GEWCanada

Cupcakes + Conversations: Celebrating One Year of CuratedLife

Our amazing panelists & MC. [left to right] Hayla Amini, Jade Janelle, Emily Antflick, Alyssa Bertram & Mary Young.

Our amazing panelists & MC. [left to right] Hayla Amini, Jade Janelle, Emily Antflick, Alyssa Bertram & Mary Young.

Last year when I launched my Curated Life project, I chose to fulfill the one of my biggest but least-likely-to-come-true dreams. It was intimidating because I had no industry connections and not a lot of experience since most of my career was spent in a completely different sector. I was afraid of failing. But, every time I thought I should just quit and go back to my quiet, comfortable life there was always an encouraging word from a Curated Life follower or a sign that pushed me to keep going. Now that we’ve reached this one year milestone together, I can truly say the struggle was all worth it.

We're all set to begin...

We're all set to begin...

On Friday, there was so much to celebrate. Within a year, we have built a community of millennial women entrepreneurs who support each other and connected them to community resources through 6 events (3 of which were at capacity). We built connections with Canadian and women-owned businesses through in-kind sponsorships of our gift bags that were distributed at each event. We also launched a print/digital magazine as a platform to further share the inspirational stories of these entrepreneurs. This November marks the launch of our second issue which features the story of Aurora James (founder of Brother Veilles), profiles of women who are using creativity to innovate and our Boss Babe gift guide by Veri Chic with Chy. (Side note: mail delivery/pick up for pre-orders will be arranged soon. The issue will be available for sale on December 2nd).

We were also celebrating the accomplishments of our amazing panelists. Mary Young, who was our first master class speaker and a contributor to our first issue, celebrated her first major collaborations with Apple Canada and the Peace Collective (And she’s so humble, I still remember how she helped us haul tables up a set of stairs at the first class). Hayla Amini, one of our very first gift bag sponsors, celebrated a successfully transitioning Flashionistas from a retail business to a provider of event activations and collaboration with TOPSHOP for the Bobbyball. Emily Antflick, our July master class speaker, celebrated the launch of Shecosystem’s new space and receiving a Start Up Canada grant. And Alyssa Bertram, our September master class speaker, celebrated two successful brand events and transitioning easy. from a part-time to a full-time business.

With over 90 guests in attendance, this was our biggest event yet! Our panel discussion was led by Miranda McKie, President of Young Women in Business-Toronto chapter. Miranda is a Master Data Governance Professional by day, but also believes in the importance of breaking down barriers for women and helping them succeed in their careers through her work with YWiB. The panelist discussed what ignited the spark to start their own businesses and what keeps them motivated. We also discussed if there is or isn’t a formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur. As well as challenges specific to being a young woman entrepreneur and how they overcame these challenges.

Blogger, Jade Janelle provided her voice as our MC for the rest of the evening. In addition to the panel, we had a brief presentation from a new project called askconnie.co, which will be showcasing the best local businesses in Toronto over the next few months. And heard the start-up story of Shiva Burnett, co-founder of Avazera. As one of our first gift bag sponsors last November, Avazera has always been supportive of our mission to empower young women. This year, Avazera was not only a vendor at our event, but also a patron of the second issue of Curated Life magazine (along with Dr. Liza Egbogah of the[fix] chiropractic+massage). And a special thanks goes out to Chyauna, verichicwithchy.com, who sponsored our DJ for the night, SoWaveyy Sound (@sowaveyy).

A Sneak Peek of our panelist's gift bags. Which featured all the items below, plus extra, full-sized goodies from SweetSpotLabs.ca (A Canadian & Women-owned company)

A Sneak Peek of our panelist's gift bags. Which featured all the items below, plus extra, full-sized goodies from SweetSpotLabs.ca (A Canadian & Women-owned company)

I would also like to thank all our in-kind sponsors who contributed these amazing items for our curated gift bags:

Barreworks Class Pass, $21 CDN, barreworks.ca

Founded in 2012, Barreworks was the first Toronto studio to specialize in ballet barre-based fitness classes. Their technique was developed by a team of local dance and fitness professionals, all dedicated to the creation of a safe, effective, and fun exercise system. With two locations, and classes 7-days a week, they're ready to welcome you to class! You can read more about Barreworks in the winter issue of the magazine.

