VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 1
A TRIBUTE TO FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS
CELEBRATING THE WOMEN IN BIZ WHO TURNED THEIR PASSION INTO THEIR PURPOSE.
elinda M LEMAY MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE ONE MARKET AT A TIME
“ WHEN YOU GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE PRODUCT THEY ARE SELLING, YOU ENJOY A CONNECTION YOU WOULDN’T TYPICALLY EXPERIENCE AT A BIG BOX STORE. YOU FIND JOY IN CELEBRATING IN THEIR SMALL SUCCESSES, AND YOU APPRECIATE ALL THE HARD WORK THEY’VE PUT INTO MAKING THE PERFECT PIECE FOR YOU.
” - Melinda Lemay 2
LETTER The world of entrepreneurship is best described as a neverending roller coaster, filled with highs and lows, thrills and shrills, and a continuous cycle of rocky turns and smooth sailing. It’s also what creative minds rely on to keep them inspired and energized. But what I’ve also learned throughout my years in business, is that you are never alone. It is so important to surround yourself with a tribe and community of like-minded individuals who understand the trials and triumphs of being a business owner, and the importance of growing with your brand, both personally and professionally. Sometimes you may begin on one path and end up on another. Our “perfect plans” turn into to scattered puzzles but somehow, everything falls into place. Our intuition and curiosity tend to lead us down roads we are meant to explore and play a significant role in the individuals we become. Our brands grow because we grow and every new level will require a different version of ourselves. So, I encourage you to embrace the unknown; To make room for the imperfections and celebrate your every success, no matter how big or small. There isn’t a cookie cutter blueprint to follow or one “right” way of doing things. Life is a journey of self-discovery, growth, evolving, and creation, and we are all meant to flourish and shine at our own pace. I believe that the minute we begin to let go of what we thought our life should look like, is this minute we start living the life we are meant for. When we stop getting in our own way and choose to let go of any limiting beliefs that have been holding us back, that’s when the real magic happens. You don’t need permission to change; To upgrade your standards, elevate your life, and make the changes necessary to bring you happiness, success, and genuine fulfillment. You just need to decide, and the rest will begin to fall into place. I believe in you. With love,
LISA AQUILINA Editor-In-Chief of Women with Ambition® and Founder of Stilettos and a Stroller
INTRODUCTION Iâ€™m so excited to dedicate this edition of WWA to my friend and fellow community member, Melinda Lemay. There is something very special about an individual who dedicates her career to bringing people and businesses together one market at a time, helping to form friendships, celebrate brands, and strengthening the community. As a mother, multi-passionate entrepreneur, and business owner, Melinda knows what it takes to bring a vision to life and turn what was once an idea into a unique brand. Her community events and markets showcase hundreds of local artisans, and bring together thousands of shoppers who are eager to support a dream and buy the label that reads â€œMade with loveâ€?. Read on to learn more about Melinda and the inspiration behind her brand and community trademark, Picks & Giggles. 4
a d n i l e M LEMAY
Who is Melinda Lemay and what is your brand and business? Raised by a single mom, an only child, with my father completely out of the picture, I was often left to create my own fun to keep me busy while my mom was working her Monday-Friday, nine-tofive job. I signed up for any and every sport I could be involved in and by 14 years old I was playing rep soccer 3 - 4 days a week. I was what they called back then a “tomboy.” For as long as I can remember, my ultimate goal for my professional career as a young girl was to work for Disney as I love to create, design & draw. I got accepted into Computer Animation at Durham College but quit halfway through the program when I realized the lifestyle of a freestyle animation artist wasn’t what I envisioned. In my second round of college, I chose to explore Human Resources, and it felt so right. I enjoy being around people and creating connections through knowledge and like-mindedness. Fast forward to becoming a mom in 2011, I couldn’t fathom the idea of going back to work after maternity leave and not being able to raise my son. I needed to find a way to work on my own time while doing something I truly loved. I started brainstorming and came up with the idea to start “mom to mom sales” which would allow moms to either promote their small businesses at
our events, or sell their gently used children’s items to make extra money. The intention behind this was to empower moms and support them in their hopes of also being able to work from home. At this time, Pinterest was brand new, and the “handmade community” in our region wasn’t recognized yet. We are now in year eight, and beyond proud to say that Durham Region fully embraces what shopping local means, and all the positives that come with it. Picks and Giggles is a well-curated series of markets, highlighting both established and emerging handmade and design artisans in the fields of jewelry, food, accessories, fashion, art, home and lifestyle goods and services. Our mission is to provide a place for the community to experience and support creative small businesses that take pride in locally produced goods or services, designed and made in Canada. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018
By combining patience, passion, and consistency, you can build any size of business you want!
