Sweetness in the City!

Photo Aug 20

Meet Louise Schonberg, Founder of Karameller Candy Shop
Written by Ashley Basran
Yaletown welcomes Karameller! If you haven’t heard by now, Karameller is the brand new Candy Shop, which sells delicious Swedish Treats. Karameller translated from Swedish, means ‘hard candy.’ It is the perfect addition to the Yaletown hood for those sweet cravings and we could not be happier they are here! Don’t ask us how many times we have already gone through the “sweet” and “sour” jars! Read on to learn more about Karameller, the inspiration behind the shop and its fabulous Founder, Louise!

We love the idea of the Lördagsgodis tradition – did you grow up with this in your family?

Lördagsgodis is a part of every Swedish childhood. On Saturdays you are given your allowance and you go to the store to buy your own pick-and-mix candy, everyone has their own favourites, and that’s precisely what makes it so special; you get to create your own bag, with your favourites.

Such a beautiful store! How long has this been in the works from idea to implementation? 

My husband has been bugging me for years to start a business but I never knew what to do. One night we were talking and he asked: “Louise, what do you want to do?” I said “I don’t know!”, so he asked me what I loved, and I jokingly answered “Candy!”. A week later I left my job, booked a ticket to Sweden for my son and I (I left hubby working in Vancouver, terrible I know…), and stayed for 7 weeks. That trip gave me the opportunity to find and visit our candy supplier and spend some quality time with my family back home before starting this venture.

Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs like yourself?

Surround yourself with a great team, people that you trust and know their trade. I don’t know what my store would have looked like without the help of Michael Leckie; he got my style and taste right away and was so easy to work with. Glasfurd and Walker helped me with the brand, logo, bags, jars, and website. They nailed it!!! And last but not least, Erin Sousa of Sparkle Media – I quickly realized early in this process that I needed help with how my brand would be presented and marketed.

What is the most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur?

Being my own boss. When you have these crazy ideas in the middle of the night, there is no one to tell you that it’s too crazy but yourself.

How do you define success?

I feel that I am already successful – I am doing something I love and I enjoy going to work everyday in my amazing community. It’s subtle, but I think customers can pick up on this feeling. At least I know I do when I shop from other local business owners.

Can you give us an idea of what your daily routine looks like?

Wake up, get my son ready for daycare, drop him off, take Zoe (our Yorkie Chihuahua) for her morning walk, and get ready for work. I stay at the store until 5pm when my husband takes over, then I get my son from daycare. We head to the park if weather’s nice, then home to get dinner ready. After dinner, it’s bath and bedtime for Benji. Try to get some laundry and house cleaning done, and finally bed time around 1am. Long days for sure but so worth it!

We’re curious… are you a fan of sweet or salty candies/goodies? 

I LOVE candy, any candy. Some days are salty others sweet, chocolate or sour – it all depends on my mood.

Please finish these sentences:

  1. Vancouver is … My home, and I love it!!!
  2. Candy is… fun!
  3. I’m happy when… My family is healthy and happy.
  4. Karameller… Is my dream come true.

Photo Jul 20

Meet our new Social Media Intern, Amanda Bacon!


Pink Tank is pleased to welcome Amanda Bacon to the team! Read on to learn more about our new Social Media Intern!

Say my name: Amanda Nicole Bacon

Major in school: Marketing Management at Langara School of Management

Dream job when you graduate: Social Media Marketing Coordinator

Three words that describe yourself: Adventurous, creative, quirky.

We love that you started your own business! Tell us a bit about it and the inspiration behind it: She Must Be Somewhere is my online shop, featuring on-trend, high-quality costume jewelry and accessories. Through travelling and finding interesting up and coming designers on Instagram, I was inspired to bring something different to the Canadian retail market. She Must Be Somewhere offers unique and fresh designs that you won’t find every girl wearing when you go out. In addition to my online shop, I occasionally participate in pop up shops and markets. I am currently in the process of redesigning the website and restructuring the business model to focus on local Canadian Designers, made for women, by women, and incorporating a charity to support women.

Who inspires you: I would have to say Lena Dunham. I’m obsessed with her show “Girls,” have read her book “Not That Kind of Girl,” and just signed up for her online newsletter called “Lenny,” another joint venture between her and Jenni Konner (executive producer and writer on Girls). The fact that she’s achieved so much under the age of 30, and a true advocate of feminism on so many levels, whether it be through her brilliant writing on Girls, showing the real life struggles we face as young women (with a comedic twist of course), or her confidence encouraging women to have a positive and healthy body image regardless of shape or size.

