New Artist Feature — Argel MDR (Monte de Ramos)

Argel MDR Photo Shoot for EP Release Reign

My MISSION

To motivate and inspire artists, creators and entrepreneurs (in the making) with my Features. To uplift, encourage, promote and to share aspirations, goals and dreams with them, and my subscribers.

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

We Met At Capilano University

I first met Argel Monte de Ramos at Capilano University in the Birch Building. He was giving students free Ethical Bean coffee in his role as a CSU (Capilano Students’ Union) Outreach Assistant. I took photos of Argel at the table and asked him if it was alright if I posted them on my Instagram. We started following each other and from there a great friendship began.

I am very excited to announce that Argel’s EP is going to be released in 8 days — on April 28! I had the pleasure of interviewing him to celebrate his success as an emerging artist.

Gifted With Talent

M: When did you first start singing?  How old were you?

A: I started singing when I was three. My parents discovered my talent for music at a young age, and so at the age of three, they signed me up to a be part of our church’s youth gospel choir to hone my skills in singing. 

M: When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career with your gift?

A:  It wasn’t until I came back from my exchange program in the UK that I decided to pursue a career in the performing arts. At that time, I was finishing a Diploma in Arts, mainly taking business classes.

My initial plan was to finish a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. But my passion for the performing arts steered me towards its direction. Aside from pursuing a career in music, I also work for a performing arts school as an Arts Administrator for their community programs.

And I am a producer at Playwrights Theatre Centre’s Early Career Development program. I feel so fortunate to be able to work in the performing arts world.

M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

I am from Manila, Philippines. My family and I moved here in 2012 and I have been living in the Metro Vancouver Area for ten years. We moved here to seek a better life and opportunities.

Argel MDRs first video Story We Tell
Argel MDR’s first video, Story We Tell

Argel`s First Ever EP Reign

M: You have an EP that is about to be released at the end of this month.  What was your inspiration for it?  

A: Yes! I am so excited about my first-ever EP! Reign, was inspired by my life as a young Filipino-Canadian immigrant and my journey toward finding a safe space to advocate for myself. It is all about finding our ways to thrive and own who we are; to reign our lives and not care about what other people say about us.

M: How long did it take to write the songs for your EP?

A: Each song had a different timeline. There are four songs in my EP: Reign, Blues, I’ll Rise, and Story We Tell. Reign and Blues took me half an hour to an hour to write. While the other two took me two weeks. It really depended on how busy I was or what I felt at the moment.

Producing the songs took a much longer time, I’ll Rise being the longest at 6 months. The producers and I took a bit of time to decide what genre of music Reign really fits into.

M: What did you study at Capilano University

A I initially started in the Business Administration program but then decided to switch to Musical Theatre. After finishing that program, I enrolled in the Bachelor of Performing Arts program which I completed last September 2021 at Capilano University. 

M: How have the courses that you studied and your program helped launch your career? 

A: It provided me with an opportunity to trust my instincts and hone my skills in singing, dancing, acting, and arts administration. 

M: What would your advice be to future artists with dreams of pursuing a career in singing?  

My advice is to trust your instincts and try to find the courage to tell your story. As an advocate for representation, anti-racism work, and inclusion, I use the art of storytelling, music and performance to get my message across.

Inspiring others through the performing arts is truly beautiful, and so if you are blessed with such skills, it is humbling to see people responding to you. So honestly, do it! There’s no perfect time to do it but now.

M: Do you have a philosophy in life or a famous quote you would like to share with everyone?

A: I believe that people have biases and privileges that need to be acknowledged in order for us to lift each other up and for everyone to feel like they belong. We are all worthy of happiness and success in life.

I truly believe in James Baldwin quote, “it took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself and half-believed before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.”

In order for us to create space for others, we need to create a space for ourselves. I provided a space for myself by creating original work for music and theatre, and now, I provide a space for others to find inspiration through my stories.

MILESTONES

To learn more about Argel MDR, his SOON to be released EP and his many talents, please visit his website and follow him on Instagram, his Facebook page and YouTube.

Local Small Business Feature Series — Vancouver Waxlings

Vancouver Waxling's Bae & Babe Candles

I recently collaborated with Vancouver Waxlings founder, Margot J. Leviton and five other female-owned local small businesses for a Valentine’s Giveaway on Instagram. Margot’s prizes were the Bae and Babe candles featured in the photo above.

I originally met her through social media–She was offering a sample of her Key Lime Pie Candle. And coincidentally we also have a mutual friend. It is a small world and the pandemic has shown us just how connected we are as one.

M: When did you open your business?

VW: Waxlings was created in April 2020 when I dislocated my shoulder and could no longer see my Vancouver Healer clientele.

M: Did you always want to own your own business?

 VW: I didn’t really think about it. It was hobby that turned into a business.  I’ve had my own massage/healing practice since 2006.

