle enlisted James’s woodworking expertise to pivot the original circular economy exchange service into a sustainable souvenir manufacturing business.
In early 2017, James and Michelle applied for RADIUS SFU and Embark Sustainability’s Student Social Innovation Seed Fund Grant, and were awarded a $750 fund to prototype and launch their sustainable souvenir line. Since then, they have attended over 8 community fairs including Surrey Fest, to spread awareness about wood waste in Metro Vancouver. They have also received wholesale contracts with prime-vacation home rental agency called Blackcomb Peaks Accomodation, based in Whistler, BC., and SFU Bookstores, the official retailer for Simon Fraser University.
Co-Founder, Production Director
Co-Founder, Business Director
Michelle Chen is a sustainability innovator, social entrepreneur, and circular economy enthusiast.
A graduate from Simon Fraser University’s Bachelor of Environments in Global Environmental Systems, she was trained in viewing water, food, and waste systems from a systems-thinking approach. In her last year of studies, she presented her directed studies research on optimizing solid waste systems using GIS interfaces at the SFU Environment Research Talks, and launched a social venture called West Coast Woodpickers that transforms wood waste into sustainable souvenirs for tourists and adventurers to Canada’s west coast.