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International Women's Day
Posted: Mar 4, 2021

March 8th is International Women’s Day. 

It’s a day to recognize the need to work toward a more gender equal world.  To raise awareness against bias. And to take action for equality. It’s also a time to celebrate women’s achievements and help increase their visibility.  It is with these goals in mind that we are pleased to spotlight some of the newest female business owners that have chosen to open their businesses in Downtown Burlington. These women have opened businesses during a pandemic.  They’ve experienced lockdowns, changes to their business plans, supply chain disruption and in many cases turning their business from storefront to online retail.  Please join us in celebrating this very special and diverse group of women who help make our downtown so special.

 

@aroominmind_keelycoles
aroominmind.com

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

At a young age I knew that I could see a space differently from others; I could see how to make it more functional and visually appealing (I used to move the furniture around in my parents house a lot!). My career path came a bit later but thankfully before I seriously went into anything else!

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

The creative side of the design business came easily to me but I had some things to learn about the business end. Early in my career I would spend time researching other architects, designers, and design firms to find out how to implement systems and make the business side of things work better.   A very good friend of mine Andrea Dodd (who is also a superstar entrepreneur!) was a huge influence on the business side, and Darren Sanger-Smith (a local architect/entrepreneur as well) was very much an influence and supporter that pushed me to be confident in my creative designs from day one.  I am also part of a small but mighty, all female, all entrepreneur Designer group that is a support system that I could not live without;  we push, support, and influence one another in the best ways!

What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

Just go for it! Many times in my career I have ‘taken a leap’ that yes, came along with sleepless nights and a bit of anxiety, but gave me something to work towards and another goal to reach! Surround yourself with believers and supporters (and an amazing group of women with their own superpowers) and you can’t go wrong.

 

@beautynthebeastburlington
beautynthebeast.ca

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

I have been a hairstylist for 30 years. It all started when I was in hair shows as a model and thought … wow I can do this!

 

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

I went to hairdressing school when I was quite young. My family has always been my biggest support. I also loved taking Toni & Guy courses in Toronto.

 

What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

Believe in your talent. Love the job, but most of all be grateful to the loyal clients that you have!

@brush_beautybar
brushbeautybarburlington.com

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

I always knew I would find myself in a more creative career versus something corporate.  My brain is definitely wired more to the artsy, creative side.  I was faced with a sink or swim decision almost 3 years ago.  To choose whether to continue working for someone or working for myself and building a brand.  I jumped head first into the deep end and I wake up grateful every day that I did.  It was a risk and stressful but it’s definitely paid off. 

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

 I am extremely lucky to have a small group of great friends who are also women entrepreneurs themselves who told me there was no way I would fail if I went out on my own.  I also am very fortunate to have an extensive clientele who have been with me for years and who told me every chance they could that I should go into business for myself.  Sometimes it takes you a little longer to see what everyone else does. 

What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

Listen to your gut and just go for it.  You will always have people that will tell you you’re being impulsive or that you’re being too risky or need to slow down; don’t let it distract you.  Stay true to what you want, keep focused on your goals and be grateful for everything that comes your way.  Too often things fall apart so better things can fall together. 

@bubblesandblow.burlington
bubblesandblow.ca

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

I have always loved hair and worked in salons since the early age of 14. I’ve trained, worked and developed my passion for the art of hair   all over New Jersey,  Manhattan, Soho, Tribeca , New York City!

 I knew it was my life when I realized how I can make women feel beautiful and empowered in my chair! It’s amazing how making my clients smile can truly make my whole day.

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

Being a young female immigrant in a new country inspires me everyday to chase my dreams and has gotten me to where I am today! 

I have had the honor of training & working beside some amazing stylists back In New Jersey & New York City who have always influenced me!  My husband Dale has always been my number one supporter. Dale has helped me everyday to make my dreams come true here in Burlington at Bubbles and Blow. I am inspired to show all those little girls, women and anyone who may feel lost to just go for your dreams!  

What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

Always be your own boss and make your dreams come true! No one is going to create your dreams for you so just go for it! 

@exhalepilates
exhalepilates.ca

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

I started yoga as a pre-teen and since then, health and wellness have been core values in my life. Over the years I learned more and became a certified Health Coach and Pilates Instructor, I fell in love with the reformer machine and kept following the flow of opportunities that came to me while staying in alignment with my core values. Pilates and healthy habits have empowered my lifestyle and I am so grateful I get to support people in empowering their own health each and every day.