M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

VW: I grew up in North Vancouver.

M: What was your inspiration for your business?  

VW: During the COVID-19 shutdown I saw my clients getting very depressed. I thought if I could create scents that would connect them to happy memories–I could help them.

Vancouver Waxlings Founder Margot
Vancouver Waxlings Founder Margot J. Leviton

M: Did you go to university and if you did what did you study/major in?  Which university did you attend?  Would you advise others to pursue a degree before opening their own business?

VW: I went to WCCMT (West Coast College of Massage Therapy). 

No, not these days. You really don’t need one if you have entrepreneurial savvy and can navigate social media.

M: What would your advice to future owners with dreams of owning their own business be?

VW: Go for it. If you have the drive and a great business concept–Just do it!

M: Do you have a philosophy in life or famous quote you would like to share with everyone?

VW: Just. Be. Kind. It. Costs. Nothing.

MILESTONES

Are there any milestones for your business that you would like me to mention in the Feature?

When I landed my first stores Dip Co. Delights and Larry’s Market.

If you would like to learn more about Margot’s yummy Vancouver Waxlings candles, please visit their website, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

Local Small Business Feature Series — Oenomel Chocolates’ First Year Anniversary

Oenomel Chocolates Small Business Feature

Welcome to Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC.’s new Small Business Feature Series. Vancouver based, Oenomel Chocolates, is the first business to be featured and just in time to celebrate their first year anniversary.

Oenomel is a Greek word that means sweetness and strength. It’s what Melody hopes her chocolates bring to people.

I met Melody Hu, founder of Oenomel Chocolates on Instagram. I was intrigued by this lovely, ambitious organic chocolatier and started following her profile. She has graciously invited me to her local events but unfortunately, my schedule has not allowed me to attend thus far. My fingers are crossed that I will be able to join her next one!

Melody Hu Founder of Oenomel Chocolates
Melody Hu, Founder of Oenomel Chocolates

M: When did you open your business?

MH: I launched my business on February 24th, 2021. So, in a way, my business is my Valentine. I have so much passion and love for it!

M: Did you always want to own your own business?

MH: I have always dreamt of building a brand that incorporates values, such as craftsmanship, sustainability, and wellness. And using that brand as a tool to create wealth for my loved ones.

M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

MH: I was born in China and spent my childhood both in Shenzhen, the Silicon Valley of China, and Auckland, where sheep outnumber humans. I finished high school and got my Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where I studied Neuroscience and started my first venture, a macaroon startup business. And gradually, I fell in love with this city and decided that I wanted to build my business and home here.

M: What was your inspiration for your business? 

MH: I wanted to create a product that incorporates health, wellness, and craftsmanship. I chose chocolates because there are too many sweets that are unhealthy. They tend to be filled with saturated fats and harmful amounts of sugar. I only use natural ingredients and organic, fair-trade chocolates that are sweet and delicious.

Blood Orange & Almond Oenomel Chocolate
Blood Orange & Almond Blood Oenomel Chocolate

M: What did you do before opening your business?

MH: After graduating from UBC, I worked as an intern in a stem cell research company in Vancouver and then in business development for an international law firm in Shenzhen, China. I gained invaluable experience from both jobs.

M: If you were in a different industry, did you enjoy your former career?

Looking back, I did enjoy my former careers. When I worked in the law firm, I had guidance, and learned to work with others in a team. These are lessons that I have brought to start and develop my own company as an entrepreneur.

M: Would you advise others to pursue a degree before opening their own business?

MH: I was glad that I got a degree before opening my own business. University was an experience beyond what I chose for my major. I learned to learn, I gained mentorship from professors who have expertise in their field, and I joined clubs where I made lifelong friends.

University life has a lot to offer if you embrace it. There are many famous successful entrepreneurs who don’t have a post-secondary degree, so it is possible to succeed in business without a degree.

But you should know yourself and know what environment and path are best suited for your career development. And no matter which path you choose, you have to believe in yourself, have confidence, and never give up.

Oenomel Valentine's gourmet truffles and bonbons
Oenomel Valentine’s gourmet truffles and bonbons

M: What would your advice to future owners with dreams of owning their own business be?

MH: See the value in yourself and your business and bring these values to people you wish to serve.

Work hard, understand and love yourself–Do these things well, and extend it to your employees.

Don’t stop learning, don’t be afraid to try new things and fail.

Never give up. There’s always a way to succeed.

M: Do you have a philosophy in life or a famous quote you would like to share with everyone?

MH: “Dream big, start small, begin now.” — Robin Sharma, The 5 AM Club

MILESTONES

Oenomel Chocolates is celebrating its first year anniversary on February 24 and although it is a a startup business, it gives back to the Metro Vancouver community.