Lipidol Overnight Face Oil, $8.97CDN, Walmart and walmart.ca

A great addition to your nightly beauty regime, this nourishing oil works while you sleep. It’s designed to supplement the skin’s natural oily layer, increase moisture retention and enhance overnight rejuvenation. Lightly fragranced with essential oils of Ylang-Ylang and Black Pepper, Lipidol’s overnight face oil is non-comedogenic and suitable for sensitive skin.

Joe Fresh Plum Powder Eyeshadow, $6.00CDN, Shoppers Drug Mart

Makeup doesn’t have to be complicated. You can keep it simple and still enhance your natural beauty. The Joe Fresh Beauty line is filled with products to help you master the 5-minute face without breaking the bank. Now at Shoppers Drug Mart, Joe Fresh offers a great selection of on-trend beauty products, like this pretty plum eyeshadow.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Trio (the same fragrances retail as a roller ball set for $59.00CDN, sephora.com)

Adding a bit more luxury our gift bags is this Marc Jacobs fragrance trio. This family of floral fragrances is fresh and feminine. The trio includes Marc Jacob’s signature scent Daisy as well as two other interpretations- Daisy Eau so Fresh and Daisy Dream.  Guests received a 1.2ml sample coffret with all three fragrances.

Pur Gum Bubble Gum, $1.69CDN, shopcan.thepurcompany.com

Pur Gum is all the goodness gum should be – vegan, nut/soy-free, gluten-free, and aspartame-free. Pur Gum is naturally sweetened with xylitol, a sweetener with a low glycemic index. What makes Pur even sweeter? The company is Canadian-owned. Guests also received an offer of $10 to use on the online shop (coupon).

Sweet Spot Labs Wipettes, $11.99, sweetspotslabs.ca

SweetSpot Labs is on a mission to refresh every woman’s shower routine and daily cleansing rituals. SweetSpot Labs recently launched a new collection of natural washes and wipes that are pH balanced for your sweet spot and good for your entire body. SweetSpot Labs products are made by women, for women and use natural ingredients to gently clean, hydrate and soften skin. Guests received a sample of the wipettes with a coupon. Our panelists received an assortment of full-sized products.

Tealeaves Jet Lag Therapy Kit, $3.80CDN, tealeaves.com

Tealeaves is a Vancouver-based, luxury tea company. Each guest will receive the carry on essential, Jet Lag Therapy kit which contains two masterblend teas – Energy and Relax. Energy is an invigorating blend of mint, citrus, yerba maté and ginkgo biloba to help keep you focused. And Relax is a floral, caffeine-free blend to help you ease into a peaceful sleep.

Because I am familiar with the social determinants of health, I truly believe that a woman is best empowered when she is economically empowered. That is why there is a strong emphasis on women’s entrepreneurship throughout each Curated Life project. So there was no better way to celebrate our one-year market then with a pop-up market. We were so pleased to have this diverse group of vendors and are looking forward to hosting more pop-ups in the future. Please be sure to check these vendors out and support them by making a purchase if you can.

 

Shiva & Svetlana – Avazera (www.avazera.com )

Julie – Pinkfolio – (www.pinkfolio.me)

Rachel – Q U I N S C O (www.quinsco.com )

Monique – London Ivy Natural & Organic (www.londonivyproducts.com)

Christina – Curls & Confidence Healthy Hair Subscription Box (www.curlsandconfidence.ca)

Lisa – Upnorth Naturals(www.upnorthnaturals.com )

Mya – Beauty Counter (beautycounter.com/en-ca/myabreukelaar)

Thu – VO2 CO (www.vo2co.com)

Brittany – Fjord Life (www.fjordlife.ca)

Tianna – Pink Princess Cosmetics (www.pinkprincesscosmetics.ca)

Yuliya – Yuliya C Jewellery (www.yuliyachronajewellery.com )

Mo – The Covet Lifestyle (www.facebook.com/thecovetlifestyle/)

 

I’m looking forward to giving you a look into our winter issue shortly. But for now, enjoy our cover reveal below.