Name a goal of yours: My biggest goal is to continue to grow my business, and continue to explore new ventures- what those are yet, I’m not quite sure as I have too many ideas. I guess I’ll just need to have multiple businesses and build an empire!

A must have app: Instagram of course, but Spotify is my new favorite. I love being able to have access to so much music, and its great for discovering new artists!

Favourite quote: I have too many favourites. Whenever I find a quote that inspires me I copy and paste it into my notepad or screenshot it- I probably have hundreds by now. But here is one I’ve found recently and absolutely love. “She never looked nice. She looked like art. And art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” – Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

A Slice Of Paris in Vancouver


Ladies, Meet Jackie Kai Ellis: Owner & Founder of Beaucoup Bakery

Written By Ashley Basran and Lorena Laurencelle

Our Pink Tank team recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jackie Kai Ellis, Owner and Founder of Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe to talk business inspiration and chat about her home away from home, Paris, France! Her beautiful 16-seat café creates French-inspired pastries, artistic cakes, seasonal tarts and delicious cookies. What we love most (besides their coffee and treats) is the bakery’s Acts of Kindness program. This is a unique twist on the typical rewards program that lets you choose how to use your points including passing it on to a friend or paying it forward to support a lunch initiative in partnership with www.MoreThanMe.org. This helps get little girls off the street and into school in one of the world’s most dangerous slums. That is our kind of rewards card!

A bit about Jackie…

As we sat down with Jackie, we sipped our teas and began to learn more about how Beaucoup Bakery & Café was created. Jackie explained to us that she once ran her own successful design firm for several years. “I decided to close the company and jet off to study the art of French pastry making at Paris’ École Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil,” says Jackie. After returning to Vancouver with newfound inspiration, knowledge and determination, Jackie opened up Beaucoup Bakery & Café in the winter of 2012!

“Beaucoup is everything that I’ve ever dreamt of and more. I never realized that starting it would allow me to follow some of my other dreams,” explains Jackie. Since the doors of the French inspired bakery have opened, Jackie has created two other careers out of it. The first is The Paris Food Tours (which we explain in more detail below)and she’s since become a Food and Travel Writer as well!

The Paris Tours is something that Jackie is very passionate about. She travels to Paris three to five times a year, a home away from home that she enjoys sharing with others. When in Paris, she meets with groups and leads them to the very best patisseries and chocolate shops with a tasting at the end (something we are determined to take part in one day)! The next time you find yourself packing your bags for Paris, be sure to sign up for The Paris Tours with Jackie!

With the success of Beaucoup Bakery & Café and the expansion of Jackie’s career, we wanted to learn her take on success. “Success changes overtime. Right now, I know that if at the end of my life, I worked as hard as I could to become the best possible version of myself, and I did it with as much bravery as possible, I am successful,” says Jackie.

In addition to defining her own success, we wanted to know how Jackie describes Beaucoup Bakery & Café in 5 words. Here’s how:

  1. Ladders
  2. Chairs
  3. Community
  4. Passion
  5. Satisfying

We love the quote that Jackie shared to explain the reasoning behind ladders and chairs: “What are we to each other? I hope that we are ladders and chairs to each other. When you are in need of inspiration, I am your ladder. When you are in need of rest, I am your chair.”

As we finished up the last bit of our teas, we were left feeling fascinated and honoured for the opportunity to learn more about the beauty and brains behind the little slice of Paris that Jackie Kai Ellis has founded in Vancouver.

Be sure to keep up with Jackie on social media:

Instagram: @JackieKaiEllis | @BeaucoupBakery | @TheParisTours

Twitter: @JackieKaiEllis | @BeaucoupBakery | @TheParisTours

www.jackiekaiellis.com | www.beacoupbakery.com | www.theparistours.com

High Tea Anyone?


High Tea Anyone?

By Reagan Burwash

Ladies, I am so pleased to introduce you to Candace Asconi, founder of SocieTea Events. I have known Candace since we used to work at L’Oreal Professionnel back in the day about 8 years ago. It was an instant connection and we have been close friends ever since. We often would meet up for coffee and chat about business ideas trying to find that one thing that we could start on our own. Flash forward to the present, and I am so proud to say that Candace has done it! To say I am proud of her wouldn’t do it justice. She has successfully started a wonderful boutique high tea catering service that embodies everything she has ever wanted to do. When work becomes a passion, you know you are in the right  business. Entrepreneurship is definitely for Candace! She has so many ideas and little touch points in her business that are bound to be successful. Read on to find out how she was inspired to start SocieTea Events, advice for any budding entrepreneurs and her favourite source for inspiration.