In December 2021. Oenomel Chocolate organized a fundraising event and raised 200 CAD for a non-profit organization to distribute food to insecure communities.

Over 20 local musicians, artists, and businesses participated, and over 100 guests joined us for a beautiful Warm Company and Wine Evening. It was an event worth remembering.

In 2022, Oenomel Chocolate continues to support charities with good causes. We will be organizing fundraising events and making donations to charity through the sales of some of our products.

If you would like to learn more about Oenomel products please visit their website and support them by following their on IG and FB.

Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC.’s Services

MAYUMI IZUMI | Content Creator

Building Community

Now more than ever, it is important to stay connected with our neighbours, local small business owners and strengthen our community. The pandemic has caused many businesses to suffer and some to close.

Services

Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC.’s mission is to empower small businesses to shine by offering digitally marketing, social media management, search engine optimization and public relations services.

We have increased local small businesses’ search engine optimization and raised them within the top 5 of Google searches, written over 30 business and restaurant features to highlight their talent, specialty and expertise.

Raisu Restaurant BLUEFIN TUNA DELUXE SEAFOOD BOWL
The Bluefin Tuna Deluxe Sewafood Bowl — Raisu Japanese Restaurant Feature, August 2021
  • Blvd Bistro & Swich Café (Double Feature — same owner)
  • Cahill CPA
  • Coache Collision
  • Creative Inspo
  • Eclipse Awards
  • Fawn Gill Fitness
  • Daisy’s Sandwiches & Such
  • Fit Life Coaching
  • Goodlad Clothing
  • Green Coast Rubbish
  • Henna by Arneet
  • Little Pink Door Boutique
  • QRZones
  • Queen of the Closet
  • Raisu Authentic Japanese Cuisine
  • Tequila Cocina Restaurant

Connecting with Business Owners

The best part of our work is the connections we make with the people behind the businesses and restaurants we feature all across Metro Vancouver.  We carefully select businesses that we truly enjoy whether it is because of the food, product and people or all the above.

We feel privileged to know the inspiring, creative and entrepreneurial individuals that took a chance to follow their dreams, worked hard and succeeded in starting their own businesses.

Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching
Kristin Ames of Fit Life Coaching — Interview & Feature, August 2020

There is a spark, a light within these men and women. We are uplifted when we interview them and dig into their stories:

  • Did they always want to own their own business?
  • What was their inspiration?
  • What is their advice to others who want to start their own business?

If you would like to read our upcoming local small business features make sure to subscribe to Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC. and also follow our Lifestyle Ezine on our Instagram and Twitter. To inquire about our services, please email: mayumi@mayumiizumi.com.

North Vancouver Business Feature — Man Up Grooming

I had the pleasure of interviewing Alison Koch, Proprietor of Man Up Grooming. Wow, not many people impress me but she did! Classy, intelligent, forthcoming–a true entrepreneur. I could have talked to her for hours.

What is most interesting to note about Alison is that she is the owner of a barber shop but she does not cut hair herself. She saw a need–a place for men to feel special and pampered and she opened her doors to offer them an assortment of quality services: hair cuts, buzz cuts, beard trims, hot razor shaves and even colour!

The ambiance at Man Up is warm, inviting and dark… It has man cave and western saloon vibes with a long wooden counter.

Man Up Grooming Barber Shop — Man Cave & Care

M: What was your inspiration for Man Up?

A: At the time, men did not have anywhere to go to get a great haircut and be treated with respect and great service.  There were informal barber shops that didn’t offer a hair wash,  a quality drink, appointments or quality environment. 

Men could choose to go to a salon where almost everything was merchandised for women:  feminine colours, feminine smelling products, couches and coffee tables with women’s fashion magazines. These salons were also charging a substantial premium to the barbershops. Therein laid an opportunity!

Man Up Grooming Waiting Area
Man Up Grooming Waiting Area

M: When did you open your business?

A: Spring of 2013.

M: Did you always want to own your own business?

A: In my 20’s I was an employee and then started creating my own employment shortly after that. Yes, I felt comfortable with risk, it gives me energy. 

M: Do you have a philosophy in life that you would like to share with everyone?

A: Never stop pushing hard towards your dream. Just when you think it’s a complete disaster or won’t work, that’s when you drive harder and make it work.  If you give up then don’t even try. I find most people tell me why something won’t work rather than focus on how to make it work. 

I chose three words for each business to keep me focused on my mission statement: respect, style and quality.

— Alison Koch, Man Up Grooming Proprietor
Busy Saturday at Man Up Grooming
Busy Saturday at Man Up Grooming

M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

A: I am one of the few born and bred in Vancouver. Lived on the North Shore the majority of my life.

M: What did you do prior to opening your business?

