Q&A with Co-Founder Sam Rayner recognized as Business In Vancouver 40 Under 40

Every year, Business In Vancouver recognizes the achievements of B.C.'s young entrepreneurs, executives and professionals with a list of 40 individuals under the age of 40.

This year, we are proud to announce that our Co-Founder and CEO, Samantha Rayner was listed among the winners. Sam has dedicated her career to creating consumers brands in the wellness and sustainability industry, and this award is a reflection not only of her passion for creating a mission-lead business, but the incredible team at Better Basics and community of like-minded leaders she has had the opportunity to work with throughout her career.

Sam Rayner, Business in Vancouver's 40 Under 40

Learn a little more about Sam and what has inspired her career choices.

Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?

I come from very hard working and self-made parents, but my motivation is also very linked to my sense of values and purpose. Early in my career, I realized that I had to feel connected to what I was doing, and when work doesn’t feel like “work” I can seamlessly accomplish more.

I feel pretty passionate about re-writing the stereotype that entrepreneurship or business performance requires personal life sacrifices. I had my son 6 months after launching Better Basics, I have been on vacations and spent a lot of time having fun with my loved ones. I have been able to manage them both. For me, it’s not about doing it all, but being focused and efficient with what I do.


What drives you?

I want to make a positive mark on this world. I want to pave a path that the next generation can continue, challenge unhealthy consumption norms (AKA plastic and nasty chemicals in our home), delight people with wonderful products, and change business to maximize people, planet AND profit.

I am very passionate about living a healthy, low impact and balanced life. Sustainability is a mindset for me as much as it is a lifestyle, I am very fast moving with decision making and executing most tasks, so it has been a practice for me to slow down and appreciate what’s around me. Nature, love, community, connection, freedom of expression… these are the things that drive me.

A favourite book you would recommend?

Simon Sinek, Start With Why

Now that you are (or are close to) entering your 40s, what goals have you set for yourself?

My 40’s will be all about personal + professional growth. We are just 2 years into the business we will be ready for significant expansion, team growth, new product innovations and new business channels. I’d like to live abroad. And start teaching yoga again.

What was your childhood career dream?

As a child I always wanted to work in business, and I had the vision of being a women leader in a large corporation full of men! I think the young feminist in my mind saw the lack of female business leaders and thought, I could do that.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Business decisions that may leave people disappointed are always the hardest to make. For me, letting employees go, whether it has been a lay off or because the role just wasn’t the right fit, always takes most of my energy.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

I would tell my 20 year old self to really pay attention to the things that light her up, and those that upset her. The sooner you can determine your values, you will align your career to a greater purpose. 

What is your best habit?

I need to move my body every day to feel good. Worst habit? Sweets. 

Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.

 I have an identical twin sister, Olivia Hornby.

Best piece of advice ever received?

To invest in yourself when you are young. Take a loan from your older self to do so.

What is the biggest lesson (or one of the biggest lessons) you've learned in business?

Don’t worry about the competition, just worry about your customer. Consumers are intelligent and you can’t buy their interest. To make an impact you need to be authentic and transparent about the whole model: product, internal culture and business operations. One brand advocate is worth more than 10 one time customers.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

I am proud of launching Better Basics, the Better Standards we created, and the amount of plastic we have diverted. I am extremely proud when I see people who I have worked with thrive and accomplish their dreams. There is nothing greater than being able to support another person’s growth + development.

What's left to accomplish?

The irony of this award is that I feel I am still at the infancy of the impact I want to create in my business and community. I hope to make Better Basics a household name, divert billions of plastic from the landfill, and create an incubator for the next generation of talent and product innovation. 

I look forward to seeing a completely diverse, purposeful and passionate group of leaders running this company one day. By then, I would like to shift my attention to more charitable and female founder advisory opportunities.