 

curated life magazine aw16 winter issue cover featuring Aurora James Toronto

Thank you again for all the support. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @curatedlifeca / #mycuratedlife to stay up-to-date on our events and publication projects.

GEW Coffeehouse Event Report & Gift Bag Reveal

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

On Sunday, I hosted a group of young entrepreneurs from various industries at an event called “Cupcakes + Conversations.”  When I came up with the idea for the event, I thought it would be a great way to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week and support millennial women entrepreneurs in the area. As mentioned in my last post, young women entrepreneurs face challenges that are unique to being young and being a woman (read more here). Because I faced these challenges in the past, I felt that it was important for me to do something. At the coffeehouse event, I wanted to provide a supportive atmosphere where these entrepreneurs can connect with each other and connect with community resources. And I am so pleased to see this little dream fulfilled. During the event we discussed how we were inspired to become entrepreneurs, our start-up challenges, the importance of giving back to the community through business and challenging stereotypes of what “powerful” looks like. It was truly an honour to host this event. Because it was essentially a passion project, I made sure to cover all the expenses on my own so the event could be free to attendees.  I thought that it would be my gift to the community. But it was more; it was a gift of inspiration and motivation everyone including myself. I would like to send a huge thank you to all the attendees and Studio 89’s Aanchal for making the event as amazing as it was. I’m looking forward to seeing you all again in 2016. Below are a few photos from the event. 

 

I would also like to send another huge thank you to all the gift bag contributors. Several went over and beyond to make sure we had a special token to mark the event. I’m so grateful. And so, here is the gift bag reveal.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The Beauté

This year I’ve been slowly detoxing my beauty regimen and trying to replace my conventional beauty buys with more natural options. I was really excited to come across Original Mineral, an Australian hair care line that bridges that gap between natural and luxury haircare. Original Mineral was the first gift bag contributor for the event. They provided travel-sized bottles of their “Know Knott” detangler for each guest. This bottle of Aussie goodness is made with cold-pressed organic argan oil and macademia nut oil. It is designed to nourish and recondition your hair, while leaving it tangle free. The full-size bottle (250 ml) is available on Net-a-Porter for $32USD.

Just in time for the winter weather, the makers of Bio-Oil have launched a face cleansing oil called Lipidol. Lightly fragranced with naiouli and rosemary essential oils, it is formulated to be safe for sensitive skin and not clog your pores. This cleansing oil melts away dirt and makeup without stripping your skin of its natural moisture barrier. Skin cleansing oils are a huge beauty trend right now, so I’m glad we were able to get these for our gift bags. If you’re interested in testing it out, the 125 ml bottle is available exclusively at Wal-Mart for only $8.97 CDN.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know L’Occitane has quickly become my favourite bath time indulgence. When I reached out to my local boutique about the event, I wasn’t expecting anything more than just a few sample packets.  I was completely surprised when the manager provided each attendee with a whole sachet full of samples and a certificate for a full pampering ritual (as in mini-facial, deluxe hand massage and custom fragrance layering). If you’re looking for gifts this holiday season stop by an L’Occitane Boutique. They have several luxurious gift sets for both men and women. You can also check out their selection of gifts online here.

And to top off “the beauté” portion of the gift bag was a 1.5 ml sample of Azzaro Pour Elle. This perfume is the feminine version of Azzaro’s classic cologne for men. The fragrance is a fusion of cardamom, florals (rose and lys) followed by notes of cashmere wood and incense. It’s floral but sensual.  The full-size version of this fragrance is available at Hudson’s Bay for $70 CDN (50 ml).

