Monthly Archives: August 2013

How One Woman Makes Bodies Art!

Manon Cormier has been a body paint artist for two years. In this video, she explains how body painting is a form of art. She is hired to paint bodies for many different occasions from corporate events to professional photographers or for private individuals.

“I imagine characters I want to bring to life.” said Manon. She doesn’t usually draw then before painting but instead it is more of improvisation.

Watch this video to see Manon transform one lady into her amazing body art!

(Please note: this contains nudity!)

Body Painting from Christine Porcaro.

Meet Amy, Debbie And Rhodie – Founders: Joyride Cycling Studio

Lamenting the lack of a local boutique cycling studio led three Connecticut women to open their own.

Amy Hochhauser, a self-described “recovering” attorney had moved to Westport, CT when her second son was three.  During lunch one day with her friend, Debbie Katz, Amy said, “I wish we had a great spinning studio here.  Someone should open a high end boutique spinning place here…..WE should open a spinning place here!”

The friends turned to spinning to relieve stress and maintain physical and mental fitness.  Amy jumped in to figure out how to open a studio. Unable to sleep one night, began to Google everything she could about spinning classes.  “I found a guy in Boston who consults with people who want to start spinning studios,” said Amy.  “He was the perfect person to talk with.”

They started  thinking of a name for their future studio.  She and Debbie wanted it to be a happy welcoming place for clients.  So combining a feeling of joy (and Amy’s Grandmother’s name), with an action verb, ride, they decided on JoyRide.

Since Amy was a lawyer, she filed for a trademark and formed an LLC.  “Then, we hired the consultant to help us with the basics, which included space requirements, a budget, and management details.”

As they kept planning, they realized they needed capital. Drafting a short business plan, they met with everyone they knew.  “Borrowing was not an option so we had to find investors,” said Amy.  “Lots of people said we couldn’t do it, but we had the commitments we needed to open our first studio in one week.”

Soon after that, their consultant said he knew a spinning instructor from Westport, CT who was interested in opening a studio.  “He thought she would be a good fit for us,” Amy recalled.  “An instructor was the missing piece.  Debbie and I worked out, but we weren’t instructors.”

When Amy heard it was Rhodie Lorenze, one of the most successful spinning instructors in the area, she knew it was meant to be.  They met for coffee, shared their ideas and knew it was going to happen.

The three women became partners, signing the legal documents which included exit strategies.  “You don’t want to start this big a venture and not know what would happen if things change for one of the partners,” said Amy.

Eight months after dreaming about opening the studio, JoyRide offered its first spinning class.

“We were surprised and pleased by the support from friends who came – it was awesome,” said Amy.  The women relied on social media to get the word out.  Spinners followed their instructors which brought in clients.  The lease they were able to secure gave them more room than they needed, so they have an extra room for other classes.

“The spinning instructors also teach Pilates, JoySculpt and JoyCircuit,” said Amy. “Never did I think I’d be running an exercise studio but once I get my mind set on an idea, I wont’ stop.  I knew if we didn’t do it, someone else would and the timing was perfect,” says Amy.   JoyRide has become so successful, they just opened their second studio in Darien.

Why is JoyRide so popular?  For all ages, Spinning torches calories and is an endorphin-boosting way to develop muscle tone and reduce body fat.  Amy says, “I think we’ve been successful because JoyRide focuses on the mind/body connection encouraging riders to stay positive and tap into their mental strength.”

Rhodie says her clients love her (music) playlist.

“I love to offer a challenging ride and engage with my riders.”  The best part for the three women, “We love the community among us as owners, our instructors and our clients.  This is our extended family.”

FFN fans can get 10% off when you purchase classes in the VentureMom Shop

Contact:  [email protected]

Studio addresses:  1200 Post Road East, Westport, CT, 25 Old King’s Hwy. North, Darien, CT

(Photo credit: Julianne Mulvey)


How One Business Is Promoting Beautiful Women Of All Sizes!

There is a new modeling agency in town and it is aiming to change the catwalk.

