Babes Promoting Babes Interview Series – Cindy Stibbard of StudySpot Vancouver

Cindy Stibbard

MY MISSION:  To motivate and inspire Boss Babes in the making. To uplift, encourage, and promote entrepreneurs, both male & female and to share aspirations, goals and dreams with them, and you, my subscribers.

To provide and build a warm, loving, and supportive community of CREATORS. Creators of a business, art, or a NEW YOU … 

I “met” Cindy Stibbard via Instagram. We started following each other and became a part of each other’s online communities. I have met a few other Local Business Owners this way last year. And especially now during the pandemic, building community and networking has shifted to mostly online interactions.

M: What’s your story?  Where were you born, where were you raised?  What was your childhood, growing up years like?

I was born in Toronto, Ontario but I grew up in Tsawwssen, British Columbia with my parents, two brothers, one sister and a house full of cats and a dog!

I held numerous part-time jobs as a teenager delivering newspapers for the Delta Optimist, working the drive-thru at McDonald’s, a clerk at Phamasave Drugs, a server at a local Chinese Restaurant and a dancer on the BC Lions Pride Dance Team until the Grey Cup in 1994.

In 1993 I graduated with Honours from South Delta Senior Secondary School. I then attended Simon Fraser University while I worked part-time at Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver during the day, and served at Earls Tin Palace in West Van at night.

M: What did you want to do when you grew up? 

C: Growing up I always wanted to be a TV news anchor. I thought that it would be a fun job and I used to set up mock newsrooms with my siblings. We would pretend we were reporting on the day’s events.

M: What did you study in university? 

C: I really wanted to go to Carlton University or Ryerson because they were known for their broadcasting programs; however, my family’s finances didn’t allow it.

I started out pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Communications at SFU. When I realized that it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in, I changed my majors to Psychology and Education and followed the path to become a teacher.

Steps for the Successful Completion of Homework
StudySpot Vancouver – Steps for the Successful Completion of Homework

After completing a B.A. in Psychology, I went into the PDP (Profession Development Program) for teachers and completed my B.Ed with specializations in Learning Disabilities and Primary French Language.

M: When did you move to Vancouver?  Why did you move to Vancouver?

C: My family was transferred here about 36 years ago, when I was 8 years old, from Toronto. My dad was in the construction industry and development was thriving in BC, so we settled in Tsawwassen about 40 minutes outside of Vancouver.

 M: When did you start your business?  What was your inspiration?

C: Actually, getting divorced was my inspiration for starting both of my businesses. StudySpot Vancouver came first in 2019 – an Executive Function & Academic Coaching business – spawned out of my decades of experience in the field of Education.

I knew I was going to have to go back to work, after being at home for 11 years raising my kids. I wanted to develop something that would allow me the flexibility to continue to raise my kids, become self sufficient, and at the same time support students in an environment that didn’t confine me to the four walls of a classroom.

Cindy Stibbard with her family
Cindy Stibbard with her children, Photographer – Sarah Jane

While I was going through my divorce, I was faced with many people around me going through a similar experience and I wanted to be able to help them. That’s when I discovered the CDC Intensive Divorce Coaching Training program and dove right in.

It opened up many new doors of opportunity and empowerment for me as I walked the path of entrepreneurship as a newly single mother. Nothing has been more life altering and powerful to me than pursuing my career aspirations during what has been the most difficult transition of my life.

M: What do you love the most about being a Boss Babe?

C: I absolutely LOVE connecting with women who empower other women. There is nothing like the support of women when we truly embrace each other, our strengths, and our bonds.

Through this journey the last 2 1/2 years, I have grown substantially as a person and have made connections all over the world with people who have changed my perspective of myself and who have given me the courage to believe that I can do anything in this life of mine.

StudySpot Vancouver
StudySpot Vancouver – Photographer Sarah Jane

M: What would your advice be for Boss Babes in the making?  If they are contemplating leaving a secure 9-5 job with benefits – what would you say to them? Should they take the leap?

C: START UGLY. I was always the type of person who needed to have all my ducks in a row before beginning anything. Everything had to be in place, I needed to have loose ends, tied and processes followed and systems set up. But what I have discovered in my entrepreneurial journey is that none of that really matters at the beginning.

