EVENT FEATURES

Vendor Profile- VIAHERA CANADA

 
 All photos are courtesy of  Lovestruck Portraits !

All photos are courtesy of Lovestruck Portraits!

 

Jeanny Buan is an advocate for empowering and educating women, she’s a model, blogger, public speaker and has a huge passion for traveling! She is also the owner of “Viahera”. If this is your first-time hearing about Jeanny and Viahera Canada, buckle your seat belts and prepare to be wowed!

 
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As a woman, I am truly inspired by women entrepreneurs, women who push their own boundaries, women who believe in themselves. Jeanny accomplishes all of this with grace, passion and pride. Her vision is to inspire women of all shapes, colours and nationalities. She wants women to believe in themselves. “To laugh more, explore more and LIVE more.” Can you imagine a world full of women like this? I can…and it would be magical!

 

Products at Viahera’s are handcrafted with love by Indigenous women from the Philippines, Basey and Cordillera. And, when you dig deeper as I did, you’ll discover that these bags were not just created by women, but women who lost everything from the typhoon Haiyan in 2013- the strongest typhoon that devastated central Philippines.  The scarves are hand woven by women whose skills have been passed down from generations.

 

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As I dug even deeper I learned that Jeanny grew up in a family that believed education was the only way to make it to the top. She proved that to be false. She has passion and drive behind her. She was curious and didn’t want to stay in one place for far to long. Jeanny was passionate then, just as she is now. She wanted to be an inspiration, to make a difference and to see the world and everything it had to offer.

 

And so Viahera was unleashed for the world to see. Driven by a woman whose passion is to empower other women. She found her passion, her purpose and helps other women to find theirs. That’s what I call beauty.

 

Viahera will be in the Modern Woman Show on April 14th & 15th and in 'The Runway" Fashion Show Saturday at 6:30pm. Here are a few sneak peaks of what you can expect!

I AM A MODERN WOMAN: Ammy Murray with Glittersaurus Rex Jewels

 Photos by deMo Photography

Photos by deMo Photography

Tell us about your business?

I primarily make handmade wire wrapped jewelry with semiprecious stones, but recently have expanded my offerings to include a line of crystal elixir oils.  These are oils you can use for massage, as bath oils, as diffuser oils, or just as perfume scented with essential oils.  Each bottle contains a number of crystals as well as a handmade resin pendant.

My Etsy shop intro says I am make jewelry for your inner forest gypsy, making her way hidden through the modern world.  It's made with the understanding that maybe you can't bring your crystal wand to the office, but you can sure adorn yourself with it!

How did you get started?

It all started with a love of crystals.

For as long as I can remember, I've been attracted to crystals. My mom talks about making me empty my pockets before I could come inside the house as a child, as my pockets would be filled with various rocks I had collected during the day. I liked the way they sparkled, or an unusual colour, or a unique shape, or just the way a particular rock felt.

As I grew up, my love of crystals morphed into a small obsession with healing crystals and jewelry. After a particularly rough couple of years where I went through a lot of personal changes, I started learning more and more about the healing and vibrational qualities of different crystals. I started a new rock collection, and found myself with bowls of crystals everywhere - on my desk, in my bathroom, in my kitchen, under my bed. At the same time, I became more and more interested in jewelry featuring crystals. I wanted to have some way of carrying my crystals with me all the time without destroying my pockets - turns out my mom was right to make me empty my pockets every day! Rocks can be rough on fabrics. Plus, I wanted to see my little sparkly beauties shine. I began dreaming about all of the different ways I wanted to wear my crystals. I always knew what I wanted, but finding it was another matter!

Finally, after years of seeing pieces that were almost, but not quite, what I wanted. I decided to start making the jewelry I wanted on my own.  I started reading blogs, and watching youtube, and practicing with craft wire. Then I started asking friends for feedback on what I was doing, and started giving away some of my excess as gifts. I kept experimenting, and as fast as I could make something, ideas for the next piece would start percolating. Very quickly, my house started to become overrun with supplies and finished pieces. That's when I decided to take the next step and open my Etsy shop!

But still, I was increasingly frustrated that I could carry or always access the particular crystal combinations I wanted in a practical and everyday way.  Although making my own jewelry was the solution for a while, I wanted more.

I have always believed in the power of dreams.  Every person is a dream interpreter for themselves – they just need to learn their own language.  If you can understand your own personal set of symbols your subconscious uses, then you can go a long way to solving your own problems.  You are your own best counsellor, if only you can learn to listen.  When someone close to me is going through change or is unhappy, I’ll usually ask them what they are dreaming about lately – because the answer and comfort they need is already there.

In September of 2016, I started dreaming about beautifully scented crystals, singing in harmony with nature, rising out of bathing pools where people would go to heal.  People would come to the pools and were told to enter into one, hurting and disfigured.  After some time in the warm healing waters, inhaling the scents from the crystals and relaxing, they would stand up, completely healed.  The crystals of the pool would then transform into a beautiful woman, who would hand the bather a small piece of herself to keep.

I knew this had to mean something.  I knew I had to make it.  I knew I had to offer it.  But how?  I started meditating on it.

Eventually it came to me.  I knew about making crystal elixirs using water – but what about oil?  I started doing research, and discovered that with some harder crystals, it was possible to infuse them into carrier oils, and the oil itself would begin to carry the vibration and power of the crystal.  But some crystals, especially copper based or bluish crystals, are not appropriate for elixirs as the chemicals in the stone can leach into the surrounding liquid and then be absorbed by the user.  And then I remembered orgone generators.  Essentially, these are crystals and metal shavings embedded into resin.  The embedding itself, or perhaps the organic matrix of the resin, seems to amplify the chi or energy flow of the crystals within.  I had already been experimenting with embedding crystals into resin in my jewelry making – why couldn’t I use the same process to make “wands” that would protect the user from chemical leaching, but at the same time amplify the power of the crystals embedded within?  And why couldn’t this wand eventually become a piece of jewelry for its user?

But that didn’t solve the problem of a scented crystal.  I started researching essential oils and aromatherapy, and found that many different oils have compatible uses with the crystal combinations I love using.  And indeed, one of the best ways to access aromatherapy is to use combinations of essential oils in a carrier oil.  Aha!

Once I struck on the how, the next step became what: What were the best ways to best combine these two powerful modalities?  I sent myself back into dreaming and meditation.  And sure enough, as I meditated, combinations of oils and crystals and purposes began to come to me.  And, the moment a combination was “right”, the name of an associated Goddess would arise alongside to claim this elixir as hers.

And that’s how the Glittersaurus Rex Crystal Oils were born.

My love of making jewelry still stands.  In fact, rather than leave the buyer with a “wand”, each bottle of 4 oz or larger oil contains some small crystals, some larger crystal points, and a series of resin-encased crystals that I’ve made into a pendant for your use long after the oil is gone.  The beauty of it is, the crystals are in a symbiotic relationship with the essential oils and the quartz points, meaning that as the pendant is in the oil, it “steeps”, like a tea, making the power of the crystal stronger and stronger over time.  So, by the time it is ready for you to wear, it has spent all that time growing and recharging its energy, preparing for you, getting to know you.

Each blend contains as a base a piece of obsidian and a quartz crystal point.  The quartz helps to purify intention and amplify power and continues to cleanse the other stones in the oil, and the obsidian provides a grounded base for action to occur.  Each stone used is carefully cleansed with sage, and programmed with the blend’s intention before it is placed in the bottle.  The oils are diluted in either 100% apricot kernel or sweet almond oil.  All essential oils used are 100% pure and organic essential oils.

What inspires you?

The stones.  For me, it all starts with the stones.  I listen to when the "rocks talk", and move from there.

I sort of waver between being very, very minimalist in my designs, and being very intricate.  I'm also very attracted to asymmetry.  I think everything about you should be interesting and unique, and so I'm also very attracted to asymmetry.  I very rarely, for example, make a pair of earrings where both are exactly the same.  They will match, but they will be slightly different in shape or arrangement or in the stones used.

I think these are all a function of being so inspired by nature.  I like to say that perfection is boring.  What I mean by that is, every thing in nature is both absolutely unique and slightly imperfect - which is what makes it unique! I want that echoed in the things I give to the world.

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

A woman who knows what she wants, and is not afraid to do what she needs to chase it!

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Learn as much as you can.  Listen to podcasts, read books, talk to other entrepreneurs.  Apply the same creativity to you give to your business to marketing your business.  And remember - failures are always opportunities to learn.  The only difference between an expert and a beginner is practice.

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?