A: Lots. There’s one thing I strongly believe in is that business is business, it doesn’t matter if you are selling ballet shoes or changing car oil.  When an opportunity knocks, take it.  Even if an industry is saturated, you can be successful if you do it differently.  I have found that not knowing anything about an industry can give you an edge to create what has not been done before.

M: If you were in a different industry, did you enjoy your former career?

A: Yes, I must say I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done. Some were more challenging than others on so many levels, but the constant learning curve is what keeps me driving. I’m proud to say there were only a few  years I was not taking some kind of educational course.  My latest diploma is Animal Sciences as my next big dream is to create an animal sanctuary.

Man Up Grooming Manly Things
Man Up Grooming — Manly things, hair products

M: Did you attend university?  Which university did you attend?  Would you advise others to pursue a degree before opening their own business?

A:  University helps you buy some time to grow up or figure out what you want to do.  Obviously, if you’re going to be a doctor or lawyer or something that requires a degree, then yes.  All others should be given serious consideration if you want to work for yourself.  There were two things that every business have in common–law and accounting. Both disciplines are worth learning as much as you can.

M: What would your advice to future owners with dreams of owning their own business be?

A:  Be realistic, it takes years to establish a successful business.  It also costs twice as much as you think.  Select your mentors carefully and never listen to “you can’t because” statements from your friends and family. 

Some people will tell you that you can’t do it because they cannot envision how to make it work. Others will support you blindly, again not knowing how to do what you are about to conquer. Neither opinion is helpful. 

Ask strangers (because they are not emotionally invested in you) and other successful people (because they have already done it).

MILESTONES

M: Are there any milestones for your business that you would like me to mention in the Feature?

A: I can’t think of any right now, we are waiting for Covid to end so we can have a customer appreciation bash, perhaps we will be able to for our 10 year anniversary in 2023!

If you would like to learn more about Man Up Grooming or book an appointment: please visit their website and Instagram. They are located at 1083 Marine Drive, North Vancouver.

Local Restaurant Feature — Raisu Authentic Japanese Cuisine

Raisu Restaurant Interior

Mama Izumi and I went on a Foodie Adventure recently and had the pleasure of dining at Raisu Restaurant in the heart of Kitsilano, where all of our foodie desires were satiated with their authentic Japanese cuisine.

I have been eating sushi since I was I was a little girl and they have the freshest, most delicious sashimi I’ve ever had. We shared the Raisu Lunch Meal Special.

You can choose 2 out of these 4 items:

Chef’s choice of sashimi (3 kinds), deep fried dishes (2 kinds), today’s meat dish, and today’s grilled fish.

Their lunch special also includes rice, miso soup, small dish, homemade pickles and salad.

We also feasted on their Bluefin Tuna Deluxe Seafood Bowl. And although we were stuffed full of yuminess we ordered their Yuzu Parfiat and Souffle Cheesecake for dessert.

Mama and I highly recommend Raisu to fans of sushi, sashimi, and Japanese food!

Raisu Restaurant BLUEFIN TUNA DELUXE SEAFOOD BOWL
The Bluefin Tuna Deluxe Seafood Bowl is just as yummy as it looks!
Raisu's Desserts
Yuzu Parfait & Souffle Cheesecake

I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about the people behind Raisu. I had the opportunity to interview their Assistant Manager, Yumi Takeshita.

Exclusive Interview with Raisu’s Assistant Manager

M: When did Raisu first open for business? Who is the founder?

Y: Raisu opened on July 2, 2016 as a sister restaurant to Kingyo Izukaya, Suika Snackbar, and Rajio Public House. All 4 restaurants are under the Tamaru Shoten Marketing Corp umbrella.

Minoru Tamaru began Kingyo about 10 years ago because he wanted to introduce people in Vancouver to Izakaya culture and provide authentic Japanese meals.

Raisu Restaurant Japanese Cuisine
Raisu is located at 2340 W 4th in Kitsilano

Inspiration for Opening Raisu and Providing Authentic Japanese Cuisine

M: What was Minoru’s inspiration for Raisu?  Is he the sole owner or does he have business partners?

Y: Yes, he is doing this business by himself. Raisu’s concept is 80’s Japanese culture and Teishoku (balanced meal set).

Raisu Lunch Meal Special
Raisu Lunch Meal Special

M: Yumi, where are you originally from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

Y: I am from Japan and I hoped to live abroad when I there. I had heard Vancouver is the best city to live and I was interested what the Japanese culture was like here too.

M: What did you do prior to working at Raisu?

Y: I worked for 8 years at Coca-Cola bottlers in Fukuoka prefecture, in Japan. I was sales person, sales office administrator and HR. When I came here in Vancouver, I worked at JAPADOG as a manager, and went to college, worked as an accountant at an agency for Japanese students who want to study in Canada.

Then now I am working at Raisu. I have been working here 3 years and I am assistant manager fortunately since April. All my job experiences are now with food.

