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Meet Our Award Finalists: 5 Tips from Dr. Theresa Nicassio

Theresa Nicassio is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Vancouver, BC. She is a Finalist for The 2017 Mompreneur Award of Excellence, for her inclusivity-based research and teachings outlined in her cookbook YUM: plant-based recipes for a gluten-free diet.

Mompreneur Theresa Nicassio of YUM cookbook


Theresa’s Journey to Entrepreneurship

Since childhood I have been entranced by the power of the human spirit and its capacity to survive, even in the face of adversity. This gift has equipped me to help others and has also helped me during the dark days of my own illness when I knew I didn’t want to leave my daughters motherless before they graduated high school. Oprah Winfrey and Barbra Streisand were role models for me,  inspiring me through their example, to face my fears, overcome obstacles, step into my power (even when it was unpopular), and not lose sight of hope.

Being an entrepreneur for me is inextricably linked to my calling to help make the world a better place. While I never expected my reach and visibility to ever become so big, now that it is I see it as an opportunity to empower even more people by partnering with other visionaries and serve as the wind beneath THEIR wings. As we see the planet facing tremendous obstacles, it is a time when hope is most needed. I am simply saying “Yes” to the call.


About Theresa

Dr. Theresa Nicassio is a kindness advocate, psychologist, wellness educator, speaker, raw food chef, radio host, author, publisher, mother of two, and an activist committed to helping make the world a more compassionate and sustainable place.

Theresa’s innovative anti-bullying INCLUSIVE COOKING initiative was spearheaded with her multi award-winning book YUM: Plant-Based Recipes for a Gluten-Free Diet (a 2016 Gourmand Best in the World winner). The book is opening a long-needed dialogue around special needs and the problem of unintentional exclusion in our society. Theresa’s own journey as a mum who encountered health problems after the birth of her first daughter led to her deep passion to share what she has learned so that others can benefit.

Theresa also contributes to the community through social media, her online wellness resource hub: TheresaNicassio.com, her blog YumFoodForLiving.com, magazine columns and as the host of the Dr. Theresa Nicassio Show on Healthy Life Radio.


Theresa’s Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. Be YOU: Authenticity and uniqueness are far more important than image. Far too often as women we believe that we are not “enough” as we are, not realizing how perfect we are even with our imperfections. When we try to be someone we aren’t, we cut ourselves off from our distinctiveness which actually is our greatest source of creativity, problem-solving, and even innovation. We also waste a lot of valuable time and energy that we could otherwise use to serve. Besides, people will trust you more when they feel the truth of your essence. It’s just good business!
  2. Be BRAVE: Forget your Comfort Zone! Fear limits us. Habituated fear not only limits, but also makes us blind. When we are willing to soften our edges and invite new ways of thinking about situations and doing things, it is incredible what possibilities we can discover.
  3. Be True: Never compromise your integrity. Your soul and self-respect are your greatest treasures. No opportunity or profit is worth risking either. Trust your gut – it won’t mislead you… if a business opportunity makes you feel uneasy in anyway, at any point of the process, turn around and don’t look back!
  4. Be Curious: We women have a nasty habit of not believing in ourselves. We often don’t think that we are worthy of anything too special and so have a propensity not to even throw our hat into the game. So, when there is an opportunity before you that you notice yourself asking “Why Me?” notice what happens when you turn that question around in your mind and instead ask yourself “Why NOT Me?” You will be amazed how much that simple change in perspective will perk you up and help you have more clarity and courage to step forward.
  5. Know Your “WHY”: As I like to say, “Your WHY is Where Your Passion Resides”. When there is no “Why” there is no passion. When there is no passion, there is no purpose or motivation. When there is no purpose and no passion, there is no energy or interest in you or anything you do. On the other hand, when you know your “Why”, you are more engaged in what you are doing. Your “Why” also helps you stay on track after disappointments and better cope when you feel all alone along your journey. Your “Why” also makes your “work” a labour of love, helping you get through those tough times and sometimes long hard hours that can be part of birthing your new business. Your “Why” also helps you release your pride. When we work from our heart to serve, we realize that what we do isn’t about us, but is about making a difference in the world and in the lives of others.