What inspired you to create Picks & Giggles? What is your “why?” Flashback to when I was 7 years old - it all started there. My grandmother loved to knit and crochet; it was more than a hobby for her. She had chests full of handmade clothing that she’d make for all of us grandkids, and extras to sell at the local bazaars. My earliest memories are of my mom and I going to as many bazaars as we could to show our support for my grandma. I loved going! I would save my allowance to shop at these bazaars and spend hours searching through what handmade goodies I could bring home for my family and me. These were some of my best childhood memories. This is what inspired me to create Picks and Giggles. These handmade markets bring back so much nostalgia. It’s like I get to re-live those shopping memories 20+ years later with extremely talented makers - some of who are now my best friends. This is my WHY. Picks and Giggles is my passion; it lights my soul on fire!
loved every bit of my growth both personally and professionally over the last eight years. I feel the authentic and organic connections I’ve made with our local business owners has created a strong foundation that has allowed my business to grow from a small 32 booth show with a couple hundred shoppers, to now over 125 booths and almost 4000 shoppers.
What do you hope people take away from these events? When you get to know the people behind the product they are selling, you enjoy a connection you wouldn’t typically experience at a big box store. You find joy in celebrating in their small successes, and you appreciate all the hard work they’ve put into making the perfect piece for you. Shopping local strengthens and builds our community. As a shopper, you’re helping keep our community unique by investing in small businesses, as opposed to traditional big box stores.
What do you feel makes Picks & Giggles so unique?
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned throughout your business journey so far? I truly believe in the power of social media. I put I was amazed as to how closely knit our local community of entrepreneurs is. The bank teller is wearing a piece of jewelry she bought at the last Picks and Giggles show and has a photo on her desk of her son wearing a beanie from another local maker. Everyone knows everyone and are connected in some way which is awesome! And although it took our region a long time to jump on the “buy handmade” bandwagon, now that the appreciation is there, the support has been incredible!
If you could change anything about your business journey thus far, what would it be? What would you have done differently? To be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing! I have
the time and consistency into creating a cohesive brand that participating shops can use to kick start their marketing for their upcoming markets. By including branded images, a close-knit support group to share ideas and market prep tips, as well as aligning with a local goal coach and boutique creative agency, I provide the participating shops with as many tools as possible to help them grow not just with my markets, but in their business as a whole.
Tell us more about your other passion project, Chez Fleur. Chez Fleur started because my friend, Martina, and I recognized a problem happening all too frequently. We both have a love for plants and home décor, and we’d often post our pretty plants JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018
in our homes. The most common comment we received was; “I wish I had a green thumb.” So, we decided to start a platform online that educated people on finding the right plant for the right space in their homes, and how to make it look pretty at the same time! Chez Fleur started in February 2017 - almost more for fun - but quickly grew when people discovered that they really could develop a green thumb if they were educated on what plants work best in their particular environments. There are so many wonderful benefits to plants. They reduce stress, some filter the air, absorb noise, promote relaxation and boost productivity. We’re so happy we can share our love for plants in Durham Region! 8
What are your future business plans? As of August 2018, I stepped away from my parttime retail job and jumped full time into entrepreneurship! Ideally, I’d like to take Picks and Giggles to other regions outside of Durham Region to allow for other communities to experience the benefits of shopping handmade and local. Another area of my business I’d love to grow is connecting with local influencers in our community.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are just starting out? I think the number one thing I would recommend is to first get clear on what exactly you love doing and what makes you or your brand different. There are so many businesses that start for the wrong
It all depends on what my family has going on and where I’m needed. The flexibility is what makes being a mompreneur so amazing as I can work my schedule around my kids, but it’s also why it can be challenging to switch my head space from being a mom to being a business owner.
