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#GirlBoss - Tanya

Meet Tanya – founder, designer, creator. Tanya started a small succulent business, Fringe & Flora, last year in November 2016. We started by asking her a little bit about how she started up her business and what lead her to this field.

I’ve made many flower arrangements and potted plants for my own yard but wanted to create something on a smaller scale that people can have in their homes, offices, events, or give as gifts and become part of/enhance their home decor.

I started by choosing my pots and planters. I’m very selective about what type of pots I use- I want them to be beautiful and special but simple enough to allow the plants to shine. As well, I wanted to provide selections for many different tastes and decor styles. Succulents seemed like the obvious choice of plants to use because they are so beautiful, unique and diverse, and are relatively easy to care for and can be made to suit any space. It wasn’t easy to find a supplier for them since they don’t grow well in Alberta, but luckily I found a local nursery that I source most of my succulents from and occasionally will bring some in from BC. If only we had the weather to grow succulents year round, I would be in heaven!

Next came months of creating arrangements for family and friends to see what worked and what didn’t. It was a huge learning process and involved many sleepless nights, but I eventually came up with a cohesive collection which was photographed for my website. I decided to work with a local photographer/designer, Jillian Schecher, which was so helpful and such a positive experience.




Then we asked Tanya to tell us a little bit more about the specifics of her brand. What the early stages of building her brand looked like, what her creative process looks like now, and how she collaborates with her clients to make each creation unique and authentic. This is what she said …

When developing Fringe & Flora, I knew what look and vibe I was going for but I just didn’t know how to translate it into a brand. I decided to work with a local photographer/designer which was so helpful and such a positive experience. She helped bring my vision to life and create a brand that is truly “me” and shows what I offer, as well as keep me inspired and gave me confidence during the tough times when I wanted to give up.

Fringe & Flora arrangements are made-to-order and each one is unique. Customers can browse the collections of arrangements on the website, fringeandflora.com, and choose which style of arrangement and planter they like. From there, I have them fill out an order form with specific questions, for example how many succulents, if they want one larger or multiple smaller ones, colour palette, the décor style- to get a sense of what they want. Customers can be very specific and know exactly what they want, but often they give me full control to create something special for them.

I also receive requests for arrangements through social media and email. Often a person will like something I’ve posted on Instagram and message me to order something similar. I’m very open to all forms of inquiries and love working with clients and hearing their ideas, making it a collaborative process. Some of my nicest arrangements were created because of requests and feedback from clients.

Once the client places the order I will plan their arrangement and choose the perfect succulents. I try to keep a selection of succulents on hand but will always go out of my way to find just the right ones for that specific arrangement. Sometimes this means ordering something in or shopping around locally The whole process can take up to a week but if someone needs something on short notice I always do my best to have it ready for them. I offer delivery to the Edmonton area for a small fee, or pickups at my downtown studio at no charge.

Sometimes a person has a special container that they want used for their arrangement. I’m happy to do custom orders, as well as replanting a Fringe & Flora planter if the succulents start looking tired and need to be refreshed.

I have done a few pop-ups around the city and will open up my studio on the occasional weekend so people can stop by and shop some pre-made arrangements. The best place to get the scoop on what's going on with Fringe & Flora is probably Instagram (@fringeandflora).


We asked Tanya what she likes about her job and asked her what her favourite part of being an entrepreneur was. We also chatted with her a little bit about the life of an entrepreneur and how she is able to maintain a work/life balance. Here is what she had to say ...

My absolute favourite part about this job is creating something for people that they love and that makes them happy. I feel honoured when people choose me to create something that they will have in their homes or gift to loved ones, and I get so happy picturing it as something they display in their homes and that brings them joy.

I also really love the planting and gardening aspect and getting my hands dirty- it’s so therapeutic to work with and the plants and the dirt and have contact with nature. No matter how stressed I am, after making an arrangement I always feel better. Visiting the greenhouses for inspiration and to get supplies is also pretty sweet perk of the job.

Finally, love being able to be creative and the process of planning out the arrangements- which succulents will look best together and go in which planter.

It’s so fulfilling to see the final product after all the planning and hard work that goes into each one and people can know that every single piece is made with love.