Join us on March 3/4 in Toronto for The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference, where we will announce all of our 2017 Mompreneur Award winners – LIVE at the event!


mompreneur Theresa Nicassio, author of YUM plant-based recipes for a gluten-free diet

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Meet Our Award Finalists: Top 5 Tips from Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson has been a Mompreneur member since 2012, was one of 10 original finalists for The 2013 Mompreneur Awards, and is based out of Mission, BC. She is a finalist for The 2017 Mompreneur Startup Award, for her company k’pure naturals!

mompreneur Karen Johnson of k'pure naturals, finalist for the 2017 Mompreneur Startup award


Karen’s Journey to Entrepreneurship:

This business kind of happened by accident. Five years ago, when our youngest son (we have 3 boys and a girl) was a newborn, I found out at our naturopath appointment that he had abnormally high levels of aluminum and plastics in his system. I was shocked and confused. He was breastfed, how was this possible?? Turns out, my deodorant was loaded with aluminum and my lotions with plastics, which were making their way into my breast milk. What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. This is where my quest for natural skin and body care started. I researched deodorant recipes and after five years of trial and error, that recipe has been perfected.

As a personal trainer and Bootcamp instructor, I had the ideal platform to test my products. After giving the deodorant to my friends and clients to try, I couldn’t make it fast enough! And it quickly turned into a business, adding the rest of our great products along the way.

K’pure is a line of products that are safe for the whole family to use, while still being just as effective, if not more effective, than commercial brands of products.


Karen’s Tips for Other Women Wanting to Start a Business:

  1. Do not start your business with making money as your number one goal. You will most likely not make a ton of money at the start. Make your main objective to get your product into as many hands as you can, meaning you will be giving away a lot of “gifts” but it’s the best way to spread the word and it’s also a great way to do market research.
  2. Do not take out a huge loan or dump a ton of money into your idea to start. With k’pure, i started with a $100 supply purchase and took the money I made from those first products to make my next supply purchase. Start small and let the business grow organically. You don’t need fancy equipment or huge amounts of stock to start out, no matter what your industry is.
  3. You need to work your butt off. Literally. If you want your business to succeed, it needs to be your main focus. Expect long hours, late nights and lots of coffee. If you aren’t available to meet the customers’ needs, they will take their business elsewhere. This is where sacrifice comes in. Missed outings, less time with friends. It may look like a successful entrepreneur is just lucky, but i promise behind the scenes it’s HARD WORK. Once the business is up and running and turning a profit, you will be able to hire help, but the hard work never ends. You need to continually stay ahead of trends and find ways to be innovative.

  4. Don’t IMITATE. It’s better to fail at originality than to succeed at imitation (that’s not my quote 😉 ) It will seem so easy to take the simple way and copy someone, or to buy social media followers, but don’t do it. People will see right through it and you will lose all credibility. Make integrity a priority and find something original to promote. Even if you are in an industry with a ton of “competition”, find a way to stand out and be different. When you are passionate about something, you will attract customers and they will love you and your product. And don’t see others in your industry as competition. There are millions of potential customers, so if you are being original, what the other brands are doing doesn’t matter. And don’t be afraid to collaborate! It’s a great way to get your name out and to work with likeminded women.

  5. You have to love what you’re doing and don’t forget to take time out for self-care or you will burnout. Trust me, I speak from experience here.

Join us on March 3/4 in Toronto for The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference, where we will announce all of our 2017 Mompreneur Award winners – LIVE at the event!


mompreneur Karen Johnson of k'pure naturals - logo

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Meet Our Award Finalists: Top 5 Tips from Michelle Emson

Michelle Emson is an Elite+ Mompreneur member, originally from Milton, Ontario and now living in Bracebridge, Ontario. She is a finalist for The 2017 Mompreneurs Momentum Award, for her company Sanctuary Studios!

mompreneur member Michelle Emson of Sanctuary Studios, finalist for 2017 Mompreneurs Momentum Award


Michelle’s Journey to Entrepreneurship

My path to entrepreneurship started long before I knew the word. From an early age, I had the desire, drive, and acumen to own and operate a small business. When, much later in life, I needed the freedom and flexibility afforded entrepreneurs, it was an easy and natural decision for me to create Sanctuary Studios. Entrepreneurs come to this calling for many different reasons. Running my own company affords me the privilege of serving two communities; the first, other passionate and committed small business owners and the second, the LGBTQI community world-wide in the pursuit of fundamental human rights.