Trust yourself.  Listen to yourself.  Meditate more, listen to your body, and don't feel like you have to be perfect all at once.

What is in the future for Glittersaurus Rex Jewels?

I would really love to find some dedicated studio space where I could branch out even more!  I'd love to be in a few stores over the next year or two.  I'm also looking to launch a website as well as a few video series explaining a bit more about each of the oils I create, and the reasons/uses for each crystal.

What would we find you doing in your free time?

Those rare occasions are dedicated to my children.  We like to cook, go for walks, talk and joke.  It doesn't matter where we are or what we are doing - just time together is enough.

Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business?

Is it trite to say Oprah?  I love that she has built an empire, but an empire with a heart for the Universe.  I love that she encourages and empowers other women to be present and be connected.

Do you think having a mentor is valuable both while you're starting out and even after you are more experienced?

Mentorship is always valuable, at any stage, in every part of your life.  No matter what you are going through, someone else has gone through it first.  I find that my biggest challenge is my own fear of reaching out and seeking mentorship.  However, I've been blessed with some really great role models so far.  And I've always found that when you ask for help or advice, people are always happy to do it.

Check out Ammy's designs HERE and make sure to come visit her booth at The Modern Woman Show on Saturday April 22nd.  She will be located in the Marketplace area and we are so excited to have her and all those healing crystals! 

Train the Mane: How to de-grease those lovely locks

Today I have started my challenge. It's the no washing my hair challenge....

I will fully admit it. I'm a shower junky. I love Love LOVE a warm soak and this includes sudsing up the hair every single day. When friends comment that they only wash their hair every 3-7 days I just don't understand how this could be possible?? My hair is blonde, fine, and thin. When the alarm clock goes off it's straight into the shower to tame what has become a greasy rats nest perched on the top of my head. I have never lasted more than 24 hours (unless trapped at the lake or in a tent) with a greasy mop. I asked the ladies at Visions Salon and Spa for some direction in hopes of training the mane.

Skye: When transitioning to washing less often, the first thing you will feel is that your hair looks oily/wet, and feels a bit grimey/dirty. You will miss the freshly washed feeling!! I always at this point grab my dry shampoo first.

This is exactly my problem...I look like I just got out of a hot yoga class every morning. Someone could sneeze and the moisture will flatten my do. I decided to try this on a weekend....no one needs to see day one and if I follow Skye's tips I will be bouncing into the next week with my grease free flow. 

Skye: Now, I know many of my brunette ladies may struggle with the powdery consistency and colour of many dry shampoos. This is why I always recommend a talc-free product such as the Surface Trinity Dry Shampoo ($27.30 at Visions Salon & Spa). It cleanses the hair with the disinfecting properties of lemon, and absorbs oil with an ingredient called Zeolite that actually comes from volcanic ash!!! It will not dry out your hair of its natural oils as talc-based dry shampoos will that actually cause you to produce even MORE oil!! It respects your body's natural production of oil, allowing you to ween yourself off of the daily wash, while also being COMPLETELY invisible in colour!!

I have purchased dry shampoo in the past with little knowledge about the ingredients or the how to's. Skye's advice makes total sense. If you keep drying your hair out your body will want to produce more oil which is why i'm on this hamster wheel in the first place. 

Skye's How to Dry Shampoo: It is best used by picking up small pieces around your part and front hairline, as well as the crown of your head, and using short spritzes of product holding the nozzle about 6-8 inches away from your scalp. This will allow the product to disperse evenly throughout your exposed oily areas, and you will get the best absorption of oil!! Then let it sit for a few minutes, maybe apply your makeup or something, incorporating it into your morning routine. Once it has sat for 3-5 minutes, it will have had the opportunity to absorb the oil. Use a hairbrush to brush the product through.

You will feel clean, freshened up, AND you'll have a beautiful boost of a NON-lingering, naturally derived fresh citrus scent, with no powdery residue.  

Skye's Style Tip: Another thing I love to do when my hair is feeling oily and dirty, is after I've freshened up with my dry shampoo, playing around with braids or different fun styles. At first, it can feel challenging and difficult, but with practice, you will be a master at braiding! Braids or twists are particularly wonderful for dirty hair because they are beautiful and look intricate, distracting the eye from your dirty hair. I like to add a few clip-in extensions to enhance my braids and make them look much thicker. Adding dry shampoo or the Surface Push Powder ($31.45) to your hair is an awesome way to gain a bit of texture to help you create that thick, messy look without it slipping apart throughout the day! If braiding is not your thing, pull your hair into a low messy bun with a few pieces framing the face, or do a classic top-knot!! Look through Pinterest or YouTube to find some fun styles to distract you from running your fingers through your hair throughout the day. Our hands produce a lot of oil and will cause your hair to feel more oily the more you touch it. It's always fun to add some hair accessories. Hats, clips, headbands and scarves.

On day two I reference some great braid tutorials from Lauren Conrad's blog. WOW!! this is the hair how-to gold mine. Step by step instructions on buns, messy top knots, easy braids, and everything in between to keep me looking like I have just been to the stylist. 

Skye knows: Play around and find something that makes YOU feel beautiful. Before you know it, you will have gorgeous healthy locks that can go 2-3 days or even LONGER without washing. Good luck everyone! Remember that investing in good products with good ingredients is the key to having healthy, happy hair!! Always feel free to pop into Visions Salon & Spa here in Saskatoon. All of our staff are highly trained in Surface hair care, an organic line filled with ingredients that respect both your health and the earth. They will always be able to answer any questions you have and give you a prescription of products tailored to your unique head of hair!!  

-Skye Ukrainetz, Hairstylist and Nail Technician at Visions Salon & Spa.

THANK YOU SKYE!!! I'm on day three and can't wait to brag to my friends how I haven't washed my hair in days and can show off all my new hair styles. Visions Salon and Spa will be showing off their work as a hair sponsor for the upcoming Runway Fashion Show on Saturday April 22nd at the Modern Woman Show & Expo. For more information on VIP tickets click HERE......we happen to know that there is a complimentary blow-out gift certificate from Visions is in those swag bags ;)

Women in BIZ - a Rock Star panel of local women entrepreneurs

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Behind every successful woman is her story. We have gathered a panel of brilliant trail blazers within our community of women entrepreneurs. On Sunday April 23rd at 1:00 p.m. join us as we chat about how they began their journey, what inspires them, and tip and tricks for those with the entrepreneurial spirit.  

  • We are storytellers.
  • We are inspiration.
  • We are knowledge.
  • We are powerful.

Who should run more of the world? Women. Until then, enjoy the guidance of some awesome women who lead fiercely and fearlessly.

Here are the power houses on our 2017 panel:

Jana Danielson

Owner of Lead Pilates

As the owner of Lead Pilates, Cycle & Fitness and Lead Integrated Health Therapies, Jana has worked to create unique business devoted to providing clients with the latest trends in health and fitness and therapies including Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Naturopathic Medicine, Reflexology and Massage Therapy. Jana is dedicated to an all-around healthy lifestyle and shares this passion with her team and clients. Jana went from teaching Pilates out her basement studio to opening a studio in 2010 on Taylor Street to just this past summer, expanding her Pilates studio to launch a unique organization that integrates multiple movement therapies under one roof.

Jana completed her Bachelor of Commerce and Masters in Business Administration Degrees at the University of Saskatchewan. Jana worked as a Business Consultant before making a career change into the wonderful world of Pilates. She was certified thorough the Pilates Core Integration Program in 2008 and since then has completed certifications through Physical Mind, is PMA Certified and in 2013 joined Balanced Body as a Faculty Member. She is also a CoreAlign Master Instructor.

 

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Mackenzie Firby

Owner of Two Fifty Two Boutique

Mackenzie Firby was raised on a farm near Kenaston, Saskatchewan.  After the completion of High School, Mackenzie moved to Saskatoon where she obtained her Bachelors of Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan in 2003.  Mackenzie was then employed at SaskTel and Hershey as a Sales and Training Representative. She shone in her positions and was awarded various awards within both companies.

Mackenzie realized there was a need for a high-end women’s clothing store in Saskatoon. In 2014, after over a year of research and preparation, Mackenzie opened Two Fifty Two Boutique. Two Fifty Two Boutique carries world renowned brands including Eileen Fisher, DVF, Kate Spade and Vince among many more.