M: If you were in a different industry, did you enjoy your former career?

Y: Yes, absolutely. I enjoyed working every occasion. There are a lot of good things to know and learn. If it does not relate between each industry, I can find relations and there is no waste time that I have experienced.

Is University Important for Future Business Owners?

M: Did you go to university?  If so, what did you study?  Which university did you attend?  Would you advise others to pursue a degree before opening their own business?

Y: Yes, I graduated Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan, and I earned a Bachelor of Law Degree.

I might recommend to pursue, but if they have clear future vision, that is no need to. However it is very worth time to pursue something and make friends before doing business. I think it is very important at that term.

M: Do you have any interest to own your own business?

Y: Yes I do, but I need to learn about business more, so I start working at Raisu.

Yumi’s Philosophy

M: Do you have a philosophy in life or famous quote you would like to share with everyone?

Y: Live everyday happily, that makes your future happy!

This is my philosophy to live but I am not sure there is similar quote in English.

MILESTONES

Raisu just celebrated it’s 5 Year Anniversary July 2nd 2021.

Go in to congratulate them in person at 2340 West 4th Street or learn more about Raisu visit their website. You also have the option to order online and follow them on Instagram.

A little About Mayumi — 10 Things You May Not Know About Me

MAYUMI IZUMI | Content Creator

If know me in person or you’re following me on Instagram, you may know quite a lot about me because I share A LOT about myself. It’s the way I’ve always been.

People are sometimes shocked at how much I reveal but why not? I enjoy connecting with others and bonding with them over our similarities.

But there are things you may not know or have not read on my social platforms. Here are 10 things you may not know about me:

1) My middle name is Rosanna. My Papa named me Mayumi Rosanna after a Japanese actress and an Italian singer. Thank you, Papa — I love my name!

2) I drive 6-speed and can’t imagine going back to driving automatic. One of my nicknames is Miss Andretti after the race car driver because I love to drive fast!

My car baby, The Boss, 6-speed VW Tiguan
My car baby, The Boss, 6-speed VW Tiguan

3) I grew up an only child and love to be the center of attention!

4) I am a highly sensitive person (scientific term coined by psychologist Elaine Aron), an empath and highly intuitive. What does all this mean? I process a lot of information (that most others miss) about people all at once, can pick up on others emotions & feel them as if they were my own, and a lot of times I know something is going to happen before it happens.

5) I am of Japanese heritage but was born in Vancouver, BC at a hospital on Oak Street that is now BC Women’s & Children’s Hospital. I am proud to be a Vancouverite and Canadian!

6) I studied Fashion Design in Toronto and Fashion Merchandising here at VCC. Fashion was my first love!

Max & Mia designed by MAYUMI IZUMI
Max & Mia designed by MAYUMI IZUMI (dress to be revealed SOON)

7) My first retail job was at Pegabo Shoes (sister store to Aldo) in Pacific Centre. I love shoes!

8) I was on the field hockey team in my final year at Carson Graham Secondary. I love playing but preferably floor hockey!

9) I took guitar lessons for about 1 or 2 years but stopped because the music school closed down and now I forget how to play. But I loved it and going to teach myself again SOON!

Mayumi Izumi playing guitar
Me, Mayumi playing my Yamaha guitar my Mama bought

10) I’m a big flirt! Always have been and still love to do it! It goes hand-in-hand with being center of attention… Hahaha!

If you haven’t checked out my Instagram profiles (I have 4), go to my Contact page or my main profile.

Local Business Feature — 3rd Time North Shore News Readers Choice Winner: Cahill CPA

Cahill CPA - Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC

Cahill CPA is a family owned and operated business with over 35 years public practice experience. They offer personal and corporate accounting services, bookkeeping and estate planning.

I first met Crystal Cahill in my Digital Content Marketing Strategy course at Capilano University in 2018. She is in charge of the Social Media for the well respected, North Vancouver accounting firm and married to Jordan Cahill, the eldest brother and partner at Cahill.

I recently had the pleasure to interview both Crystal and Jordan.

M: When was Cahill CPA opened?

C & J: January 1st, 2013.

M: Where is the Cahill family from?  How many members are there in the/your family?

C & J: Originally, Wayne Cahill’s family is from Ireland. Our family consists of four brothers! Jordan, Taylor, Braden and Quinn.

Cahill Family Coat of Arms
Cahill Family Coat of Arms, In Domino Confido — In God We Trust

M: What was the inspiration for their/your business?  How did they/you ALL become accountants … lol.

C & J: Wayne Cahill became a CGA (Certified General Accountant) in 1992, and worked in public practice for many years. Our oldest brother, Jordan Cahill, got his CPA (Chartered Public Accountant) designation in 2012. Wayne, Jordan and Taylor created Cahill CPA in 2013.