If you have a dream, or a passion that you are afraid to start, know this – it doesn’t matter how you start, as long as you START! And it’s HARD work, really hard work. It’s many hours of unpaid determination day in and day out, but if you’re in it for the right reasons, if you truly love what you are doing with your soul…  If you are confident with your WHY and your vision is rooted in passion and the genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of others, then success will follow. Start ugly, as long as you start!

M: Any last words? What’s your favourite positive/motivational quote or book?

C: My favorite quote of all time comes from an unknown source but it is one that has resonated deeply with me for quite some time… I have it framed over my bed and I read it every day:

“It’s impossible,” said pride.

“It’s risky,” said experience.

“It’s pointless,” said reason.

“Give it a try,” whispered the heart.

Cindy Stibbard, BA, BEd, CDC, CHCC, ABA of StudySpot Vancouver is a Certified Divorce, Career, & Transition Coach. If you would like to learn more, you can follow her on Instagram.

Foundations of Fat Loss:

Kristin Ames - Thanksgiving Dinner

How to Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind – Nutrition Expert Kristin Ames

Diet and fitness are more top of mind for people than they ever have been.  With many of us trapped at home for the last 6 months with nothing but the refrigerator to keep us company, the COVID 15 is no joke.  And fitness?  It’s been a slippery slope to the couch.

So, you’ve decided it’s time to reign it all in, drop some body fat and get back in shape – fantastic! You’ve started researching the best way to reach your goals but have quickly become overwhelmed with all the options: Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Intermittent Fasting, and the Juice Cleanse.

You’ve heard accounts of how your coworker’s uncle’s cousin lost 40 pounds on Keto, and your best friend swears she can eat whatever she wants on using Intermittent Fasting and not gain weight!  Compelling for sure, but before you go all in on MCT oil or the ’16:8 plan’, I ask you to consider one question  “Can I do what this diet asks of me for the rest of my life?”. 

We tend to over complicate things when it comes to our diet.  There are definitely situations that call for precise weighing and measuring, attention to meal timing, and detailed macro-nutrient tracking, but unless you’re a bodybuilder or training for the Olympics, those protocols likely won’t apply to you.

The key to changing your body lies in adopting habits and practices you can sustain for life: a balanced program that makes room for dinners out with friends and celebrations with family, includes all the food groups, regular exercise, and whole unprocessed foods most of the time … unsexy yes, but effective.  

For most people, most of the time, simple wins the race. One of my favorite quotes is from a fellow online trainer Ren Jones at Fitness Jones Training:

“If we don’t have the basic habits established for our nutrition choices, why would we think a more complicated method is the solution? “I can’t get the hang of driving a car, so I think I’ll try flying a helicopter instead?”

And yet most of us are standing in line to fly the helicopter.

Kristin Ames' Healthy Choices
Kristin Ames’ healthy choices for Thanksgiving dinner

So what are the basics?  What is the 4-door Toyota Hybrid of the diet world?  The following guidelines are the foundation for all our programs focused on fat loss:  

Eat until you’re 80% full.   We’ve been taught from a young age to ‘finish your dinner’.  Eating until we’re full is comforting and makes us feel happy – if we’re eating a tasty meal we want to keep eating because the pleasure receptors in our brain tell us to keep going! But this also leads many people to eat in a calorie surplus.  The simple practice of stopping when you’re satisfied instead of when you’re full will yield surprising results.  Studies show it takes about 15-20 minutes for most people to feel full, so if you don’t stop eating until you’re full, you’ll likely be stuffed in 20 minutes.  Put the brakes on at satisfied, and there’s 20% fewer calories in your day, easily.

Eat protein with every meal. Protein is the most filling macro-nutrient and is the least likely to be converted to fat in the body.  When you’re not hungry, you’ll stop thinking about food all the time, and as a result eat/snack less. It’s also critical for muscle growth and repair – a priority if you’re exercising regularly. There is literally no downside to eating protein.

Exercise 3-5 days a week. Workouts will vary depending on your goals and where you’re starting from, but some form of activity on a regular basis is part of every program – from a daily walk for some to an intense lifting session for others.  In addition to the physical benefits, its shown people usually make better food choices when exercise is part of their day. 

