Holt Renfrew

MASTERCLASS ft. Shecosystem & Futurpreneur Canada

Emily Rose Antflick, founder of shecosystem,ca sharing her start-up story

Emily Rose Antflick, founder of shecosystem,ca sharing her start-up story

Happy Civic long weekend everyone! First of all, can I send a huge thank you to everyone who attended this Friday’s MASTERCLASS. I know you could have been either at the cottage or getting ready for other festivities in the city. I am so grateful that you decided to start your weekend with us.

When I was preparing for this week’s event, I came across a program from the first event I ever coordinated.  It was 12 years ago and I was only in high school, but it was the first time I truly saw myself as an entrepreneur. Since then my academic pursuits took me in a different direction, but I always found entrepreneurship to be my creative outlet on the side. Like other women entrepreneurs, my business began when I felt unsatisfied (and a bit frustrated) about not finding the opportunities I wanted within the structured environment of a traditional workplace. So, I felt like I had to go out and create the opportunity for myself. In some ways, being an entrepreneur has turned me into a D.I.Y. wonder woman but it has also taught me the value of mentorship and a supportive network. Mentors, in business or in your personal life, can help you along your journey by offering advice and wisdom they’ve gained on their own journey. Mentorship can be formal or informal. Your mentor can act as a coach when you need to be challenged or a cheerleader when you need a boost. Your mentor can be more experienced or even a peer.

This is why I wanted to create an anthology of stories and resources by and for millennial women entrepreneurs through Curated Life magazine.  I wish to grow Curated Life into a platform that will allow us to learn from each other’s journey. In doing so, I knew I that it would be important for us to connect face-to-face.  And so, I launched the MASTERCLASS event series in January. At each MASTERCLASS, you will be connected to community resources that will help you start or grow a prosperous business.

Introductions lead by Linda Morena, mentor-in-residence and Daniel Graham, Business Development Manager of Futurpreneur Canada

Introductions lead by Linda Morena, mentor-in-residence and Daniel Graham, Business Development Manager of Futurpreneur Canada

This month’s event focused on understanding the value of mentorship. To begin, we were joined by Linda Morana and Daniel Graham of Futurpreneur Canada. 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. During the event, Linda and Daniel explained the benefits of mentorship. We learned that good mentorship can build your confidence, add to your business acumen and provide you with an extended network. We also heard of the success story of Kailey Gilchrist, founder of NONA Vegan Foods Ltd. You can find out more about Futurpreneur Canada’s mentorship program and other amazing resources at www.futurpreneur.ca

Emily starting her talk with a quick mindfulness exercise.

Emily starting her talk with a quick mindfulness exercise.

Our featured start-up story of the month was Emily Rose Antflick, the founder of Shecosystem: a co-working and wellness environment where women thrive. Her work stems from a feminine paradigm that values collaboration, emotional authenticity, and work-life integration. She is a versatile educator and program designer with rich perspectives on learning and community building. Emily also hosts weekly co-working meet ups with integrative wellness sessions. Emily began by leading the group through a breathing exercise and sharing a spoken word poem. When describing her business journey, Emily referred to it as a “seed in a dark place”, saying, “This is how most stories begin. So I let myself be in that dark place for a while and took the time to water myself with creativity and the things I liked to do.” And oh, how that seed has grown! In less than one year in business, Emily just announced that she has received the keys to her own space and is looking forward to establishing Shecosystem’s very own co-working space this fall. Until then, you can catch Shecosystem’s co-working sessions.  Her next sessions will be held on Tuesday, August 2nd and Tuesday, August 9th at the Gladstone Hotel Melody Bar. To learn more about how you can join in visit www.shecosystem.ca

 

Our refreshments and gift bag swag. Details below. 

Our refreshments and gift bag swag. Details below. 

This event would not be all that it was without the generous support of our in-kind sponsors. I’m extremely appreciative of the gifts they’ve allowed me to pass on to you. I would like to send a special thank you to Panago Pizza for including our event in their #randomactsofpizza campaign. Panago Pizza provided delicious food that accommodated different dietary restrictions/lifestyles (including vegan ‘za). Guests were also provided with a voucher for a free Chocolate Chunk Pretzel Cookie with Caramel Dip (sweet!). Find your local Panago or order online.