Maintaining a work/life balance is definitely something I struggle with because I am a perfectionist and tend to feel like I have to be able to do absolutely everything all the time, and having your own business can be incredibly busy. Sometimes I have to force myself to take time away from work, to hang out with my husband and dogs, see my wonderful family and friends, work in my garden, or to just have time to myself, and have realized that I'm better and more productive if I do these things. It also might sound cliche but eating healthy and exercising (especially barre) make a huge difference. Whenever I leave barre I feel energized, more balanced and less stressed. I'm also trying to be more mindful and focus on the present and have recently started meditating which has been a game changer.

And finally, as always, we talked about community. How the YEG community influences her work, her business and her product and also, as an entrepreneur in Edmonton, how she works alongside other locally owned and operated businesses.

The Edmonton community has had a huge influence on what I do. I think our city is so special in that its residents really appreciate locally made goods are so supportive of local business. I feel so lucky every single day to live and work in YEG and be part of such an amazing group.

I've had nothing but positive feedback and support from other local business owners, makers and vendors that I've worked with or met at various shows and events. There is such an amazingly talented group of people who live here and work so hard at their crafts and rather than competing, it's like everyone wants each other to succeed.

The group who has had the biggest impact on me by far though are all the customers I've had the pleasure of meeting. I'm constantly blown away by how kind and supportive everyone is, and it makes me appreciate what I do so much and keeps me motivated to work harder and do better.



Email: fringeandflora@gmail.com

Instagram: @fringeandflora

Website: fringeandflora.com


#GirlBoss - Dana


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Before I went on maternity leave I helped small businesses to grow and attract
investment into their companies. 6 months ago I had my daughter Adrianna, and
went from being a very driven professional to full on mom mode and I am loving it.
She was the inspiration for starting my small business selling teething products and
is a constant source of happiness for myself and my husband. I’ve been married for
over 6 years, and my awesome hubby is a huge supporter of everything I do, he even
comes to tradeshows with me!


Tell us a little bit about the process that you took to get you to where you are now

One thing I noticed while I was getting ready for Adrianna was that everything baby
related is SO expensive. It felt like planning a wedding all over again, when things
that seemed like they shouldn’t be crazy expensive were being sold at really high
prices, but you needed them, so you just bought it. After my daughter was born I
decided to see what I could make for myself instead of dishing out money for things
that were relatively simple and affordable to make. My first project was going to be
making a teething pacifier clip. I went to buy the beads but the cost of shipping was
quite high. So I went all in and decided to buy a large bulk order and make some for
friends for shower’s etc. From there I realized I could sell them at a reasonable price
to new moms who may not have lots of extra cash for these items. So I made a few
teething clips and necklaces, and the business has grown from there! I now make
teething pacifier clips, rattles, necklaces, bracelets, and am going to be adding
teething toys that can attach to a carrier (perfect for the baby barre mommas!) soon.

Explain how you maintain a work/life balance as an entrepreneur.

My favorite thing about starting this business is that it’s allowed me to stay busy and
get out of the house for tradeshows once in a while. I can make all of my products
while still snuggling or hanging out with my daughter so I feel like it’s been the
perfect balance of keeping busy while also still spending lots of quality time with my


Explain the creative process that you go through to create your work.

I spend a lot of time planning new products, and doing research into the best safety
practices for the items I am making. I’m always looking for new ways to make my
products even safer or more useful, and am having lots of fun learning new
techniques. I am the farthest from crafty that you can get, so this has been a big
change for me and it was a big surprise to find out that I really enjoy doing this, and
lose track of time planning out new designs and styles. I love meeting new mommas
that are happy to be able to pick up cute and useful products for reasonable prices. I
am a major deal hunter so it’s really nice to be able to make a product that’s
affordable but also really useful for other new mommas.

Speak on your connection to the community.

I have met so many new moms since having my daughter, whether it’s through baby
barre classes, tradeshows, or library class and we all have a universal need to soothe
our babe’s teething pain. It’s nice to be able to help customers, including friends and
family in a small way by making the teething process less painful. This business has
helped me to meet so many awesome entrepreneurial moms in the community, and
we’ve formed a great support group for each other and work hard to promote each
other’s business. We’re going to be helping more and more little ones cope with
teething pain at shows up all over Central Alberta, and are also reaching new
mommas all over the world through our Etsy shop, we’ve even sent teething
products to Perth, Australia!  