Be clear on your ‘Why’. If you’re just trying to ‘get back to’ a number on the scale that you once were, you’re likely not going to have the motivation and discipline for stick with your program for long.  Dig deep and figure out why you really want to lose weight. Nothing wrong with wanting to look better if that’s the reason, but why do you want to?  Put it down on paper so when you need some extra motivation you can remind yourself, in your own words, exactly what your goal is.

That’s it – pretty simple, and yet not necessarily easy.  But simple is a great place to get started despite what we think we want. None of these principles require you to clear out your kitchen, buy a bunch of books or expensive equipment, or lock yourself at home for fear of eating something that isn’t ‘approved’ on your diet.  Everyone can do this – if you’re thinking of losing some weight, I encourage you to give these basic principles a try.  And, when you can do these things consistently, 90% of the time, we’ll talk about the helicopter.

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching is a certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer, PNL1 CPT, living in North Vancouver. If you would like to know more about her, you can visit her Instagram page.

Mayumi & Mama Izumi’s Foodie Adventures — Fets Whisky Kitchen

Fets Whisky Kitchen

Welcome to my new series, Mayumi & Mama Izumi’s Foodie Adventures! Today marks my first installment and I’m very excited to write about Fets Whiskey Kitchen. It was my second and Mama’s first time at the yummy eatery and bar.

Located in East Vancouver’s Little Italy on ‘the Drive’, Fets is nestled beside Havana and across the street from Grandview Park.

Mama and I ordered their Country Fried Steak and the Cooper’s Breakfast. Fets’ Country Fried Steak is crispy on the outside and the organic meat is moist and tender on the inside — the best I’ve had. It is accompanied by Maker’s Mark Bourbon white gravy, rosemary biscuit & bread, sunny side up egg, hashbrowns (with sauteed onions), and a dash of greens (with pickled onions). Delish!

Fets' Country Fried Steak and Cooper's Breakfast
Fets’ Country Fried Steak and Cooper’s Breakfast

The Cooper’s Breakfast is so tasty that my mouth is watering reliving my memories of it. It is comprised of braised local pork, black beans, sunny egg, and cornbread. All the flavours in both dishes enhance rather than compete with each other. It is gourmet comfort food and my gourmand compliments go to the chef.

Not only am I a foodie, but also a coffee connoisseur. Fets did not disappoint. They serve Western Canadian, Canterbury coffee that is filled with multi levels of roasted flavour notes.

Canterbury coffee at Fets Whisky Kitchen
Canterbury coffee at Fets Whisky Kitchen

A definite must if you haven’t already had the pleasure to nom at this wonderful Commercial Drive restaurant. Besides the yummy eats, the customer service is also top notch and they have a heated patio. Need I say more?

If you would like to learn more about Fets Whisky Kitchen follow them on their Instagram.

Mystery Guest Services – NEW to Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC

Mayumi Izumi

I am very excited to announce that Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC has NEW SERVICES to offer you – Mystery Guest services. For those of you, visiting mayumiizumi.com for the first time, this is in addition to the host of other services we provide such as Digital Marketing, Content Creation, Social Media Management, and Public Relations. With the global pandemic not going anywhere, anytime soon, supporting Local Businesses is of utmost importance.

But that also means that Local Business Owners need to ensure their employees’ customer service is up to par. Because if it isn’t — customers will go to another restaurant, clothing or grocery store down the street.

If you are following my Instagram page, you know that I am always giving positive feedback on customer service. Being a Local Promoter I want to recommend the business to my friends and followers, encourage the restaurant server or retail associate that they’re doing a great job and to keep doing what they’re doing. Business Owners benefit by knowing they have trained their staff properly, their business gets a shout-out, and also featured on my social media platform.

Why is it so important to me that businesses provide good customer service? I have been in the customer service industry for over 20 years and in that time I learned a thing or two about what GOOD customer service is.

When I am out in my community as a customer, I expect to receive a certain level of service. Number 1 – greet your customers and ask them how they’re doing! It will form their first impression of your business and brand.

