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What business do you own/service do you offer?

I am the founder of female powered creative agency UNSGND. We're focused on building brands for small businesses, recording artists and community initiatives while providing opportunities for young women of colour to work in design and tech. We work on developing brand strategies, create logos, websites, printed merchandise and much more.



What were some of the challenges you faced?

As a business owner, I face challenges every day, from equipment falling apart in the middle of a project, to realizing I have to pay payroll taxes, but one of my biggest challenges was making the decision to work on my business full time. When starting UNSGND, I decided to quit my job and go to school full time while running the business. I was 19 and had no choice but to make the business operations profitable in order to be sure I could pay for school and my day to day expenses. I had to learn how to manage my time immaculately as the only staff at UNSGND, answering emails in class and juggling client deadlines with school deadlines.

Why do you think it is important for women to follow their calling?

I think it's extremely important for women to follow their calling because we’re often told not to by society, and even ourselves. There are a lot of industries that are still male dominated, and that can be discouraging for young women to even want to attempt to step into these career path. It's important for women to push through and follow our calling in industries that traditionally weren't open to us so that we can set the new norm and inspire other young women to do the same.

What advice would you like to share with women who want to start their own business?

Build a solid support and mentorship system of people that can hold you accountable. Dedicate time to understanding and building a strong business plan, even if you're not looking into funding, because this will be your blueprint to navigating your business and create systems that will allow your business to grow. And lastly, understand how to balance your emotional and logical sides when making business decisions.

Which women do you look up to the most and why?

I'm grateful that I have a strong support system of strong women in my life like my mother, friends who are making strides in their industries and mentors. One woman I definitely look up to the most is my best friend and mentor Kiana 'rookz' Eastmond, who is making impact in Canada's music and non-profit industry as founder of Sandbox Studios and Executive Director of Manifesto. Working alongside her every day for years and understanding the immense work and dedication she puts into her businesses and impacting other people inspires me to push harder.

Dymika Harte
Graphic Design, 2018
Founder, Designer,UNSGND

What business do you own/service do you offer?

I own ŪNIKA SWIM which is a custom swimwear line that caters to women of all shapes, ages, and sizes. We work with AAA-J cup, along with tops to accommodate with surgical procedures. We custom fit your suit with over 200+ options to pick from along with 150+ fabric options. We also run an e-commerce line that ships worldwide.



What were some of the challenges you faced?

Running a business is very expensive, you spend a lot of money to make money. Startup capital was my main concern and issue. Approaching many banks as a startup company was extremely frustrating, but I was fortunate to work a job in hospitality that allowed me to focus on my business during the day and use my tips to fund my company, along with having a great support system that had my back when I needed it most. Another challenge was the transition into the entrepreneur life. Being alone and working late days with many early mornings was something that I had to get used to. It's a lot of sacrifice but it's so amazing to watch the fruits of your labour.

Why do you think it is important for women to follow their calling?

I think that when you love what you do it shows in your work. Something I learned to do was to remember not to sacrifice my happiness to satisfy someone else's needs. People think that I just make swimwear, but its more than that - we make women feel great in the skin their in.

What advice would you like to share with women who want to start their own business?

Do your homework. Go and work for something else, study women that inspire you. Surround yourself with people who are better than you. Work for someone else, make mistakes, take constructive criticism and use it to grow. Continue stimulating your brain, and learning new things. Take courses, never stop learning. Research what's already out there and figure out how to differentiate yourself. Women are so used to doing things on our own that asking for help has become a sign of "weakness" learn to ask for help when you need it most.

Which women do you look up to the most and why?

There aren't any specific women that inspire me, although I do feel the most inspired by women that have made it from the bottom up. Conna Walker is a great example of that. Another female entrepreneur that started her company at the age of 17 by borrowing £3000 from her dad. She went from selling wholesale pieces on eBay to building an empire with over 50 locations worldwide. Now featured in Forbes her company is expected to do over £9million in revenue this year.

Betsy Campos
Fashion Techniques and Design, 2016
Owner/Founder, ŪNIKA SWIM

What business do you own/service do you offer?

I am food stylist and food writer/recipe developer. I am also presently working on my second cookbook with Appetite at Penguin Random House.

I am self-employed. Working for yourself means that you play many hats and you have to be very versatile. My chef training at George Brown has been an amazing asset. Even though I am not working as a chef in a restaurant, I work with food every day, in a multitude of capacities. I had the opportunity to host a cooking show for 2 seasons on CBC called Best Recipes Ever. I also am a brand ambassador, host food events, and blog about food. My website/blog/social media are a large component when booking jobs as well. So services range from simple recipe development and making food look pretty/food styling to writing foodie articles/blogs to YouTube cooking videos, and then trying to find time to work on my own cookbook.

Since I wear many hats I have a few different agencies that represent me for certain aspects of my business. One is for food styling, one for TV, and another for writing.



What were some of the challenges you faced?

Working freelance is a hustle and there is a stress involved when you just don’t know where your next paycheck is going to come from. Trying to plan ahead for anything is always difficult since you take the jobs as they come in, and it is hard for me to say no to work. So that being said, organizing my time efficiently is my biggest challenge. One thing I have learned is to always have a few things on the side that you are working towards. For example, my YouTube channel is something I started on my own last year. It’s in my back pocket, let's say for when food styling slows down.

Why do you think it is important for women to follow their calling?

This is a doozy of a question. I am not going to get too deep into all this but I was married, I have 2 kids, and it is hard juggling a family and work. That’s like 3 jobs in one! It is hard to put yourself out there when you feel are pulled in so many directions. However, you have to keep your sense of self, whatever that may be. Never put yourself in a position where you lose yourself and have nothing to fall back on or become so dependent on someone else, you feel you cannot leave. Life doesn’t always work out how you planned it, there will be some huge twists and turns and on top of all that… we only live once. Why not make YOU as good as you can be?

What advice would you like to share with women who want to start their own business?

Know your strengths and weakness and don’t be afraid to ask for help, reach out and make connections. Also have a few good people around you that will make you better, accountable, and dust you off when you fall. Make a list and start checking it off.

Which women do you look up to the most and why?

I know this may sound odd, but I seem to look up to characters rather than people. I like to look up to what they represent in my mind. Like for instance, there are times I tell myself, in certain situations, what would so and so do. This could be from a book I am reading, a talk I just went to, or someone I met while travelling. However, Julia Child kicked butt.

Christine Tizzard
Culinary Skills-Chef Training, 2010
Owner and Cookbook Writer

Christine Tizzard, Owner and Cookbook Writer
Betsy Campos, Owner/Founder, ŪNIKA SWIM
Dymika Harte, Founder, Designer, UNSGND

Featured:

Happy International Women's Day! George Brown would like to give recognition to three amazing alumnae on their achievements as female entrepreneurs. Read more to learn about their business, challenges they've encountered, the importance of following their calling and solid advice to budding entrepreneurs!

March 9th 2019

Celebrating Female Empowerment
On International Women's Day