In 2016 and 2017 Mackenzie was honored to be a YWCA Women of Distinction Award nominee in Entrepreneurship. Two Fifty Two was the recipient of two 2016 SABEX Awards, Customer Service and New Business Venture.  They were again nominated in 2017 for Customer Service and Community Involvement. Mackenzie was also nominated for the 2016 ABEX Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Community involvement and having a positive effect in our city and province are extremely important to Mackenzie. She believes in supporting local charities and events as a way of giving back to the community that has been so supportive to her and TFT. Mackenzie is involved and regularly attends charitable events, donates items for fundraising and has in store promotions that support local charities including: The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, Ronald McDonald House, The Heart and Stroke Foundation, Dress for Success, Hope’s Home and numerous others. Mackenzie has also had speaking engagements at the University of Saskatchewan, on Global and CTV TV and various Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce events.

 

Mandi Newman

Manager of Operations at Vendasta Technologies

Mandi Newman is a typical Type A personality. She’s a lover of lists, calendars and organization — even her closet is color-coded. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Regina in 2010, she joined the sales and finance world with Scotiabank. She is now the Manager of Operations at Vendasta, and looks forward to building her career within the growing Saskatchewan Technology sector!

Vendasta’s platform empowers agencies and media companies to grow their sales of marketing solutions for small and medium-size businesses. Their system identifies hot leads who are interested in the products you offer and allows you to provide scalable tools at the right price and service model when businesses are ready-to-buy. Vendasta has won many awards including: 

SABEX Award - Business of the Year 2016

SABEX Award - Growth & Expansion 2016

Deliotte Tech Fast 50

PROFIT 500 ranking of Canada's Fastest-Growing Companies

Flow Magazine "Best Places to Work in Saskatoon" 2016

 

Candace Ippolito

CEO & Owner of SaskMade Marketplace

Candace Ippolito was raised on a cattle operation near Kisbey, Saskatchewan and remains active in the livestock industry.  An animal science graduate from the College of Agriculture, U of S, Candace is a committee member of Canadian Western Agribition, and an active 4-H alumnus.

SaskMade Marketplace is a specialty grocery store focused on the best in local ingredients. SaskMade connects consumers with farmers through transparency & education of food production. They have created meaningful conversation about where food comes from by offering farm fresh produce & meat, take home ready meals, uniquely Sask ingredients and many more pantry staples, snacks & treats. Join SaskMade today to taste the local difference. Buying local - Good for the community, Good for the soul.

Paula Collins

CEO and Owner of Masala Model & Talent

Established in 2000, MASALA Model & Talent is a Saskatchewan based full service agency providing representation for models, actors, singers & dancers for local & international placement. Masala provides professional services for to clients across Canada & The U.S. from fundraisers to major productions.

The MASALA School of Professional & Personal Development courses enhances confidence/self-esteem in modeling & acting to healthy body image, peer pressure, posture/poise, personal hygiene, etiquette, public speaking, job preparation & professionalism. Paula holds weekly classes to promote confidence, poise, along with a focus on workplace and social etiquette. You can find Paula engaged within the community and supporting other local women entrepreneurs.

We hope to see you on Sunday April 23rd at 1:00 p.m. for an informative and interactive seminar with these ladies!

Vendor Spotlight: Kassidy Marschal from Paint Nite Saskatoon

Tell us about your business?

While we don’t like to use the word “class” due to its stuffy connotation, the easiest way most people describe our business is a “paint class in a bar!” Our main goal is for our guests to relax and have a ton of FUN: they socialize with friends and loved ones, they indulge in a drink or two, they might dance a little and sing along with our party playlist, and finally, they get a little creative! We sell all our tickets on our website (PaintNite.com) in advance, so our guests can choose which painting we’ll take them through step by step, which local venue they would like to attend, and of course, the date and time that works best for them!

We currently hold more than 15 public events each week in Saskatoon, North Battleford, Prince Albert and Lloydminster, as well as various charity fundraisers and private parties around north-central Saskatchewan each week.

How did you get started?

I was actually on maternity leave in 2015 when my cousin and aunt went to a Paint Nite in Calgary. I saw their paintings and was floored by how different yet beautiful they both were! And they did this in a BAR of all places? Talk about a perfect combination for a relaxing evening: alcohol and paint!

I’ve always had a passion for creating art, and I like to think I have a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. So I immediately inquired about bringing the company to Saskatchewan; I was sure it would be hit here! What I liked most about the business concept was that – contrary to popular belief – Paint Nite is not a franchise. Their licensing model offers more freedom to run the business as I choose, and avoid outrageous franchising fees. Basically, our license allows us to use the respectable Paint Nite brand, sell tickets through a secure website, and have access to thousands of beautiful copyrighted paintings. Meanwhile, we get to enjoy being a “local” company: local artists partnering with local venues, bringing the joy of Drinking Creatively to Saskatchewan!

We started with three events in January of 2016, and life kind of went nuts from there! It’s been an amazing journey so far.

What inspires you?

My amazing team of artists inspire me every day. The energy they bring to each event and their passion for art is contagious. They truly make days brighter and bring happiness to everyone around them, keeping our guests coming back again and again. I can’t imagine where we’d be without each of them!

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

I don’t think there’s any one particular way to be a Modern Woman; to me, the term encourages inclusivity and diversity. Anyone who feels empowered in their femininity, and confident to be whomever she wants to be – whatever that may look like. I love that in this day and age there’s a conversation about supporting one another, despite our differences. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a stiletto-ed CEO, or striving to find a balance between all the different roles a woman can have in her life, I like to think there’s a sense of comraderie in being female. We’re all just trying our best!

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Figure out what your strengths and your weaknesses are. Literally make a list! Do what you’re best at, and either improve your skills where they’re lacking or delegate out the tasks you’re not so great at. You can always hire an accountant if you’re a horrible bookkeeper, take a social media workshop if you find online advertising intimidating, or read a book to become a better boss. You’re likely not Wonder Woman, and that’s okay!

Finally, don’t let your drive and your passion waiver in the face of self-doubt. I read an interview with Emma Watson a long time ago, where she spoke about feeling like a fraud sometimes; like she had somehow tricked people into she was talented and had falsely fallen upon success. Surely if Em Wats can fall victim to this sensation occasionally, we all can. But it’s not true! No one is more passionate about your business than you, and you are entirely capable of being successful.

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?

You can’t do it all, Girl. Hire help and delegate sooner, rather than later. And put that baby in daycare, already. (Shockingly, trying to work 60 hour weeks from home with a toddler doesn’t mix well.) She’ll even enjoy going, I promise. She’ll still love you the most.

What is in the future for Paint Nite in Saskatoon?

We’re always booking fresh paintings, partnering with great venues, and hiring new talent! We vow to keep the party going and the creativity flowing.

A big goal for this year is to do as many fundraisers as we possibly can; we want to support our local community as much as possible. Our dream is to hit the six figures mark. How amazing would it be if we raised over $100,000 for local charities?!

What would we find you doing in your free time?

Oh gosh, this is where you discover how truly boring I am! (I’ve actually convinced myself that working in front of the TV constitutes as R&R some days.) But spending time with my hubby and little girl definitely top the list. We’re also busy preparing for Baby 2, which is currently consuming a lot of time and thought! I recently joined a yoga class. I like decorating (and redecorating) my house. I enjoy photography. Obscure Netflix dramas and documentaries are my fave. If I weren’t pregnant, I’d like to be being skiing and travelling lots right now. Am I super basic? …Probably.

Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business (personal or celebrity)?

What kind of Saskatchewan girl would I be if I didn’t give a shout-out to Rachel Mielke! She turned her hobby of making jewelry into a hugely successful company: Hillberg & Berk. I’m a bit of a marketing geek, so I admire the way she was able to create such a luxurious brand from homemade jewelry. Branding is everything!

Do you think having a mentor is valuable both while you're starting out and even after you are more experienced?

Absolutely! While starting a business can be extremely rewarding, it can also be overwhelming, isolating, and downright scary. Having someone to talk to who has experienced the same ups and downs that you’re going through is invaluable.

Do you feel a strong sense of community among business woman and female entrepreneurs in Saskatoon and in Saskatchewan?

I do, and I feel like this community is strengthening all the time. We have to thank organizations such as the Modern Woman Show for that; it’s so important to celebrate and support our local female-driven businesses! I think the majority of our community understands that celebrating another’s success doesn’t minimize your own.

You can hang out with Kassidy on Saturday April 22nd & get creative with TWO OPTIONS of Paint Nite classes (2pm & 7pm). Enjoy the Modern Woman Show, a cocktail or two, take in the shopping, tutorials,  and bring home a painting!

 

Click Here to join the Saturday April 22nd Class at 2:00 p.m.

Click Here to join the Saturday April 22nd Class at 7:00 p.m.

*classes include your admission into the Modern Woman Show & Expo

 

You CAN sit with us.