Contact Information:
Etsy Shop - https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ChewelryAndBabe
Instagram - @chewelryandbabe
Facebook - Chewelry & Babe


#GirlBoss - Danielle


Hey tribe, meet our newest #GirlBoss, Danielle! She is a registered massage therapist and a registered acupuncturist, with extensive knowledge in sports medicine acupuncture, cupping, TMJ specialization and joint taping. We LOVE what she does so we thought that we would get into things a little bit deeper with her and share with you. Check out what Danielle has to say about the interaction of western and Chinese medicine that influences her practice. 


I am an acupuncturist and registered Massage Therapist and I absolutely
LOVE my job! It all started in high school when I decided I wanted to be an
Acupuncturist. Coming from a small town in northern Alberta, with no
Acupuncturists, my mom quickly derailed that plan, thinking there was no way that
it could be a profitable career. So, I went to U of A with a new dream of being a
pharmacist. I absolutely hated it and after my first year I had returned on my path
to becoming an Acupuncturist! But now, I had the full support of my mom. During
my year at U of A, my mom started suffering from dreaded hot flashes and night
sweats and sought out treatment from an amazing Acupuncturist. I think it only took
a few sessions and my mom was cured of her symptoms and had a whole new
outlook on Acupuncture and it’s amazing effects!

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a modality within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In
simplest terms, your body has a network of pathways (meridians), coming from
different organs, which energy (Qi – pronounced CHI) flows through. The organs are
completely different from Western Medicine and provide different functions. For
example, your Liver in TCM regulates the smooth flow of Qi, emotions and Blood. SO
if someone has a diagnosis of Liver Qi Stagnation, they don’t literally have liver
cirrhosis or some other physical dysfunction. The would have symptoms such as
anger, irritability, anxiety, pain in their ribs and possibly a feeling of a lump in their

You may have seen an Acupuncturist who felt your pulse and took a look at
your tongue? The quality of the tongue and pulse are used to help build a diagnosis,
along with questions about the whole body’s functioning. It seems pretty personal
when someone is asking you about you stool regularity and quality or menses, and
super random if they ask if you have a feeling of heaviness in your legs, but all of
these things help us to determine the proper diagnosis and enables us to build a
holistic treatment plan for you. Once a diagnosis has been determined, a series of
Acupuncture Points will be administered to correct the body’s dysfunction. The
Acupuncturist may also use other modalities such as cupping, guasha,
electro-acupuncture and massage to solidify a treatment.
Another big question people ask is “what does Acupuncture help with?”. The
answer is EVERYTHING! The main thing I treat is muscle/joint pain, stiffness, tears
etc. but this is so minimal! Because of the holistic approach of Chinese Medicine,
Acupuncture can enhance all body systems.

The following are only a few examples of what Acupuncture can help with:
●Insomnia, sleep related conditions
●Stress & Anxiety
●Menopause Symptoms (ex. Hot flashes, nights sweats)
●PMS syptoms
●Fertility (Female & Male)
●Acne or other skin related conditions (psoriasis, eczema, etc.)
●Bowel issues (IBS, constipation, Chrons Disease)

You can check out
ed-acupuncture for a list of more things!

After I graduated from both the Acupuncture and Massage Therapy programs
I started working at BodyDevotion as a sub-contractor. This clinic has allowed me to
accomplish so much in such a short time, both personally and in my practice. I have
had the luxury of controlling my own schedule. This has allowed me to attend
seminars and courses on a regular basis, growing and developing my modalities,
techniques and practice. My goal for my practice is educating the public about the
benefits of Acupuncture and Massage Therapy and showing them how to integrate
these therapies into their lives.


The main way I ensure a proper work life balance is travelling. I love going on
trips, I mean who doesn’t? But I am so fortunate to have the luxury to see the world
with my fiancée and come home to a practice that I am so passionate about. I
eventually would like to combine work and travel, by developing new techniques or
treatment protocols and teaching seminars around the world.


To book an appointment you can message me on Instagram @DVCYR or
check out the website at www.bodydevotion.com.


#GirlBoss: Jessica Baudin-Griffin


You may recognize this pretty, new face around the studio ... she is our newest instructor, Jessica! Not only is she already a boss at the barre, she is also this months #GirlBoss. Read on to learn more about her background in dance and how it led to her creation of Intellidance®.


We started by asking her a bit about herself and her background. Fitness and dance play such a huge role in Jessica's life, and here she tells us all about it and how she uses it as a muse to create her program, Intellidance®.