Sanctuary Studios is full-service digital agency, specializing in worry-free web design, hosting, and management, and providing an integrated digital solution for your online presence. Our SEO, graphics design, and content management services are supported through strategic partnerships with other female entrepreneurs. In addition, I am a professional photographer, documentary filmmaker, and video producer.

Sanctuary Studios is also a social enterprise. The proceeds from the business serve to finance my human rights, advocacy, and activism work. Having already produced two full length documentary films with plans for more in 2017, we strive to raise awareness, and effect change, around key human rights issues.


Michelle’s Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. Believe in Yourself – all too often, we approach a new business venture from a place of excitement, fear, trepidation, and doubt. Finding the strength and courage to truly believe in yourself, believing that you can do this, will give you a solid foundation that you can build upon.
  2. Step In To Your Power – once you have come to truly believe in yourself, and what you’re doing, step into your power and own it!
  3. Build a Team – it’s a myth that entrepreneurs must do it alone. There are some very key resources that you should consider tapping into from the get-go; a bookkeeper, for example. Join high quality networking groups such as Mompreneurs® – the peer support is priceless.
  4. Leverage Your Core Skills – know what you’re good at and leverage those skills. If something it not your core skill, and it’s not something that you really want to add to your toolbox, then don’t do it! Ensure that you apply all your energy to your core skills. In this way, you will continue to do what you love, all the time.
  5. Build Your Brand – remember, your personal brand is as important as your business brand. If you’re not working with a branded organization or franchise, then to develop your brand identity will help you feel confident about your business.

Join us on March 3/4 in Toronto for The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference, where we will announce all of our 2017 Mompreneur Award winners – LIVE at the event!


Mompreneur Award finalist Michelle Emson of Sanctuary Studios - logo

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Meet Our Award Finalists: Top 5 Tips from Nicole Hennessy

Nicole Hennessy is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of London, Ontario. She is a finalist for The 2017 Mompreneur Award of Merit, as licensed owner of Mommy Connections London!

mompreneur Nicole Hennessy of Mommy Connections London - finalist for the 2017 Mompreneur Award of Merit


Nicole’s Journey to Entrepreneurship

I always knew I’d be an entrepreneur. I grew up with my dad running his own company and it taught me so much. I learned the customer service role but also to stay educated and keep learning. He has taught me everything I know, organization, time management, cash flow and all the ins and outs of running a business. The way he carries himself and the way people look at him and listen to him, I knew I wanted that life.  I also wanted to live a life with my family. I knew I wanted to help others but not by sacrificing being with my kids. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but with some hard work it would pay off! I’m thankful to grow up in an entrepreneurial family and I hope to inspire my kids as well.

Mommy Connections London is a fun and social platform for moms to connect to each other in the programs products and services available in their community through workshops, events and classes before baby and beyond. Our weekly classes provide a unique learning opportunity  as well as the opportunity to bond with your child and other moms in the community in a social environment. Demo the most popular classes in your community and learn from leading experts. We provide educational and social connections for the modern family before baby and beyond.


Nicole’s Top 5 Things She Couldn’t Succeed Without as a Mompreneur:

  1. Family Support – These are your rocks, the people you see all the time and spend most of your time with, they are your biggest influencers. Having your family onboard and cheering for you every step of the way is so important.
  2. Other Mompreneurs – Surround yourself with other like minded women. Having people living a similar lifestyle as you and growing their business can be your best bet to lean on.
  3. The drive to do whatever it takes – Things will come up that will deter you, persevere through it. Focus on your goals and look at your “Why” frequently.
  4. The creativity to come up with new ideas and how to deal with conflicts – Things are always changing and you need to be ready to go with the flow and come up with new ideas. You also need to be quick, confident and consistent to resolve conflicts.
  5. The backbone to not feel defeated – Focus on your goals and on your plan to get there. Don’t let same bumps in the road deter you, take it as a lesson and learn from it.

