Today, and everyday, we celebrate the incredible women in our communities who are not only pioneers in their respective industries, but also inspire the next generation of female leaders to do the same.

As a female-founded brand, it’s important for us to shine a light on other female founders who have continuously awed us. Together, let’s celebrate Chloe, Jenzel, Julia, and Maria, as we learn more about them and their business endeavours in our exclusive interview. Take a scroll and read on. 



Tell us about yourself and your business
Hi, I’m Chloe — the owner of Surf & Stone. Surf & Stone started as a desire for cute, affordable, beachy jewelry that had great quality. I have very sensitive skin and so much jewelry turns me green or rash so I made it my goal to make beautiful handmade pieces of the best quality at an affordable price. 

What inspired you to start your business?
I am currently a 5th year engineering student at Simon Fraser University and when I started my degree, I really struggled not having a creative outlet. My days were very tough, studying something I wasn’t really loving so making jewelry became a therapy for me. I would make jewelry as a way to unwind and relax, and from their Surf & Stone was created. 

What are the secrets to your success that you’d like to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
My secret to success is taking thoughtful risks! As well as creating a business that you would want to support yourself. My goal with Surf & Stone is to make people feel like they are chasing summer, drenched in sun. That is one of my favourite feelings in the world — so my goal was always to create a brand that made people feel that way to. Also don’t be afraid to try new things! You might fail but as an entrepreneur that is the best way to learn! 

What’s next for Chloe?
This year I am going to be graduating my undergrad as a Systems Engineer and then I will be taking time off to work on Surf & Stone and travel! I’m hoping to work with many other small businesses and grow a community of sunset chasing, ocean lovers. 


Tell us about yourself and your business 

Hi! I'm Jenzel and I’m a photographer and videographer that specializes in weddings, portraits and editorials. I’ve been doing photography and videography for over 10 years and in business for 6 years.

What inspired you to start your business?
Photography and videography runs in my family. My grandpa, uncle and dad loved documenting life moments; whether that would be through a super 8mm camera or a film camera — I was introduced to cameras at a young age. My dad pursued wedding and portrait photography at one point in his life, however, I never once thought that I would one day be a photographer too. I was just very intrigued with cameras.  

It wasn’t until high school, where I was introduced to filmmaking, and that’s when I fell in love with the art of storytelling. Shortly after graduation, I went to film school to study digital film and video, and I began to pick up photography at the same time as it came natural to me. I then started working as a production assistant and editor for wedding companies while building my fashion portfolio. This led me to have an epiphany that I want to start documenting real, authentic moments, so I gravitated towards the wedding industry. Since I knew that I always wanted to one day work for myself, 6 years ago is when I decided to create my first wedding editorial shoot, leave my 9-5 job and work for myself — and the rest is history!

What are the secrets to your success that you’d like to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs? 
Remember your ‘why’ throughout your journey. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of comparing our timeline, our success to others, but remembering why you started is a humble reminder to not get so caught up in the numbers. Also, reminding yourself often that what makes you YOU is your authentic self — That’s what will set you apart from everyone else.

What’s next for Jenzel? 
More weddings, haha! I love capturing weddings! It’s something I don’t see myself not doing (at least anytime soon). I dream of travelling the world with my art, so it would be amazing to book more destination work. Alongside the wedding world, I am wanting to create beyond that, so I’m starting to work with more brands and creatives in the fashion, interior design, home & lifestyle realm.



Tell us about yourself and your business
Hi! My name is Julia Di Spirito and I’m one of the co-founders of Half Past. We make fun, feminine intimates designed for every day. Whether you’re headed to work or getting dressed-up for a night out, our sets were made to take you from your 9-5 and 5-9.

What inspired you to start your business?
Half Past was born when we realized a gap in the market: fun, feminine, but comfortable intimates we could actually enjoy wearing day-to-day. We loved the cute, delicate details of more traditional lingerie, but were tired of spending money on bras with frilly straps that would sit unused at the black our closets — so we set-out to create underwear sets (who doesn’t love a matching set?) that had the feminine details we loved with the comfort and practically for everyday wear.  

What are the secrets to your success that you’d like to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?