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

There have been many people who have supported me throughout this journey, I’m not sure a caption would fit the full list! That being said, I would absolutely not be where I am today without my incredible friend, and mentor Lisa-Marie. For years she encouraged me to open a Pilates Studio and we used to dream up big ideas and unique offerings – it’s pretty amazing to see how those visions have manifested today.

What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

I want the next generation of successful women to know that anything you can imagine is possible for you, and to never give up on your dreams – even when it feels really hard. You are capable and worthy. Also surround yourself with positive and empowering people, community is so important to your support and growth!

@groundedpilatesandlifestyle
groundedpilates.ca

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

Katie: My defining moment: Honestly, when I felt 40 approaching and I felt like professionally I was following other peoples’ rules. I had my own idea of what a Pilates studio could and should be and as scary as it was, I realized that I was ready to forge my own path in the Pilates world, with my own set of rules. Luckily my best friend Kelly had the same idea (and confidence!) when I asked her if she was ready to do this! Having a strong, independent woman by my side has been a huge boost for me. Opening a business in a pandemic has not been easy but with teamwork we are here to make it work.

I started down this career path after the birth of my third child. I had previously been a stay at home mother and loved doing Pilates as a client and figured, why not try teaching and see where it leads? I definitely live my life with a “go with the flow” attitude but mixed with some hard work amazing things can happen! I feel like I’m proof that your priorities and interests in life can change and it’s okay to not always know where things lead but that you can always make a place for yourself in the world. 

Kelly: Since the day we first met, Katie and I bonded over our love of wellness and design.  After years of conversations of creating a space for our community where we could bring Pilates to a welcoming space, we decided one day that we should turn this dream into a reality! 

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

Katie:  I am so lucky to have a great group of people around me that have inspired me. My mother has always influenced me. She went back to university with three young children, started her own business and gave herself a pretty incredible life. My business partner Kelly is an incredible source of inspiration to me. She knows how to work hard, challenge herself, have fun, all while raising two amazing kids. I have two other amazing entrepreneurial women that I’m lucky to be close to, that have started successful businesses in Burlington (Emily Wight at Foli and Tammy Sherwood at Thrive,) and that push me when I’m not always at my best. It takes a village!

Kelly: Definitely Katie.  She has been my biggest cheerleader in life and starting my Pilates career.  Katie is my role model for all things Pilates.  Her passion for movement and her dedication to helping people feel great in the body they have is like none other. 

What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

Katie: My advice is to find the person/people that inspire you, that push you to work out of your comfort zone, that patiently listen when you’re second-guessing yourself but then loudly cheer you on when you’re succeeding. Don’t buy into the idea that you need to knock others down just to succeed. Gossip and negativity will not bring happiness. Confidence, courage and positivity are contagious….stick with the people that give it to you and make sure you give it back in spades! 

Kelly: Don’t doubt yourself!  Self doubt and fear may stop you from following your dreams. Having a great friend by your side helps!

@missbaileybrownchocolate
missbaileybrown.com

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

For this venture, I knew that Miss Bailey Brown was my new path when I was getting more orders and feedback in the beginning stages. I remember a friend of mine said to me,” Natasha, I’ve seen you do a lot of things, but I think you’ve found your specialty!”

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

The people who have helped me and influenced me to get to my current accomplishments: I can give a special thank you to my husband, family & friends giving their time and support to grow Miss Bailey Brown Chocolate, my Chocoholics and Loyalty Royalty customers. 

Other local small business owners that have influenced my journey are Caroline of Creatively Beautiful Makeup, Daniel Lewis of T by Daniel. They have been a close source of professionalism and perseverance with incredible customer service and passion for what they do. 

For Miss Bailey Brown Chocolate, we are a Jazz themed dessert lounge. I went to New Orleans in 2019 to do a video food blog at the best restaurants in the “Big Easy”. Iconic restaurant owners Leah Chase (Dooky Chase) and Ella Brennan (Commander’s Palace) are my influences to run my restaurant with excellence, family, fun & flavour! 

What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

My advice to women looking into small business is to surround yourself with other successful business owners.  It’s like planting yourself in good soil.  Learn from them, share stories and ideas together. This will grow you and help you steer your course. We cannot do this by ourselves, and need help with skill sets that other people are strong with and will compliment your business.  You will blossom and grow with positive vibes! 