Join us on March 3/4 in Toronto for The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference, where we will announce all of our 2017 Mompreneur Award winners – LIVE at the event!


mompreneur Nicole Hennessy of Mommy Connections London

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Meet Our Award Finalists: Top 5 Tips from AnnaMaria DiNicolantonio

AnnaMaria DiNicolantonio has been a Mompreneur member since 2010, based out of Milton, Ontario. She is a finalist for The 2017 Mompreneur Award of Excellence, for her company Olivia Rose!

mompreneur AnnaMaria DiNicolantonio of  Olivia Rose - finalist for the 2017 Mompreneur Award of Excellence


AnnaMaria’s Path to Entrepreneurship

I grew up dancing ballet for most of my childhood. I have always had a love and passion for classical music and ballet. I continued to dance well into my twenties and even danced while I was pregnant with my first daughter, Olivia; this is the reason for the ballet component of the line. I have always been a skirt and dress kind of girl. When my eldest daugther Olivia was born I never imagined the joy I would feel: I was over the moon! I could not wait to put her in skirts and dresses and could not wait for her to be old enough to start ballet! I had always been the entrepreneur type, but never knew exactly what kind of business I wanted to start. It was when I was pregnant with Julia Rose, my youngest daughter, that I started making tutu skirts while on maternity leave. At that point, I finally decided I wanted to start a clothing line, and was inspried by my LOVE of ballet, girly fashions and of course my two daughters, Olivia and Julia Rose.

The OLIVIA ROSE® handmade collection of designer pettiskirts/petticoats and girls fashions will have your sweet princess dreaming of her favourite fairy tale. We specialize in creating  a premium, high-end/ luxe line of baby, girls and ladies designer fashions . Our collections are a timeless classic and are perfect for everyday fashion, dress-up, parties, dance recitals, portrait sessions, weddings and many other special occasions. OLIVIA ROSE® is more than just a line of beautiful signature collections,  but a cherished heirloom for your sweet princess made just for her.

We are proud to be the first Canadian pettiskirt/petticoat private label, designed and run in Canada. We pride ourselves on our customer service and will always offer 100% satisfaction, and our products come with 100% quality guarantee.


AnnaMaria’s Words of Advice

If I could say one important thing, it would be to never lose sight of your dream. You need to wake up everyday and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Even on those days when you wonder, why I am I doing this? (Those bad days) Yes you will have those days! I still have those days. You will need to always reflect back to your dream. Never lose focus on this! It will be your drive, motivation; it will make your business thrive.

I would like to provide 5 basic tips that I follow everyday:

1. Stay focused
2. Take time for rest and family
3. Plan ahead
4. Take deep breaths
5. Always walk in business — don’t run or you could fall!

Words I Live By:

“If you can be can be anything, be kind! Work hard and be kind!”


Join us on March 3/4 in Toronto for The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference, where we will announce all of our 2017 Mompreneur Award winners – LIVE at the event!


Mompreneur AnnaMaria DiNicolantonio of Olivia Rose -- logo

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Meet Our Award Finalists: Top 5 Tips from Sandra Venneri

Sandra Venneri is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of London, Ontario. She is a finalist for The 2017 Mompreneur Startup Award, for her company Nutrition Bites!

mompreneur Sandra Venneri of Nutrition Bites, finalist for the 2017 Mompreneur Startup Award


Sandra’s Journey to Entrepreneurship

I never thought I’d own my own business.  I took the mandatory business class in high school (typing!) and that was the end of that; or so I thought:

There is so much information on nutrition and health for the public to navigate through. I saw many people looking towards celebrities and trusting information from what they thought was a credible source. With my wealth of education and experiences in nutrition, public health, home economics, and agriculture, I wanted to ensure that people were provided relevant and scientifically accurate information that put healthy living, food, and nutrition into “digestible bites”. Giving people the confidence in making healthy decisions allows them to manage their well-being in a busy lifestyle with less worry and stress. Nutrition Bites Consulting is all about empowering others to take the next step on their path to a healthier life by offering nutrition education services for kids, adults and small businesses. Services include cooking classes, birthday parties, mindful eating workshops, farm & food promotions, and recipe development.