You would think it’s common sense to do so but many a time, I have walked into establishments where I have been completely ignored. The middle of part of the interaction is vital but MOST IMPORTANT is to thank your customers! That is the last impression you make on your potential loyal customer.

Mystery Guest Photo
Customers deserve and need to be treated well. If not they will take their business elsewhere.

There are businesses out there that don’t thank their customers. The cashier or associate says, “Have a nice day”! Have a nice day doesn’t cut it, honey!

You MUST thank your customers. They are contributing to your bottom line. If there is no customer there is no money.

There are other companies that offer Mystery Shoppers — the difference is EXPERIENCE. There are 12 steps to interacting with customers. I will ensure that we provide a full report showing step by step where the server or associate went above and beyond or didn’t meet expectations and detailed suggestions on what areas they can improve on.

If you are an independent Business Owner and do not have a comprehensive training program developed, I will also provide customer service training to your team.

If you have any questions or would like to use our services go to our contact us page.

Babes Promoting Babes Interview Series – Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching

Kristin Ames and I graduated from Carson Graham Secondary together. One of my first memories of her is from grade 8 when she invited me to her birthday/slumber party. There were 5 of us: Kristin, Tracy Meredith, Judi Hector, Hanna Barber and I (Some of the girls’ last names have since changed but I am using their maiden names).

I don’t remember all the details of her birthday party but I do remember we had fun and the next day we swam in her swimming pool and her Mom made us brunch afterwards to eat on her patio.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you all to my dear high school friend, Kristin Ames, Founder of Fit LIfe Coaching.

MY MISSION:  To motivate and inspire Boss Babes in the making. To uplift, encourage, and promote male & female entrepreneurs and to share aspirations, goals and dreams with them, and you, my subscribers.

To provide and build a warm, loving, and supportive community of CREATORS. Creators of art, a business, or a NEW YOU … 

M: What’s your story?  Where were you born, where were you raised?  What was your childhood, growing up years like? 

K: I was born in Vancouver and grew up here in North Vancouver.  I had a pretty typical childhood, played sports, was involved in music, lots of social activities.  I’ve always liked to be busy and for as long as I can remember, I have had a pretty full plate. 

My parents were both university professors, so there was a lot of pressure to excel academically.  I can’t really say I regret it though, I learned how to set goals and work hard from a young age, a skill which has served me well over the years.  We were always encouraged to set the bar high.

M: What did you want to do when you grew up? 

K: My mom loves to tell the story that when I was 3, I said I wanted to be a ‘fruit cocktail’ waitress.  I’ve never heard the end of that one.

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching
Kristin is baking with protein powder & gives us tips on her Instagram page.

I knew I wanted to be involved in business in some aspect, but I had envisioned working for a big company, not for myself. It was the 80s, the era of movies like “Working Girl” and “Baby Boom”, and corporate opportunities for women were on the rise.  That world seemed glamorous to me.

M: Did you go to college or university?  If so, what did you study?

K: I tried college and university, and I felt a business degree would set me up for the future. But quickly found the rigidity of the programs and having to take classes that I had no interest in just to satisfy degree requirements frustrating. When I was 21, I was offered an opportunity to article at an accounting firm by my old boss who I had worked for in high school.

At that time, you could work full-time and go to school at night to get your professional accounting designation. I didn’t even blink; I left university immediately and went to work for an accounting firm downtown. 

All I did was work and study for the next 7 years, but I finished my CGA (now rolled into the CPA designation) and by that time I had enough work experience to get a really good job.  I didn’t know then that I would end up on a very different career path!

M: When did you start your business?  What was your inspiration?

K: A couple of years ago I sold my former business, Posy Floral Design, wanting a change of pace. I started to think about how I could still run my own business, but have the flexibility of being able to travel, take care of my family, and enjoy life a bit more.

Fitness has been a big part of my personal life for the last 15 years, and several years ago I developed an interest in sports nutrition.  I had also been reading a lot about the online fitness industry and was intrigued with how seamlessly that business model seemed to fit with what I had been envisioning for my future.  

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching
Kristin Ames is the ultimate Boss Babe! She started not only 1 but 2 businesses!

I went back to school and got certified as a Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach and Health Coach, which rounded out the practical experience I already had. 

