Meet Patricia, the fabulous founder / artist/ female/ kickass business owner behind La Pimbêche!
Patricia, can you tell us about how your brand got started and when you realized that this was the industry that you belonged in?
Well first, thank you for this amazing intro! La Pimbêche was born from an art project I launched for a collective art exhibition in Montreal. At first, it was a simple art series of contemporary activist art. That's when I started to translate the topic of feminism into art pieces.
After this exhibition, I felt the calling to pursue the mission of using visual art as the support for my voice. I started to create more feminist artworks and illustrations inspired by political moments, stereotypes, and women’s sexual empowerment with sarcasm and badass taglines. That’s when I realize how creating a brand would be the ideal strategy to expand the visibility of my art and mission. That’s when I launched La Pimbêche, the fashion and accessories brand. The objective is to allow my message and artwork to travel from one person to another, to trigger conversations and to contribute to a positive change in our society.
If you could explain your style in a few words, what would they be?
My style of visual art is very colorful inspired by pop culture and Y2K iconic elements (which bring up my inner child). I love playing with different dimensions and superpositions. Everything I do has layers of symbolism, while can be understood at the 1st degree. In terms of the look and feel of La Pimbêche, I would say it’s badass, confident, happy, and empowering!!!
What is your mission or purpose with La Pimbeche (and the women around you that you inspire)?
My purpose as an artist is to provoke self-empowerment in people, casting out normativity and the fight for gender equality. All designs are based on the mission to inspire confidence, happiness, and self-determination in order to contribute to a world of acceptance and inclusion.
Many women inspire me, such as my mother, which is a BIG inspiration. She devoted her carrier to human development in 3rd world countries, she empowered so many women and children across the globe while being a single parent raising 2 girls, me and my sister.
There's a lot of amazing modern women that support the same beliefs as La Pimbêche feminism. Chelsey Handler, Emma Watson, Beyoncé, Lena Dunham are all my fave modern feminist women that convey a strong message of confidence, acceptance, and equality.
Is there anything fun coming up for the holiday season that our amazing audience can look forward to?
Yes! For all Toronto folks, I am soooo excited to be part of the One-of-a-kind show from November 25th to Dec 5th, 2021. OOAK is one of the largest art and craft shows in Canada and will be the first edition after the pandemic! This is an amazing opportunity for my customers to come meet me in person and support local artists, designers, and craft businesses. How to see you all there!
What would you say the most challenging part of doing this line of work is for you?
La Pimbêche is now a brand, which means that the entrepreneur role is taking more space than being an artist. The most challenging part is the ability to change roles from being strategic to being more intuitive in my artistic vision. Slowing the team is growing and I am able to delegate tactical tasks. The ultimate goal is the delegate more time to creativity, slowly I am getting there.
And the most rewarding?
When a customer tells me that my art has inspired, or empowered them – that’s my paycheck. The most rewarding part of being an artist is the impact of your creativity.
And last, do you have some goals you can let us in on for 2022?
Growing the team is one of me goal in 2022, I also would love to participate to more in-person shows across Canada. Obviously, customers can expect new designs, new products and more exciting collaboration!
Artiste La Pimbêche
Meet this one-woman show, Stefanie. She will tell us how she started formulating the perfect blends with locally sourced herbs in her cozy workshop while keeping everything waste free!
Intriguing right...find out how below.
"Essentials by Stefanie" just did a huge re-brand tell us about your new name! Mångata Apothecary™.
“Mångata” is translated as måne (moon) + gata (road) or; the road-like reflection of the moonlight on water.
The word is Swedish and I chose at is has a mystical ring to it yet its a very real thing (moonlight). Often when herbalism is mentioned it also has a mystical ring to it, but it its my goal to make it herbalism and the use of herbs real and tangible!
What makes your products unique compared to other lines on the market?
My focus is on herbs and my goal it to have each customer who wants, have the knowledge to make herbal products for themselves. I wrote an e-book (now in print) so that they could learn the basics easily. Many of the recipes for my products are actually in this book!