Jag, a new modeling agency based out of New York City, is aspiring to change the modeling world.

Founders Gary Dakin and Jaclyn Sarka, former directors of Ford models’ plus board, saw an opportunity to develop a new brand after the New York division of Ford closed its doors in June. “We are the first agency in New York that’s dedicated solely to women of all sizes,” Dakin told Fashionista, an independent fashion news site. “The goal is putting girls of all sizes on the covers of magazines, in advertising, and not stopping.”

Dakin’s experience with plus size models began when Ford hired its first, Emme, in 1998. Since then, Dakin has changed America’s perception of plus size models by exploring these women’s sensual side. As a result, the Italian Vogue June 2011 issue featured Ford models Tara Lynn and Candice Huffine on the cover, seductively dressed in lingerie over glasses of wine.

Jag currently employs around thirty models, one of which is Jennie Runk, who caused a stir when she headlined H&M’s swimwear campaign this past summer as a plus-size model. After the positive and negative attention she received, Runk addressed the public in an open letter: “People assume plus equates to fat, which in turn equates to ugly. This is completely absurd because many women who are considered plus-sized are actually in line with the American average.”

How does Jag want to affect the industry and society?

Hopefully the fashion industry will shift its focus from “straight” models to those with curves, therefore changing society’s distorted definition of beauty. Clothes will eventually be designed to fit multiple body types, not just the one seen on the runway. Consumers will also feel more secure with their bodies, and will be confident purchasing clothes with the knowledge the items look attractive on women over a size 2.

Unfortunately, there is a huge roadblock in Jag’s mission.

Until consumers and the media stop categorizing these women as plus size models, there isn’t going to be any change in the fashion world. When an advertisement is overshadowed by the size of the woman, the whole point of mainstreaming curvy models is lost. Society tends to cast judgment by numerical values—IQ, hip size, GPA, number of miles ran. These can be used to calculate successes, but more often than not measuring failures when it comes to body image. Jag is hoping to change this way of thinking by hiring girls for their beauty, not their size.

How can the common woman help promote diverse body types and health?

The easiest way is to stop antagonizing over size and concentrate on personal positive attributes. Stylists Stacy London and Clinton Kelly from the TLC show “What Not to Wear” regularly advise guests to forget about the number on the clothing label, and instead simply focus on what fits best. Women seem chained to their size, and often measure their value and self-worth by their clothing tag.

If the current shopping mentality is changed for the better, stores will be forced to keep standard sizes in stock, the industry will design clothes to fit consumer demands, and the gap between straight and plus size models will diminish.

In short, Jag’s modeling perspective of representing all women is a wonderful addition to the fashion world. To end the current model categorization, other agencies need to follow Jag’s example. Hopefully this practice will result in an industry that promotes confident, beautiful women of all sizes.

Meet “The Go To Mom”: Kimberley Blaine

Kimberley Blaine, MA, MFT, has been named one of the most powerful moms in social media by Working Mother magazine.

She is the executive producer of the Go-To Mom™ web series which addresses the overall mental health & well-being of mothers. Her show was one of the first grass-roots web series launched in 2007.

Kimberley was Google+‘s first family partner, launching their online community where parents share and communicate via the world’s largest search engine. Kimberley is a founding partner of MomPulse.TV, the fastest growing YouTube networks for moms owned by Fullscreen.

She is the author of The Internet Mommy & What Smart Mothers Know and The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children (Jossey-Bass/Wiley).

I met Kimberley at a Google press event.

Here’s my recent interview with Kimberley:

JA: What prompted you to make a transition from being a therapist to being an author and web video producer?

KB: When my first child was born, I felt very isolated and lonely. So, I started a neighborhood playgroup which grew to over 75 families. I kind of became the neighborhood’s Go-To Mom, so I decided to try to reach millions by going online. In 2007, I launched the parenting series www.TheGoToMom.TV

JA: How did you land your first corporate client? Did the sponsors come to you?