Our youngest brother Quinn recently completed university, and also works here at our family firm. They all have an interest in finance and business, and realized their skills in accounting, pursuing their post secondary education.

M: Did Mr. Cahill Sr. always want to open his own firm?

C & J: Wayne feels very proud to have started a family run accounting firm that now has six partners and 15 staff members. We strive to uphold the family values that we feel are important- with our staff and our clients.

Wayne Cahill - Partner Cahill CPA
Wayne Cahill – Partner Cahill CPA (Isaac Wray Photography)

M: Where did the Cahills study accounting?  Did they all attend the same university?

C & J: Wayne, Jordan and Quinn all attended Simon Fraser University. Wayne completed his CGA designation through the CGA association, and Jordan completed his CA (Chartered Accountant) designation through the CA Western School of Business. 

M: What would the Cahills’ advice to future accountants with dreams of owning their own firm be? 

C: Working in public practice, especially with a bigger firm, really gives you the experience of what it takes. Gaining the knowledge and experience in a variety of areas is important.

General business, financial expertise and understanding of tax is a huge asset to one day owning your own firm or practice.

Gaining experience in a wide variety of sectors is beneficial. Essentially, knowledge- combined with experience, practical application, and management skills- will all go a long way in being successful in your own practice. 

M: Do the Cahills have a philosophy in life or favourite quote(s) that they would like to share with everyone?

I think in business, it’s important to strive for balance. We love what we do, and we love serving our clients here on the North Shore.

We also love being part of this North Shore community and experiencing all that it has to offer.  Our partners and staff love spending time with family, mountain biking, skiing, hiking, exploring our local beaches, etc etc!

Having balance in our business and personal lives is so important in an industry that can be so busy and so high pressure.

So- our advice for those starting out in any business, is look for ways to seek balance in your life. 

Lonsdale Ave Launch Party
Jordan, Taylor & Crystal at Lonsdale Ave Launch Party (photo taken by Mayumi)

MILESTONES

North Shore News Readers Choice- Favourite Accountant- for three years in a row.

We are proud to have grown to the team we are today. From 3 family members in the beginning- to now a firm of 21.

We now have a partnership of 6. Janice Tai became a partner in 2015, and we also recently added two new partners to our firm- Matthew (who has worked with us since the beginning, in 2013) and Tony (who has been with us since 2018).

North Shore News Readers Choice Winner
North Shore News Readers Choice Winner 2021 – 3rd Year in a Row!

If you would like to learn more about the Cahill CPA family practice or need to contact them for your tax returns, estate planning, or bookkeeping, please visit their website and follow them on their Instagram.

Taylor Tietze’s Car Care Corner

Taylor Tietze's Car Care Corner

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of my Car Care Corner! Spring is here now, so what better time to start a new car care routine? In this segment I’ll go over everyday maintenance, how to navigate life after a collision, and just about everything in between.

Cars are a big part of my life. My family owned a collision repair shop for 45 years, so I grew up around cars in a professional atmosphere. (See Mayumi’s January article on Coache Collision to learn the full backstory of the shop).

I’ve worked at Coache for 8 years as a full time Estimator, before that I spent time on-and-off working as their detailer, and helping with odd jobs around the shop. On-and-off work because having a family business meant jumping in and helping out when the need arose. In total, I’ve probably worked there for almost 14 years.

Being surrounded by body shop technicians, automotive painters, and countless other professionals in the automotive space, I picked up a thing or two in the time I’ve spent with them. And that knowledge is what I will try my best to convey to you through these articles, so look forward to many tips and tricks along the way.

Winter has packed it in for the year, the sun is coming out, and some nicer cars are starting to come out of winter hibernation. But what about the cars that were driven all winter long? Those are the ones we will talk about in today’s installment.

North Vancouver on February 14, 2021
This Valentine’s in North Vancouver we had a big snowfall ….

The first and most basic thing, if you haven’t done it in a while, is to simply wash your car. Road grime accumulated over winter has salt, one of your vehicles’ worst enemies.

The sand/salt mixture that gets spread on our highways gets thrown up from the tires of the car in front of you chipping your hood, bumper, fender, windshield, you name it.

These rock chips are often chipped deep enough through the protective layers of paint that the salt will start rusting your metal panels. Washing your vehicle with soapy water will get rid of any surface contaminants, and hopefully slow down this rust from coming.

Washing the car can be done by hand with soapy water and a brush/mitt, or you can take it through a car wash facility if you don’t have the means to do it yourself.

One thing I will always recommend to everyone if you’re using a car wash: use a touch-less facility, not the ones with the huge round brushes.

Those giant brushes pick up dirt and all sorts of things from other cars, and those little bits stay stuck in the brushes. When you take your car through those brushes, you are causing all manner of damage all over your car.