I’d have to say that after just over a year of Half Past I’ve definitely got more “lessons learned” than a playbook for success, so here are a few reflections from year one:  

  1. Community is everything. If we could turn back time, we would’ve started to build a community months before our launch. It takes time to build a followership for your brand and the earlier you can get started finding people who share the interests & values of your brand the better!
  2. Start small. If you are making any physical product start with the smallest possible batch. You’re pretty much always going to have something you want to tweak or change (even if the sample came out perfect) and once your product is in the hands of customers you’ll want to iterate based on their feedback too. It’s also easier to keep customers engaged by dropping smaller collections, more frequently versus having large quantities of 1 or 2 products to sell over a long period of time.
  3. Be scrappy. Even as someone with perfectionist tendencies, I’ll be the first to admit that spending hours making the TikTok that is definitely going to go viral isn’t the best approach. Be smart about how you spend your time (you’ve only got so many hours in a day!) and be willing to pivot when things don’t go as planned.
  4. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s easy to let the fun of building a brand become stressful, especially if you are always comparing your success to others. Every brand is on a different journey — your hard work and consistency will pay off! Just make sure to enjoy the ride as well :)

What’s next for Julia?
With Half Past, we’re excited to take things offline in 2023 — we’re excited for more IRL events and to start exploring retail opportunities (if anyone is looking to stock some cute underwear in their shop, let me know!).
Personally, I recently moved to a new city so I’m challenging myself to get back in-touch with my creative side and push myself out of my comfort zone by meeting new friends and shaking up my regular routine.



Tell us about yourself and your business.
I'm Maria and I’m a Vancouver-based Pop-Surrealism artist from Minsk, Belarus. I grew up in an artistic family where creativity was always encouraged so I developed a passion for art an early age. My artwork reflects on personal experiences which I try to connect through bold colors and symbolism that capture a visual representation of themes around human connection, love, and self-discovery.

At Art From The Heart, we specialize in creative workshops for beginners intended to inspire and connect. It started as a small side hustle as a way for me to share my passion for art with others. I worked in the restaurant industry alongside of it for the first 3 years which gave me flexibility in schedule and income that I could invest into the business. Over time, the community at Art From The Heart grew, each workshop started to sell out consistently and a lot of guests were coming back regularly. I knew this was something I had to try and go all in on if I wanted it to continue to grow long-term. I found a studio that gave me the ability to host events more often and on a larger scale and was able to take the business full-time. At Art From The Heart, we create engaging and interactive experiences for beginner painters or anyone looking to try something new. Our paint nights are a perfect way to spice up date night, catch up with your friends or treat yourself to a fun solo night out!

My business was inspired by
Having a creative outlet has been transformative in so many points of my life. Being able to channel both positive and negative energy into something can be very healing. My business was inspired by wanting to create a space for people to find their outlet. I know painting may not be for everyone but, trying something new is. That's why we focus less on making someone the perfect artist and more on facilitating an atmosphere where guests get to explore a new skill in a fun and interactive, low-pressure environment. We try to make the process of making mistakes less intimidating and show how rewarding trusting the process can be with the painting you create through our guided workshops. Guests may not walk away as the next Picasso but we create an experience that's fun and relaxing enough that it gives people the courage to step outside of their comfort zone more often which is the first step to discovering your passion.

What are the secrets to your success that you’d like to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
For me, growing my business involved a lot of trial and error, and being able to quickly regroup when a hurdle comes up has been one of my best tools for success. It’s important to not dwell on mistakes or try to perfect every aspect of an idea. Sometimes the best outcomes come from unpredicted pivots. Being able to build resilience and creative strategies when dealing with mistakes or uncertainty has helped a lot, especially as an events-based business that was really affected by COVID as it was just beginning to grow. Knowing your blind spots and asking for support in those areas are also very important aspects of a successful business. That’s an area I can still use some practice in.

What’s next for Maria?
In the coming months, I hope to prioritize my personal creative projects a little more. Business-wise, we’re moving into our busiest season with our Paint in the Park events which we’re aiming to elevate like never before. Painting in the sunshine with our community is what I look forward to most every year. In addition, we hope to expand our studio and grow our small team over the next year and continue to bring creative and unique events to our guests.