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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My haircut from Gordon at GT & Co

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G: I wanted to be a professional soccer player.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Babes Promoting Babes – Francisco of Tequila Cocina Restaurant

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

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

I first met Francisco Sonora, Owner of Tequila Cocina Restaurant at the Lonsdale Ave Magazine launch party as I did our first Male Boss Babe, Eamonn Duignan, when we were introduced by the magazine founder.

Francisco is affable, friendly and very easy to talk to. He is in the perfect industry …

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

F:  I was born and raised in Mexico City and have an older brother. I grew up in an ordinary family, playing soccer in the streets and drinking water from the hose in the summer. Nintendo was also something I enjoyed playing back then.

I helped our family in a small restaurant, doing everything from washing dishes to cooking, and serving customers.

My mom who raised my brother and myself with a strong work ethic and morals, set a good example for us.

Tequila Cocina’s yummy nachos

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

F: Having my own restaurant was always one of my dreams because cooking is one of my biggest passions.

Also, I wanted to have my own family and I feel blessed now to have baby Ana, she’s my sunshine!!

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

F:  No I didn’t.

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

F:  I moved to Vancouver when I was about 20 years old and worked in construction for years (which I still do).

First, I visited on vacation and loved it and all the opportunities that are here. I’m lucky to get to live in this city.

Tequila Cocina’s live entertainment on Friday Nights – Mariachi Los Dorados

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

F:  We first opened on May 31st, 2019 but it took us about one year to build and renovate the place.

We are going to have our first anniversary in a couple weeks. It falls on a Sunday and we will be preparing a lot of specials for our customers.

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

F:  Well, I’m just the face of the restaurant but there’s a team of many people involved who I appreciate and have to thank.

We have become a family at Tequila Cocina — from my business partner, Mami Matsumura, to kitchen and front staff and of course, my wife and baby who are my motivation to keep me going everyday.

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?

F:  I’d say just go for it, everything is going to make sense down the road.

Vancouver is an open ocean full of fish and we are the fisherman. Martin Luther king once said,  “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

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

F:  There’s a quote that I like and it goes something like,

“The key to success is start before you are ready. Don’t look for happiness, create it …”

You can follow Tequila Cocina on their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tequilacocina/ and have a look at their menu — their first anniversary is just around the corner: https://www.tequilacocina.org/