When curating the gift bags, I try to find items from brands that reflect the message of Curated Life, so every item has a unique tie. I’m pleased the share this month’s gift bag reveal:

1.       Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Quad (provided by Sephora Canada)

 Like a true girl boss, Kat Von D has used her business acumen to take her on a journey from tattoo artist to global beauty phenomenon.  The Shade + Light Eye Contour Quad can be used to transform your eyes through the art of colour contouring. Each quad contains a base colour and additional eye shadows to define, contour and highlight the eye. The palette is available in four colours: sage, rust, plum and smoke. The quad is exclusively available at Sephora for $34CDN. 

2.       Papabubble Toronto Handmade Candies

Established in Barcelona, Papabubble is all about artistic and innovative sweets that are handmade with love. New to Toronto, this artisan delight is made right before your eyes in their downtown boutique. The candies are made using just 5 simple ingredients and can feature custom made designs for your business or special event. You can check out the Toronto boutique at www.papabubbleto.com or visit in-person at 3360 Yonge Street (at Melrose Ave).

3.       The Body Shop Vitamin E AquaBoost Essence Lotion (full-sized)

I love The Body Shop for so many reasons (read that post here). For one thing 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 Vitamin E Aqua Boost Essence Lotion, which designed to quench thirsty skin for up to 48 hours.  The formula is light weight so it absorbs easily into skin and it is made with naturally-sourced hydrauronic acid. You can layer this lotion under a cream to prepare your skin for the day. The lotion is available at The Body Shop for $20CDN or online here.

4.       Holt Renfrew H Project  x  Boxed Water

In the spring/summer issue of Curated Life magazine, we discuss the importance of shopping consciously. This is because the products you consume can have a great impact on people and planet. This is why we were so pleased to learn that Holt Renfrew’s H Project has partnered with Boxed Water to replace the plastic water bottles distributed in-store. Boxed Water has a lower carbon footprint and is 100% BPA-free.  And if you’re in the area, be sure to check out Holt Renfrew’s newest location at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. The 130,000 square foot store has amazing live installations this weekend which include fashion illustrations by Monica Smiley and cold-pressed juices from Village Juicery. Holt Renfrew Square One will also offer Bespoke services that include a Leather Artisan, Nail Bar and Beauty Lab. View store address and hours here.

5.       Easy Period (info card)

Recently launched, Easy Period is a subscription service that delivers organic feminine hygiene products directly to your door (bonus: each box comes with a fair-trade chocolate bar). The company’s founder came up with the idea after wishing her tampons would magically appear at her door and never run out (don’t we all have that wish? Urgh, #lifeofagirl). But, it was after researching the nasty chemicals often found in mainstream brands, that she decided to step in by establish a company that provides healthier options to mainstream tampons and destigmatize periods; empowering women locally and abroad. Easy Period donates 5% of profits to ZanaAfrica Foundation, a non-profit that delivers pads and health education to girls in Kenya. Learn more at www.easyperiod.ca and be sure to look out for a feature about the company in the next issue of Curated Life magazine.

6.       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 has also partnered with Ignite Capital to offer an opportunity to compete for $20,000 of business funding. The competition closes on September 2, see www.ignitecapital.ca for application details. Access Community Capital Fund can be found online at www.accessccf.com.

An awesome way to end an awesome night!

An awesome way to end an awesome night!

If you missed this event, don’t worry. MASTERCLASS events are now bi-monthly.  Save the date forFriday, September 23rd ,2016.  The topic and speakers are to be announced shortly. If you’re a company interested in learning how you can sponsor an event or advertise in the magazine, feel free to email hello@curatedlife.ca. 

Until then, please enjoy a few more photos below. You can also follow @curatedlifeca and #mycuratedlife on Twitter and Instagram. 