Q. What inspired you to start SocieTea Events? 
A. I always loved hosting events and entertaining friends and family. Then 2 Christmases ago I got a beautiful baking cookbook, and I was reading it like a story book and got an idea to tie my love for baking, entertaining and high tea all together and SocieTea Events was born!

Q. Can you tell us a bit about what SocieTea events is? 

A. We are a boutique mobile high tea catering company. We bring the elegance and sophistication of high tea to you in your home or office. We provide all the delicate china and the delicious treats. We work with local bakeries and the menus are delicious and fully customizable!

Q. What surprised you most about starting a business?

A. How willing everyone is to help connect you to their network. We’ve made some truly amazing connections through Instagram and the Vancouver wedding shows. Everyone has been so amazing, willing to share advice, ideas and contacts. It’s been a fantastic experience so far!

Q. It’s always daunting starting a business! Any advice for someone that is interested in starting their own venture? 
A. Let someone build your website! Don’t try to manage everything on your own. Sometimes its better to ask for help so you can focus on what you are truly passionate about.

Q. Best business advice you have received? 

A. Go for it, what have you got to lose? If you don’t try, you’ll never know…

Q. Favourite app? favourite outlet for inspiration?

A. Definitely Instagram! It’s great to see a glimpse of people interests, personalities and inspirations through their selection of photographs. We love Pinterest too for beautiful and inspiring ideas! You have to be careful, you can lose a few hours on Pinterest alone!

Finish these sentences…
Vancouver is... The best place to be! On a sunny day, there’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be.

I can’t live without... My amazing group of friends, everyday these women inspire me to push my creativity.  I’m very lucky to have such a dynamic circle.

Favourite indulgence…chocolate and bread- wait couldn’t that be a chocolate croissant? And champagne!

High tea is…So dignified! Definitely something to be enjoyed with family and friends.

** For anther great post on SocieTea Events from VancityBuzz, click HERE **

TinySlice With A Whole Bunch of Fun!

Ladies! Meet Desirae, Owner of TinySlice

Written By Ashley Basran

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Whether it be an apple pie, macaroons or chocolate chip cookies, you can bet that Desirae is capable of making your favourite foods into a beautifully handcrafted piece of jewellery! All of TinySlice’s pieces are carefully sculptured and baked to perfection. Each piece is incredibly realistic looking (just don’t be tempted to take a bite!). Filling orders from Paris to Singapore and her hometown of Vancouver, Desirae is thrilled to be doing what she loves. Read on to learn more about Desirae and her business and how each and every TinySlice is hand crafted!

PS… Did we mention that Desirae is also a full-time student at Emily Carr University? She is one talented, passionate and busy woman!

How did TinySlice come to be?

During spring of my third year of university I had a bunch of bottle caps leftover from a project. I was looking up creative ways to use them when I came across a photo of a miniature pie someone had created inside a bottle cap out of polymer clay – it was the cutest thing I had ever seen, and so one night my friend and I bought some clay and just starting playing around with making miniature food! After awhile we started to actually get pretty good, and thought it would be pretty cool to try selling them on Etsy. My friend and I opened up our shop in June of 2014, but around Christmastime she decided to move on to other creative endeavours, which has just left me!

What is the process like to create one piece of jewellery?

It really differs with each piece. Sometimes I’ll need to use different materials to achieve the look of things like semi-transparent sauce/liquid, or icing, or peanut butter. But for most items, I start by sculpting the item out of polymer clay – sometimes the clay comes in the colour I need, other times I’ll have to mix it to get it right. Once it’s sculpted I use a variety of tools to add believable texture to the pieces – needles, toothbrushes, crumpled tin foil, toothpicks, etc. I add shading to the pieces with a paint or makeup brush using soft pigments – the pigment of the soft pastels actually adheres to the clay after it’s baked, so it’s a really nice way of adding colour. I always find it really funny when I’m putting a whole bunch of tiny pies inside the oven – the process sometimes really feels like cooking (but without the delicious payoff at the end)!

I really try to stay away from using molds to ‘duplicate’ my pieces, or using pre-made canes (canes are long cylinders of polymer clay that have a pattern running through them, so you can cut lemon slices, or different fruits) – unless I make them myself. Canes can be really difficult to make and actually require a lot of skill – so I don’t want to simply re-sell somebody else’s hard work. Each piece I make is made from scratch by hand every time.