What do you hope your children say about you one day? I hope that my children are appreciative of the flexible schedule I have tried to adopt while raising them. I want them to remember me being at every school game and tryout; to remember talks we’ve had on our walks to the bus stop; I want them to have memories of mom working in the office from home. I think it’s important for children to recognize that parents work, and all the different places where “work” can be done.
I’m a big believer in incorporating “little luxuries” into our everyday lives. When you’re not working, what do you love to do most? What are some of your little luxuries?
reasons - mostly to just make money. And I’ve seen first hand the success of those who lead with passion versus the ones who start just to make a quick buck. As a small business, it’s important to understand the consistent time and energy it takes in building a brand, realizing that overnight successes have usually been in business for years. By combining patience, passion, and consistency, you can build any size of business you want! “Hard work makes luck.”
How do you balance being a mompreneur? This is always a work in progress. As my business grows, the amount of time and way I’m involved changes regularly. Some days I’m putting in eight hours while my kids are at school, where other days I’m spending a couple of hours after dinner.
At this point in my crazy busy life, I think my ultimate favourite thing to do is to make more time for me, and my mind always takes me to hot yoga. I find it to be so calming and a natural exfoliant, so in my mind, I’m getting a nice stretch in and a facial at the same time! There’s a reason most hot yogis have glowing and radiant skin!
What is your favourite life motto or quote? Fifteen years ago, I had a very pivotal conversation with one of my retail managers, and it has stuck with me ever since. He drove a gorgeous car, always looked so put together, wore a Rolex, traveled with his family, and spoke like a true gentleman. (full disclaimer here, I may have had a small crush on him) As a young 20 year old looking up to him, he was living my “dream.” In our conversation that day, after JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018
going through my performance evaluation, I remember asking him how he got into his position. He said; “Passion leads to success” and “Hard work makes luck.” Those two sentences have been my reference for years, and I vowed that whatever I was going to do as a career, I had to love it hard and work hard. I’m so lucky to have found my passion and wake up every morning dreaming up my next event.
Where can we learn more about upcoming events for both Picks & Giggles and Chez Fleur? I’m most active on Instagram. You can also visit my Facebook page or website picksandgiggles.com for upcoming shows and applications to become a participating business.
There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a community come together to celebrate their creations and passions. When looking for that perfect gift or special something just for you, remember to purchase with purpose and show the fellow artisans and entrepreneurs in your area some much deserved local love.
STAY SOCIAL WITH MELINDA @picksandgiggles, @chezfleur 10
n e m o w in biz
I’m thrilled to bring you our Local Love issue, dedicated to the local artisans; the Women in Biz, that turned their passions into thriving businesses. There is so much unbelievable talent that exists right in your neighborhood. An incredible community of creative minds that bring an abundance of heart and soul to the world of entrepreneurship. These businesses and the women who stand behind them deserve to be celebrated and acknowledged for the courage, perseverance and endless dedication that it takes to bring an idea to life and create a brand and legacy. These are the Women with Ambition who encourage us to purchase with purpose, and sign and seal every package, “Made with Love.”