Holt Renfrew Holiday Beauty Bag 2015

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

It’s the holiday season! There’s no snow in Toronto just yet, but Mink Mile is already lined with glistening holiday windows. And at Holt Renfrew there’s a little something extra to be excited about.  If you read this previous post, you’d know I look out for the Holt Renfrew Beauty Bag each season.  This is because it is usually filled with luxury beauty samples you can’t find anywhere else and only costs between $25 to $45. The bag also comes with a $10 voucher that you can use on a future beauty purchase. It’s brilliant! I don’t buy every single one, but in the past my favourite beauty bag samples were the Hermes Terre d’Hermes miniature cologne and shower gel set, Erno Laszlo Timeless Serum and Clinique Almost Lipstick in “Black Honey”.

When I saw this season’s bag in Holt Muse, it made its way to the top of my shopping list. It is priced at $35, but valued at over $100. And the bag still features the $10 voucher. I have a few beauty items on my wish list (including Tom Ford’s “Drake” lipstick…just because), so the voucher is a bonus. The bag itself is beautifully designed with navy honeycomb print and rose gold hardware. And it’s functional. There’s a top-handle for carrying it, plenty of storage space and a built-in interior mirror. So it will work well for makeup storage on your vanity table or in your suitcase for travel.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

My top favourites inside this beauty bag are the Tuscan Scent trio from Salvatore Ferragamo,  Miu Miu’s eau de parfum and  the Matte Revolution lipsticks by Charlotte Tilbury. Within the Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Scent trio is a sampling of the “quintessential collection”. It features 1.5 ml samples of the White Mimosa, Golden Acacia and Incense Suede scents. Of the three, the White Mimosa is my favourite. It is a floral but sensual, so it fits well with the rest of my perfume collection.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The second fragrance item in the bag is Miu Miu’s new flagship fragrance. It is comprised of the Lily of the Valley and Akilgalawood scents. I’ve tried this at the fragrance counter before. It’s a classic women’s perfume. The Lily of the Valley reminds me of a perfume my Grandmother used to wear; which is a good thing. This fragrance and  Alaia are competing for the next spot on my perfume tray. So, it’s nice to have this generous 4 ml sample to help me decide between the two when I’m ready (I recently used my Optimum points to purchase Narciso, which I really enjoy. I keep meaning to write the review, but that’s a good fall/winter fragrance to try as well).

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

To be honest, I can’t write much about my final favourite because I haven’t opened these Charlotte Tilbury samples yet. The packaging is too cute. I’ve been hearing a lot of good reviews about this line from a makeup artist and my sister-in-NARS since its Canadian debut. The Miracle Eye Wand is on my wish list, but heard Charlotte Tilbury’s lipsticks are good as well. I plan to visit their counter at Holts to see how they compare to my favourite, NARS Audacious.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The beauty bag also includes deluxe samples of Clinique’s “repairwear” uplifting firming cream (7 ml), Laura Mercier’s radiance foundation primer (15 ml) and Erno Laszlo’s Firmarine face bar (17 g). The full-sized versions of these products are available for sale on Holt Renfrew’s new e-store, but it looks like the beauty bags are only available in-store. I’m very pleased with this year’s holiday bag and I think it would make a great hostess gift (or gift to self). If you grab this bag or have any past favourites, tweet me and let me know.  

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.


How to get luxury beauty samples in Canada (without buying a subscription box)

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

I love being able to try new beauty products, but I hate having an excess of products that I never use. I’m a paperbag princess. I’ve learnt that my money is better in the bank than on my vanity (shout outs to Gail Vaz-Oxlade). Instead of wasting money on products I would barely use, I look to samples a way to try luxury beauty brands before committing.  For example, I went through two 5 ml samples of Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum before buying the full-sized product. That way I’m more certain that the product is worth the price and that there isn’t a drugstore brand equivalent. By doing so, I’ve actually saved. For example, I’ve been using the same bottle of a luxury-brand facial cleanser for 6 months (expiries at 12 months) and still have plenty left. In the past, I would have spent more money replenishing a drugstore-brand every month. You can have nice things; you just have to be smart about it.

I always have a stash of samples to pass on to friends or to carry a little bit of luxury with me when I’m travelling. But finding luxury beauty samples in Canada can be a challenge. And I find that the subscription beauty boxes we have access to do not have the selection of samples that I would want to try.  So here are my tips for finding the luxury beauty samples you actually want.