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Uh. That sinking feeling. A bit of anxiety. Knots in your stomach. The feeling of a little (sometimes a lot of) DEFLATION. And the innate desire to "squash them". 

What is it that I'm referring to? A new store has opened. A new product has launched. A direct competition. Your competition. Dang it. What does this mean for you? What will you need to change or improve to win the consumer's business. How do you keep your edge???? 

Being an entrepreneur is hard. Holy H E double hockey sticks. Competition is frightening but it is truly necessary and I want to share with you why -

"Competition is a good thing, It forces us to do our best.

-Nancy Pearcey

Change the way you think about your competition. The reason why you're in business is because you are offering a product or service that people want.  I call these people your tribe. Your tribe isn't just looking at the necklace you're selling but probably has similar values to your company. Maybe your tribe is environmentally conscious and the necklaces you make out of recycled materials hits them in the sweet spot. It is no longer just about a necklace. Boom you have built a relationship. Your relationship with your tribe is more important than anything else. Your competition most likely has their own values and it's not that often that they lineup exactly

I have a few examples of this in my world of business. I wear a lot of hats - from the world of managing cosmetic laser clinics to tradeshow producer to hotel owner. They are very different but one thing remains the same - I know my tribes and I value my relationships with clientele in each of them. I provide the best service I can in each industry and never trade my reputation for money

So what happens when your competition starts "biting your shit"? Imitation is flattery. It also pushes you to continue to be innovative. This is why you're an entrepreneur!! You are most likely a go-getter. A stagnant business is a closed business. Find your niche. Grow it like only you can. Recently I received a colorful review from a competitor. It was broadcast for all to see that they felt I had "copied" their business model. The truth was that I might sell a similar service but my values, integrity, ability to be innovative is what sets me apart. Also....to anyone who thinks writing poor reviews on your competitions social media site is valuable you should just stop reading this and basically take a hike. 

Understand that some competition isn't actually competition at all. You may be able to form some pretty sweet partnerships. A key example of this is my relationship with Michelle Strawford from Regina's What Women Want Tradeshow. She produces a successful tradeshow for women, she is well respected (this chick has INTEGRITY), and is always innovative. When asked by businesses what other shows I think they should be apart of I will always suggest hers because I value our relationship more than money. We have created a partnership through this and we are actually vendors in each others show's. Look for those opportunities. 

One upping is a waste of your time. March to the beat of your own drum. It is good to know what your competition is doing but you don't have to obsess over it. We get phone calls at our clinics inquiring all the time about our pricing, asking questions that only very very knowledgeable (within our field) people would ask and with the power of call display shows that they are coming from the phones of our competitors. Again FLATTERY.... but stop yourself from feeling like you have to play a game. Price wars are also a race to the bottom not the top. You may lose a few customers but in the long run you gain the business by educating your tribe. Creating the trust. Building the relationship.

Now, when you see another coffee shop open down the street - don't devise ways to burn it down. Grab a few slices of your grandma's famous lemon cake (don't give them the recipe but maybe see if you can become their supplier) and welcome them to the block. 

Chantal 

For those of you that want to join our Modern Woman "Tribe" we would love to have you! Our tradeshow takes place April 22nd & 23rd at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, SK. We focus on promoting women in business throughout the year, we offer mentor-ship opportunities with experienced #GIRLBOSSES, complimentary social media reputation seminars, and a plethora of add-ons to capture the essence of your business and make you stand out to your target audience. Click Here to learn more about being a vendor and HERE to apply for Our Modern Hustle Mentorship Opportunity. See you all very soon ;)

 

Here We Go! Welcome to the 2017 Modern Woman Show

Oh, how i love the holidays! It's a time where we feel the delight in giving - offering love and togetherness and of course, a few beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree.  Some of the most recurring themes of the holidays include family gatherings, overloading on food & beverages, and certainly feeling the fury of crowded malls. It is also a theme among us at Modern Woman that a New Year and SHOW is upon us.

When the team at Modern Woman started to plan the 2017 'season' (back in July....)we wanted to focus on the continued development of the show encompassing our forever motto -"inspire strong, confident women with an appetite for adventure and a passion for life." We have brought back the anticipated spring fashion show, with increased seating for those that were not able to snag a ticket. Our partnerships with local businesses has flourished to include a mentorship opportunity for one lucky winner - Click here for details on Our Modern Hustle.

In keeping with our values as supportive women entrepreneurs, we added new areas to the event including The Marketplace & Learn n' Shop. Local crafters and artisans have a farmer's market style area in the middle of our busy trade-show to showcase the intricate items that they are so passionate to share with us. The Learn n' Shop has already become such a success with interactive class options within the event. *SPOILER ALERT* We are tickled pink about having Paint Nite, Lead Pilates, and Ryde YXE among just a few of the classes that will be offered. New and exciting opportunities for businesses and attendees will continue rolling out over the course of the next couple months. 

As you may have noticed our website and blog has also seen a makeover in the last week.  I'm so excited to have our bloggers write some more 'hot topic' posts, focusing on issues that not only effect each of our personal lives, but often hit the hearts and homes of people in our community.  We will be featuring themed posts in series including The Fabulously Unfit Girl's Guide To Health & Wellness, I'm a Modern Woman - a look at local women entrepreneurs, and we will be sure to keep you updated on all thing Modern Woman.

From all of us at The Modern Woman - may the season find you among those you love, sharing in generosity and gratitude. We hope to see you in April!

Chantal xoxo

Diversity on the Runway

 

With the Modern Woman Show fast approaching, one of the biggest tasks as the fashion show coordinator is choosing the models that will be showing the clothing on the runway. Their job is to look great, that goes without saying - they're models... duh, but ultimately it is to represent the vendor's merchandise and make it appealing to the audience. But then the question becomes, what makes something appealing?

So often following any fashion show I work at or attend, I hear "The clothes look great on those models, but they sure wouldn't look like that on me!" That is almost verbatim. Every. Single. Time.

The thing is, while clothing on a parade of similar looking people can make a beautiful, artistic statement for haute couture shows, this particular show is about everyday people that shop with our local merchants. In our community, that means a melting pot of ethnicities, body types, and lifestyles. Aiming to have some diversity on the runway allows the audience to perhaps see themselves reflected in the show, feel more confident trying on the clothes, embracing the newest trends, and ultimately supporting those local merchants.

The goal is to show attainable fashion. That means no matter the colour of your skin, what your story is, your age, what gender you are, if you are thin, short, curvy or tall - you can come to the show and feel like you saw something on the runway that you can wear.

This year we welcome several new vendors that really put a new twist on the diversity of the show in terms of the clientele it reaches. We have FIVEAM, our first menswear retailer; Kiowa Sage - a local First Nations designer; and Red Lotus - a boutique that specializes in garments geared toward women who have undergone mastectomies.

A term thrown around loosely is "body positivity", but people assume that means loving yourself only at a certain size or weight. WRONG! It means accepting and loving yourself (and others) no matter what beef they have with themselves... and trust me, we all have them.

We have 30 (30!) models walking in this year's show, and not one of them look alike. I asked a few of them to weigh in with their feelings on runway diversity and here is what they had to say:

 

Mandy

"The only Webster's definition of 'model' that denotes a size requirement is when referring to a miniature replica. Since no one can essentially be a miniature replica in the fashion world, I'm ecstatic to see the industry finally embracing models of all shapes, sizes & colours. The focus should be more on projecting the image of healthy confidence rather than a particular body type to aspire to. Thin, curvy, tall, short - it's all beautiful."

 

Anton

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but true beauty is within all of us no matter your race, gender or shape. We are all beautiful and it is confidence that will make us shine. To quote Dr. Seuss 'Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!' At the end of the day we all smile in the same language.”

 

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Shyla

"Runway fashion is a visual picture of a moving art form. It holds many titles and is always presents the top fashion trends. Body imagery and its uniqueness plays an important role. I believe runway should take further steps to embrace ALL body types to create solidarity among designers."

Siera

"Bodies are beautiful no matter what shape and size. We are made to believe that smaller is better and we become obsessed with looking a certain way rather than treating the body like the magnificent biological machine it is. We need to turn our focus to optimal performance rather than fitting a particular mould. We are all unique and that should be represented in the media as well as on the runway."

 

Jeanny

"Diversity in fashion is essential and it starts by educating men and women that beauty comes in different shapes, colours, and sizes. This allows the younger generation to be empowered as they see more "relatable" role models on the runway. One day I will look back on this day holding onto my daughter's hand when she tells me 'Mom, you have done it, so can I!'"