I know so many women in their 40s and 50s who have put themselves last for years, working on careers and raising families, neglecting themselves along the way. They don’t know what to do so they do nothing, figuring it’s ‘too late’ to make a change. 

Having been there myself at one point in my life, I know that all you need is the belief that you can change and the right people to support you.  

This was my inspiration to create Fit Life Coaching; we create customized fitness and nutrition programs for women who want to get back in shape and feel confident again.

M: What do you love the most about being a Boss Babe?

K: I love the feeling of being completely in control of what happens, that the sky’s the limit.  There is always something new to learn, some way to grow and get better.  Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep at night because I just want it to be morning so I can get up and start going again … The feeling that each day is a blank slate, full of possibility. It’s a feeling you just can’t replicate working for someone else. 

M: What would your advice be for Boss Babes in the making?  If they are contemplating leaving a secure 9-5 job with benefits – what would you say to them? Should they take the leap?

K: Don’t feel that where you start is where you have to end up. It’s okay to want different things at different times in your life.  People get stuck because they think they have to keep doing what they are already doing – but that’s crazy! 

If you are so passionate about something that you can’t stop thinking about it and want to do it all day every day, then absolutely stop thinking about it and start doing it.  Passion for what you do and hard work will get you through almost any obstacle.

M: Any last words? What’s our favourite positive/motivational quote or book?

K: There is a perplexing fear of losing and making mistakes in today’s world.  We are taking competition away from our children as though it’s a bad thing.  I don’t get it.  Some of the biggest lessons I learned in life were through my failures and losses; if I hadn’t had those experiences I would never have learned about resilience.  Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from taking chances.

Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow.” – Mary Tyler Moore

If you would like to learn more about Fit Life Coaching, follow her on Instagram and her website.

Babes Promoting Babes Interview Series – Gordon Tang of GT & Co

My haircut from Gordon at GT & Co

MY MISSION:  To motivate and inspire Boss Babes in the making. To uplift, encourage, and promote male & female entrepreneurs and to share aspirations, goals and dreams with them, and you, my subscribers.

To provide and build a warm, loving, and supportive community of CREATORS. Creators of art, a business, or a NEW YOU … 

I met Gordon Tang when I was 14 years old before he started his salon, GT & Co Hair Studio on East 2nd in North Vancouver. My Mom had her hair done by him and recommended him to me. She said he was, “sugoku jouzu (which means really good or skillful in Japanese)”.

And I have been going to see Gordon since then for over 20 years. Mom was right — Gordon is great! If you ask him to only cut 1/2 an inch off that’s all he will cut. And so talented in the way he cuts and styles hair.

Once I find a person, company or product that I like, admire and enjoy — I stay loyal. I am that “sought after customer” that businesses dream about. Not only do I stay loyal to the company but I also spread the word. I created a hashtag on Instagram #fortheloveoflocal with a heart emoji and without for this exact purpose. I spread the word about a Local Business through my love for them.

So without further ado — It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Gordon, Owner of GT & Co and my stylist since I was in high school.

M: What’s your story?  Where were you born, where were you raised?  What was your childhood, growing up years like? 

G: I was born and raised in the Hong Kong countryside. My childhood consisted of lots of farming and lots of pets.

M: What did you want to do when you grew up? 

G: I wanted to be a professional soccer player.

M: Did you go to college or university?  If so, what did you study?

G: I studied business at Langara College and then I studied hair design at Vidal Sassoon in London, England.

M: When did you move to Vancouver?  Why did you move to Vancouver?

G: I moved to Vancouver with my family in 1979 for a better education and more opportunities.

M: When did you start your business?  What was your inspiration?

G: I started my business in 1986. I cut my friends’ hair in high school and it was then that I found my passion — I love to talk to people while hairdressing.

M: What do you love the most about being a Boss Babe?

G: The ability to control my own finances, hours and being able to learn from my customers; and to have the ability to implement their good ideas.

M: What would your advice be for Boss Babes in the making?  If they are contemplating leaving a secure 9-5 job with benefits – what would you say to them? Should they take the leap?

G: If you believe in yourself and your dreams and are willing to work hard, you will find success

M: Any last words? What’s our favourite positive/motivational quote or book?