Scratches, dents, you name it. If you’re washing the car by hand, rinse out your brushes before using them, and run your hand along it to feel for anything rough that may cause damage.

Once your car is clean and shiny, it’s a good idea to walk around it and inspect the body for any damages that may have shown up during the winter months.

Mayumi's VW Tiguan
Mayumi’s VW Tiguan after being freshly washed

Take a good look at your hood and fenders for those rock chips. Most vehicles these days have plastic bumpers, so there’s no need to worry about rust issues there. Some trucks and SUV’s have metal bumpers though, use a magnet to check if you’re unsure.

Any small damage that you find can be covered with some touch up paint, which can be acquired through your dealer, some auto parts stores, or your favorite bodyshop.

The touch up will cover the affected area, sealing it from the elements and slowing down, if not stopping entirely, the rusting process. The next step up from touch up, is to repaint the panels, and that’s where you come see someone like me for a quote!

There’s a lot of products out there that you can use as an extra protective layer for your paint at this point of the process; available from your local automotive store, or most stores with an automotive section.

My go to is any carnauba based wax. These waxes protect your paint from excessive UV damage, along with helping to repel water, and road grime. Mothers, Meguiars, Turtle, are some of the big name brands you may recognize.

Instructions will be on the packaging, but generally you buff the wax on with an applicator pad that may or may not be included, and then buff off with a fresh microfiber towel. You’ve heard it before, “wax on, wax off”. These products will better the appearance of minute scratches in your paint as well, in most cases.

The waxing doesn’t have to be done after every wash, but it should be reapplied at least 2-3 times per year with a regular washing schedule. Depending on your driving frequency, and how particular you are about your vehicle, you could be washing your car every week, or at least once a month.

I don’t like to let my cars go for more than a month before washing, as it gives those surface contaminants too much time to affect your vehicle after that point. There you have the basic clean vehicle routine, rinse and repeat! (no pun intended).

Thanks for reading, my first Care Care Corner! I hope I was able to impart some of my knowledge to you. There are many more articles to come, and many more topics to cover. If you have any questions about the tips I’ve written, feel free to contact me anytime, my contact info will be at the bottom of these articles. Until next time, drive safe and subscribe so that you will be sure to catch my next installment!

Taylor Tietze, Estimator 604-987-2211  taylor@coachecollision.ca. Feel free to follow our Instagram, Facebook, and visit to our website.

Double Business Feature — S’Wich Cafe & BLVD Bistro: Both Celebrate North Shore News Readers Choice Awards!

Reader's Choice Winners

I discovered BLVD Bistro one morning last summer when my BFF and Big Sis, Mona had spent the night and we were craving brunch. I did a Google search and they were one of the first to pop up for North Vancouver.

They provided great customer service and yummy noms. And I found out the Chef and Owner of BLVD also is the man behind the business next door, S’wich Cafe.

I went to work straight away taking photos of our brunch, the decor and featured them on my Instagram page along with local hot sauce, Jumpin’ Johnny’s. And more recently I was able to visit S’Wich Cafe with my Foodie Cohort, Mama Izumi and ordered an El Cubano, Up Your Alley and their Vegan Chilli.

Winner of North Shore News Reader's Choice Awards - BLVD Bistro Brunch
Winner of North Shore News Readers Choice Awards – BLVD Bistro Favourite Weekend Brunch & Favourite Breakfast Restaurant

I had the privilege of interviewing Chef Erik Juarez and thoroughly enjoyed our Q & A session:

M: When did you open S’wich Cafe and Blvd Bistro?

C: S’wich Cafe was opened August 1, 2011 (OMG) and BLVD BISTRO opened April 20, 2016.

M: Did you plan from the beginning to open two businesses side by side?

C: I didn’t plan on it at all! I thought I was going to live simply. Sling coffees, a few sandwiches and not do anything more in the hospitality business ever again.

BLVD Bistro's Standard Issue Benedict
BLVD Bistro’s Standard Issue Benedict

M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

C: I was born and raised in North Vancouver. It is my home and always will be. I’ve moved around a bunch in my youth, Mexico, Spain, Kelowna, and the Salmon Arm.

M: What was your inspiration for your businesses?

C: Truthfully, I never meant to open a business. I was a dedicated Chef that fell into the same trap as so many others before me.

Find a decent job and work your ass off for some owners that would probably replace you tomorrow if you dropped dead. That’s what happened. I was working 16 hour days with no days off in sight for people I feel, couldn’t care less about me.

I was stressed, sick, fat and unhappy. At that time my grandmother passed away and I inherited 33 thousand dollars from a life insurance policy. The shop you know as S’wich Cafe was originally a neighbourhood coffee shop that wasn’t doing so hot.