KB: After three months of uploading USG (user generated content) with my Sony Handycam ® I reached out to a large parenting destination site and offered to sell a few shows. They not only were interested, but bought of 24 shows. I ended up finally hiring a crew to shoot the videos. It wasn’t until after my fourth year that brands started to approach me.

JA: What kinds of products do you choose to endorse?  Who are your current clients?

KB: I technically only endorse products that enhance the well-being of families raising young kids. Good food that’s safe and easy to make, non-toxic toys, age-appropriate movies, eco-friendly products and fun family destination vacation spots. I try not to veer too far off from my background. So, if an auto body company asked me to do a campaign, most likely I’d turn them down.

Currently I’m helping promote ‘ptch’ app – designed by DreamWorks — a cool video app families can use to edit video from their phones. The other product I’m promoting is Dr. Ann Corwin’s “Pocket Full of Feelings.” Check it out at:

JA: Are there certain products or services you won’t deal with?

KB: I’m very reluctant to get involved with companies that sell gaming or electronics aimed at  young kids. I think young kids should have limited time on electronics.

JA: What’s the biggest challenge you face as a working mother? How old are your sons? Do you have someone helping you care for them?

KB: The biggest challenge isn’t necessarily being a working mom, it’s being a entrepreneurial mom. I can get called out at any moment for TV show in NYC or to host event in Silicon Valley which involves travel for several days – so I have to scramble for childcare. My boys are seven and 12. They are in school during the day, but when I’m out of town, which is a lot, that’s when it’s a challenge. My husband is entertainment industry, so he’s home quite a bit.

JA:  Do you work with clients to help them produce videos and sign corporate sponsors?

KB: Yes, I consult with other mom/dad bloggers to help them build their platforms and create a web video presence. After 7 years of doing it for myself, I gladly welcome helping others. It takes hard work, patience, and financial investment to build a successful brand.

JA: How did you build such a strong social media following?

KB: I was intrigued with Twitter when I started. I thought Facebook was stupid and I refused to use it for years. But Twitter was such a fast moving tool that I picked up it quickly. I started observing other moms and media professionals. I learned a lot from some of the first SoMe (social media) pioneers by using Twitter the entire time I was building my brand. Twitter is responsible for my platform’s success. 

JA:  What’s next for you? Any new projects or ventures in the works?

KB: Yes, hopefully sometime in 2014 my book on women’s mental health will be out. And of course, I truly enjoy taking on a few private corporations who are in need of SoMe consultation around video, moms and content syndication.

Visit Kimberly’s website,, follow Kim @TheGoToMom or on Facebook.

Jane Applegate
Jane is the national correspondent for, author of four books on small business success and co-founder of the FabulousFemaleNetwork.comThe Applegate Group is a multimedia production company.




Back to School: Tips and Tricks for a Successful School Year

Going back to school is never easy.

Too quickly, the lazy days of summer are replaced with bagged lunches, carpools and homework. To help ease the transition, I’ve reached out to experts to find out the best practices for ensuring kids and their parents have a successful school year.

 – Create Mini-Routines and Checklists –

 “Helping your family adopt mini-routines is an excellent way to help maximize time and minimize stress,” suggests Ana Homayoun, author of That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week and founder of Green Ivy Educational Consulting.

When creating routines, give your children enough responsibility to encourage ownership of the process, while building in checkpoints to ensure things don’t go haywire.

For example, Mom blogger, Sharon Rowley, the mother of six children ages seven through 12, has set up “go-to” stations in two of her family’s bathrooms. Each morning, the six children go to their respective bathrooms where they have trays that hold everything they need to get ready for the day. Each child is responsible for getting “as ready as possible” on their own before meeting their mom for one final check.

Sometimes Rowley has to fix a ponytail or re-tie a shoe, but her goal is to have her kids do as much as possible independently, which instills in them a sense of pride and confidence that will carry them throughout the years.

Here are 3 Tips and Tricks for a Successful School Year:

– Keep Things Simple –

These days, crazy schedules have become the norm. From early morning enrichment classes to after school sports and clubs, many children and their weary parents don’t know if they’re coming or going.