G: My favourite quote is, “nothing ventured, nothing gained“.

Gordon is old school and does not have any social media platforms or website for his salon. If you would like to make an appointment with him, please tell him that Mayumi sent you!

GT & Co Hair Studio is located at: 130 2nd St E, North Vancouver, BC and their phone number is: 604.988.9813. The salon hours are: Tuesday through Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Babes Promoting Babes Interview Series – Arneet of Henna by Arneet

Henna by Arneet

I had the pleasure of meeting beautiful and talented Henna Artist, Arneet Dua at a North Vancouver coffee shop opening party via Instagram. I was following the coffee shop on the social media platform and tickets were free on Event Brite.

But the biggest draw for me was having my hands decorated with henna. I always wanted to have it done and I was excited that I was getting my chance. Arneet was one of the Henna Artists there and she did my hands and my Mom’s.

She was so fast! And she did a beautiful job on both of our hands. Also, what stood out for me was Arneet’s charming personality –So grounded, sincere and personable. We exchanged business cards, Instagram handles and kept in touch. Fast forward 2 years and here I am interviewing her!

MY MISSION:  To motivate and inspire Boss Babes in the making. To uplift, encourage, and promote male & female entrepreneurs and to share aspirations, goals and dreams with them and you, my subscribers.

To build and provide a warm, loving, and supportive community of CREATORS. Creators of art, a business, or a NEW YOU …

M: What’s your story?  Where were you born, where were you raised?  What was your childhood, growing up years like?

A: I was born and raised in Punjab, India in a relatively open-minded family. Growing up, I was very creative and always into Arts & Crafts. My mother supported me to pursue my passion for Art and would sign me up for any Creative Art classes she could find.

I was raised in a huge family with 9 family members living under the same roof. My family was very supportive and encouraged me to be where I am today.

M: Did you go to college or university?  If so, what did you study?

A: Yes, I actually have studied in various fields, I did my high school with a Commerce/Accounting specialization, then for Undergrad I studied Psychology as my major along with Home Economics to stay connected to my creative side. I did my Masters in English Literature followed by a Post Graduate Degree in Child Guidance/Family Counselling in India.

M: Did you move to Vancouver or did you grow up here?  Why did you move to Vancouver?

A: I moved to Vancouver in December 2014 as an international student to pursue my Post Graduate Degree.

M: When did you start your business?  What was your inspiration?

A: I always wanted to be my own boss, my husband encouraged me in 2016 to take my Henna Art to next level and start doing it professionally. I have been doing henna since I was 11 years old as a hobby.

In 2016 I shared with my husband that I wanted to start my own business but wasn’t sure what to do and how to begin. He suggested that since I love Art, this might be good opportunity to do it professionally.

We did some research in the current Lower Mainland market and saw there was huge potential in the wedding industry to make this business successful. 

Bridal Henna
A close up of the Bridal Henna showcasing Arneet’s Artistry.

M: What do you love the most about being a Boss Babe?

A: I think the best part is to be able to share my Art with other Boss Babes and inspire my fellow men & women to believe in themselves, take a leap and follow their dreams.

M: What would your advice be for Boss Babes in the making?  If they are contemplating leaving a secure 9-5 job with benefits – what would you say to them? Should they take the leap?

A: I think it’s great timing for me to answer this question. I just left my 9-5 job last Fall, I am now getting my Real Estate License and taking my Henna Arts business to the next level — full time.

It was a huge step and life changing decision. I feel I can offer so much more to my clients, give them the best customer service possible and follow my dream. It was bit scary, but totally worth it. I am happy be my own Boss now.

M: Any last words? What’s our favourite positive/motivational quote or book.

A: I recently came to the realization that life is too short to have any regrets, so now I try to follow my heart and try to fulfill all my realistic dreams (big or small) as much as I can. Life balance is the key.

We can do it, Boss Babes!

To see more of Arneet Dua’s Henna Artisty you can follow her Instagram and Facebook pages. And be sure to subscribe to Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC to read more from Arneet … She is our NEW Arts & Culture Contributor!