My bestsellers are herbal balms and I have not come across many other lines that focus on balms.
How many are involved with Mangata Apothecary?I have recently hired a friend to help me with the rebrand but when life slows down it will be back to just me!
Your products are All-Natural, Eco-Conscious, and CertClean. What do you find is the biggest challenges you face keeping items aligned with your values?
Price point. People want less expensive (I get it) but the reality is I can’t make a living on that and honestly- quality is going to cost more than the big store products.
I have steered away from going all organic because I find natural is effective enough and organic can be so pricy. Instead I have made my products certified as clean with CertClean which allows everyone to rest knowing that any thing I make here in my apothecary are good for you and for everyone in your life! No nasties! (www.certclean.com )
Was owning a business always apart of your career plans?
Never. I studied to be a midwife with plans to work overseas. After living overseas for 2 years I discovered it was just too hard for me but that I want to continue supporting friends who are still there. We recently teamed up with “Cedar’s Network” and give a portion of each purchase to the healthcare section of the non-profit, which is run by a midwife friend of mine!
What experience/and or education did you have behind this dream?
I have two degrees; Intercultural Studies and Midwifery. I started making herbal products for clients and then my family. When I chose to stay home and raise my girls, my husband pushed me to begin selling. I have then been scrounging for any online coaching and business courses I could take to make this passion into a successful business! I have found some amazing resources through the non-profit “The Forum” based out of Vancouver.
Since your have started your journey, what has been the most rewarding?
Seeing the products change people’s minds about what they use for different issues. When a product works, they often come back and tell me and then begin seeking out more herbal remedies. I love this!
Why is Girl Gang important to you?
The Girl Gang makes me feel supported and cared for. Its tough being an entrepreneur when you have no experience in business. There are also so many opportunities that are presented to use through the Girl Gang. I have marketing options, educational resources, and events constantly being presented to me and this makes my life so much easier.
What are your next goals for Mångata?
Many of my products have herbs that could help issues like eczema and sciatica but I cannot make those claims due to Health Canada regulations. I am therefore working on getting some of my products certified as natural health products so that I can make appropriate claims. This will be an amazing way to reach more people and provide natural care for so many issues!
Is there any advice you could share with other entrepreneurs starting up a business from home?
Team up with a group of likeminded entrepreneurs and ask so many questions. There are Facebook groups, memberships, and other resources out there - find them and join them! You are not alone, there are so many people doing what you are doing who have no idea what they are doing! But together we get sh*t done and we can get it done so much faster when we help each other out!
This month's boss babe is Allison McCracken from London, ON. She has a creative eye that is depicted in her original handmade earrings with Rose & Grace Designs. We love all her designs, find out why below...
Check out all Rose & Grace earrings in our shop.
How did Rose & Grace Designs start?
After I had my youngest I decided to stay home. I wanted to be able to contribute, but from home. I love creating things and I love earrings. Earrings can add so much to an outfit. I wanted to create something I would love and wear and that others would too. So starting up my own business just made sense.
Where did the inspiration for the business name come from?
My daughters. I named the business after them! It’s there middle names Adalyn Grace and Everly Rose. No meaning behind the names. I just really liked how the names went together. There names are so beautiful and feminine and when deciding on the name for the business I wanted it to have that feminine feel.
Rose and Grace will celebrate one year in business in July (wha-hoo), what were you doing before this?
Do you miss the office atmosphere?
Sometimes . I really loved my job, but there is something really rewarding about making something that people love. And it allows me to be home with my girls.
Where have you seen the most growth in the past year?
In myself. I really needed to step out of my comfort zone to make this business a success. I never thought I would start my own business. I guess it took me a lot to believe in myself to actually go for it. I’m sure a lot can relate to that.
What was the most difficult aspect you faced opening a business during a pandemic, and where would you like to see the biggest change in this coming year?