To help you and your children get a handle on the day, simplify things with a visual schedule and checklist.

Use manila folders to make the schedules, which can be divided into three parts: morning routine, things for the backpack and after school activities. Have your children draw pictures of the different activities they do throughout the day such as brushing teeth, packing homework or going to soccer practice.

Place Velcro® tape on the back of each picture, which will give you the flexibility to change the schedules as needed. Place schedules in a visible location such as near the back door or on the refrigerator door.

– Encourage Play Dates –

Another huge issue for many kids is learning how to make friends. Whether your child is new to the school or in a class where she doesn’t know many peers, socializing can be daunting.

Liz Zack, Editorial Director of, finds many parents struggle with helping their kids make friends. Zack suggests taking a proactive approach when organizing play dates. First, be sure to set up the play date at your house, which is most likely the place your child feels most comfortable.

Ask your child for the names of classmates he might like to have over and if that’s not successful, ask your child’s teacher for suggestions. When planning the activities, come up with a list of ideas the kids can do together that will also provide a bonding experience such as making foam pennants that feature the school’s mascot, beading key chains with fun messages or decorating lunch money holders made of recycled tins and paper.

 – Take the Hassle Out of Homework –

From difficult math problems to crumpled-up spelling lists, there is a lot to dislike about homework. Although I have no surefire way to make homework more “fun,” you can help make it easier for your children by creating individual homework stations for your children. These stations are designed to contain everything your kids need to complete their homework.

First, give children a (clean) deep-dish pizza box, which, is large enough to contain all their supplies yet small enough to be tucked away when not in use. Next, have your children make a list of the items they typically need to complete their homework such as pencils, scissors, glue and paper. Place these items in the individual pizza boxes, which are clearly marked with each child’s name.

When it’s time for homework, simply pull out the ‘stations’ while your kids pull out their books. The goal is to have everything your kids need at their fingertips, which eliminates distractions and keeps them on task.

“Gluten-Free”-Is it Just Another Fad or a Loud Wake-Up Call?

There are lots of people who are sick to death of hearing about gluten free. Many wonder, “How can a food we have been thriving on for centuries suddenly be so harmful?”

It’s easy to understand the skeptics. The hype of celebrities going on gluten-free diets to lose weight and giant food companies putting the gluten- free label every product they can, has turned a serious topic into a media circus.

Those who switch to gluten-free cookies, crackers, breads, bagels and pizzas to lose weight will soon be disappointed. Gluten-free baked goods are higher in calories and sugar than other baked goods and to be truthful, rarely taste as good.

Those are the people who are missing the big picture.

There is a very important story being told here and it is getting lost in the noise.

The work I do involves taking clients through an elimination diet that removes gluten and other common food intolerances. For 2 weeks our clients eat only carefully selected fresh, whole foods.

Most people sign on just hoping they will lose a few pounds.

Very few have any idea how much their diet is impacting their life.

They are astounded by the results of the detox. Most cannot believe how incredibly good they feel. They did not know that “normal” was supposed to feel like that. An even greater surprise was the long list of symptoms that simply disappeared.

The question is why?

Your immune system is in your intestines. Your intestines function in a way that is nothing short of miraculous. Our current diet and lifestyle puts a huge strain on this system. Your body will strive to overcome the damage caused by the overuse of aspirins and antibiotics (Aside from what your doctor prescribes, you are getting them in all commercially raised meats) and the chemicals, food dyes, trans fats, sugars and artificial sweeteners that are abundant in our food supply.

There comes a point of overwhelm.

The result is what is called Leaky Gut Syndrome.

The villi of the small intestine become inflamed and irritated. This allows the toxins in the small intestines to flood into the blood stream. Your body sees this as an attack and responds by trying to remove the foreign invaders. The result is inflammation.

The best example of what happens is when you cut yourself. The site of the wound gets red and swells as part of the healing process. With Leaky Gut Syndrome this inflammation occurs in different parts of the body. Symptoms will vary from one person to the next, but the end result will be what we call autoimmune disease.

