JUNE - NICKI ISKANDER

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TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS.

I'm a Registered Massage Therapist with a women-only massage studio in my Parkdale century home. I provide a body-positive, trans-friendly space where women can relax and ignore the outside world. As a bonus, I play Otis Redding instead of spa music!

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

I got tired of working for The Man (and working for men!). Massage therapy is a very intimate profession. My clients place a lot of trust in me and I don't take that responsibility lightly. I saw a need for a safe space for women and decided to create it myself.

WHAT WAS ONE HIGH POINT FOR YOU?

I once had a woman cry after her massage because it was the first time in a week that she wasn't in pain.

WAS THERE EVER A SITUATION WHERE YOU WANTED TO GIVE UP? AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THAT (YOUR A-HA MOMENT)?:

Honestly, no. I love my job and, to toot my own horn, I'm good at what I do. There have been tough moments for sure, but I've never considered quitting.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING A B.A.B.E.?

I love that B.A.B.E. is a community of women supporting women. Girl power!

TELL ME 3 FUN FACTS ABOUT YOU.

  1. I have two cats named Dave Grohl and Marla Singer.

  2. I've received massages in 10 countries.

  3. I have webbed toes!

WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE US?

Before you start a business, make sure there's a market for what you're looking to sell. Then differentiate yourself from the pack by being the badass that you are.


may - PALAK LOIZIDES

 TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS.

I'm the Founder and CEO of Embiria (meaning 'Experience in Greek') since April 2017. Embiria offers curated Experiences designed for creativity, community and connection in a world where we seem to need it most. Embiria pairs exceptional facilitators with inspiring spaces to offer Experiences that allow you to get creative, focus on self-care, or keep learning - these range from calligraphy classes, to cooking, to yoga x brunch and even business workshops. Whether you come on your own or with a group of friends, we want you to leave an Embiria Experience feeling balanced and inspired—like the best version of you.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

A few years ago, after working in Corporate Marketing for 10+ years, I noticed I was increasingly gravitating towards activities steeped in wellness and self-care, and wanted to leverage my creative abilities to provide that for others. I also realized that I was craving more connection and community in my life. I started off with the idea of holding yoga x brunch pop up experiences and it very quickly evolved to a vibrant community of facilitators, venues, and participants that are all seeking to create and connect!

WHAT WAS ONE HIGH POINT FOR YOU?

When I sold out my very first Experience (Yoga x Brunch) - I had no real social following, no established brand or any money put towards marketing. It just reinforced that there was obviously a need for what I wanted to offer - people were authentically connecting with it and it gave me the confidence I needed to take the leap and build Embiria as a company.

WAS THERE EVER A SITUATION WHERE YOU WANTED TO GIVE UP? AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THAT (YOUR A-HA MOMENT)?:

I've never wanted to fully give up, but there definitely have been times where I have felt defeated. It's easy to get discouraged when you're trying to build and grow a new company - I've seen people duplicate things that I've spent months working on and that was tough, but I'd remind myself that it's my unique ability to create these Experiences that will continue differentiate me from anyone else. I often also evaluate all of the challenges that I've already been through and conquered and how many exciting possibilities lie ahead!

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING A B.A.B.E.?

I love this community of B.A.B.E.s! Being an entrepreneur can get lonely and isolating (no one really talks about that until you're in it), and it's communities like this that remind me I have other amazing women that are there to support, encourage and help out when needed! I'm also constantly inspired by all of the wonderful things that B.A.B.E.s in the group are up to. 

TELL ME 3 FUN FACTS ABOUT YOU.

  1. I've been a vegetarian my entire life.

  2. I've lived in Italy and South America.

  3. I was once an extra in a Disney movie!

WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE US?

You're the only one that can really hold yourself back from all the amazing things you can achieve. Love and believe in yourself first, and the rest of the world will follow suit.