I have been working as movement educator in Edmonton for the past 16 years. I 

have spent most of my life dancing because I love the physical, mental, and spiritual
benefits moving provides me. As a young adult I began to explore many other ways
to keep moving such as pilates, yoga, and general fitness and found they brought me
the same holistic benefits as dance. To me dance and fitness have never about
perfection or competition, they simply a way I experience JOY! I wanted to share this
joy with others.

In 2005 I graduated from the U of A with a degree in Education and after a short
stint working for the public school board, my first daughter was born in the Spring
of 2006. I realized I wanted to combine my loves of dance, education, and my
beautiful baby girl into a career. I began working full time as a dance and fitness
teacher, running a studio called J’Adore Dance, creating programs that specifically
catered to young families. As I watched my daughter grow, I spent more time
researching how movement in early childhood supported critical brain
development. I created dance and music activities based on my research to bond
with my daughter at home, and eventually began to share them with the families in
my dance classes. In 2008, when my second daughter was born, I officially launched
the Intellidance® programs. In 2010 I launched an in-person certification and
licensing program so others could teach and bring the Intellidance® programs to
their community. In 2015, along with the help of my awesome, web programmer
hubby, we launched an online certification and licensing program for Intellidance®,
allowing movement educators from around the world to bring Intellidance
programs to their communities. In the Spring of 2016, I made the decision to sell my
studio J’Adore Dance, so I could focus on developing the international and online
aspects of Intellidance® and enjoy a less hectic lifestyle after 10 years of studio

It been a wonderful, sometimes crazy, experience growing two successful businesses
from the ground up. I often look back on the last 10 years and wonder how I
managed to achieve so much as a young, usually sleep deprived mom, but I am so
thankful I took and risk and followed my dreams! You never know your true
potential unless you challenge yourself to grow!

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Next Jessica goes on to tell us about all things Intellidance®. She lays out the values, structure and ideology behind her program and her brand. 

By combining my background in early childhood and dance education, the
conceptual, brain-compatible dance education model created by my mentor Anne
Green Gilbert (www.creativedance.org), and scientific research that supports the
importance of movement in development, I have created a robust program model
that is fun with purpose!

Intellidance® is a unique series of creative dance programs that foster critical
development in children ages 0-5. Combining movement vocabulary and dance
concepts, Intellidance® programs lay the foundation for lifelong physical literacy on
and off the dance floor. (https://www.intellidance.ca/about)

Intellidance® is a playful and creative approach to movement education in the early
years. My programs are based on current best practices and recommendations in
early childhood development and education, coupled with child and
caregiver-approved fun!

The program model combines exploration and discovery with dance, music, and play
designed to nurture the littlest dancers, while strengthening the caregiver-child

When I am creating new curriculum and activities for Intellidance® I am looking at
3 specific areas:

1)How do I create an activity that supports the Music/Movement concept being
explored in that lesson?

2)How do implement the activity using best teaching practices for the specific
learning needs of the age group of that class (Babies (3-11 months), Tykes
(12-24 months), Tots, (2-4), Kids (3-5)) and also ensure I have modification
to suit the diverse needs of all learners?

3)How does this activity support specific developmental targets (physical,
cognitive and social/emotional)?

I’m a very playful, creative, imaginative person, so I love being able to bring that to
my activities, but I also am very analytical, so I love breaking down those activities
and really looking at how they can help children grow and learn. I am always
balancing my inner artist with my inner scientist. Some common comments I hear
from student going through the Intellidance® Method Certification is how in-depth
the training is, how it changes the way they think about and understand early
childhood dance, and how it challenges and changes them to be the best teachers
they can be!

Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing what a positive impact Intellidance® has
on young children and their parents! Every time I teach an Intellidance® class I feel
like to get to witness the best of humanity: joy, love, and community! Having an
online platform to share my methodology, curriculum, and proven business model
has given me the opportunity to reach movement educators from all over the world.
Watching their class videos always makes my heart sing, as I get to witness the
families in their communities experiencing the same benefits and joys. I feel like
sharing Intellidance® is a small way I can make the world a kinder, happier, better

Having been a business owner, I know first-hand how challenging, stressful, and
lonely it can be running a business of your own. I spent much of my first few years of
business fumbling along, so I’m thrilled to have a licensing program that allows me
to support other small business owners and share my successful business and
marketing strategies with them. Most dance teachers go into business for
themselves because they love to teach, but often end up so dragged down by
branding, administration, and business development they spend less time teaching
and have reduced job satisfaction. I love helping my Intellidance® licensees develop
impactful business strategies that allow them to do more of what they love - TEACH!

