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.

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.

Mystery Guest Services – NEW to Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC

Mayumi Izumi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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