These are some of the common conditions you will suffer from: asthma, food allergies, belly bloat, chronic constipation, sinus problems, eczema, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, brain fog, body aches and pains including arthritis and Fibromyalgia.

Leaky Gut Syndrome is reaching epidemic proportions.

When you have a leaky gut, one of the proteins that wreaks a lot of havoc is gluten. Gluten is the protein found in grains. The grains that are problematic are wheat, barley and rye.

For people with Leaky Gut Syndrome a gluten-free diet will be life changing.

But, if you want to go from feeling relief to feeling amazing, you need to do more than switch to highly processed gluten free substitutes.

Learn the real lesson of what is happening here.

Read the labels on what you are eating. If the ingredients didn’t at one time swim, run, fly or grow, put it back. I can promise if you take the time, you will find something very similar to what you are looking for that’s made with fresh ingredients. My bet is you will like it even better. It may cost you

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a little more, but think of all you’ll be saving in medications and doctor visits.

It’s time we paid attention to the high price of cheap food.

You have a choice. You can pay the farmer or you can pay the pharmacy.

You can visit our web site if you would like to know more about doing an elimination diet to test for food intolerances.

Kathy D’Agati
Kathy is a Holistic Nutrition Coach and partner at Back to Basic Wellness. She and her business partner Ellen, a Natural Food Chef have created a powerful and innovative virtual program designed for today’s very busy woman. Using a unique team approach, they take you step by step through the process of eliminating the foods that are making you sick, tired and fat and replacing them with delicious foods your body will love. Kathy has always been fascinated by the healing power of food. She continually studies all the latest nutrition information and translates it into simple, practical advice. Her goal is to empower you to understand the language of your own body so you will always know the right foods to eat for a life of boundless energy and good health. Kathy is also a public speaker and is available for workshops and corporate wellness programs. You can read more at her web site: You can contact her at [email protected]

Meet Meredith Hubbard and Tracy Gohl – Founders of Easel Does It

While at a play date, each with two kids under six years-old, Meredith Hubbard and Tracy Gohl were discussing budget cuts in the creative curriculum at their schools.

The women had similar backgrounds in event planning and teaching preschool and being involved in the arts and theater.

They met during the economic crisis a few years ago and started brainstorming about how to make extra money. They settled on the idea of teaching an arts and crafts class–a class to provide preschool children an unstructured environment to encourage creativity. But the challenge was this: how to include all the kids in a family so moms didn’t have to drive all over town dropping one child at one activity and another somewhere else? That’s when they decided to create a class for siblings of all ages.  And better yet, a class that takes place at your home or theirs.

Meredith and Tracy created the art workshop based on what they would want if they were enrolling their children in the class. They decided to offer a mobile 45-minute class that takes place wherever mothers wanted it to be held.

They named their new venture, Easel Does It, with the tag line, “We bring all the fun and take all the mess.”

To enroll students, they promoted the classes by posting flyers at local preschools, telling all their friends about it and emailing everyone they knew around their home town of Huntington Beach, CA.

“I love that we have been able to create our own schedules around the thing that is most important to us – our kids and families,” said Tracy.

Starting with preschool level classes, Meredith and Tracy brought their younger kids with them – no babysitter needed.  During the afternoon classes, their older kids love being assistants and helping participants complete a variety of fun projects.

Easel Does It is set up to let kids choose from a large selection of projects and provides “art stations” so kids can move from craft to

craft.  The projects range from beading to finger painting to paper collages. They use all kinds of items including rocks, wooden spoons and shoe boxes.

Classes can be designed for any group ranging from ages three to 15. Kids love the crafts and parents love the creativity they inspire.

Catering to the child’s areas of interest or the theme of the party, Easel Does It creates customized projects for birthday parties as well.  The moms told me, “It’s pretty cool that we have found our niche and been able to fill a need for those in our community.”