 

Ashley

"When Katie first asked me to take part in this fashion show, my immediate response was 'How cool!' Followed by utter dread. As the date draws nearer to the show, I've actually realized how freaking cool it will be to be a model of a different demographic that people can look at and identify with. I feel like on this stage if I can make even one person in the crowd feel like 'Hey I could wear that too!' then that is worth the experience itself!"

As you can see, these models are just like you and me. They are you and me.

My personal advice? Take care of your body and mind and the rest will come. It's just that simple.

I can't wait for this year's show and see all of our beautiful faces and vendors light up the runway! Come out to the show and share our good vibes!

XOXO,

Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure to grab your friends and take in the Runway Fashion Show hosted by Chantel Huber at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 16th at Prairieland Park. See the newest trends in fashion with 11 boutiques including, Swank Shoe Lounge, Era Style Loft, Details at Home, Kiowa Sage, Harper Clothing Co., Tonic, Red Lotus, Lead Pilates, Two Fifty Two Boutique, Bella Chic, and FIVEAM. Come early to grab seats, win some fabulous prizes, and of course...get a head start on all the shopping at the Modern Woman Show & Expo. General Tickets are available at the door for $10. This event is proud to support the YWCA Saskatoon.

Meet our Partner: Realty Executives Saskatoon

 

 

With a new season approaching it always feels like the right time to think about home renovations, spring cleaning, planning out what you will do with your yard this year...or in fact look for a new or existing home to purchase.  In preparation for the big event we caught up with Broker/Owner of Realty Executives Saskatoon, Wayne Zuk, to talk about the brokerage, what inspires him, and what tips he has for female entrepreneurs.  Realty Executives Saskatoon is the Presenting Sponsor of The Modern Woman Show and the agents are truly - Where the experts are.

Tell us about your business?

Our business is a full service real estate brokerage offering Residential, Commercial, and Farm real estate services. We have 115 licensed real estate Executives, plus an admin staff of 10. In 2015 we were involved in 2200 real estate transactions with a volume of just over 780 million dollars.

 How did you get started?

We started out in 1976 under the brand name Ashford Realty. Ashford was a subsidiary of the Alberta based Nu-West Development Corporation, and a sister company to a prominent home builder called Cairns Homes.

 What inspires you?

I'm inspired by watching adults help children. I'm inspired by health care workers who work with our seniors. I'm inspired by watching young people achieve personal and professional goals beyond their wildest dreams.

 What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

My mother was born in 1921. Her focus was to get married, and have a family, and look after that household - which at the time was a Time and a Half job. Then, once her 5 children were old enough, she thought about work outside the family home. Very little thought or time was dedicated to herself. The idea of a Modern Woman, in my opinion, is different. The first focus, in most cases, is to get an education, travel the world, build a career, and then think about a family, which also amounts to a Job and a Half.  I think the Modern Woman is more in tune with looking after herself, and dealing with the stress of the Life/Work/Family Balance in a more effective way. In the end....it still amounts to ALOT of HARD, HARD, work.

 What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?

Take More Risk--what would you do...if you knew you couldn't fail--Do IT!   Learn how to maximize the opportunities that present themselves.----Learn to listen to your intuition.

 Do you have a female entrepreneur mentor?

I really admire the business acumen of Arlene Dickinson, and recently had the opportunity to listen to Christine Magee, co-founder of Sleep Country--both have compelling success stories. Women in business should be inspired by these ladies.

Do you think there is a supportive network for women entrepreneurs in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan?

I think there is room to grow in this area--and the efforts of events like Modern Woman can go a long way to ensuring that future female entrepreneurs have the plan, have the support, and have the mentoring necessary. Continued SUCCESS!

 

Visit the Realty Executive Saskatoon booth at the Modern Woman Show on April 16th & 17th at Prairieland Park. Learn what a REX agent can do for your buying and selling needs. You can also see a few of the agents on the Runway with FIVEAM clothing at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday April 16th. Don't miss it!

LEADING the way in Saskatoon: Our introduction into Pilates

 

What is Pilates?

The art of controlled movement to improve flexibility, build strength, and develop endurance in the entire body. It places emphasis on alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core, improving coordination and balance.

Now what is Lead Pilates?

Take all the fundamentals of Pilates and then place them in a facility with amazing instructors, advanced technology and equipment. Now add a wide range of services that include innovative classes to the ability of having Integrated Health Therapies such as Massage, Chiropractic, and Sports Medicine Services- ALL UNDER ONE ROOF. Oh, and don't forget the amazing exclusive clothing line Alo Clothing.

 

Our Experience

When I had the chance to check out the new Lead Pilates studio, I knew it was something I couldn’t say no to. Having never tried Pilates I was confident that Jocelyn and myself would have the best experience with owner, Jana Danielson guiding us.  Jana had suggested we start our afternoon off in a BURN class… being a lover of hot yoga I felt this was going to be right up my alley.

 

The class was taught by the amazing Desiree, an experienced instructor that teaches a range of classes at the facility.  The room was a perfect summer hot day– not hot like make you drip sweat and wonder how the heck you will get through the next 50 minutes.  They achieve this perfect temperature with infrared heating from the ceiling.

 

Jocelyn and I were supplied with beautiful mats, and when I say beautiful, it was literally the best mat I have ever used.  Desiree was a great instructor, she had a perfect location on the side of the room so we could see her movements and the room was filled with mirrors so we could always make sure our posture was correct in each exercise.

 

The work-out was dynamic and had a great focus on pelvic floor strengthening. From our toes to the top of our heads, the exercises were challenging and fun. When we finished they provided us with wet cloths in the cool down to wipe our brows.

 

After class it was time for a tour of the entire studio. What a wonder! I was in awe at the vision and execution Jana has made. Lead Pilates is not just the large Pilates machines (called Reformers), it has grown into several areas and as Jana says, “With each class we offer there is one foot firmly grounded in the world of Pilates, and one foot in another aspect of fitness.”  This is so true, Lead now offers classes like the one we took - BURN, as well as, Essentrics, and Bodhi Suspension Training – which gives the ability to be suspended from all fours to improve flexibility, balance, and strength.

 

They have great mat classes for all levels and yes, you can learn the Reformer and other Pilates equipment too. The list goes on to include Booty Barre classes, Prenatal, and Mommy & Baby classes.  One class that definitely stood out in my mind was their addition of cycling. This isn’t your regular spin class – everything about your ride is projected onto the screen in front of you, feeling the impact of different terrains, and creating a feeling of being outdoors with their advanced bikes.

 

Leaving the building I felt like I was leaving a new home. Everything about the facility and staff make you want to return sooner than later. I highly recommend trying out a class or two (your first class is always free!). In the words of Lead Pilates - Love the Life you Lead.

Thank you Jana, Des, and all the fabulous Lead Staff for making my experience so great! Can't wait to come back :)

Chantal

 

 

When I was asked to join Chan in a Pilates class I was super excited as I’ve been wanting to try it for quite some time now. I have a few friends that do it religiously and are always chatting it up.  So thanks to a lovely friend for some child care I was able to attend their Friday afternoon BURN class.

 

At first the thought of “hot” roomed anything made me a bit queasy, still having some baby hormones raging. It was amazing! The infrared heat was so cozy and nice.  I was so impressed with the class and the trainer Des was incredible. So knowledgeable and spunky.  This facility exceeded my expectations big time. In my head, I had only pictured mat classes and the reformer boards… It’s SO MUCH MORE!! The cycle classes, the massage and chiro, and a clothing line in the front lobby. This place has it all.  A huge thank you to Jana for having us. What a great experience!

Joc XX

 

Lead Pilates can be found at their new location just off of College Drive & McKercher Drive on the corner of Packham Avenue & 105th St. in Sutherland. Make sure to visit their website for detailed descriptions of all the classes and amenities they offer. Don't miss the complimentary mat class at The Modern Woman Show & Expo at 9:30 a.m. on both Saturday April 16th & Sunday April 17th at Prairieland Park (just bring your own mat!). Lead will be on location all weekend to show you all the services they provide, as well as, they can be seen on the runway at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday April 16th with their amazing multi functional athletic wear.

 

All photos courtesy of deMo Photography

Do Modern Woman Show in style...

 

We say VIP all the way.

 

Starting today you can purchase your VIP tickets to The Modern Woman Show & Expo.

You have two ways to check out the hottest women's tradeshow with all access passes!

On April 16th  at 7:00 p.m. grab a group of friends for some afternoon shopping before taking in “The Runway” Fashion Show hosted by CTV Saskatoon News Anchor Chantel Huber. 11 local boutiques will be lighting up the catwalk to music by DJ Kush, showing us the new trends in women and men’s fashion, shoes and accessories.