The most difficult aspect I would say would be getting my business out there and noticed when we were not able to do it in person. I will be joining a few markets this year in the spring and into the summer, fall months locally in London so am I am looking forward to that.
What made you want to become a part of The Girl Gang?
I thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase my business with other talented, like-minded women entrepreneurs.
If you could tell your 20 year old self some words of encouragement what would they be?
Too just go for it! Not to be afraid to put yourself out there. When I was 20 I was actually in an art program. Beal Art here in London. I worked for a bit after that and then went to school to become a dental assistant.
We know you make killer earrings, do you ever expand into other areas of creative design?
Yes! I have worked with some local businesses for custom requests as well as other personal gift request. I hope to continue that and expand into other things.
We love the mix of natural wood with the mirror/glitter acrylics, what top pieces are your customers buying lately?
People are really liking the mirrored with the walnut and the walnut with pearl white. They are also liking the small stud earrings as well.
Now that you’ve come this far … what’s next for your 2021 goals??
I would like to branch out more and offer more jewelry options like necklaces. I would also like to continue with custom orders and possibly adding other items other then jewelry. I would like to add necklaces to my collection. I made some business name tags and signs for local businesses. I would like to start offering that more. Possibly more personalized items for babies and kids as well. (room signs, month milestones etc.)
Allison McCracken/The Girl Gang
Introducing Freda the maker behind "The Bad Potter", perfectly Imperfect Handmade Ware, a small-batch, handmade, ceramics business based out of Vancouver, BC.
Read out more about Freda and the inspiration behind her work.
When and how did you come up with the idea of The Bad Potter?
The Bad Potter started back in 2018 as a way to share my wonky pottery journey on Instagram. At the time I was at a full time 9 to 5 that required long dedicated days on screens. I used to walk by a seaside studio on my lunch break and I’d press my face against the window, fantasizing about creating on the wheel with my hands. I was initially drawn to the physical involvement of ceramics, each step demands your complete attention and presence. I felt like it was something I could enjoy, express creativity and allow spontaneity all at the same time. So I took a beginners class at the seaside studio, Claytek in Vancouver, subsequently a couple of other workshops. I begin to make a lot of everyday functional tableware, lots of bowls and plates. Though I thought my work was terrible at the time, the idea of my work being enjoyed by others meant (and still does now) so much to me, I eventually started to put my work out there for sale on Etsy and at local markets. That opened up a whole other side of this craft, the business side, which also brings me a lot of joy. Really, it all started with the goal of having fun, which is still the focus today.
Where does your inspiration come from?
With a blended background of design and marketing, the ability to bringing ideas and physical prototypes to life (almost) instantly is appealing. I love that you can be inspired or have an idea, chances are, you can create it with clay. Many inspirations in my work, the biggest has to be everyday functionalities.
Do you remember the first piece you ever made?A blue, green, black cup that looked like a tornado blew through and it got stuck. The end result was not how I expected at all! I remember wanting to get back to the drawing board right away and make it again.
What advice would you give a beginner?
You can’t force creativity, it flows. And being mindful of my bandwidth has saved me from many many burnouts.
Do you feel between your marketing business and pottery business you have created a harmonious balance?
I love that pottery is super demanding. You have to make the pieces, glaze them fire them and then after all the trial and error you have to sell them. You do it all! Right now, I definitely prioritize making, and marketing is secondary. I try to fit it all in. And I have become better at balancing. I find lots of fun, unique ideas of how to market a piece during the making process. I love sharing a bit about the process as I go, and people seem to enjoy that.
Who is one of your female role models and why?
My grandma. She ran the home I grew up in China, raised a flock of grandkids, and still had time to practice self-care and her artistry. She’s done it with so much grace and intention day in and day out. She’s taught me at an early age the strength and power of a woman.
What does Girl Gang mean to you?
