A Slice Of Paris in Vancouver

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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?

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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?

1) SWEATY 2) INSPIRATIONAL 3) SEXY 4) EMOTIONAL 5) EXTRAORDINARY

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.

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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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What’s After Graduation?

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Meet Gracelle Bonifacio, PR, Marketing and Events Coordinator at Escapes.ca

Written by Ashley Basran

University is extremely stressful. Classes can be a complete nightmare and keeping on top of things is really hard, especially with all the distractions (thanks Netflix). The fear of not landing a job after graduation is no help either. As if being a full-time student wasn’t already a full-time job, future employers expect you to have relevant work experience too. This is all something that Gracelle Bonifacio knows too well.

Gracelle (also known as Grace) attended the University of British Columbia where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She then became a full-time student in the Public Relations Diploma program at Kwantlen University. “I never thought I would find myself in business or marketing. I loved writing and wanted to be an English Teacher,” says Grace.

During her two years at Kwantlen, Grace worked her butt off and said yes to any and every opportunity that came her way. I know this because, I was in the same two-year program and admired her drive and hunger for success.

“My first ever internship was with Beth Richards Swimwear. It exposed me to the PR industry, but it was different then what I thought it would be. This experience opened my eyes to the fashion industry and helped put everything into perspective,” says Grace. She had a first hand view of how hard local designers have to work to put their brand out there. “My second internship was with Dela Cruz PR. I worked in more of a PR Admin role until I moved into a Social Media Coordinator position, which I created for myself.” Interning can be a daunting experience. It can also leave you feeling overworked and unappreciated (depending on your experience). However, Grace is thankful. “I’m forever indebted to my internship experiences. I will never ever forget those people that gave me a chance.”

Here are a few of Graces’ Tips below:

Job Hunting:

  • Make finding a job a full-time job. Its honestly so tough. You have to really pitch yourself and know what you’re talking about. It’s not about handing in your resume. It’s showing that you know what the company is about and what you can bring to the table.

Interning:

  • Take every opportunity that you can. You never know where it’s going to lead you. If you’ve fallen in love with your internship placement, find a position you can wedge yourself into and show that you want the job! Interning is also a great way to familiarize you with tactical duties.

The Interview:

  • To stand out as a student you need to have a creative portfolio, which helps to show that you’re multifaceted as a potential employee. A lot of employees don’t hire you based on your skill because skills can be obtained. They’ll hire you on the fit of the company.

“Being an Intern and actually being a Coordinator are two completely different things. As a Coordinator you have a lot more responsibilities then you experienced as an Intern. The difference between being an Intern and having a paid job is that your very much more part of a decision making process,” explains Grace of her interning experience.

The transition period between graduation and finding a job can be long, dreadful and feel like a never-ending story.  Give yourself some time and remember that you have worked your butt off! Everything will eventually come together for you.

Grace is an example of how hard work; dedication and taking advantage of opportunities can really work in your favour! She’s a marketing rock star and continues to make her mark within the industry.

Meet Lorena Laurencelle

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At 21, Lorena is pure inspiration! I first met her back when she responded to a tweet inquiring about a Pink Tank intern. She was working part time at Banana Republic, going to school full time in Public Reactions, interning at a couple different places and aspiring to own her own business. One busy lady! Flash forward 3 years, she is now my counterpart at Pink Tank, has successfully started her own boutique PR agency called Regalien and is way beyond her years already in her drive, commitment and motivation to become a success. I have no doubt she is headed for big and amazing things! To top it off, she is uber stylish and always has the most perfect shade of lipstick to accompany any outfit. Read on to find out a bit more about Lorena and her favourite moment at Pink Tank:

Say my name: Lorena

Occupation: Co-Visionary at Pink Tank and Co-Founder at Régalien

Three words that describe yourself: Quirky, whimsical and curious.

 Your last purchase: Vintage ring in New York!

 Who inspires you: My grandmother; she’s the perfect combination of badass and lady-like.

 Three things that are always in your purse: Wallet, glasses cleaner, keys.

 Your favourite moment with Pink Tank: The most recent Next Gen event that we hosted; such an amazing turnout with the most inspiring speakers. My favourite event to help plan (especially love putting together gift bags!)

 Name a goal of yours: To travel the world while working from my computer.

 Your go-to drink at Starbucks: Tall Americano!

 A must have app: Google Docs – It holds all my client files, work projects, etc.

 Cat or dog lover: Kitties and puppies.

 Name somewhere you would love to travel to: All over Asia. Currently planning a trip to Paris!

 Favourite quote: “Do what you love, love what you do.”