Don’t miss out on the appetizers, preferred seating, and ‘Swag Bags’ with the exclusive Runway VIP Pass for $35.

 

 

At 2:00 p.m. on April 17th  spend “An Afternoon with Gretchen Rossi”. Lia Reese Canada is proud to be bringing Gretchen to Saskatoon in an intimate and interactive setting. Gretchen made a considerable impression with her appearances on The Real Housewives of Orange County. She is the founder of Gretchen Christine, with her hands in designing clothing, creating a make-up line, furniture, jewelry, and handbags. This quintessential Orange County fashionista is full of spunk and humor; we guarantee you won’t want to miss meeting her and learning about her journey as an entrepreneur.

The VIP Gretchen Experience is $20 and includes general admission into the tradeshow, preferred seating, and the opportunity to meet Gretchen after her speech!

Don't wait and make sure to get your ticket before they sell out! Visit www.modernwomansaskatoon.com to purchase.

LIA REESE CANADA presents Gretchen Christine Rossi

Designer & Creative Director Gretchen Christine Rossi

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"Gretchen Christine was born to design."

Gretchen Christine Rossi is the Creative Director for The Gretchen Christine Collection. Ever since debuting her first handbag line, Gretchen Christine has steadily grown the company to be a well-respected and highly sought after fashion and beauty brand. With fans and customers in more than 144 countries, the companies’ extreme attention to detail, the quality craftsmanship, forward thinking colorways, yet simple and classic designs make Gretchen Christine handbags extremely desirable. Gretchen was born into a designer family legacy, Gretchen’s father Scott Forward, is a hugely successful designer and engineer who instilled in Gretchen a passion for colors, textures and designs at a very early age.

After obtaining her BA from Baylor University in Texas, her love of design, lead her to a very lucrative career in Real Estate and Interior Design. Her accomplishments by 2008 landed in her a very exclusive group of agents. Gretchen was recognized by Coldwell Banker International for being in the top 7% of the world for sales volume and interior design installations. In 2009 Gretchen decided to follow her dreams and make a transition into accessories and fashion. Gretchen Christine debuted her first handbag designs, The Gretchen Christine Collection during New York Fashion week in 2009 working very closely with David Manning and his Style360 Company to huge success.

In June of 2008 Gretchen’s desires to create and perform where noticed by Hollywood producers who approached her about joining the wildly popular NBC/Bravo Television series, "The Real Housewives of Orange County." Gretchen embraced the offer as a business opportunity, she saw the show as a way to showcase her designs to the masses. Gretchen’s presence and popularity had been a consistent factor with-in the TV series over 6 seasons. Now entering its 11th season, the show is a huge international success recently celebrating more than 120th episodes being aired in just over 160 countries.

Being owned and syndicated by NBC Universal, it has become a billion-dollar franchise for the network. Gretchen immediately became one of the shows break out stars. With adoring fans all over the world, the show has been seen by over 400 million people, from the UK to Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa, Dubai, Asia and Mexico. Gretchen now has more than 675,000 twitter followers, she has 660,000 fans on Facebook and another 466,000 on Instagram.

In 2010 Gretchen launched "Gretchen Christine Cosmetics", Gretchen’s name sake cosmetics line has almost 300 sku’s and is a staple among top salons and make-up artists. In 2011 Gretchen launched Gretchen Christine Swim wear into retail. An exclusive deal with Swim Spot retail stores, Gretchen Christine Swim was completely sold out around the country in less than 7 days.

Gretchen’s desire to design and create show no signs of slowing down as she is prepping to launch several other categories with in the Gretchen Christine collection by the summer of 2016. In addition, Gretchen Christine Rossi was named in the top 30 on Twitters 2015 top 100 Entrepreneurs to watch.

Learn more about Gretchen and her journey as an entrepreneur on Sunday April 17th at 2:00 p.m. at the Modern Woman Show & Expo held at Prairieland Park, Saskatoon. Your general admission of $10 gets you in to watch her and take in the tradeshow for the day! Don't MISS out on $20 VIP Tickets available March 1st at www.modernwomansaskatoon.com - Get a reserved seat and the opportunity to meet her with access to the tradeshow!

The 'Modern Woman' Food Bank Challenge

Could you live off $32 dollars a week for food?

As a prudent planner and control freak I thought I could do this without issue. I spent the weeks leading up to this challenge thinking and re-thinking how I could demonstrate that a proper meal plan and budget could make this more than possible, but I ended up being part of an experience I wasn't at all prepared for.

But first, some things you should know...

Recent statistics (and a CTV news segment that inspired this blog post) reported that over 18,000 people utilize the Saskatoon Food Bank every month, with over half of those people being children. I wanted to find out why that figure was so high. In a casual conversation, someone suggested that in a city of roughly 255,000, as a statistic, 14% of the population living below the poverty line wasn't as bad as some places. However, I looked at it not as a statistic, but as 18,000 individual people... and that seemed like a whole lot of people. People that couldn't be pigeonholed into a certain demographic. Students, seniors, working families, those collecting social assistance or disability, and a variety of people who have just simply fallen on hard times due to any number of circumstances.

I did some digging into the data reported by HungerCount, a comprehensive study of food bank use in Canada, and found that Canadians visited food banks 14,000,000 times in 2014 with an average of 310,461 recipients each month being children. Yikes. Numbers are numbers, but I wanted more information - not just statistics, but a perspective from someone who could address the problem on behalf of the people utilizing the food bank right here in Saskatoon.

I was very lucky to correspond with Deborah Hamp, Director of Operations and Engagement for the Saskatoon Food Bank who was about to provide me with more insight.

I learned that there are four sizes of hampers available depending on how many people the hamper is designed to feed, and that the monetary value can change daily depending on what is available. A food basket is designed to last 2-3 days and can be accessed every 14 days. These baskets can contain soups, bread, lentils, oatmeal, canned protein frozen meat, pasta or rice, fresh produce (when available), and milk for children until 17 or nursing women. Deborah explained that the obvious key issues with the high usage of our food bank are inadequate social assistance rates, supplements for low-income seniors, and other income assitance such as disability. However, a bigger issue still is that wages for many low-income earners cannot keep up with the cost of living.

As I recently heard Bernie Sanders say, "Jobs should lift people of poverty, not keep them in it."

True dat, Bernie. The idea of "working for a living" has never been more untrue for a lot of people in low paying jobs. So what is happening to cause this problem among working people?

Well, think about it. People are working unskilled jobs that can't pay them enough to compete with increasing expenses, so there is consistenly a shortfall. Shortfalls that inevitably lead to crippling personal debt, increased government health care spending, increased social isolation, and increased incidence of mental illness such as depression and anxiety. Listen up people, you would be depressed too if had been eating the same thing for a week, if you didn't know where your next meal was coming from, or how you were going to feed your child a nutrious diet. People are quick to judge though, we've all done it.

So then, how do we elevate the quality of life for Canadians living below the poverty line? Well, HungerCount's findings suggest that affordable housing initatives, investments into education, and to improve support systems for low income families with children. But sadly, this is altogether easier said than done because, just as the people who utilize the food bank are multi-faceted, so are the solutions to each individual sitution. Plus, in a global economy that is sketchy at best - where does the money come from? In my discussion with Deborah Hamp, I then asked how people can help at a personal level, and she said the most powerful way to help begins with education.

So I decided to do just that. I wanted to do something to better educate myself and others about what it's like to experience food insecurity.

I designed a project based on similar challenges taking place all over North America, but adjusted the numbers to reflect the numbers here in Saskatchewan as best I could. I based this calculation on what the Saskatchewan monthly allotment for a single person on assistance would receive monthly, took away half for other necessities (soap, cleaning supplies, medication, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, etc.) and then divided by 4 to get an estimate of a weekly food budget. I realize that number may vary depending on the other expenses that could occur in a month, and the food budget could end up being slightly or not-so-slightly less depending on an individual's personal expenses. It is also noted that with an entire month's installment of money more savings could be accrued with bulk purchases as opposed to a single week's allotment, but for our purposes, a week's estimate was what we were going to work with. After speaking to a few people that either receive this benefit or work in this industry, I felt this number was fairly accurate and similar to what the other challenges presented in terms of a budget.

I needed some minions for this project so I asked some "modern women" to help me out. I'm so proud of these people for accepting this challenge whole-heartedly, and taking it so seriously with nothing to gain except a greater knowledge about themselves and others. We were very lucky to have each other as a support system via a Facebook group chat, where we could talk about our experience throughout the week. Many people in this situation wouldn't have that kind of support. There were laughs, frustrations, anger, and sadness as we all got a very small glimspe into a life of food insecurity. Our experience was only 7 days, but this is a long-term reality for too many people.

