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Kim Turley-Smith – TILLIE

Kim Turley Smith - owner of Tillie, mompreneur

Are you feeling down, uninspired, or just have a case of the blahs? Then you need to read this interview. Mompreneur® Member Kim Turley-Smith is the founder of Tillie, a multifunctional piece of fabric that can be a bandana, scarf, scrunchie, hood, tube top, wristband, beanie or mask. Tillie is all of those things and more – a high-tech, breathable piece of  ‘thinkwear’ and Tillie is as versatile and interesting as the women who use it.

As for the woman who invented it, however, we’re blown away by the inspiring attitude that Kim has. With a thriving company and three growing kids, life is always going to be a balancing game, but to do it with such positivity and pure joy…well, it’s pretty amazing.

We asked Kim what inspired her to start her own company, what life is like with business and family commitments and what the future might hold for both.

What Inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
My father passed away at 51 years old. He always lived each day to the fullest, putting his family before work. He had a positive enthusiasm that he thankfully passed along to me along with the knowledge that life is short. This inspired me to make a promise to myself: Find something you are passionate about and work at that, because life is short. I have a husband and three great kids who not only have busy schedules of their own but are my 4 reasons for everything I do!! Continue reading Kim Turley-Smith – TILLIE

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21st Century Thinkwear – Tillie and Kim Turley-Smith, A Mompreneur® Success Story

tillie_logo

Are you feeling down, uninspired, or just have a case of the blahs? Then you need to read this interview. Kim Turley-Smith is the founder of Tillie, a multifunctional piece of fabric that can be a bandana, scarf, scrunchie, hood, tube top, wristband, beanie or mask. Tillie is all of those things and more – a high-tech, breathable piece of  ‘thinkwear’ and Tillie is as versatile and interesting as the women who use it.

As for the woman who invented it, however, we’re blown away by the inspiring attitude that Kim has. With a thriving company and three growing kids, life is always going to be a balancing game, but to do it with such positivity and pure joy…well, it’s pretty amazing.

We asked Kim what inspired her to start her own company, what life is like with business and family commitments and what the future might hold for both.

What Inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
My father passed away at 51 years old. He always lived each day to the fullest, putting his family before work. He had a positive enthusiasm that he thankfully passed along to me along with the knowledge that life is short. This inspired me to make a promise to myself: Find something you are passionate about and work at that, because life is short. I have a husband and three great kids who not only have busy schedules of their own but are my 4 reasons for everything I do!!

If you truly love your work, it doesn’t feel like work!

So what’s the best part of owning your own business? 

There are two main reasons that I love owning my own business. One is it allows me the flexibility to be there for my kids after school, whenever they need me as well as get them to their after school activities. Second,

I am a creative person by nature and owning my own business allows me to put my creative ideas into action and see results fast.

Also, sitting down at the dining room table for dinner all together is super important to me and owning my own business means we can maintain this tradition as a family. I also love being able to collaborate with other entrepreneurs!!

image of a woman with pink boxing gloves and purple tillie thinkwear

Is there such a thing as a typical day for you? 
Morning. Wake up, check emails, get the kids off to school and hit the gym at Reebok CrossFit FirePowerfor a workout and an hour or two of coaching. I still love to coach Crossfit. It is an amazing community to be a part of and it is where the idea for all of my business ideas all started years ago.

Afternoon. Filling Tillie orders, delivering Mighty Girl school program, working on new designs for Tillie, networking for Tillie, working on new program idea designs, planning Fall Fit Women’s Weekend (a year-long process), planning for upcoming shows, trade shows, talks or conferences, hold in person and phone meetings, sometimes simultaneously while doing laundry, scrubbing floors, and making dinner!! I also need to fit in a visit to my mom each day as she is disabled and needs a daily check in.

After School. Homework, sit down together as a family for dinner, off to hockey!! With three rep hockey players in the house, we can have up to 12 hockey days a week! At hockey I usually catch up on social media communications.
Evening. Check emails, write up a daily to-do list for the next day.

image of Kim Turley-Smith and her family at the beach

Wow, busy much?!  So who do you rely on for help? Or are you the do-it-yourself type? 
This is one I know I need to work on! With no parents able to help I rely heavily on my husband when he can. Also, now that my kids are getting older, I am able to count on them to pitch in as well with the home and with each other. Really, I do tend to take on too much myself. Now, I try to really feel when the balance is tipping and then be honest with myself as to what I can take off my plate or even re-prioritize. I know that I have a few good friends and a huge community at Reebok CrossFit FirePower who would step in in a heartbeat, but I am NOT good at asking for help!