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Finally, Jessica brings it home by talking about her connection with and in the community and what this means for her business. 

I will proudly say I am a community builder! In 2013 I had the pleasure of being
selected as one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40, for being a community
builder for new moms and their young families. I strongly believe in the current
business world, all successful businesses are based on building a common
community for their customers. This means building relationships with your
customers and building them up! My goal is always to have people leave my classes
feeling happier than when they arrived. I try to connect people within my classes
and online networks so they can take the strength and connections of our
community into day to day lives. The young family community in Edmonton has
exploded over the past 10 years and I am proud to have been part of that
development. My greatest business successes have never been monetary, but the
lasting relationships I have built with people in the greater Edmonton area. My hope
is I can translate this successful local community and bring it to an international
level with Intellidance®!

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Contact Information: 

Website: www.intellidance.ca
Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/Intellidancing
Instagram: @intellidancing


#GirlBoss: Jill Coursen


Meet Jill: a BBS barrestar, local entrepreneur and incredible photographer. We are always blown away by her gorgeous wedding shots, and in constant awe of her flawless creativity. Read on to see what this #GirlBoss has to say about being a photographer in Edmonton and what it is like to work with other local businesses in the YEG wedding industry!

We started by asking Jill to tell us a little bit about herself and how she kicked off her journey in the photography industry. She even throws a little BBS love into her answer, we are blushing!   

I'm a wedding photographer based in Edmonton but I do travel all over Canada
for weddings. I've been a full time photographer for 6 years and I have
photographed almost 200 weddings. I took Journalism in college but my
business and photography has been mostly self-taught. I've always had an
interest and passion for photography and I never thought I could do it full
time. In 2008 I bought a Canon rebel xti camera + kit lens and taught myself
how to use it. I started by taking photos of friends and family and posting them
on Facebook. Social media was really important in helping build my business.
By 2010 I was able to quit my day job and focus full time on photography. I feel
so lucky to be able to document such an important day in someone's life. I've
never had a job where I'm so fulfilled creatively and I'm constantly learning
and trying to get better. Also being able to work from home is an extra benefit!
It's quite a challenge to maintain a work/life balance, especially in the summer
and fall months. Barre actually helps me a lot as it gets me out of the house
and off the computer. You have to be quite healthy to work the 12 hour
wedding days and I feel like Barre has helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle.




Next we asked her to chat a little bit about her photography. We have included a couple
shots of Jill's work, aren't they beautiful? 

When I describe my photography - it's natural light and photojournalistic. I try
to keep natural posing for my clients so they feel comfortable. I want to tell
their story and what is special about them as a couple. I love so much about my
job. I love getting to know so many different people. From my couples I work
with to my friends in the wedding industry. It's nice to connect with other
small business owners that have the same passion as you. I love getting to
spend such an important day with my clients. I love all the emotions that go
along with weddings

Finally, Jill touches on community and the many different elements that make up the  of the vast wedding industry in Edmonton. She also explains the impact that our pretty city has on her photography. 

The wedding industry is full of amazing small business owners who work very
hard for their clients. It's been great to meet and work with other
photographers, videographers, florists, wedding planners, make up + hair
stylists. Since I started doing so many photo shoots in Edmonton, it made me
appreciate what a beautiful city we live in. We have so many beautiful parks,
country fields and urban areas. Edmonton has a huge influence on my
photography. I've learned to appreciate some beautiful winter days as well.
Entrepreneurship has given me so many opportunities and relationships that I
wouldn't of had without my business. You do work so much more than a 9-5
job (and I give up most of my weekends) but I'm grateful of my clients that
trust me with their important milestones.