The company has also just launched its first product:  Growing Up Healthy Seed to Fork Kits. These are an affordable activity for all ages and stages, making the connection between growing your own food and learning how to cook easy recipes with fresh, local, wholesome ingredients. Growing Up Healthy Kits are a fun learning tool that satisfies the child-at-heart who dreams of being a better gardener, cook or beyond; all it takes is a little care, lots of patience, and a love of learning and discovery.


Sandra’s Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. Be Bold – It takes confidence to pursue a passion and vision many will not see, support or follow.
  2. Hardships won’t break you but they are the perfect time to brake, see a different view and start something new!
  3. Be Brave – It takes courage to start a path never trailed and hidden beyond the first few steps. Every entrepreneur started at the bottom with just an idea.
  4. Be true to yourself – You won’t succeed at a business if it is an idea or dream of someone else. The passion that truly lasts and gets you through the rough patches must come from within you.
  5. Never forget your family and friends (and usually your biggest cheerleaders) along the way – celebrating success can be lonely if you have no one to share it with.

Join us on March 3/4 in Toronto for The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference, where we will announce all of our 2017 Mompreneur Award winners – LIVE at the event!


mompreneur Sandra Venneri of Nutrition Bites -- logo

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Meet Our Award Finalists: Top 5 Tips from Lori-Ann McLeod

Lori-Ann McLeod is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out Milton, Ontario. She is a finalist for The 2017 Mompreneurs Momentum Award, for her successful company Oxygen Fitness!

mompreneur Lori-Ann McLeod of Oxygen Fitness, finalist for the 2017 mompreneurs momentum award


How Has Lori-Ann’s Business Impacted Her Life?

“Oxygen Fitness is an award winning exclusive boutique style fitness facility that caters to people of all fitness abilities. Oxygen has grown expedetionally in the last 5 years and has helped hundreds of people live healthier lives through fitness and nutrition, offering a supportive team atmosphere that allows people to step out of their comfort zones.

My business has had a massive impact on my life. I get a level of fulfilment from running my studio that I would never have been able to achieve while working a regular 9 to 5 job. Being able to help so many people change for the better has been a life changer for me. I see the world in a different way than I did 7 years ago. I have also changed my own health and fitness for the better. I feel so honoured to have been able to help so many people achieve things that they never ever thought possible. My work with my Fall Fit Women’s Retreat, Spring Fit and Mighty Girls retreats have impacted me in more ways than one, allowing me to teach women and young girls to fully realize their own self worth and that they don’t have to always strive to be perfect, and helping them discover their inner fire and passion. Being able to live my life supporting women and young girls through fitness and self empowerment is something I will hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.”


Lori-Ann’s Top 5 Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. Be passionate about what you do! You will be spending countless hours with your work so make sure it is something that you love. People only see the perceived glamour about own- ing your own business but it is incredibly hard work. When you start, you are the cleaner, bookkeeper, secretary, instructor and social media manager – make sure you love all of it.
  2. Make sure you have a solid financial foundation before your start. It may be years before you pay back the initial investment and start to see positive returns. Give your business the chance and time it deserves.
  3. Maintain balance in your life. Don’t let your business adversely affect the other areas of your life that make it so great; being a mother, wife, partner and friend. You will need sup- port from family and friends to make your business successful and your home run smoothly. Family comes first.
  4. Listen to people. Negative feedback is sometimes more important than positive feedback because it lets you know the areas where you can improve. Own your failures and learn from your mistakes. Listen to each customer and give your customers what they want, not what YOU think they want.
  5. Control your growth. Start small and grow as the success of the business warrants, not out of the necessity of ego.