  1. Join Sephora Beauty Insider 

    Most of my deluxe-sized samples are from Sephora’s Beauty Insider program. In my humble opinion, it is the best beauty loyalty program on the planet. I’ve obtained samples from brands like Glam Glow, Origins, Fresh, Becca and Bobbi Brown. Plus, a handful of miniature perfumes just by redeeming points. Deluxe product samples are usually 100 points and perfume miniatures are usually 250 points . On top of redeeming points you earn from purchases, you also receive a free birthday gift (this year it’s two NARS mini lip pencils) and you also have access to exclusive offers online and at in-store events. The online offers usually require a minimum purchase amount, so I save items on my wish list and checkout only if the offers are worth it. And all orders come with 3 free samples. Sephora is particularly generous with samples at product launch events. At an Atelier Cologne event, for example, I received a full 85 ml bottle of their Magnolia Sud fragrance along with a monogrammed leather case with my purchase.

     

  2. Follow Your Favourite Brands on Social Media and Join Their Mailing Lists

    Now that more brands are embracing social media as part of their promotional plans, you can find links to product sample giveaways directly from the brand (but you have to move quickly). L’Occitane Canada is a good example. In the spring, they offered a duo of mini hand creams to Twitter followers who filled out a short online form and tweeted the hashtag #loveloccitane. After doing so, followers could pick up their deluxe samples in-store and receive an offer of % off an item from the line if they decided to make a purchase. I’ve also been able to get free samples from brands like Chanel and Eve Lom simply by being on their mailing list. Retailers like Hudson’s Bay, Holt Renfrew and Shopper’s Drug Mart also send out emails about samples when they are preparing for a new product launch. Being on a brand’s mailing list also gives you access to promo codes for exclusive gifts with purchase. Brands like Bobbi Brown and NARS are very generous, sometimes giving miniature eyeshadow palettes or 3-piece miniature sets.

     

  3. Visit Brand Websites Often

    Shopping through the beauty brand’s online store can get you access to exclusive samples or gift sets that include “free” miniatures that you can’t find in-stores. Some brands also have travel-sized products available for purchase as an introduction to their products. The Japanese beauty brand, Tatcha offers both. With my first Tatcha purchase, for example, I was given a generous 25 ml sample of their Pure Camellia Cleansing oil for free. Tatcha also sells travel-size options of signature products like the Polished Rice Enzyme Powder ($15US) and Indigo hand cream ($8US). Other luxury beauty brands who offer samples or travel-sizes for sale online are Codage Paris and Atelier Cologne . And according to Instagram May Lindstrom’s eco-beauty brand will also offer travel sizes in the near future.

     

  4.  Attend Beauty Events

    From what I’ve seen Hudson’s Bay Queen Street flagship puts on the best beauty events in Toronto. In addition to the mocktails and hor d’oeuvre, there are generous gifts with purchases and sometimes even 10% discounts. With this in mind, I usually wait for an event or the holidays to make bigger beauty purchases like perfumes so I can get the most for my money. It also helps to get to know your beauty counter staff well so they can keep you informed of up-coming events. According to my source at the beauty counter, Hudson’s Bay Queen Street’s next beauty event will be held September 17th, 2015. It will be a “Giving Back” event meaning, those who make a donation to the charity of the night will receive 10% off purchases. I haven’t seen any emails or signage to confirm this yet. So it’s best to follow Hudson’s Bay on Twitter for the details directly.

  5. Just Ask.

    At Sephora, you can usually have the staff make you a sample of any product that you want to try before buying. And at L’Occitane, you can usually get a few samples at the cashier with your purchases. Holt Renfrew does offer samples without you having to make a purchase but samples aren’t always available. Right now, Holt Renfrew does not give refunds on beauty purchase so it’s best to ask for a sample to take home before buying anything there just in case. Each season, Holt Renfrew also offers a beauty bag filled with luxury beauty samples for about $45. In addition to the samples you receive a voucher for $10 off your next beauty purchase.   I’ve purchased two so far and the best samples in those bags were from Hermes (miniature Terre d’Hermes cologne and shower gel set), Erno Laszlo (Timeless Serum) and Chantecaille (Jasmine & Lily Healing Mask).

If you'll like to stay updated on sample offers, feel free to follow me on  Twitter or look out for more "A Little Bit in Love" posts here on the blog.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

 
J