How do you stay inspired and motivated?

Well for starters, there are just endless possibilities for designs – I have so many ideas that I can’t wait to try that it never really gets boring. There are also a lot of really inspiring miniature-artists online that post tutorials, and some of them are just incredible. But probably one of my biggest motivators is the response I get from people who see my jewelry for the first time. I remember when I first saw those miniature pies online, I couldn’t get over how cute they were – so it’s really a lot of fun to see that reaction in others, either in person, or in comments on social media, etc. Having people purchase my work is also a huge motivator – the entrepreneur in me has completely taken off with TinySlice, and I really enjoy all aspects of running the business. It’s so exciting when I get orders from places like Paris and Singapore, or even in my home country – that I’m reaching people all over the place who want to buy my work.

Are you able to do custom designs?

Absolutely! I love a challenge; so custom requests are really great. They also often lead to the creation of pieces I hadn’t thought about making before, and sometimes end up being some of the best pieces.

What is your most memorable piece of jewellery you’ve made? 

A custom miniature bottle of Sriracha sauce that a customer bought for her sister’s birthday. I was working with sterling silver, so I was really nervous not to mess up the sculpture! But I think it turned out really great. I got to meet up with the customer as she was local to Vancouver, and it was so awesome getting to see her reaction to the piece – you often never hear back from customers on Etsy, unless they leave you a review, so that was pretty awesome.

Finish these sentences…

Vancouver is… the place to be. Seriously. There are so many amazing people and opportunities here, I feel really fortunate to be living in this city.

TinySlice is… a shop that really cares about making you smile! Making people happy is really the ‘cherry on top’ for me. (I know, food puns are cheesy…)

Polymer clay… is not edible. Haha – actually though, polymer clay is durable, non-toxic, and does not contain any animal by-products – it is a pretty awesome medium.

Owning my own business… is addicting.

Instagram:  TinySliceShop
Website:      www.tinyslice.etsy.com
Twitter:        @TinySliceShop

Ride with Ashley Ander at Ride Cycle Club

Ashley Ander copy Ladies Meet Ashley Ander, Founder and Owner of Ride Cycle Club Written By Ashley Basran Spin classes are in! Hop on a bike and get ready to work your core, arms, back, butt and legs. Ashley Ander is a Spin Instructor at Ride Cycle Club in Vancouver. Join one of her classes and she’ll be sure to have you dripping in sweat from head to toe. Ride Cycle Club is a popular 55 minute intense indoor cycling workout designed to strengthen your body and mind. Read on to learn how Ride Cycle Club came to be and what motivates and inspires Ashley about her kick-butt workouts!

Q. How would you describe a spin class at Ride Cycle Club in 5 words?


Q. Do you have any tips/advice to keep motivated when it comes to getting a great sweat sesh in?

Give 100% with whatever you’re doing. Close your eyes, set an intention, breathe and smile. Live your life to be extraordinary not mediocre.

Q. What can a newbie expect for their first spin class at Ride Cycle Club?

Each class is 55 min long in a dimly lit room. Our instructor rides on a platform illuminated by candles; and coaches the room of 35 like-minded riders to push themselves using the beat of the music as a guide. RIDE is a full body workout – we incorporate push-ups, core toning movements and a short 6-7 minute arm workout in to the RIDE. We end each RIDE by re- centering your energy and setting an intention for your day. I always say to new riders, you must come at least three times. 1st time you sweat so much you don’t know what hit you, the second time you know what to expect and the third time you are all about finding and hitting that beat. At the end of the day, it’s about having fun, getting sweaty and getting you off the couch.

Q. How did Ride Cycle Club come to be and how does it differ from other Spin studios?

I discovered spin as I was living in NYC. I immediately fell head over heels in love with it. I loved the loud music, the group mentality and the sweat. When I moved back to Vancouver I knew right away that I wanted to open my own studio. I began teaching classes all over the city and built up a following.  Now here we are with RIDE! At RIDE, our instructors are there to strengthen both mind and body in our 55-minute classes. We coach our classes to ride together, using the beat of the music to drive their pedal stroke; which creates an amazing pack-like environment in class. We are there to work together, and you feel a true team vibe in each class.

Q. Where do you draw inspiration?

I draw inspiration from everything that surrounds me! Magazines, blogs and music are a huge one. The right song can be a game changer; it can lift you up and take your day to another level. I also surround myself with positive like-minded people. People can inspire you and help you create new opportunities.

Finish these sentences…. 