Girl Gang has been a huge source of support, inspiration, and female empowerment the past year! It’s so amazing to be a part of a women-run business collective, we truly learn so much from each other, support each other, making our goals and dreams that much closer. No doubt having your own business has its challenges, Girl Gang connects us and makes it fun to share our journeys.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Enjoying a well-oiled studio space, operating my kiln and blending glaze recipes. And sharing the craft!
Are you working on any new projects/or have a dream project?
Aside from setting up my own studio right now, I am working on large vases and carved vessels for my first soda firing in March.
Digging up local clay and pit firing has always fascinated me, that’s up there on the list to try!
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That I actually love cats (also). I’m a huge animal lover. Not just canines :) I’ve been a proud owner of chickens, ducks, a snake, a turtle, cats growing up.
Thank You Freda!
Wabanaki is 100% Indigenous female-owned and located on Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), Wabanaki Maple is proud to introduce you to this tradition that's shared by many Peoples of the Wabanaki Confederacy; Wolastoqiyik, Mi'kmaq, Penobscot, Abenaki, and Passamaquoddy.
Read our interview with Jolene below to find out more about this Canadian staple.
What is Wabanaki?
Wabanaki translated, means “People of the Dawn” or “People of the first Light” it has other references too such as, People of the Eastern Woodlands, but the meaning of Wabanaki refers to the five different First Nation tribes known as, the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot and the Abanaki, together they formed an alliance to protect and watch over the lands, this alliance is referred to as the Wabanaki Confederacy.
How did Wabanaki start?
I had my first experience and exposure to gathering and harvesting maple syrup many years ago, while working at my sister's hobby sugar bush. I must say, it was one of my more enjoyable and memorable work experiences. So for me, I believe a seed had been planted many years ago and has been nurtured and grown into the company today. Inspired by our ancestral roots, Wabanaki Maple was started in 2018. I wanted to share and reconnect people and communities with a piece of our Indigenous history and culture through our maple syrup products.
Have you always lived in New Brunswick?
For most of my life I've lived in New Brunswick, but I was born in Nova Scotia and lived there until the age of 5. I grew up in a military family and non-Indigenous communities, and it wasn't until my father retired from the Navy that we found our way back to New Brunswick and then some 20yrs later reconnected to our First Nation community of Tobique!
What is your favourite way to serve?
I have many favourite ways to serve, but the one I use daily is to serve maple syrup as a natural sweetener for my coffee, and I also love using our maple syrup as the final topping to compliment my French toast breakfast.
Do you have a favourite flavour?
I’d have to say I’m partial to our Bourbon barrel aged syrup, it pairs perfectly with fish and seafood like salmon and scallops, which happen to also be some of my favorite foods!
What does Girl Gang mean to you?
I think the Girl Gang definitely represents strength and empowerment for all women nation-wide. Especially women business owners in communities across our nation. By sharing, supporting and connecting women they are helping to foster and create a healthy business environment, where we can learn, grow and thrive together!
What are your professional goals in the next year?
One of my goals for next year is to move the business forward into international and export markets. I plan to learn the ins and outs of exportation. For this advancement, we will be focused on more market research and identifying new markets, we also plan on expanding our team and to train with the proper process and procedures for the distribution of our products for both our B2C & B2B sales channels.
What should every woman try at least once in her life?
I'd suggest taking a couple days and head out towards the great outdoors, set up camp and surround yourself with forest and waterways to connect with Mother Nature, without internet or phones, and just disconnect from your daily routine for a while. Take this opportunity to invigorate and replenish yourself.
What are some of your favorite hobbies or pastimes?
It may sound odd, but I like getting my hands dirty! Give me a shovel, some seeds, and some dirt and I'm happy. Working outside in my multiple flower gardens is what I refer to as my "therapy"! I also really enjoy gathering and harvesting some of our traditional food from our environment. Whether it's picking berries, fishing or hunting, it's even better when I have my children and grandchildren to accompany me. It's these special moments that allow for me to pass on and share my knowledge with them and to create new memories.
CEO & President
(Wolastoq Maple Products)