As the business grew via word of mouth, Meredith and Tracy wanted to expand their offerings. They contacted  local Parks and Recreation departments and were eventually hired to offer their class two days a week.  From there, they branched out to Parks and Recreation departments in neighboring towns.

Now, these two moms have their dream job, teaching two or three classes a day, four or five days a week, in three towns.

With virtually no start-up costs, Meredith and Tracy were able to build a business that fit their needs.

“I was someone who quit a lot of things because people kept telling me it wouldn’t work – but this is one thing I felt passionate about and I knew it would be successful,” says Tracy.

What’s next?  The partners plan to hire more teachers – mostly moms who need a job with flexibility.  Summer camps are on the docket and maybe a store front.  With no business plan, not even something written on a napkin, Meredith and Tracy started with one mobile art class and grew from there – easy does it….no Easel Does It!

Contact: [email protected] and [email protected]

Holly Hurd
Since founding, Holly Hurd has become a sought-after expert in the field of entrepreneurism. She recently spoke at the Women and the Entrepreneurial Spirit Conference in New York City, numerous CT venues, and has been featured in the New Canaan/Darien Magazine. Hurd has always been at the forefront of entrepreneurism. When she was only twenty-five, she was featured in Futures Magazine, USA Today and in Fortune‘s People to Watch column for her exceptional work managing her own fund on Wall Street. She has put her exciting life experiences to excellent use by creating, a resource and showcase for mom created ventures.

Gloria Steinem Will Receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Gloria Steinem will be a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor.

In an article published on The Women’s Media Center’s website (which Steinem co-founded) it was announced that the White House will bestow her with this honor.

“The history of the women’s movement has been a struggle for women’s voices to be heard. In the tradition of Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gloria has forever changed the 20th and 21st centuries for women and men through her words and actions. Her brilliant writing, tireless advocacy, intelligence and humor have carried and propelled our dreams. We are so proud that President Obama will honor her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.” – Julie Burton

Read the original article at Women’s Media Center.

Finding Your Passion at Any Age!

“I’m not leaving Italy without a pair of boots that I love and I’m not leaving without cooking lessons.”

These were high on Patty Newth’s must-do list when after retirement. She had embarked on a trip to Italy as an exchange student.

Little did she know that what she would bring home and share with the world would far surpass the scope of boots and Italian cooking tips.

Thanks to a small farmers market in Sienna, she was introduced to a tasty bit of Heaven called, tomato jam. And the memory of something so sweet, so unique, is what transported Patty to her present life.

How did such a tiny experience in a far-away country change the life of one woman?

After returning to the states, Patty had a bumper crop of tomatoes, and not having very many options to make use of them, decided to turn to her Italian inspiration and create some of her own jam.

In case you’re wondering, tomato jam is runny like a sauce, full of fruity sweetness, and contains the varied spices that tomatoes traditionally pair well with.

And I must say, a few unexpected, yet wholly incredible flavors as well, thanks to an experimental mind like Patty’s. I’m talking, a-hint-of-black-licorice kind of surprise. Suffice it to say, that for one who detests black licorice, I am absolutely mad for the way it makes itself subtly present in Patty’s Beautiful Tomato blend.

With a flavor that contains the perfect marriage of sweet and spicy, Ms. Newth created a work of genius.

After dishing out some of her jam and receiving rave feedback from friends and family, it became clear that, just maybe, this endeavor could actually lead to a marketable product.

Patty’s ambitions once again led her to the classroom, where she took a class called “Getting Your Recipe to Market.” After weeks of experimentation and looking for just the right ingredients, learning about the food biz, and making her product look as good as it tastes, she was ready to start selling her recipe at the local yet wildly popular Beaverton Farmers Market in Oregon.

While nothing really arises without predecessors these days, there is not a single mixture of flavors out there quite like this tomato jam. Its versatile essence allows it to act as a dip for cheeses, veggies, breads – you name it. Spread it on a pizza crust – and you’re living a dream. Mix it into your pasta, stuffed peppers, or even top your sandwich with it – and you’ll realize that life just handed you a homemade gift.

