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.

Local Business Feature – Little Pink Door Boutique Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary

Little Pink Door Boutique

I discovered Little Pink Door Boutique (LPD) 3 years ago when I was on my lunch break at Northwoods Village, in North Vancouver, BC. I noticed their mannequins outside their store and they were having a sale.

I went in planning on just trying on a white off-the-shoulder blouse that I found on one of their mannequins but about 15 minutes later I walked out with the aforementioned blouse, white Joseph Ribkoff capris with pom-poms, sandals with bling AND a matching bracelet! I was preparing for the following year’s Le Diner en Blanc (i had just attended the exclusive event).

I met Deb that day and had a great time chatting with her. I thought she was the Owner of LPD but she said no, that would be her best friend, Colette Bennett.

M: When did you open Little PInk Door Boutique?

C: I opened Little Pink Door on March 1st, 2016!  So this month actually marks our 5th Year Anniversary!  Usually we do a big birthday celebration with an in-store event with live music, appys, and wine.

In the past, we have seen up to 90 women in attendance at our event.  This year with the pandemic we won’t be able to do that!  However it’s a big milestone for us as it is not only our 5th Birthday but also it’s the 5th year in a row that we have won Favourite Boutique on the North Shore with Reader’s Choice! 

We are planning a Facebook Live Event on Thursday, March 25th from 7-8pm.  We will do a fashion show, have tons of giveaways, announce our donation to Sage Transition.  Still working out the details but want to make this a fun, engaging and memorable event!

M: Did you always want to own a clothing boutique?

C: So, I’ve always LOVED clothes and the Fashion World!  I remember spending all my allowance on Fashion Magazines and would go through them page by page.  However, I really hated the experience of shopping: finding unique items, the service and the overall process. 

Back in 2011, I started to turn my dream into a reality and developed a business plan to open up a clothing boutique. I already knew I would name it Little Pink Door!  I’ve had the domain for more than a decade and back then used the website to showcase my photographs. I have a huge passion photographing doors. And of course, PINK is my favourite colour hence — Little Pink Door!

Colette Bennett Owner of Little Pink Door Boutique
Colette Bennett Owner of Little Pink Door Boutique

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

C: I was born and raised in North Vancouver and have lived here my entire life. I absolutely LOVE the North Shore and can’t think of a better place to live!

M: What was your inspiration for your business?

C: Well, my inspiration was to create a retail space that was completely unique to what was currently out there!  My vision is to be a leading go to boutique destination for women by providing them with the perfect blend of product, customer focused experience in an in store environment that fosters friendship, trust and loyalty!

The inspiration for the store design was to make it feel like a beautiful dream walk-in closet filled with so many wonderful and beautiful things!

M: A little bird told me that you used to be in marketing. Did you enjoy your former career?

Yes, I was. And I still am!  Marketing Little Pink Door is my passion! Back at LPD’s inception I developed the brand strategy, brand personality and  logo.  Today I look after all the marketing efforts including developing unique promotions, social media, and CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

M: What did you do prior to opening Little Pink Door?

C: Before opening Little Pink Door I worked in the Corporate world in Marketing for 25 years!  I worked for some fabulous companies and some not so fabulous.

The one fabulous company I worked for was Starbucks for 10 years and was their Marketing Manager for Western Canada.  It was at Starbucks where I learned and developed skills in brand marketing and understanding the importance of marketing an experience over simply a product or service. 

It was the best education I have ever had and I believe what I learned from Howard Schultz (former CEO, Chairman and Founder of Starbucks) has helped define Little Pink Door and the success we’ve had to date.

M: Where did you study marketing or was it a profession you fell into? If you studied it, which institution did you attend?

C: Once I left high school I went to Emily Carr and wanted to become a professional Fashion Photographer.  I finished the first year and got accepted into the photography program but couldn’t afford it! 

From there I accepted an entry level position at a large company.  They were willing to pay for my education part time so I decided that the most creative part of business was marketing so that’s what I decided to pursue.  I went to BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) and did the Marketing Communications program all part time in the evening.  It took 5 years to complete!  A fabulous program and school!