Happiness is…. Spin class then a Margherita pizza with Arugula drenched in Chili oil from Nicli Antica pizzeria in Gastown, a glass of red wine and being surrounded with friends and family with great music playing in the background.

Sweat…. “Girl I want to make you sweat, sweat till you can’t sweat no more” That’s what immediately came to my mind. I LOVE to SWEAT. There is nothing better than taking a class and leaving the room drenched from head to toe. If I’m not sweating then I am not working hard enough.

When I spin…. I walk into a room where I get to lose myself. Let everything I was thinking about from my day go, let my body work to its full potential. Create new boundaries for myself to conquer, all while listening to awesome music.

Coffee… I don’t drink it. I am more an Earl Grey with almond milk and honey type of girl.

Love…. I have been in a relationship full of love with my boyfriend for the past 6 years. It’s fabulous. I am fully surrounded by love in every aspect of my life! From my parents to my workplace! I’m pretty lucky.

Ladies, Meet Heather Odendaal. Founder and Curator of WNorth Conference.


Anyone using hashtags #womenontherise and #womenhelpingwomen is definitely someone we want to feature! I met Heather briefly at a Pink Shirt Day Women’s Luncheon committee meeting and was impressed hearing about the WNORTH Conference she founded. Fast forward to a couple other connections later (thank you LinkedIn and Women’s Web), I had a chance to talk to her in more detail about it and the inspiration behind the conference. Having founded Pink Tank on the premise of having more genuine connections where we can connect, motivate and inspire each other, we loved hearing how the WNORTH Conference was born from a similar need. Conferences that encourage participants to engage and interact allow the attendees to take away so much more rather than having someone speak for an hour with no interaction. Read on to find out more about Heather and the amazing inspiration behind the WNORTH Conference being held on Friday, March 6th! 9 days left to purchase tickets!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Whistler with my husband Mike who is originally from South Africa.  We own a company called Bluebird Strategy that specializes in Event Execution and Sponsorship Consulting.  We love to snowboard, travel and drink wine!

What inspired you to create WNORTH?

regularly attend women’s networking events in Vancouver and I recognized a consistent challenge was that there was limited engagement opportunities; there wasn’t that breaking down of barriers and level of engagement that I had seen at some conferences that I had attended in more destination locations, such as Whistler.  I wanted to create a forumwhere driven and dynamic women who are the next generation of senior leaders in  business could come together in Whistler, network and work to elevate one and other’s careers.

With WNORTH, alongside the speaker talks and programming there are number of additional events that allow our attendees to get out and enjoy the resort with their new friends from WNORTH including a Wine Reception at the Firerock Lounge, a trip to the Scandinave Spa and Connect Dinners at Araxi and Alta Bistro where attendees and speakers mingle.

What are you hoping people will take away from attending? 

Our theme for this year is “Conversations”.  At many events, I sometimes feel as though the speakers are talking at me not with me.  I would like WNORTH attendees to have conversations that willinspire them and help them succeed in their career.  Engagement will be our focus; we hope to challenge attendees with new insight, to help them forge new networks, and to leave the event as an engaged an active community of women, who are inspired by their experience, who will go out and to help lift other women as they climb in their careers.

What is the best thing about creating WNorth Conference? 

The overwhelming support and encouragement that I have received from people (both men and women) who I hold in high regard – and the validation that there is a genuine need for what we are trying to create.

I love the diversity of your speakers! Which speaker are you most interested in hearing?

Oh that’s tough to say.  They each bring such unique and valuable insights, and experiences and I’m excited to hear what stories they will share. Of the topics, the one I am most excited about is Devon Brooks (co-founder of Blo Blow Dry Bar)  on “Navigating your greatest failures, fuck-ups, and misfortunes” followed by a session called confessions in which attendees will be invited to participate in micro-talks on failure.

Love the name Bluebird strategy! Can you tell us what inspired you to create your own business and how it came to fruition?

Thank you – everybody loves a Bluebird day with blue skies! Bluebird speaks to a state of mind, and the goal we work towards; making all parties feel good about their partnership.  After nearly 10 years’ worth of experience in sponsorship management and consulting, I saw that there was an opportunity in the marketplace (especially on the West Coast) for a boutique agency to take the lead on building strategic sponsorship relationships, with a specific focus on building genuine partnerships.  We’ve helped build sponsorship programs for clients such as Eco Fashion Week, Ovarian Cancer Canada and now my own event WNORTH. I love what I do and everyday is definitely different.

Date: Friday, March 6th

When: 8:45am – 6:00pm

Where: Westin Whistler Resort & Spa

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