MASTERCLASS ft. easy period

Alyssa Bertram, founder of easy period (www.curatedlife.ca) 

Alyssa Bertram, founder of easy period (www.curatedlife.ca) 

It’s a new season. For me, September has always been the month when I set my goals for the year ahead.  I begin this process my examining my purpose and my intentions. In terms of this venture, my intention is to grow Curated Life into a platform that will allow us to learn from each other’s journey. In doing so, I knew that it would be important for us to connect face-to-face through our MASTERCLASS event series.  It’s been almost a year since the launch of Curated Life and I am so grateful to see this dream come alive.

September’s event focused on best practices to get your business or brand noticed online. To begin, we were joined by Taylor Aplas and John Yoo of Brainstation Toronto. During their presentation, Taylor and John offered advice from which social media platforms to join to a brief introduction on Search Engine Marketing. Brainstation is a global leader in technology training that offers courses in coding, marketing, product management and UX & UI design.  Brainstation offers relevant full-time or part-time courses taught by established digital leaders. Brainstation is currently offering us a discount on part-time courses and weekend seminars. Enter the promo code CURATEDLIFE50 when you register or email us for details if you are interested.  You can learn more about Brainstation and their course offerings here:  www.brainstation.io 

Refreshments provided by JuleChu Lifestyle

Refreshments provided by JuleChu Lifestyle

Our featured start-up story of the month was shared by Alyssa Bertram, the founder of Easy Period: a subscription service that delivers organic feminine hygiene products directly to your door. Alyssa came up with her business idea after wishing her tampons would magically appear and never run out. “An idea isn’t a business plan…,” Alyssa said, “you have to put your ideas to work…And you have to be honest with yourself about who you are, what you are passionate about and what you are going to do with that.”

A defining moment in Alyssa’s journey was centered on her mother’s health and recovery.  This experience led Alyssa to researching the nasty chemicals often found in mainstream feminine hygiene products. Alyssa decided to ensure that her company would provide healthier options to women and destigmatize periods; empowering women locally and abroad. “It was important for me to couple this indulgent service of having organic products delivered to your door with a conscious lens,” Alyssa explained. As a result, Easy Period donates 5% of profits to ZanaAfrica Foundation, a non-profit that delivers pads and health education to girls in Kenya.

But the journey from idea to launch wasn’t an easy one. Alyssa shared a few of the challenges she faced with her start-up among the group. Giving advice to others in the room she said, “Barriers are going to come. I feel like [barriers] are there to test you to see if you really want to start a business…it’s a test of your character.”  You can learn more about Alyssa’s company at www.easyperiod.ca

Now that we’re nearing our one year anniversary, it’s clear that our gift bags have become a must-have staple at each event. The gift bags are made possible solely by our generous in-kind sponsors. When curating the gift bags, I try to find sponsors that reflect the message of Curated Life. Such items are usually produced locally, created by a female entrepreneur or has some socially conscious element. This month’s gift bag had a bit of each: 

Curated Life's signature event gift bags with samples from our in-kind sponsors

Curated Life's signature event gift bags with samples from our in-kind sponsors

1.       Sephora Collection Luxe False Lash (provided by Sephora Canada)

As one of the most powerful beauty retailers in the world, Sephora frequently uses its influence to buoy emerging brands and support women-owned brands like Kate Von D, Bobbi Brown, Briogeo and many more. This month Sephora contributed luxe false lashes from their signature collection. These lashes are designed to add fullness and length to your lashes. The material is soft and flexible so it fits to your eye shape easily. The lashes come in an attractive and durable case for storage. With proper care, these lashes can be worn up to 30 times. These lashes are exclusively available at Sephora for $21CDN. 

2.       Toronto Popcorn Company

Established by husband and wife, Joseph and Caramhel Villegas, Toronto Popcorn Company has quickly become a main attraction at Kensington Market. With over 100 flavours of gourmet popcorn, from classic caramel to cupcake, it is a foodie paradise. Toronto Popcorn Company has generously supplied grab bags as a perfect take-home snack. To find out more about their popcorn, check out www.torontopopcorncompany.com

3.       Upnorth Naturals

Canadian and female-founded, Upnorth Naturals is a natural hair care line for curly-textured hair. Upnorth Naturals generously provided samples of their 8 –oil blend for dry hair. This oil blend contains coconut, avocado, lavender, neem, grapeseed, jojoba, rosemary and sandalwood oils. The blend can be used as a pre-shampoo hot oil treatment or as a styling product. The full sized product can be purchased directly from Upnorth Naturals for $14.99CDN here, www.upnorthnaturals.com.

4.       Vo Bath Citrine Lotion Body Scrub

Another local and female-founded brand, Vo Bath & Co., a natural and luxurious bath and body company from Toronto. Vo Bath & Co. specializes in creating unique formulations using plant-based ingredients and science. Vo Bath & Co. provided samples of their Citrine lotion body scrubs for this event. This 3-in-1 product, works to exfoliate, moisturize and cleanse the skin. While the aroma of the grapefruit, tangerine and lemon essential oils waken and stimulate the mind. More details about this amazing product can be found here. The full-sized product retails for $42CDN on their website, https://www.vobathco.com/

5.       Tealeaves – Assorted Tea Master-blend Bags

Tealeaves, a Canadian company, is served in the best hotels around the world.  Tealeaves offers an assortment of master-blend whole leaf teas. Each blend is packaged in a convenient pyramid tea bag for easy enjoyment. Flavours include Organic Earl Grey with Lavender, Vanilla Rooibos and Monsoon Chai. Learn more here,  www.tealeaves.com

 6.       The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Body Clay

The Body Shop was established by OG Girl Boss, Anita Roddick, in 1976. Her vision was to use her business as a force of good – there wasn’t a name for it back then, but that business model is called “social enterprise”. This year the brand renewed this commitment by announcing their mission to “Enrich, Not Exploit,” making it one of the most recognizable and innovative conscious beauty brands. MASTERCLASS attendees received The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Body Clay. This clay uses the power of charcoal to draw out impurities from the skin. Use this clay as part of your at-home spa experience to help de-stress and rejuvenate your senses. This clay is available at The Body Shop for $24CDN or online here.

7.       Access Community Capital Fund (info card)

Access Community Capital Fund is a Canadian registered-charity that provides micro-loans up to $5000 for individuals looking to elevate their standard of living through entrepreneurship. Access Community Capital Fund can be found online at www.accessccf.com.

8.       Futurpreneur Canada (brochure)

Futurpreneur Canada is the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Their internationally recognized mentoring program hand matches young entrepreneurs with a business expert from a network of more than 2,800 volunteer mentors. You can find out more about Futurpreneur Canada’s mentorship program and other amazing resources at www.futurpreneur.ca

9.       Curated Life Magazine (post card)

Curated Life magazine is something I dreamed of putting together for years. I filled notebook after notebook with ideas, before mustering enough courage to begin the work. In this publication, I hope to capture the essence of the supportive sisterhood of our Curated Life events in a way that could be shared online and in print. We are currently preparing our second issue. Until then you can continue to read and download digital spring issue for free here.

Below are a few more photos from the event. You can also follow our journey by following @curatedlifeca or using the hashtag #mycuratedlife on Instagram and Twitter. If you missed this event, don’t worry. MASTERCLASS events are now bi-monthly.  Save the date for Friday, November 18th, 2016. If you’re interested in learning how you can sponsor an event or advertise in the magazine, feel free to email hello @ curatedlife.ca.