Has that meant making sacrifices for the family or the business?
I think sacrifice is a part of life! Yes, I have missed some of my kids events that I really wanted to attend because I had work commitments. However, I definitely have said no to some work opportunities to be at a family event. I strive for balance. I look way ahead in the calendar when I book a show, or a conference as I want to make sure there are not too many in a row where I would be overextending myself. None of this stresses me out at all. I can only do so much. My family comes first and that will never change. It’s all about balance, and keeping the stress level below “crazy”.

What do you like to do on a day off?
With a full day off, the one thing I want is family time! So this means family game night, movie night, a hike, visiting extended family and sometimes traveling together to watch one of their hockey games!! Even on a day off, my wheels are always turning and you can always find the notes section of my phone open and papers in my purse filled with my new ideas, and more!!

image of a woman doing yoga andwearing tillie thinkwear

It almost seems crazy to ask with all that you do, but do you find time to be active in the community in other ways?
I still coach at my local Crossfit, help out at my children’s schools and on my kids hockey teams where I can. I love connecting with people in person around town!

Can you name another entrepreneur that inspires you?
OPRAH!!!! She was actually a huge reason why I started my own business! It’s a very long story! So I sometimes say, “It always starts with Oprah!” Also, so many of my friends and women in my own community inspire me. My own best friend has a clothing line she designs out of Oakville. I love the band of collaboration and support that happens when you put female entrepreneurs together!!

image of kim turley-smith and her husband

What does the future look like for you and Tillie? 

I honestly don’t think about the future too much, and I stress about it even less. I can’t predict it and it does no good to worry about it. I am not even promised it!! But I will be working hard to build a cohesive brand around “Tillie”, that inspires through the Tillie and other thinkwear, retreats, talks, camps, and more!!  Our retreat series, Fall Fit Women’s Weekend, is expanding and will include 3 getaway options in 2016!! (Spring Fit in Mexico coming soon!)

We also look to expand our Mighty Girls program, offering franchise opportunities worldwide so that this important program can be offered to more girls!!

Finally, any tips for other women looking to start a business?
Feel the fear and do it anyway! If your business idea is in line with your values, there is no stopping you as it will always be authentic! Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, just be you!! Enjoy the flexibility and carve out more family time, you deserve it!!

 

Mompreneurs® has partnered with FS Local in an effort to share the inspiring success stories of working moms who never gave up on their dreams and embraced the challenges of both owning a business and raising a family. We feature regular interviews with Canadian moms and explore  what it takes to succeed at home and in the workplace. Please visit themompreneur.com/success-stories for information on how to be featured, and be sure to list your business with FS Local!

 

 

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Building Relationships

pink quotation mark for mompreneursA lot of people may get discouraged if there is someone in the group that has the same business or service as you. I find the complete opposite! I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow graphic designer at the latest Mompreneur lunch (Lisa Flesher) and it’s so refreshing to chat and connect with someone that gets exactly what you do!

Sharing knowledge and tips with another entrepreneur is another way to build relationships. In my short time so far as a business owner, I have realized that it is all about building relationships and learning from other successful entrepreneurs.


 

Ang Wencel, Owner Visions – Graphic Artistry by Ang

 

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5 Important Business Lessons Learned from my Kids!

Written by Uchechi Ezurike-Bosse

I recently became a mother for the second time. It’s been an incredible journey getting used to life with a newborn. As I try to navigate working my business with a newborn and a pre-schooler, something incredible happened. I started witnessing many lessons from my kids that I was able to apply to my business to help me become more successful.

Asking for what we want puts us in a vulnerable place and most of us try to avoid that at all costs. However, it’s something we need to overcome if we are to succeed in our business.The first was a lesson in asking for what I want. How easy it is for my 4-year-old son to ask me for whatever he needs. There is no hesitation or holding back on wanting his needs met. As mompreneurs, this is something that is critical to our success. We tend to know what we want in life and for our business but oftentimes have a hard time asking for it. However, in order to get what we want, we must ask for it. There have been times where I’ve been afraid to ask for the sale, or met someone at a social event and saw they had a need that I could meet, but I was too afraid to share my business with them.