WOMEN WITH AMBITION
“I WOULD NEVER WANT A CLIENT TO GIVE UP THEIR LIFE JUST HAVE A FIT BODY” Karen Gallagher
Karen is certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Holistic Nutritionist, Health and Life Coach. She is a Body Transformation & Mindset Coach and has over 18 years of experience helping women to become fit and confident. As a former competitive figure skater and fitness athlete for most of her life, Karen has overcome a lot of personal struggles throughout her journey to achieve her own body & mind transformation. From over coming binge eating, body image challenges, selfsabotaging and a perfectionist mindset, she has now found a lifestyle and body that she loves and that is sustainable without feeling obsessed. Karen offers women of all backgrounds the opportunity to better their lives through guided
fitness, nutrition and mindset coaching. She has helped hundreds of women to experience profound life transformations during her career and continues to look for opportunities to work with women who are on the journey to changing their lives for the better no matter where they are in life. Karen’s passion is to empower, educate and to Redefine women’s bodies and lives through Fitness, Nourishment, Mindset and Spirituality. @karenriedelgallagher @OfficialKarenGallagher www.karen-gallagher.com
Receive a free phone discovery call and 10% off all services. Offer expires March 31, 2019. use code KAREN10
WOMEN WITH AMBITION
“EACH ORDER IS A LABOUR OF LOVE” Vanessa Andolina
With a Bachelor’s degree in Retail Management from Ryerson University and a passion for all things creative, Sweet Creations by Vanessa was founded. My journey began in fall 2017 with a little curiosity and a lot of drive. Self taught, countless hours were spent researching techniques and testing various dough and icing recipes. After endless hours of trial and error I found the perfect recipe for success! Sweet Creations by Vanessa specializes in offering my clients beautifully hand crafted custom designed sugar cookies made fresh to order for any occasion. Each design is created based on my clients vision inspired by themes and occasions. I welcome a challenge and work closely with my customers to assist them in bringing their ideas to life. I use only premium ingredients including home-made vanilla
extract in the cookie dough and I decorate my cookies with royal icing. Cookie flavours include classic vanilla, vanilla almond and gingerbread (seasonally). Shipping is available within the GTA. Whether I’m asked to match an invitation or bring a character to life, each order is a labour of love and is something I am proud to put my name behind. For any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or for further inspiration please visit my instagram. @sweetcreations.vanessa @sweetcreations.vanessa etsy.com/ca/shop/sweetcreationsv
For every 1 dozen cookies ordered, receive 1 free cookie. Offer expires February 28, 2019
WOMEN WITH AMBITION
“LEARN FROM YESTERDAY, LIVE FOR TODAY, GOAL FOR TOMORROW” Kari Russell
Goals and Grapes was born out of a passion for helping women give themselves permission to want more! At the age of 33, I realized I had been living a lie for most of my adult life. I claimed to be happy and love my life, but deep down I knew something was missing. I had this vision for a lifestyle that I thought was only possible in my dreams. But one day in July of 2016, I discovered what was really happening I was the only one holding myself back! I claimed to be a goal coach and preached about going after what you want, but I was a huge hypocrite. And in this awakening, I decided to take my own advice, and goal get it! Within six weeks of making that decision, I had enrolled in, was accepted to and started a Master’s program in another country. The universe brought everything together the moment I got clear on what exactly it was that I wanted, and what I was willing to do to get it!
And this is what I teach my clients. I help them get clear on what they want and how they want to feel, and then create an inspired, soul-centered plan to make it all happen! I blend SOUL + STRATEGY to help them make waves in their life or biz! I offer a variety of programs to suit your individual needs that cover both personal and business goals: • Goals Night In is a monthly online workshop designed for goal setting in life. • BossBabe Social Series is a bi-monthly for goal setting in business. • Group or 1:1 coaching packages such as SoulFlame and SoulFuse is where we kick things up a notch in terms of support and accountability! Whether you set goals on a regular basis or don’t know where to begin, I can help you look at your life in a new way! Receive 50% off Goals Night In Workshop! Offer expires March 31, 2019. use code STILETTOS50
@goalsandgrapes @goalsandgrapes www.goalsandgrapes.com
WOMEN WITH AMBITION
“WHEN PEOPLE WEAR A PIECE FROM KARAMELLA, I WANT IT TO MAKE THEM FEEL SPECIAL” Karen Verrelli
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been fascinated with gems and jewelry. I remember as a young child, my mom having coffee with her girlfriends and most of them being wives of jewelers, I’d quietly admire their stunning pieces. When I was seventeen, I began working at my uncle’s jewelry store, and my love for gems grew more and more. Fifteen years later, I’m so blessed to have found my way back to designing and doing what I love most - one piece at a time.