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The Sweets

Each sweet contributor is Canadian and has a special start-up story. Squish Candy contributed samples of their Strawberry Rhubarb gummies which are made with real fruit extracts and no artificial colouring. Squish has a full section of candies that cater to different tastes and dietary requirements (e.g. vegan/vegetarian or nut-free). And behind these yummy treats is the sweet entrepreneurship story of Sarah Segal, who was recently profiled by Futurepreneur here. You can find Squish at Hudson’s Bay Queen Street flagship in Toronto or online here.

Our next sweet contributor was Camino. Each guest received a 100g bar of Camino hazel milk chocolate. The crunch of hazelnuts and the creaminess of the chocolate are enough to love. But knowing that the chocolates are made of organic and fair-trade ingredients is something to really feel good about. Camino is produced by La Siembra, a Canadian-owned co-op that was founded by three friends out of a community kitchen. You can read more about their story in this Globe and Mail article. You can find out where Camino is available for sale here.

Our final sweet contributor was Pur Gum. Each guest received a sample of gum along with a promo code for $10 off an online purchase. Pur Gum is all the goodness gum should be – vegan, nut/soy-free, gluten-free, and aspartame-free. Whenever I see Pur Gum at Whole Foods or the health food store, I grab a pack of their pomegranate mint flavour. I first heard of Pur Gum by watching their founder’s pitch on Dragon’s Den (watch here) and I’m really happy to see how the business has grown. Pur Gum is available for sale online here.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The Offers

This month marks the beginning of the inaugural season of Raptors 905, Canada’s first NBA D-League team. The team plays home games in Hershey Centre in Mississauga. Raptors 905 provided us with a “2 for 1” ticket offer; perfect for date night. You can buy tickets to their games here.

Established by millennial entrepreneurs Jenny Le and Sivonn Ra in May 2015, The Cold Pressary is quickly becoming the go-to destination for foodies looking for healthier options. Located near Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, The Cold Pressary offers a menu of nutrition-rich and delicious café items (including my beloved pistachio rose donut). Each guest at the event received a voucher for a free melon mojito. You can check out their menu here.

Avazera provided our guests with 20% off their selection of organic superfoods, loose leaf teas and jewelry. Avazera’s founders also attended the event to share their start-up story.  The company was founded by parents who found their son had allergies to common foods like milk and rice. They struggled to find nutrient-rich alternatives and started the company as a way to make these alternatives more accessible to others. You can check out Avazera online here.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The Resources

Mogo Money is known as “the uber of the financial world” and is on a mission to disrupt the industry. Their goal is to help millennials get rid of bad debt with a line of prepaid visa cards and a smart loan system. Mogo also hosts an event series for members called “Adulting 101” focusing on financial literacy. Mogo provided pens, pencils and a zipper wallet for the event gift bags.

 The next addition to the gift bags were pocket notebooks from Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University. Yeates is known as Canada’s most creative, connected and entrepreneurial graduate schools. If you’re interested in graduate studies, you can check out a listing of their programs here.

When curating the gift bags, I really wanted to make sure it was filled with local resources young entrepreneurs could really use. So, I reached out to Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC). MBEC provides free or affordable information sessions on how to start or grow your small business.  The centre also offers several online business courses. MBEC is a partner site of Starter Company that provides funding and mentorship to entrepreneurs under 30 years old. Along with brochures about their programs, MBEC also provided a special stylus/highlighter pen.

For many young entrepreneurs, finding start-up capital is the biggest challenge. If you’re looking for $20,000 to start or expand your business Ignite Capital’s competition may be of interest to you. Applicants compete for $20,000 in funding ($10,000 as a grant, $10,000 as a loan), mentorship and workspace. The next round of competition begins in May 2016. You can find out more about the competition at ignitecapital.ca.

Another resource is Access Community Capital Fund that provides loans up to $5,000 to small and emerging businesses in the Greater Toronto Area. The organization’s goal is to provide affordable loans to help others improve their standard of living through entrepreneurship. You can find out more at accessccf.com.