ID-100155113

The second lesson, actually taught by my 2-½ year old nephew was, if at first I don’t succeed, try and try again! Now this kid is so active and fearless. He would run 100 miles an hour and oftentimes get hurt. We would hear the big cry accompanied with big tears. However, my sister has only to kiss the boo-boo okay and off he quickly runs to perform the same stunt again.

As business owners, we face falling (figuratively), rejection, hurt and apparent failure. This leaves us wanting to crawl under a rock. Instead of seeing setbacks as lessons and learning from them, we stop and become too afraid to try again. This beautiful lesson from my nephew ‘of trying again’ highlights that if you come across a roadblock or setback in your business; you must feel your emotions, get nurtured and comforted by someone who loves you, then get back to work and try again!

 The third lesson was don’t be afraid to say no! My son has no problem saying no to whatever he does not want to do, especially to eating his veggies! However, as women we often have a hard time saying no to people. Whether it’s our families, friends, colleagues, and clients…the list goes on. When you’re unable to say no you take on too many things that you’re not able to achieve. Your never-ending to-do lists will consume you. This leaves you feeling depleted and overwhelmed. It is important to set healthy boundaries in your business and stick to them. You may fear that your business will fail and you will lose potential or existing clients. However, for you to enjoy your work, you must set boundaries and not be afraid to say ‘no’ to taking on things that are not aligned to the vision you have for your business and yourself.

 Have some fun and play everyday was the fourth lesson taught.  As mompreneurs, it is so easy to get caught up in all the responsibilities we have. The words fun and play may seem foreign to us. But, as I watch my son play and have fun, the joy and laughter that emanates from him is so contagious. There is a sense of freedom and passion in everything he does. Many times, I put off play and fun for some time in the future, instead of making time for it now. Having rest time allows us to recalibrate and release stress and have more clarity and creativity in our business.

My fifth and final lesson was to use my imagination and dream big! My son, like most 4 year olds, has a vivid imagination. He can go for hours taking on a role as someone or something else. Recently, he was playing the part of a knight (Doc McStuffins’ Sir Kirby). As I called his name, he gave me an angry look and firmly reminded me that he was Sir Kirby! So, my lesson on this is to use my imagination, and see myself as I wish to become and not let anyone say any different. When was the last time you saw yourself as a world-class business owner? Do not give in to the voices of others, nor the inner critic that talks you out of your greatness. When someone or something leads me to question my ability, I now go to the lesson taught by my son and firmly say, “I am a successful, dynamic business woman!” Look yourself directly in the eye in front of a mirror and repeat that statement out loud for a month. Soon, that feeling will sink in and you will start seeing yourself as such.

 

 

uchechi

Uchechi Ezurike-Bosse is a Business & Lifestyle Strategist, Speaker and Writer, but most importantly, a proud Mother and Wife. She is also the founder of My Empowered Living, a website aimed at helping women shift their mindset and live their passion. Visit Uchechi at www.myempoweredliving.com to get her FREE online video training series 4 Keys to your Business Success! This free 4-day business training reveals her 4 key strategies needed to build a profitable and successful business, and how to put them to work in your business!

 

 

Images courtesy of ‘Stuart Miles’ and ‘stockimages’ via freedigitalphotos.net

 

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5 Quotes to Lift You Up Today

ID-10096397It’s March and it’s still cold… but spring is on the way! If there is a time when you need a pick-me-up, then it’s right now.  Here are some inspiring words that will get any entrepreneur’s excitement going as the snow melts and the birds begin to chirp again:

“Business opportunities are like buses.  There’s always another one coming.”

-Richard Branson-

 

“Do not chase people.  Be you and do your own thing and work hard.  The right people who belong in your life will come to you, and stay.”

-Wu Tang-

 

“Your time is precious, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

-Steve Jobs-

 

“Forget about your competitors. Just focus on your customers.”

-Jack Ma-

 

“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”

-Roy Ash-

 

Got any quotes you want to share? Please post — it’s amazing what a few words can do to perk up your day!