Oxygen Fitness logo, milton ontario, owner and mompreneur Lori-Ann McLeod

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Meet Our Awards Finalists: Top 5 Tips from Amber Dinda

Amber Dinda is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Oakville, Ontario. She is a finalist for The 2017 Mompreneur Award of Merit, as a successful franchise owner of Par-T-Perfect!

Mompreneur Amber Dinda, franchisee with Par-t-Perfect


Amber’s Journey to Entrepreneurship:

When my children were young, I was looking to do something that still gave me a career and a purpose while being able to be there for my children. I was tired of the long commutes back and forth into Toronto. I was working long hours and felt like someone else was raising my children. I didn’t want to miss out on those precious early years that go by so fast. Now that my children are older (one is in high school and the other not far behind), it is still just as important to me that I am available to my family.  I wanted to build something that could not only provide for my family, but to show my children that  if you work hard and believe in yourself, anything is possible. Being a “mompreneur” has been the perfect blend of both worlds – home and professional.

Par-T-Perfect is Canada’s only national full service children’s party and event service — your complete children’s party and event service specializing in entertainment for children 0-12 years old. We have 20+ locations across Canada and the U.S. Our clean, fully insured and supervised equipment, together with our experienced and enthusiastic party leaders will make your event one to remember. Our mission statement is to “create lasting memories for children” and that’s exactly what we do!  Together with our energetic and enthusiastic Party Leaders, we will make your event one to remember!


Amber’s Tips for Other Women Thinking of Starting a Business:

  1. Have set office hours. Just because I work from home, does not mean that clients can call me all hours of the day. If I was a store, I would be closed when the mall is closed. Not having set hours leads to a chaotic schedule and you will never feel like you have a break.
  2. Be organized and focused. In the beginning you are going to be pulled in all different directions and want to try everything to get your business going. Stick to your business plan and be focused. I use time blocking to stay organized. I allocate certain times of the day to do certain things (i.e I respond to emails at 3 different times during the day, I work on social media at another time, etc.). Allocating small chunks of time to a specific task will help to keep you on track.
  3. Take care of yourself. If you are not healthy and feeling well, how are you going to run a business? Make sure you take the time in your day to get some exercise. Make sure you get enough sleep and eat properly.
  4. Set goals and write them down. And celebrate when you achieve them. Goals that are not written down are dreams. Write down your goals and the steps involved to achieve that goal, no matter how small the goal. When you achieve a goal, reward yourself. You need to celebrate your accomplishments. You worked hard to make that goal a reality, now celebrate it!
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Do not try to be a hero and do everything by yourself. We all need help at some point and don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for it. Don’t like accounting, then why would you do it? Get a bookkeeper/ accountant to do it for you. Do you have small children and feel like you can’t get any time to yourself to get some work done? Setting up playdates with some other moms is a great way to get some quality work time and your kids get to socialize with other children. Once a week, your kids can go for a playdate and you get an afternoon of quiet focused work time.

Join us on March 3/4 in Toronto for The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference, where we will announce all of our 2017 Mompreneur Award winners – LIVE at the event!


mompreneur Amber Dinda of Par-T-Perfect logo

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Meet Our Award Finalists: Tips from Andrea Winarski

Andrea Winarski has been a Mompreneur member since 2012, and is based out of Aurora, Ontario. She is a finalist for The 2017 Mompreneur Award of Excellence for her company Easy Peasy Patches.

Mompreneur Andrea Winarski of Easy Peasy Patches, finalist for The 2017 Mompreneur Award of Excellence


Andrea’s Journey to Entrepreneurship:

I have always been a creative thinker and doer; I love to seek out unique solutions to common problems. Easy Peasy Patches was exactly that – the solution to the mom problem of little kids wearing out the knees of their pants. I wanted a quick and easy fix for my boys’ pants, and couldn’t find anything that worked.

Once I created my product, I realized that Easy Peasy Patches were so much more than a way to mend jeans. Customers loved Easy Peasy Patches because they were fun and had so many practical and creative uses. I quickly became addicted to my customers’ feedback and input. I worked to continually improve and expand our patches.