At the age of 68, Patty is making her name as a student of life and passion, as well as a creator of that which sustains our happy spirits – flavor. Shortly after her voyage to Italy, she battled a stint with lower paralyzation, yet with her determination and a cane she made it to classes every week where she perfected her recipe. It is now without a cane and full mobility that she greets success, which her wildly indomitable spirit made possible.

She is truly an inspiration to us all that we can find our passion at any age!

Heather Pugh
Heather is a writing and editing consultant who is dedicated to pointing the spotlight onto small businesses, healthy living, and empowerment through a genuine and thorough examination of one’s relationship with the surrounding world. Based out of Portland, Oregon, she is currently involved with projects involving the autism spectrum, music, farmers markets, local entrepreneurs, joycotting upstanding businesses, and DIY blogs.

Heather can be reached via LinkedIn or by email at [email protected]

The Secret to Living the Suite Life!

Mompreneur Lisa Chan has created a successful business by making life more comfortable for Vancouver visitors.

She started out by renting out her own apartment, and today, 7 years later, Lisa’s company Suiteliving is one of the largest furnished rental companies in Vancouver.

Here is my interview with Lisa Chan.

DE: What is Suiteliving?

LC: Suiteliving is a service that gives travelers a much better alternative to staying in a hotel. Suiteliving provides fully furnished homes for clients looking for long and short term stays. Whether they are here on vacation or in need of a temporary home, having a warm and welcoming place to call home can make the transition much easier.

It all started in 2006 when my husband and I took a summer off to attend Cordon Bleu Culinary program in Paris. We posted our Yaletown apartment for short term furnished rent on Craigslist and over night received over 20 interested inquiries! When I returned from Paris, I continued to rent the suite out and lived with family until our new presale condo was ready for move-in. I realized there was a demand for furnished accommodations so we invested more time and money to make it what it is today.

Whenever I travel with my family, we prefer to stay in a vacation home rather than a hotel because it enables everybody to stay together thus creating amazing memories through laughter and conversation. For those who are relocating to Vancouver, Suiteliving offers suites that they can call “home.” Because we offer much bigger living spaces including kitchens, living rooms, private laundry & etc, people can really settle in and feel comfortable for a long time. I’m proud of business, Suiteliving, because we have created unforgettable memories for so many people visiting Vancouver through the offering of our luxury suites.

DE: What has been the greatest challenges starting up a business on your own?

LC: Keeping track of the financials! I tend to focus too much on the qualitative and not enough on the quantitative aspects of the business. My business coach told me repeatedly that in order to excel at any game that I’d need to constantly know what the score is! Therefore, I can’t excel in business unless I know what my bottom line is every month!

DE: What has been the greatest rewards?

LC: Having the flexibility to work where I want, when I want. Job flexibility so I can spend more time with my kids. Having the ability to motivate and inspire my staff.

DE: What is next for Suiteliving?

LC: We would like to move into the luxury suite segment and focus on quality vs. quantity. At the present time, we manage over 60 units so we would like to downsize to around 50 suites and improve our suite quality and service. Suiteliving would like to be known as the premium brand for temporary accommodations in Vancouver.

DE: What is your best advice for other women entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?

LC: Be sure your partner is 100% supportive of you and your business because you’re going to need the support in the beginning when it’s most challenging. Don’t get into partnerships unless there is something fundamentally beneficial that your partner can offer or you don’t possess.

If you have an option, always try to hire competent staff with skills that you are lacking. If you ever feel like you need a sounding board, try to hire a business coach for support and advice.

The secret to my success lies in the loyalty and competency of my staff. Training somebody is very time consuming, so if you’re going to invest that much time into training, be sure you spend the time to hire the right person.

For more info on Suiteliving click HERE!


Dorthe Enger
Dorthe is an accomplished journalist and has had a successful career as a global reporter. She has worked for Endemol, TV2 Norway, Aller Media and Cosmopolitan. In addition, she has co-created three Norwegian lifestyle magazines and has also founded and co-developed Xylem Advance Organic Skin Solution.