Babes Promoting Babes – Kasia of Isabelle’s Bridal

Isabelle's Bridal - Martin Thornburg wedding dress

MY MISSION: To motivate and inspire Boss Babes in the making. To uplift, encourage, and promote male & female entrepreneurs and to share aspirations, goals and dreams with them, and you, my subscribers.

To provide and build a warm, loving, and supportive community of CREATORS. Creators of art, a business, or a NEW YOU …

In the mid 2000’s while I was studying Fashion Merchandising at VCC (Vancouver Community College), I was working part time as a receptionist at Beverly Ball Hair Design on West Esplanade in North Vancouver. It is unfortunately no longer, but when I was working there, and for as long as I can remember, I have admired the stunning dresses on display in the store front windows at Isabelle’s Bridal.

I recently featured their window displays on my Instagram and sought to find out more about the people behind Isabelle’s. The local bridal store is a perfect fit for my Babes Promoting Babes Interview Series. I am very honoured to introduce you to Kasia Bulva, one of the owners of the North Van iconic store.

M: What’s your story?  Where were you born, where were you raised?  What was your childhood, growing up years like? 

K: I was born in Poland and lived there until I was 9 years old. I grew up in a city called Sanok with my twin sister Basia (who also happens to be my business partner). Growing up in Poland was great but it was during Communism when life was quite difficult at times. My parents decided to immigrate our family to Canada to give us an opportunity for a better life. 

Isabelle's Bridal - Wedding Palette
Isabelle’s Bridal – Wedding Palette

M: What did you want to do when you grew up?  

K: I was hoping to get into advertising. I’ve always had a passion for coming up with creative ways to sell and market products. As I grew older, I developed a passion for the art of selling and excellence in customer service.

M: Did you go to college or university? If so, what did you study?

K: I went to college and studied business development. 

M: When did you move to Vancouver?  Why did you move to Vancouver?

K: I moved to Vancouver in 1999. I was living in Toronto at the time and came to visit BC and I was hooked! It wasn’t long after that trip that I made the decision to move here. 

M: When did you start your business?  What was your inspiration?

K: My business was started in 2005 under different ownership. Funny thing is, I actually came in as a bride looking to purchase a veil. The previous owners and I had an instant connection. I felt like they had been my friends for years. After going home I quickly realized I wanted to spend more time with them so I became their first employee! I became the store manager and learned many valuable aspects of the wedding industry over the 10 years spent with them.

Isabelle's Bridal - Sweet flower girl dresses
Isabelle’s Bridal – Sweet flower girl dresses by Ooh La La Boutique

After the fantastic 10 years the previous owners decided to change pace and close the store down which forced me to look for other employment options. Upon my search it quickly became evident that my passion was bridal and that I wanted to continue working in the industry. I then had this “it” moment! I literally sprung out of bed at 3am and said out loud to myself “I’m going to buy the store!” And I have now owned the store for 7 years. 

M: What do you love the most about being a Boss Babe?

K: I love having the freedom of choosing how I spend my time and the ability to make my own business decisions.

M: What would your advice be for Boss Babes in the making?  If they are contemplating leaving a secure 9-5 job with benefits – what would you say to them? Should they take the leap?

K: I would advise future Boss Babes to look within themselves and if what they are planning to do is really their passion. Running a business takes a lot of hard work and dedication. The 9 to 5 workday will not exist anymore and often you will take your work home with you in paper and emotional form.

Having said that, it is also very rewarding and exciting. Your business is your baby so you will need to make sure you do whatever it takes to make it run smoothly. Number one advice – get a very good bookkeeper!

M: Any last words? What’s our favourite positive/motivational quote or book?

K Remember to keep it fun. Stay innovative and motivated. There will be great days and there will be not so great days. Always remind yourself that this a journey of your passion, enjoy the ride! My favorite quote is, “if you love your job, you’ll never work another day in your life”.

If you would like to see more of Isabelle’s Bridal’s beautiful wedding dresses follow their Instagram and visit their website to book an in-store or virtual appointment.

The Challenges of Being a Makeup Artist During the Peak of COVID – Beauty Expert Insha Pathan

Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC's Beauty Expert Insha Pathan

INTRODUCING … Insha Pathan!