 

(image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, via freedigitalphotos.net)

 

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2015 Mompreneur® of the Year

Andrea Iervella 2015 Mompreneur of the Year - Mompreneur Award of Excellence presented by TruShield Insurance

This past weekend marked a celebration of International Women’s Day, as well as recognition for the achievements of Mompreneurs across Canada! We are honoured and excited to announce the Grand Prize Winner of The 2015 Mompreneur® Award of Excellence, presented by TruShield Insurance:

Andrea Iervella of Calgary, AB – Founder of SchoolWorx

Andrea was one of 12 Finalists up for this year’s award – a collaboration between ParentsCanada and Mompreneurs®, and the only finalist based outside of Ontario. Her acceptance speech was moving, as she told of her struggles in running her business between naptimes and meeting the needs of her family. Andrea encouraged other attendees to ‘put themselves out there’, telling her story of attending the previous year’s Mompreneurs® Conference, getting outside of her comfort zone and aiming to make as many connections as possible, not knowing a single person in the room. She had set a goal for herself to be on-stage at the 2015 Mompreneurs® Conference & Awards, and told the audience that if she could do it they could too. Andrea was congratulated on stage by Tony O’Brien, Senior Vice President for Small Business & Personal Lines at TruShield Insurance, as well as given an emotional send-off from 2014 Grand Prize Winner Elaine Tan Comeau of Easy Daysies. We are thrilled at what this next year will hold in store for Andrea, and we can’t wait to share her story with other moms and entrepreneurs around the country! Find out more information on SchoolWorx >>

“It was my sincere pleasure to announce Andrea as our winner for the 2015 Mompreneur Awrd of Excellence; she absolutely epitomizes who a mompreneur is: smart, capable, innovative, and resourceful with a passion to make sure her family life doesn’t suffer for her work life. What Andrea has developed with SchoolWorx is unique and also intrinsically helpful to the broader community on so many levels; I’m excited at the many opportunities this year will hold for her, and look forward to helping Andrea push her business forward as Canada’s Official Mompreneur of the Year!” – Maria Locker, Founder & CEO of Mompreneurs®

Continue reading 2015 Mompreneur® of the Year

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#MOMPconf Twitter Party #2: March 5, 2015

Twitter Party for Mompreneurs Conference

 

 

We’re SO close to kicking off The 2015 National Mompreneurs® Conference, presented by TruShield Insurance! What better way to celebrate than to host a Twitter Party so we can connect with you and our incredible roster of sponsors, speakers, partners, and attendees!

With $1,500+ in prizes to give away, we know this is the party you WON’T want to miss!

Be sure to follow our sponsors and partners PLUS RSVP below for your chance to win!

@TruShieldIns  @TheMompreneurTM  @ParentsCanada  @UPS_smallbizCA  @TELUSbusiness  @Manulife  @SAGENAmerica @GoToMeetingCA  @RexallDrugstore  @SparqStreet  @OURSbyCH  @CampTechCo  @MSFT4work  @YouInc  @Bing  @Office365 

 

PRIZES INCLUDE

1 of 3 All Access Passes to The 2015 National Mompreneurs® Conference (valued at $175 each)

Tickets to see the Toronto Maple Leafs – game details TBA c/o presenting sponsors TruShield Insurance (valued at $350)

1 0f 2 $500 Business Service packs towards new Business Services with TELUS 

A Queen-sized down-filled Pillow, c/o Mompreneur® Award Finalist Old Europe Duvet Co. (valued at $135)

A Gift Basket featuring the full line of OURS by Cheryl Hickey products (valued at $105)

An iPod Nano, c/o UPS Canada (valued at $150)

A full year of Office 365 services, c/o Microsoft Canada (valued at $99)

A beautiful “BE Better” Argan Oil Haircare Gift Basket, c/o Rexall Drugstore (valued at $106)

A  21-Day Digital Meal Planning session, c/o Mompreneur® Award Finalist Love What You Eat

The Red Card Blue Card Game pack, c/o Mompreneur® Award Finalist The Red Card Blue Card Game

A Soap & Bath Accessories Gift Box, c/o Mompreneur® Award Finalist The Rad Kat Organic & Natural Soaps (valued at $30)

A Shaidee Sun Cover & A Shaidee Bug, c/o Mompreneur® Award Finalist Shaidee Sun Gear  (valued at $60)

A FEBY Empowerment Party Pack, design kit with 12 bracelets, c/o Mompreneur Award Finalist FEBY (valued at $50)

A Profit Domination Training Kit (6-CD Box Set + Book) c/o Odette Laurie – Business Women on Top (valued at $80)

A $50 Gift Box  from Love Child Organics, c/o The BabyTime Show (valued at $50)

A set of 3 books from Inspirational Comedienne Susan Stewart (valued at $60)

1 of 2 “Baby Combo” Label Packs c/o Mabels Labels (valued at $26.95 each)

1 of 3 sets of 2 passes to The Spring BabyTime Show (valued at $32 each set of 2 tickets)

1 0f 5 signed copies of “Darling You Can’t Do Both” by Nancy Vonk & Janet Kestin  (valued at $30 each)

… with more prizes to be announced!