The next resource is available online. Each guest received a copy of Empower Women’s brochure. Empower Women is an initiative of United Nations Women and is dedicated to “empowering women to achieve their economic potential.” The online portal provides tools, resources and inspiration for women globally. There’s an online community for story sharing as well as a library and learning centre. You can sign up for an account or learn more at empowerwomen.org.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

I would also like to acknowledge Futurepreneur (another great resource) for facilitating all the Global Entrepreneurship Week Canada events and providing us with Global Entrepreneurship Week buttons. And thank you to David’s Tea Square One and Bloglovin’ for providing icebreaker prizes for the networking session (I purchased the sets of L’Occitane hand creams that were bundled with these prize items). I hope everyone enjoyed the gift bags and resources. I’ll be sure to post updates about the next event (January 2016) as soon the details are finalized. You can also follow @curatedlifeca on Twitter and Instagram for updates.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle


Millennial Women Entrepreneur’s Coffeehouse & Story Slam

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week everyone! If you’re not familiar with Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators, I encourage you to visit this website. During Global Entrepreneurship Week, organizations around the world are hosting events from large-scale competitions to intimate networking events. And I’ve decided to host an official event of my own. I’m still growing my new business, but I felt it was important to be a part of GEW by hosting an event specifically for millennial women entrepreneurs.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

Research from around the globe shows that countries who narrow gender equality gaps also achieve strong economic performance (Women's Enterprise Centre, 2014). According to the United Nations, economically empowered women improve performance, boost productivity, and increase household income; leading to improved lives for their families (Empower Women, 2015). In Canada, majority women-owned small and medium-sized businesses contribute to $117 billion of economic activity each year (The Canadian Commissioner Trade Service, 2013). Yet, the number of young adults who see entrepreneurship as a viable career path is on the decline (Cassinath, 2015). Being a woman and being young presents unique barriers to entrepreneurship. A report by the Women’s Enterprise Centre (British Columbia) states “women report more than men that personal and entrepreneurial skills are issues that are impacting their business success” (Women's Enterprise Centre, 2014). Research also shows that barriers faced by Canadian women entrepreneurs are rooted in personal, firm-related, and external causes (Women's Enterprise Centre, 2014). These barriers include lack of confidence, lack of financial literacy, limited access to capital and difficulty with business planning (Women's Enterprise Centre, 2014). Women entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30 are especially at risk because they are less likely to have sufficient business experience. And they are more likely to have student debt that impedes their ability to secure financing for a new venture (Industry Canada, 2002).

When I read these facts, it was almost like reading a checklist of my experience with entrepreneurship. This is why I want to be able to empower Canadian millennial women to start and grow prosperous businesses through a project I am preparing for 2016. But this week, how about we talk about our business experiences and dreams over coffee and cupcakes? On Sunday, I will be hosting “Cupcakes & Conversations” a coffeehouse event for networking and story-telling among millennial women entrepreneurs. The event will be held at Studio 89 Café in Mississauga, Canada. The event is free and all are welcome to attend in support. I’m also giving a special gift to the first 50 who RSVP on Eventbrite. You can find more information about the event on the official GEW Canada event page. You can also follow the #GEWCanada hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.  And of course, I’ll report back next week to let you know how the event went and what’s inside the special gift.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

References:

Cassinath, N. (2015, March 2). Are Youth Turning Away from Entrepreneurship? Retrieved October 7, 2015, from Youth Profit: http://youthprofit.ca/are-youth-turning-away-from-entrepreneurship/

Empower Women. (2015). Empower Women Brochure. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from Empower Women: http://www.empowerwomen.org/en/~/documents/2015/07/02/19/31/empower-women---brochure

Industry Canada. (2002). Financing SMEs in Canada: Barriers Faced by Women, Youth, Aboriginal and Minority Entrepreneurs in Accessing Capital. Ottawa, Canada: Government of Canada.

The Canadian Commissioner Trade Service. (2013). Facts and Figures on Canadian Women Entrepreneurs. Ottawa, Canada: Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.

Women's Enterprise Centre. (2014). Women's Entrepreneurship in BC and Canada - Fall 2014. Kelowna, BC: Women's Enterprise Centre.