@the.artisanville
theartisanville.ca

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

When I had my twins in 2017, I was actively looking for some foot wear that will keep their little feet warm. They were so tiny that I couldn’t find any shoes that would fit their tiny feet, then I made moccasins for them at home…from there my small business journey started. After making baby moccasins for 3 years and selling them locally at different small boutiques and markets, I dreamed to have my own little boutique where I will showcase Canadian handmade products.

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

My family has been the sole and the strongest back up system for me at every step in my life and also in establishing The Artisanville. Being in a new country, learning the system, investing in a business that is very niche and unique was not so easy! But with my family’s support and encouragement I decided to pursue this career.

What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

My advice to all the women would be to believe in your dreams, no dream is too little or too big! Dream everything you want to be and work hard till you get there!

But in all this never leave your ethics! Never step on another person to get a step ahead! You will always cherish your success.

@lauraolsenevents
lauraolsenevents.ca

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

I’m sure it’s true for most entrepreneurs, but I had always had the desire to run my own business. I had graduated with a diploma in Visual Merchandising and spent a few years working in retail followed by a project management role in a web-development start-up. I had always loved planning dinner parties and setting pretty tables, but it wasn’t until I had started planning my own wedding that I realized all of my skills, experience, and passions were a perfectly suited combination for wedding planning and event design and so Laura Olsen Events was established in 2011. Eight years into my wedding planning business felt like the right time to get an office space to host my clients, but I wasn’t fond of the thought of being there alone most days. So I found a space that would allow me to have extra offices that could be rented out to long-term office mates and open areas to allow for small photoshoots and workshops or other creative experiences and The LOE Studio was formed!

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

My grandfather gave me a small amount of money when I started my business which made me feel empowered because someone believed in me and my ideas too.  Seeing my dad start his business when I was quite young and navigating those stresses has offered huge inspiration and some insight as to the challenges of what it’s like to be self-employed. There are a few women who I met at the beginning of my career that have shown kindness and encouragement and continue to do so today and there is nothing like the support of a fellow female entrepreneur!

What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

Being kind, authentic, honest, and empathetic has never failed me and it will always be the foundation of everything I do. It’s allowed me to play the long game and create relationships that support me back. Learning to say no to opportunities that don’t feel right or immediately evoke excitement saves energy for things that are deserving of the effort.

@ornateroomburlington

What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

Having lived in different countries, my mom and I have seen many different unique cultures and tastes of home décor. We have always loved finding unique décor for our home and had a passion for it. We talked about opening a unique gift store for years, and we finally decided to give it a go and share our passion and love with everyone. We wanted our store to have unique gifts and décor that can not be found any where else.

Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

My mom and I influenced each other to achieve our current accomplishments.

  1. What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

It is not easy to get out there start a business from scratch, there is a lot of behind the scenes work.  But if you are truly in it then go for it! Do all the research you can, ask for help, and share your passion with everyone. It is so worth it 😊

@waves_inthevillage
shopwaves.ca

  1. What was the defining moment for you? When did you know that this was your career path?

I’ve always had a creative mind and a love for fashion, which led me to attend Ryerson University for Fashion Design. After graduating I explored many paths within fashion, but didn’t have a clear vision of where I wanted those paths to take me. I worked in technical design, retail management and visual merchandising as I tried to find my place within the industry.

It’s always been a dream of mine to have something of my own within fashion. After years of working for other companies and learning all that I could from each company, it was time to follow my dream and start my own business.

  1. Who helped you get where you are today/influenced you to achieve your current accomplishments?

I’ve had a lot of great managers and mentors throughout my years in the fashion industry, who have helped shape me into the business woman that I am today, but none of those experiences would have happened without the support from my parents. I had great grades in school and they could’ve easily influenced me to go to University for a more “secure” career path, but they knew my passion and strengths were where my mind could be most creative. They supported my path to choose fashion and that had a lot of influence on where I am today.

I also have to recognize that WAVES in the Village probably wouldn’t exist without my husband. Having my own clothing boutique has been a dream for many years, but the when and how were always unanswered questions. I had the dream, the plan, the vision but without his influence to start it and take a risk on myself, it might not have happened for many years. One day while discussing my dream boutique he said, let’s just do it and go all in. Within 2 months we opened the doors to WAVES.

  1. What advice do you have for the next generation of successful women?

Every job you have is shaping who you will be as a business woman. Take the good, the bad, the ugly and learn from it. Let those experiences shape who you want to be and who you don’t want to be as a business woman. My best advice for being successful is to just start bringing your idea to life. You could spend forever planning and learning. If you have the passion to see your idea come to life, then you’ll learn as you go and figure the rest out  in order to make it successful.

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