Contact Information: 
Instagram: jillcoursenphoto
Website: http://www.jillcoursenphotography.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jillcoursenphotography 


#GirlBoss: Jessica Clarke


We see the BBS tribe rocking our favourite True Life Apparel leggings out at the barre all the time, so this month we want to introduce you to the #GirlBoss behind the line, Jessica Clarke. The good cause, the great price and the adorable, yet functional leggings stole our hearts instantly when we met with Jessica about carrying her line in our boutique, so this week we chatted with her all about her brand and the life of a local business owner. Check it out:

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We started off by asking Jess about herself and the brand, True Life Fitness:

Well, not sure where to start! I’m born and raised in Edmonton, although I spent
most of my 20’s living in Vancouver and Whistler. I returned home to Edmonton
almost four years ago when I took a job in medical sales at 3M.
But, anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE being activity and fitness has always
been my passion. You can get me to do just about anything that involves getting
sweaty, so, of course I buy a ton of workout clothes. However, over the last few years,
I have found that my usual well brands are increasing in price and decrease in
quality, so I was tired of paying a fortune for something that was made more for
walking around then a spin class.

True Life Fitness Apparel was born with myself in mind. I would make the samples
and wear them to absolutely everything I did and see how they would hold up and it
worked! I went through a ton of samples before I landed on the fabric combination
that was perfect for the gym but looked cute enough to grab coffee in afterwards.
I also believed that fitness apparel should come in all sizes for all different shapes of
women and affordable to a larger group than just those who are willing (or able) to
spend $100 for leggings. I didn’t want to be just another “legging” company.

One of the most important parts of the business is that we want to support girls
getting involved in sports and fitness all over the world. Here in Edmonton we are
lucky enough to have some access to different kinds of programs and services for
young girls to get involved in but I believe that all girls can benefit from getting
involved in any kind of activity, no matter what it is! For me, growing up as a young
girl was difficult and I struggled with self-esteem and confidence, like some many of
my peers. I gained my own self-worth and confidence in who I was through sports so
I am happy to support other organizations who are providing those types of services
throughout the world. We donate $2 from every purchase to the Women Win
foundation who are extremely activity, all around the globe, in helping young girls
get involved in sports. They have been able to massively impact some much needed

Lastly, all of our products are names after inspirational people in my life. I just
thought this would be a nice “shout out” to just some of the most amazing women
that have all touch my heart in some way or another. You can learn more about them
on our website!


Next we asked her to speak on the life of a #GirlBoss - how she started off, what motivates her and what obstacles she has come across in the process. We also asked her to narrow in specifically on her connection with the fitness community in YEG and share with us her ties all around the world.

I’m not sure I would call myself an Entrepreneur just yet! I have a full time job,
which I enjoy, I am currently just completing my MBA (this year!) and I started an on
line business for fitness apparel. I am also a girlfriend to an amazing, supportive
man, I’m a doggie mommy, friend, daughter and sister. Like many women, I’m many
things but mostly I just want to be a good human. I am realizing that your brand and
who you are intertwined together and your influence can reach hundreds, even
thousands of people. I want the brand to promote a healthy lifestyle, family,
friendship and just pure genuine kindness that is much needed these days.

The Edmonton community has been incredible! I originally had no intention of
selling my product at retail and now we sell in four different studios with more on
the way! The local support has literally blown my mind and I am realizing more and
more that Edmonton’s community is a unique one where everyone really wants to
support each other. I am thankful for my friends at BBS who started the trend in the
city by supporting me from day one! I have also been very fortunate to have created
an online community all over the world, especially in the US, thanks to social media.
I have had some influential girls in the fitness community share their own love for
what I’m doing which has continued to grow my following to over 3200 people (as of
right now) in four months.

I think the last things I’ll add is that starting your own business is fun but not exactly
easy. You are going to make so many mistakes and do dumb things. (At least I have!)
You will always have some people that are constantly doubting you or not
supporting you but you just need to remember that it’s not for everyone. However,
when you walk into a workout class and someone is wearing your leggings, it feels
pretty cool and then you start thinking about the next pair you need to make…

Contact information:
website: www.truelifefitnessapparel.com
instagram: @truelifefitnessapparel



#GIRLBOSS - Kristin Gibson Design

Welcome to our newest series on the BBS Blog: #GirlBoss. In this segment, we will feature the incredible, hard-working entrepreneurs that make up our community. Here we will chat with them about the life of a girl boss, building a business and local connections in YEG. As you know, we love all things local and we love badass women, this feature combines these two loves and showcases all of the amazing brands, businesses and bosses that are a part of our BBS Tribe. 