One day the owner asked me jokingly if I wanted to buy a cafe. I said, “Yes, I DO!” So with that inheritance and some help from my Mom I bought that business (paid too much) but now I have something that is mine. A little tiny piece of a hospitality business and a chance to do it differently.

M: Did you always know that you wanted to be a chef?

C: I did not know but I was about 16 when I found out. I worked at EARLS like a lot of North Vancouver men and women have. I worked my way through the ranks, learned to communicate, learned to flirt.

Most importantly, I learned that I had a deep love for cooking, the push, the lifestyle and the art. However, somewhere in my limited experience I knew there was more art and skill to uncover.

Chef Erik Juarez
Chef Erik Juarez & his dry cured Spanish Chorizo

M: Did you always know that you wanted to be a restaurant owner?

C: I think every aspiring Chef dreams of opening his or her own place. But Ownership was never really a specific goal I had in mind.

My career has just organically led me to these places. Basically, life presents doors and pathways and I hope that by now — I have the life experience and instinct to walk through the right doors and tread down the correct paths. Trust me when I say, I haven’t always.

M: Where did you study the art of culinary?

C: I had been working for a few years in fine dining kitchens by my early 20’s. I had some amazing mentors and some horrible ones.

I remember the day I told one of my chefs that I was going to go to culinary school. He said, “Erik, you can go to school, spend 10 thousand dollars on a fancy diploma and you can hang it on the bathroom wall. The only thing it will be good for is to wipe your ass when you run out of toilet paper.”

I will never forget that. He was kinda right. I staged and worked in every kitchen I could. Every place in town with the word “Le” before the name I worked there.

I read culinary text books like novels and tried the recipes that interested me. I found my resources and my style and have evolved it over 20 years of learning. I still use my online subscription to “ Cook’s Illustrated” daily and have been collecting those magazines for 20 years.

M: What would your advice to future chefs with dreams of owning their own restaurant be?

C: RUN! RUN away fast!!! Hahaha. Joking…

I have a ton of advice. Firstly, be equal to your concept and your staff. Put in the work and do what it takes to make it mesh. There a lot of very long difficult days ahead but I promise once you’re on the other side of it… It’s worth it.

Be there for your staff, know them and care about them.

S'Wich Cafe
S’Wich Cafe’s lovely Tina helped me order from the many yummy sandwich options

Back up your weaknesses, If cooking dope food is your thing but numbers aren’t, make sure you budget and be able to afford someone that has your bottom line in mind at all times.

DM me or Follow me for more advice. Hahahahaha…

Chef Erik Juarez’s IG

M: Do you have a philosophy in life or favourite quote(s) that you would like to share with everyone?

C: I also have a bunch of them.

‘How you do one thing is how you do everything’

‘Perfection is the little things done well. Everyone else sees the big things’

My new FAVOURITE:

BE THE BEST. WORK HARD- WORK FAST-WORK CLEANLY. EVERY INGREDIENT WE USE HAS TO BE THE BEST WE CAN AFFORD.

SEASONS HAVE TO RULE THE KITCHEN. ONLY ALLOW MINIMAL MANIPULATION OF INGREDIENTS WHEN NECESSARY. ELEVATE FLAVOURS THRU UNDERSTANDING.

COOK AS IF YOU ARE EATING. WASTE IS POOR WORKMANSHIP. EXTRACTION OF FLAVOUR IS OUR ROLE IN LIFE AS COOKS.

BALANCE OF MENU IS OUR OBLIGATION TO OUR GUESTS. HEALTH IS CRUCIAL IN MENU PLANNING.

SEASONING IS A TRUE SKILL. SO TASTE, TASTE AND TASTE AGAIN. OUR GOAL IS TO BE THE BEST. SO WE MUST ACT THE BEST.

Winner of North Shore News Reader's Choice Awards - S'Wich Cafe Favourite Caterer
Winner of North Shore News Reader’s Choice Awards – S’Wich Cafe Favourite Caterer

MILESTONES

The meaning of milestones has changed for me. I used to think it was winning awards and competitions. But I couldn’t be more wrong.

Milestones for me are when employees leave you to pursue their own life goals, when great things happen to the team, and when people tell you they love a component or multiple components of your business.

One of my greatest achievements is finding a way to pay a living wage to my staff and provide meaningful benefits to my whole team. Not having to hire and retrain constantly because people feel appreciated and included. It’s built into our company’s culture of genuineness and inclusivity.

Accolades are nice, Reader’s Choice Awards, Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, recognition from our peers. It all feels amazing but I’d have to say, surviving a pandemic, coming out stronger and better has been our greatest achievement to date. I will never forget the strength it took our team to weather the storm.

I am grateful to my staff that stayed with me and came back. We have never been better and that is my greatest achievement to date.

To learn more about BLVD Bistro please visit their website and follow their Instagram as well as S’Wich Cafe’s (right next door) website and IG Page.