 

Please RSVP Below…



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Announcing Elaine Tan Comeau as Mompreneurs® Ambassador: Coquitlam, BC

Elaine Tan Comeau, Mompreneurs® Ambassador, Coquitlam BC

We are excited to announce our first official Mompreneurs® Brand Ambassador, and who better to welcome than our 2014 Mompreneur® Award of Excellence winner ELAINE TAN COMEAU of Coquitlam, BC!

Elaine will be helping us welcome members and supporters from British Columbia, and we hope to one day soon bring an event to the area to further help our network of women in business!

 

About Elaine

Elaine Tan Comeau is an enterprising mother of three young children, a wife, and a former elementary school teacher who is the founder and CEO of the multiple award-winning Easy Daysies, a visual magnetic scheduler to help children and families with their daily routines. Elaine was awarded the 2014 Canadian Mompreneur of the Year and has received the Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in Business, as well as an Award in Teaching Excellence.  Her products are recommended by child psychologists, occupational therapists and educators.  Easy Daysies was named one of Dragons’ Den favorite deals by Mr. Wonderful Kevin O’Leary and was chosen by Ford Company as one the 2014 Dragons’ Den Driven For Success Companies that exemplified Ford’s Four Pillars of Success.

Elaine has been featured in the Financial Post, Maclean’s Magazine, Canadian Business Magazine, Huffington Post, to name a few, all wanting to know her story about being a mom entrepreneur. Her products have been featured on CBC, CTV, ABC, Breakfast Television, FOX32 News, KCAL-TV , WPIX, WISH-TV, XETV.  Elaine has been published in Educational Psychology (Allyn & Bacon Canada, 2000, and Pearson, 2015 IV ed.) for her insight on teaching diversity. She has written and published several e-books (2013), and she continues to be sought after for her sell-out webinars and speaking engagements on educational strategies for both educators and parents.  Elaine is a frequent speaker on educational topics, entrepreneurship, and continues to be a guest blogger for Staples Canada, Scholars Choice, Mompreneurs® and Creative Teaching Press (USA). Elaine is also raved about in both Kevin O’Leary’s and Jim Treliving’s latest books.

 

Get in touch with Elaine

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Karyn Climans — Tail Wags

Some entrepreneurs will try out any old idea that comes into their head…

tail-wags_logo_150While others have a eureka moment thrust upon them. For Mompreneur® Member Karyn Climans, a close call with serious injury sparked a desire to help others avoid a similar fate. Thankful for the protection afforded her by the helmet she was wearing, Karyn decided to work towards promoting their use. To make the prospect more attractive to both kids and adults, she founded Tail Wags Helmet CoversWe interviewed Karyn and spoke about the impetus behind starting her business, the struggles of maintaining her focus in the face of life’s tribulations, and what the future might hold for her, her family and the company she’s building.

Continue reading Karyn Climans — Tail Wags

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Think BIG – Tips to Help Your Business Grow

By Paul Gaspar, Small Business Director, UPS Canada
It’s no surprise, small businesses power Canada’s economy and supporting them is an integral part of sustaining a bountiful economy.

Here are a few tips for those businesses who want to grow. Let’s break this down; there are three areas that all small businesses should focus on. These three things can assist in creating better customer experiences and of course boost revenue. Who wouldn’t want to strive for that?

1. Invest in tomorrow!

Constantly reviewing all aspects of your business to stay on top of the market is essential. Why? Because things change quickly – the processes and tools you started with may need to be upgraded to fit where you, your competitors and the market are now.

Tip: Use free online tools like surveys and social media polls to take the pulse of your customer base. It’s that feedback which will help you understand the impact of possible changes to your bottom line. These results are extremely valuable for you and your business goals. Continue reading Think BIG – Tips to Help Your Business Grow