The rules were simple:

  1. Spend no more than $32 on your food for the week.
  2. No use of your previously purchased items that can be very pricey and likely to not be in your fridge or pantry. We were to treat it as a worst case scenario that left you starting from scratch; condiments, cooking sprays, oils, coffee, tea, or spices. It all had to be in the budget. We allowed random condiment packages collected from fast food places, because no matter your income - I'm pretty sure everyone has those atrocities laying around, and truly, if you wanted to go so far as to go grab them from somewhere, you could.
  3. No use of expensive convenience appliances - no Actifrys, Vitamixes or Keurigs,etc.
  4. Friends could not take you out for lunch, cocktails, or bring you Starbucks. Those living well below the poverty line often experience social isolation due to lack of funds and the challenge attempted to reflect that.
  5. You could not participate in unlikely workplace situations such as events with expensive dinners or office luncheons.
  6. Most people have family, so if you were invited for a gathering and offered a meal, you could have it - but you had to be invited and couldn't ask them to do so.

It wasn't easy. Not even a little bit. I actually really recommend everyone try this for a week. It should change your perspective, and if not... well, you're an asshole. Ok, just kidding, but I can't imagine it wouldn't.Meet the Challengers, have a peek at our grocery baskets for the week and what everyone had to say about their experience...

 

JENNA ROUFOSSE - REALTOR®

 

I am accustomed to a fairly comfortable lifestyle, which entails my trusty Keurig machine, my Culligan machine, a fridge, pantry and freezer full of food, and dining out on a frequent basis. Due to my job, I spend a significant amount of time wining and dining my sphere, past clients, and new connections.

I went into this challenge thinking – how hard can this be? I was very wrong. My strategy was to purchase as many “filling” items as I could, which included the items below. Needless to say, the change in diet, and for the most part, drastic increase in carbs, and lack of protein and fresh produce, hit my body hard. By the end of the week, I felt very ill, sick to my stomach, and I was both mentally and physically exhausted. I was emotional, very moody, and quick to anger. My motivation and drive to do anything was at an all time low. This is even evident in the diary I kept for this challenge – by the end of the week, my accounts are brief and to the point. I found it difficult to pay attention, focus at work, and I felt cognitively slower to react to everything. I could even feel my confidence diminish slowly as the week progressed. We were asked to weigh ourselves both before and following the challenge, and although my weight did not fluctuate at all, I felt like I had gained at least 10 pounds, and it was affecting me mentally. I just felt unhealthy, and by the 7th day, I could hardly find the motivation to even leave my house. Obviously, I could see how this was affecting my job, which demands a very high level of energy. I also found this challenge difficult as I do much of my prospecting through active meetings with past clients, new connections, and my sphere, which generally occur at coffee, lunches, and/or dinners.

 

I took a lot away from this challenge. It was incredibly eye opening, and allowed me to see things in an entirely different light. I think that the most important thing that this has taught me is that even though there is “financial help” for those in need, and I use that term lightly after this past week, it is not nearly enough to provide someone with the nutrients and diet that is needed in order to function and live a normal life on a daily basis. I think that the results of this challenge are HUGE – we can see a correlation between diet and motivation, mental, cognitive and physical functions, and the ability to function on a daily basis in its most general sense. If our aim is to help those in need, the current system, standards, and expectations need to be re-evaluated.

 

 

 

MACKENZIE FIRBY - Owner of Two Fifty Two Boutique

When grocery shopping, I usually purchase what I feel like eating with little emphasis on cost. I usually do a small bit of comparison on price but if I really want something I will purchase it regardless of the cost. I belong to many social groups and attend many events where I eat out- I often find that I ate at a restaurant or at an event almost every day of the week. I had not thought about what a luxury these two points were until doing this challenge!

I completed the challenge without cheating. There were many times that I was tempted but knowing that I could “go back to normal” after the challenge kept me going. It is a harsh reality knowing that there are numerous people in our community that this is their diet and nutrition every day.

 

The first few days of the challenge were ok- I felt quite normal physically and emotionally. It was almost like a diet plan- I didn’t want to cheat. By about Tuesday, Day 3, I started to feel sluggish. I had little to no energy and no drive or focus. By day 4 I had developed a dull headache that would not subside. I was tired of eating the same few items and I was hungry before going to bed. Day 5 and Day 6 came and I was in rough shape. Headache, energy zapped and I was hungry by afternoon and before bed. By the end of the challenge I only had some rice and oatmeal left- no fruits or veggies or protein. In total, I lost 5 pounds on the challenge.

 Before doing this challenge, I never thought about the impact of a proper diet and nutrition. It really opened my eyes and has made me more aware of what people face on a daily basis. The tired, sluggish feeling, lack of focus and the jitters were all effects I felt and I am sure that anyone eating like this on a regular basis would feel the same. Going forward I know that I will be much more aware of what I am spending on food and what I am eating. I really feel for those that do not get proper nutrition and I will make every effort to assist those in need whether it be donating to the food bank or by giving a monetary gift to any organization that assists those not able to afford nutritious foods.

CHANTEL HUBER - Co-anchor CTV News Saskatoon

 

When I was asked to be part of the Food Bank Challenge and live off $32 in food for the week, I thought, ‘sure no problem'. I would just be buying for me and no one can budget better than this gal who’s an expert shopper and can see a sale miles away! So, when I set off to do some shopping for the challenge, I did my research first, as I always do when hunting for a bargain. It wasn’t until I got to the store that I actually had to pull out my phone and use my calculator to make sure I wasn’t adding in my head wrong! I actually had to make multiple trips and to different stores to make my dollars stretch. When I had finally found everything I thought I needed, I went home proud I had stuck to my budget. Then, the week began and reality started to hit.

 

At first, the hardest thing for me, as trivial as it sounds, was not being able to grab a coffee mid morning or midday at Starbucks or Tim’s. It’s a habit I’ve been accustomed to and it was hard to remember I couldn’t just indulge if I was out or wanted to meet friends or coworkers for a coffee. As the week went on, I felt more hungry and had fewer choices for food. With a busy schedule, it was hard to preplan meals with very few ingredients. By the end of the week, I felt really low energy, tired and irritable and didn’t feel like eating anything I had left. I kept my workout schedule in tact because I wanted to experience what that felt like but also because it helped boost energy levels despite a lack of nutrition. By the end of the week, I started to feel nauseous and was counting the hours until the end of the food challenge. I was really noticing the lack of protein and fresh vegetables, even though everything I bought was relatively healthy. I didn’t buy any junk because it was cheaper.

The biggest thing I took away from doing this, was the realization of just how much food or a lack of it and the proper balance of foods impact your physical and mental state. I always knew of this, but to experience it was a different story. I realized how fortunate I am for what I have. I hope by doing this challenge, it raises awareness for others that hunger is a real issue in our community and if we all find ways to do what we can, whether it’s donating to the food bank, helping serve a hot lunch at a local school or helping someone we know who is struggling, hopefully we can each make a difference.

 KAREN MARTIN - Store Manager of Home Outfitters, Saskatoon

 

The initial shopping experience was a huge shock for me. I had to make decisions between certain foods-a loaf of bread or a box of crackers- I went with the crackers and glad that I did because there were many days when that’s what got me through. There was not enough money for both tea and yogurt, so I went without tea (my little bit of daily caffeine-that I was used to) for the week.

I shopped at Dollarama and Walmart, but realistically if I only had $31 for food, I probably didn’t have bus fare and unless I lived within walking distance to these two places, I would have to buy my groceries at one or the other. Neither place offered the best quality in product-but it was all I could afford.

I started out the week feeling like I could stretch this food out for the week, but as I was having less and less food left, my thinking certainly changed. I didn’t throw out the leaves from the celery-thinking I could fry them and throw them in my soup for anything extra. I started slicing the cheese super thin and rationing it, but then I was starting to feel quite hungry.

 

I work at a job that requires quite a bit of physical movement, so it definitely was not enough to keep me working to my full capacity. I had headaches, felt bloated and quite frankly a bit depressed about the lack of variety that a strict monetary diet like this gave me. I started to no longer look forward to eating because it was really just something to stop the stomach from feeling so horrible.

Even though it was only for a week, it was definitely an eye opener and brought awareness to what a lot of people in our city must deal with everyday. I strongly believe that in order to help people with life’s basics, we need decent affordable housing. When this market is so out of balance with everything else, there remains nothing for the simple basics of food and water.