I am very excited and honoured to announce Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC’s new Beauty Contributor and resident Beauty Expert, Insha Pathan. Most of you, will remember that I interviewed this Boss Babe back on May 16th in my Babes Promoting Babes Interview Series. If you missed it, and want to gain more insight into Insha and how she became a make-up artist, have a look after reading her blog …

If you had told me in early March that I wouldn’t work for three months, I would have given you a look of incredulity. Sitting here in the middle of June, I will say that COVID has affected me in more ways than I ever thought possible.

Three months ago, I had jobs lined up doing make-up in the Film Industry and was excited as usual. Being able to work in my aspired profession makes me look forward to going to work every day. When I found out that there was no date set to return to work and filming was postponed indefinitely, I felt lost.

Initially, I enjoyed my time and the break from work, I saw it as an opportunity to better myself and get my life organized. I became healthier, decluttered, organized anything & everything and worked on improving and focusing on myself. Eventually, however, not being able to work started to weigh on me.

Being a makeup artist in the Film and Fashion Industries is a dream come true. I didn’t think I would ever be doing what I am! I have always been an artist and now the only difference is that models and actors are my canvas.

A sample of Insha’s makeup artistry.

I am always full of adrenaline and so excited to be on set. Racing against the clock to get the job done, meeting deadlines and overcoming challenges left, right, and centre, while still being able to be artistic was perfect for me. Not being able to work was making me miss it more and more, and a sense of dread began lurking because there was no definite date for when filming was going to begin again.

It felt like I was sitting in a waiting room, patiently hoping that at any moment, my number will be called, but with no end time in sight. I had two options, one was wallowing in self pity and the other was taking that energy and channeling it towards my creative talents.

I was an artist before I became a Makeup Artist. My inclination towards anything creative is what drew me to my field in the first place. So during this time of not working, I started to draw, paint and beginning Do It Yourself projects and practiced my craft and explored all types of makeup.

Insha’s sketches rendered during time off from the Film & Fashion Industries.

I decided that I would use this time during COVID and social-distancing to express my creativity and open myself to inspiration, so that when the time came, I would go back to work with a fresh mind set. I concentrated on what makes me happy — ART!

COVID has been hard on many of us and the most uncertain of times. When have we ever gone through a pandemic?!

Finding a balance and keeping a positive outlook helped to keep me sane and I did this by doing the things that I love. I let myself be creative and channeled my energy into art.

To everyone out there reading this, not being able to do their dream job, be patient and don’t give up. Things will go back to normal eventually and till then, find other ways to use your energy that support your peace of mind and your talents.

If you would like to learn more about Insha Pathan, follow her on her Instagram profile: https://www.instagram.com/insha_artistry/ and her website: https://www.inshaartistry.com/ Remember to subscribe to Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC, if you would like to see Insha’s future Beauty Contributions as our resident Beauty Expert!

I AM Grateful …

I'm Grateful

I am GRATEFUL …

I am grateful for so many things but top of mind — Mama Izumi, Big Sis and a certain someone who has recently come back into my life …

I risk “scaring” him off if he reads this blog BUT I guess that’s the risk I take for expressing my thoughts in the moment.

This moment is sooo delicious too … Leave it to a foodie to describe time with a food adjective. Hahaha … I’ve got my ear buds plugged into YouTube music and Shawn Mendes’ song, “In My Blood” and I’m feeling really happy.

Sooo back to gratefulness and this certain someone … We are supposed to go on a date today. I have the perfect outfit picked out too. My thrifty finds that I purchased from a Facebook Marketplace seller yesterday — sleeveless white & blue blouse that ties in the back with a teardrop opening $5.00 and stretchy jeans with a proper waist $8.00 (I hate low-waisted pants – they give me muffin top – yuck!).

We recently reconnected on Facebook and exchanged numbers and spoke on the phone a couple of times. Almost every time I think about him I get butterflies … Awww … I’m such a girl. Hahaha ….

This blog is going to be short and sweet like ME. I shall end this here for: 1) fear that he will read this and I may reveal TOO MUCH and 2) I will continue this later and let y’all know what happens …

Question is — WILL HE ACTUALLY CALL TODAY …. Fingers crossed, Babes.