My business is a one-woman show. Buying, designing, marketing, packing, shipping, all delivering all goes through me. It’s hard work, but it also ensures and maintains quality control. Because I design and create the pieces myself, I make sure every little detail is as it should be. Every gemstone and element is attached and secured properly, and designs are made to the standard I want and expect. I stand behind all my designs and products.
My goal is to offer unique and trendy pieces that are affordable and timeless. I want my pieces to motivate, encourage, and help those in their daily struggles. When people wear a piece from Karamella, I want it to make them feel special. I like to start with a traditional design and then personalize and make it original. Because of this approach, my pieces can integrate well into both traditional and modern trends.
Karamella is proud to support local charities like the Super Sophia Love Box Project, Sick Kids Hospital, and Emily’s House, as well as children and families in our communities who need our love and support.
@karamella_designs @karamelladesigns karamelladesigns.etsy.com
Receive 15% off your next order! Offer expires February 28th, 2019. use code VIP15
WOMEN WITH AMBITION
“BEAUTY IS NOW A BUSINESS METRIC” Katie Dempsey
Brand Ambition is a local marketing and branding agency that brings downtown Toronto services to small businesses and influencers in Durham. The agency has been open for 3 years and benefits from the current trends of beautiful branding and social media based marketing. Katie Dempsey, the owner of Brand Ambition educates business owners to understand that “beauty is now a business metric”. She explains that “social media can give local businesses an edge against larger competitors but only if they communicate with an attractive and focused brand”. Brand Ambition’s own secret to success has been its millennial, trend conscious culture that has attracted a youthful and creative staff. Collaboration builds communities, and we love being a point in Durham Region where businesses can refresh their look, and inspire their followers and fans.
Receive 50% off the purchase of a ticket to our March Social Media Workshop. use code AMBITION
@brand_ambition @ourbrandambition www.brandambition.ca
WOMEN WITH AMBITION
“YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG OR OLD TO EAT CAKE AND CELEBRATE” Francesca Fazari
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved everything party, sparkly, girly and pretty. I was my mother’s shadow and her biggest fan. She always made each birthday so special for my brothers and I don’t know that in the late 70’s it was a ‘thing’ to fancy up a birthday party, but my parents always managed to make us feel like stars. My mom made her homemade pizza, we had crafts, ordered a big cake, and I always had a party hat. This is where my love of fun handmade decor, party planning and styling, and the love to celebrate first began. It’s a joy to make people feel special on their special day. Life is meant to be celebrated no matter how big or small the occasion or reason. I always make a big deal of all life’s blessings. From a 1st Birthday to a 50th Anniversary, you’re never too young or old to eat cake and celebrate!
Styled by Francesca offers a variety of party planning packages and decor to help make every occasion special. From Custom Celebration Toppers, Backdrop Letting, Cupcake Toppers, Bouquet Stakes, Banners and an assortment of party decor, I add a little fancy to your every event. My newest addition, Bash Box, has quickly become a party planning favourite! These specialty boxes are curated with custom tableware and handmade decor designed by theme and occasion, helping parents to save time and the process of decision making simple. Everything you need for your bash in one convenient box! Whatever the occasion, let Styled by Francesca help bring your ideas to life and celebrate the ones you love most in an unforgettable way. Save 25% off a Bash Box and 10% off Party Decor. (Expires end of March) use codes BASHBOX25 and PARTY10
Are you a Woman in Biz who would love to be featured and celebrated? Weâ€™d love to hear from you! Please share your brand and business by emailing email@example.com
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