You know (and love love love) our first spotlight, as she is not only a #GirlBoss but also a #BarreBoss. Kristin is a freelance graphic designer who started up her own business, Kristin Gibson Design, in December of 2014. Read all about what she has to say about the design industry in Edmonton, maintaining a work/life balance as a young entrepreneur and all about the amazing community connections that she has built in the past few years! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and the field in which you specialize. 

I am a graphic designer who has been in the field for over 10 years. I graduated from the Visual Communication program at MacEwan University, specializing in Design & Illustration. I have worked throughout the field, spending time working in-house at a large company, at a small advertising agency, and at a design studio. I finally decided to strike out on my own at the end of 2014, starting my new year with a new adventure.

How did you get your design business started? 

The great thing about being a designer is that I was always able to do freelance work while I was employed full-time. This allowed me to establish client relationships that were all my own while still having the security of a steady pay cheque. At my last job, I was also blessed with an employer who was incredibly open to how she ran her business and what things cost. She also allowed me to have direct connections with our clients which taught me how to interact with people and sell my work.

As soon as I made the decision to go on my own, I reached out to everyone I could think of within the design community that worked for themselves and might have some insight into what to do to find business. Everyone was so willing to share information and a few even sent business my way which got me through the first tight months.

Maintaining a work/life balance as an entrepreneur is unquestionably a challenging task, especially with a family. How do you make time to run your business, design, teach barre, be a rockstar mom and maintain your own sanity? 

I am terrible at saying no to people, so work/life balance is a bit of a work in progress! I always see the potential and the possibilities in every project that comes my way. I don’t ever want to turn down projects because I have a definite fear of missing out on something amazing. What I am getting better at is pushing for reasonable time frames. What I do takes time, great ideas don’t come overnight, and the clients that really want to work with me respect that and give me the time I need.

I also have a really supportive husband who gives me time to work in the evening while he spends time with our son, so I can work at my best time of day.

Now tell us about your brand, what is it exactly that you specialize in? 

Within the field of design, I specialize in branding design and print design, so posters, brochures, stationery, anything that can be printed, I love to make! I also recently have started designing apps, which is such an interesting expansion on what I already do. Thinking about how an app flows adds an extra level of complexity which I find fascinating.

One thing that we love to follow, specifically through your social media, is the process leading up to the finished product. Can you explain the creative process that you go through to create your work? 

What I think sets me apart as a designer is that everything I create begins with a sketch. Taking the time to draw things out by hand really works out the problems and helps me arrive at more creative and original end products. It also saves me time in the end because I’m not spending hours pushing things around on a computer, waiting for ideas to come!


What do you love about your job? Share with us the benefits of entrepreneurship and the design industry! 

I love the freedom of my job. I can work wherever and whenever best fits my schedule, which allows me to spend time during the day with my son and work when the ideas hit, versus sitting at a computer from 9-5. The variety in what I do is also amazing. I never am working on the same project twice, all clients are different and they all have different needs within their brand.

Now lets talk community. What connection do you have with the community in Edmonton? What connections do you have with other local businesses? 

The Edmonton community is so supportive when it comes to helping you generate business. If you are good at what you do, word of mouth is the absolute best way to generate business and some of my best clients have come from referrals by other clients I have, who like working with me and have spread the word.

My brand is all about building brands, especially local brands! Designers are the behind the scenes people. You don’t really know who creates the logos unless you go looking or asking. I have created so many logos that can be seen throughout the Edmonton community leaving a lasting legacy I have been able to infuse into my community. I love thinking that I have played a small role in growing our community through the designs I create, helping these business owners grow, and developing their brands.

I work with other local designers, printers, marketing companies, digital developers and so many local businesses are my clients.

Finally, could you speak on the lifestyle that comes with entrepreneurship? Any advice for other #GirlBosses just starting out?
My life is… CRAZY! In the past 8 months, my business has grown so much, and I couldn’t be more excited, but it has meant my life is a bit more hectic. I work at odd hours to get my projects done, often working late into the evening when I tend to be the most creative.

I think life as an entrepreneur can be a bit lonely if you don’t have employees or coworkers (which I don’t) so I am very fortunate to be able to teach barre as a way to build a community. Those regular interactions with the other barre beauties has definitely kept me from going stir crazy :)

Contact Information:
website: www.kristingibson.ca
blog: www.kristingibson.ca/blog
facebook: www.facebook.com/kristin.gibson.designer
instagram: @kristingibsondesign
twitter: @kgibsondesign