 

KATIE MARTIN - Makeup Artist/Esthetician; Modern Woman Staff & Blogger

 

I organized this challenge to raise awareness for the Saskatoon Food Bank and to educate our readers about food insecurity. I truly thought with proper planning it wouldn't be that hard. I tried to shop smart with the budget I had to work with, planning for at least 1-2 servings of protein a day, 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, and 2 cups of coffee (albeit instant... barf) per day. The rest I had to go for satiety over my usual choices of complex carbs and ended up with a lot of bread and pasta. I've heard several people argue that "you can buy rice and beans in bulk and eat healthy on a budget". Ok, I wish those people would actually try that. Not only will eating nothing but rice and beans get old fast, but lack of variety in your diet is not only unhealthy due to zero variance in micronutrients, but its super depressing. So, I have to respectfully disagree with those people.

The first few days weren't that bad because I had most of my food to pick and choose from. However, right from the get-go the instant coffee upset my stomach and the margarine I could afford made me gag from the taste... "I Can't Believe Its Not Butter?" Believe it. It isn't. I was desperate for real coffee but I was still in good spirits.

 

Mid-week I was really starting to get that gross feeling when you eat too much sugar, even though I hadn't had any sweets at all. I wasn't sleeping well, I was more than a little irritable, my emotions were starting to run rampant and I was having a hard time focusing at work. I had started skipping meals due to lack of appealing food despite being physically hungry. Full disclosure alert: I have bi-polar disorder. I rely on routine and consistency, and it never occured to me that this project would affect me so drastically. By Thursday, I was all over the place. I was sleeping about 4 hours a night and when I wasn't mad about nothing, I was near tears over nothing. Friday (Day 6) was one of the worst days I can recall in a long time for not being able to manage my thoughts and moods. But, though my husband begged me to throw in the towel, I told him that there were so many people out there who suffer from mental illness that don't have the option to just throw in the towel. How many people can't succeed mentally because they don't have to means to care for themselves physically? How many children are being told they have a variety of behavioral or attention disorders when perhaps some of these behaviors could (at least partially) be due to a poor quality diet? I truly have no idea, but it definitely raised some questions for me. Nope, I was not throwing in the towel... I was determined to finish the challenge.

Saturday I went to work all day and while I felt physically drained I was in a bit better spirits because I knew it was the last day. By the end I felt defeated, physically and mentally unwell, and had lost 7 pounds despite feeling like I gained 1000. For the sake of giving readers the best account of my experience that I could, I tracked my diet via My Fitness Pal. I found I was eating between 1100-1500 calories a day, 60-70% coming from (not-so-complex) carbs and was below the recommended amount for protein, fat, fiber, many essential vitamins, and drastically below in iron and calcium. I realize that part of my struggle was the shock of going from a nutritious diet to something quite the opposite despite my planning, but nobody should have to treat their body less than optimal because of food insecurity - short or long term. Everyone in our community deserves to have access to a healthy, well-balanced diet. We definitely need more affordable housing to offset the high cost of living, community supports including educating the public about food insecurity, to provide accessible and quality education to people living below the poverty line about proper nutrition and how to prepare healthy meals, and we need to inform the public about how to get involved by donating and volunteering. We are all one community, and hopefully this inspires everyone to do a little bit more.

So there you have it. Please take the time to reflect and be grateful for all the good things in your life and never take them for granted.

Change can begin with helping just one person.

You can find the Saskatoon Food Bank at 202 Ave C S and visit their website at www.saskatoonfoodbank.org for information on their most wanted items for donation or how to volunteer.

Peace out Saskatoon... go be nice to each other.

Katie

 

A Look at our 2015 Vendors

Andrea Gusta from Luxquisite Clothing

Tell us about your business?

We are two long-time friends that share a love for fashion, style and flair. Our mission with Luxquisite Clothing is to spread the looks we adore with a world of fashion-forward women. Whether the search is for an outfit of the day, special occasion dress or just one of the many go-to staples within every woman's wardrobe. We aim to have it easily accessible and affordable in one simple online location.

Our business was started in June of 2014.

How did you get started?

My business partner Chandra and I came up with the idea when we were both on maternity leave and looking for something we could do from home while also continuing on with our current careers (Chandra is a real-estate agent and I am a salon owner/hairstylist). The online factor allows us to work non-traditional hours which fits in with our careers.

What inspires you?

We both find that our children inspire us the most.

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

My idea of a modern woman is one who can juggle both a busy career and a family life. It's hard to find a healthy balance with both those aspects.

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Go for it! If you have a dream, determination and passion you can do anything! There are so many great resources available for women entrepreneurs now.

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?

Don't sweat the small stuff! There are always going to be ups and downs with any business but like anything you need to concentrate on your goals and ride out the small bumps in the road.

What is in the future for Luxquisite Clothing?

We are looking into expanding Luxquisite Clothing and have recently moved into a larger warehouse space. Who knows maybe in the future you will see some men's or children's fashions.

What would we find you doing in your free time?

What free time?! When we do have free time we enjoy spending it with our families and we both love to travel, whether it's for business or pleasure.

Do you feel a strong sense of community among business woman and female entrepreneurs in Saskatoon and in Saskatchewan?

Yes! I believe within the last few years this sense of community has grown immensely! I began my first business 15 years ago and at that time I felt like there was much more competition between female entrepreneurs whereas now there is a growing movement to help support fellow female entrepreneurs.

Check out this amazing online store at luxquisite.ca and make sure to stop by their pop-up shop at the 2016 Modern Woman Show & Expo on April 16 & 17th at Prairieland Park

Interview by Mandi Brown

Photos courtesy of deMo Photography

Our First Blog Post

Keep your heels and head up. The blog is here.

Several years ago I sat at my kitchen table, or maybe on the couch…Let’s be honest, it was most likely the bathroom floor (My best creative thinking is with a glass of red sitting on the bathroom floor). It was in this exact ‘Ah Ha’ moment that I decided to create a trade show for women. It wasn’t going to be like any other show that I had participated in -this one was going to be different. The Modern Woman Show was going to be full of inspiring women, a focus on local business, and it had to give back to the community we lived in – women helping women. The event was going to evolve into something unique and special. It would become not only a place to find great products but a learning experience.
So there I am, with very minimal entrepreneurial knowledge, I have the understanding of hard work, experience as a vendor, and the knowledge of being a woman (with woman interests, of course). A lot of passion and dedication and a dream was born. Now fast forward to present day -Modern Woman has grown and we couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people. This blog has been added to share more about those special people, the businesses that make this event a success, and it gives us an opportunity to show you a little more about who we are.
I have learned in the last 5 years to travel off the beaten path, cultivate new friendships that inspire you, live life to the absolute fullest, and never stop learning and challenging yourself. I hope this blog and the women and businesses featured will ignite an ‘Ah Ha’ moment for you.
XX Chan

“I choose to surround myself around phenomenal women who are confident and secure enough to know that there is enough room for all of us to make it to the finish line.” -unknown

Our Influencers:

Katie Martin

What does being a Modern Woman mean to you?
The obvious thing that comes to mind is to stay current with trends while embracing your individual style regarding things such as fashion, music, and pop culture in general. I believe it's also incredibly important to stay informed about our world. We have a responsibility to pay attention to current events, to have a basic understanding of politics both locally and globally, and to stay informed about the core issues that face society as a whole. I think it’s also about taking the time to really get to know ourselves, what makes us unique and important, and what inspires us to be confident and purposeful.

 

Mandi Brown

What can we find you doing in your spare time?
Health & Fitness related activities such as Cross Fit, the gym, taking my wiener dog for a walk, yoga with friends etc. I am also a huge fan of supporting local business and fueling our YXE economy by eating at local restaurants, shopping at local shops and following the local fashion and business networks.

 

Jocelyn de Moissac

What do you look forward most to at the Modern Woman Show?
I look forward to another great year at the show watching connections being made and being surrounded by all of these incredibly talented and inspiring woman. I adore the interaction I see on the daily while shooting this show and of course hanging with the guest speakers isn’t horrible. A fun perk that’s for sure. It’s all around such a feel good/warm fuzzies kind of weekend for me.

 

Megan Hammond

What inspires you?

The support and encouragement I receive from friends, family and complete strangers. There is so much good in this world, and it shows up in the cracks and crevices of everyday life. Choosing to be open to learning and growth inspires me in ways that constantly surprise me. Surrounding myself with strong, creative and hardworking people has inspired me to be better, do better and support others in their endeavors. Saskatoon is full of people up to great things!

 

 

All photos courtesy of deMo photography