Easy Peasy Patches are the only permanent, fabric, stick-on patch on the market – NO ironing, NO sewing! Easy Peasy Patches will stay on through the washer, dryer, and dishwasher. They are super durable and fun, which means that they can be used on anything from jeans and backpacks to water bottles and sporting gear. They are great for decorating, crafting, and mending everything!


Andrea’s Words of Wisdom:

The journey of entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park; it is a roller coaster ride. We do ourselves a disservice to only tell the stories of tech start-ups that make millions in the first year and to repeat over and over again that hard work is all it takes. Entrepreneurship takes optimism, passion and gratitude for the process. A positive financial end result not guaranteed; only the risks that need to be taken along the way and the learning process are guaranteed. On the flip side, mistakes and failure are definite certainties.

People tell me that I am lucky that I have my own business. I am lucky that I had the resources, skills and support to start my own business but, beyond that, luck is not a factor in starting a business. It may play a role in the success of a business but it is not what will get you out of bed in the morning to work only for yourself and it is not what will rally you to put your ideas ‘out there’ to be critiqued by the world. Optimism, passion and will get you started; perseverance will keep you going.

I enjoy connecting with other entrepreneurs and self-starters because they realize that what people often see is only the tip of the iceberg of what is required. My business partner always says, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” That is true!

My advice to anyone, especially a mother whose time is so precious, is that, if you have a dream to create something, start with one small action a week. Set aside just an hour a week to get the idea down on paper. Start with the planning and go from there. If you work at your idea a little bit every day, no matter how bad the day, then you are moving forward.


Join us on March 3/4 in Toronto for The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference, where we will announce all of our 2017 Mompreneur Award winners – LIVE at the event! 


Mompreneur Andrea Winarski, Easy Peasy Patches - logo

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Meet Our Award Finalists: Top 5 Tips from Lisa Iafrate

Lisa Iafrate is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of King City, Ontario. She is a finalist for The 2017 Mompreneur Startup Award, recognizing her success for her company TaLii Towels!

mompreneur Lisa Iafrate of TaLii Towels, finalist for The 2017 Mompreneur Startup Award


Lisa’s Path to Entrepreneurship:

As a former travel agent, I was always on the go. My biggest pet peeve was packing towels – they took up so much space, but hotel towels were unreliable for size and comfort. In Belgium, during the summer of 2012, my cousin and I spent time together at the sea side. She had a lovely towel with her. I loved its fantastic qualities: it was compact, quick drying and super absorbent. I looked to purchase one in Canada, but there were none that offered a variety of sizes or fantastic colours.

I set out to find a manufacturer and after a year of research and development, I placed my first order. The manufacturer had a minimum order of 1,000 towels. What was I going to do with that many? I decided to hold a launch party in my home and most of my stock was cleared out. That was when I knew I was not alone in looking for a better towel and Talii Towels was born.

Talii Towels are suede microfiber towels that are super absorbent, compact, quick drying and antibacterial. You can use them for travelling, camping, at the cottage, for boating, at the beach, the gym, for yoga, pilates and weekends away. You’ll love them so much you’ll use them at home every day!


Lisa’s Top 5 Realities She Wished She Knew Before Becoming an Entrepreneur:

  1. I wish I knew how hard it would be to find staff.
  2. I wish I knew that you cannot just turn it off at 7pm, dealing overseas sometimes at 3am. I wish I knew that there is no time for the gym or long meals or a clean house or a freshly ironed white shirt. Permanent press is my best friend!
  3. I wish I knew how scary making business decisions can be without a spouse or partner as a sounding board. It’s great to have a mompreneur network for that support or a referral to support.
  4. I wish I knew that everyone doesn’t have the same integrity as I do.
  5. I wish I knew how difficult it is to manage administrative processes while focusing on sales and marketing at the same time as keeping an eye on the company financials.

Join us on March 3/4 in Toronto for The 2017 National Mompreneurs Conference, where we will announce all of our 2017 Mompreneur Award winners – LIVE at the event!


mompreneur Lisa Iafrate of TaLii Towels logo

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