Little Pink Door's Positive Affirmations
Little Pink Door’s Positive Affirmations on IG

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

C: From an emotional standpoint – don’t let anyone talk you out of your dream.  Surround yourself only with people that help feed your passion and are positive.  Stay the course.

From a business perspective – develop a robust business plan that includes all aspects of your dream business.  Include financial forecasts, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, competitive analysis, define your target market, and develop a marketing plan. 

The business plan for LPD took me 2 years to develop and it became the foundation of my business.  And I still do annual business plans that I share with my fabulous team of ladies who work with me so we are all aligned on where we are headed!

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

“Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible. Care more than others think wise!” — Howard Schultz

MILESTONES

M: Are there any milestones for Little Pink Door that you would like me to mention in the Business Feature?

C: As mentioned earlier, we are celebrating our 5th Year Anniversary with a live Facebook Event on Thursday, March 25th from 7-8pm!  And we are also celebrating that we have won Reader’s Choice Awards for Favourite Local Boutique on the North Shore for the 5th year in a row!

If you would like to learn more about Little Pink Door Boutique visit their website, follow their Instagram, and their Facebook page to join the festivities for their 5th Year Anniversary.

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.

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 – 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!

Babes Promoting Babes – Mayumi of Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC

Mayumi Izumi

I have been enjoying the Babes Promoting Babes Interview Series so much that — I decided to interview myself …. Lol.

Answering my own interview questions is good way for you to get to know me better and what I’m passionate about.

MY MISSION:  To motivate and inspire Boss Babes in the making. To uplift, encourage, and promote male & female entreprenuers 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 …

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

A:  I was born in Vancouver, BC — Yes, I am a true Vancouverite and proud of it!  I grew up in East Van as an only child to Masako and Hiroaki Izumi.  We’re Japanese, as you can see from our names… Hahahaha …

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

A:  I wanted to be famous. Actress, singer, model, fashion designer.  It’s funny because my Dad named me after a Japanese actress — Mayumi and an Italian Singer — Rosanna.

When I was 11, I wanted to be a lawyer.  Very fitting as I am good at arguing my point.

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

A:  Yes, I studied Fashion Design at the International Academy of Design & Technology in Toronto, Ontario and Fashion Merchandising at VCC (Vancouver Community College). 

Because I love to learn, I also completed the Small Business Program at VCC as well as the Applied Digital Communications & Social Media Program at Capilano University.

Right now I am in the Bachelor of Communications Program also at Cap U.

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

A:  I was born and raised in Vancouver. But I lived in Edmonton, Alberta for 2 years and when my Mom (capitalized on purpose for respect to the woman who raised me on her own) & I moved back, we moved to North Van and I attended high school here.

I moved to Toronto in 1999 and lived there for 3 years to study Fashion Design as I mentioned above.

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

A:  I started Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC in 2018.  My inspiration was my love and passion for writing.

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

A: I love waking up and being excited about my day.  What am I going to work on … How am I going to help my clients … What angle am I going to use to make my clients’ businesses shine …

I am an artist.  Any outlet that allows me to use my creativity makes me happy.

Also, working at home is AWESOME!

Q:  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:  GO FOR IT! But do it with intelligence.  Save money  — 6 months to 1 year of income to have a cushion while you’re building your business before you quit your day job.

I did not do this BUT it is ideal to feel safe while GOING AFTER YOUR DREAMS …

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

A:  My favourite quote is from one of my favourite books and authors:  

“The seventh spiritual law of success is the Law of Dharma.  Dharma is a Sanskrit word that means ‘purpose in life.’  The Law of Dharma says that we have taken manifestation in physical form to fulfill a purpose.  The field of pure potentiality is divinity in its essence, and the divine takes human form to fulfill a purpose.” — Deepak Chopra

You have to do what makes you happy.  When you find what that is and can make money doing it then you’re in Dharma.