We are happy to announce a new initiative brought to you by the Peace Foundation in partnership with Spinco, donation based Spin classes.
Canadian Built: Johnny and Lauren Orlando
What do Drake, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd and the Orlando siblings all have in common? They call Canada home
The Perfect Canada Day
We live in a country that supplies us with activities all year round; long nature walks during crisp and colourful autumn afternoons, skiing in blanket white winters and relaxing afternoons on the lake where the best memories are made. Valuing the country we get to call home, in all forms. Following the frosty winters Canada is famous for, summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors sans snow. Going to the lake is something Canadians can relate to from a young age with water wings, to the later teenage years enjoying a few drinks by the fire. A day by the lake is a classic Canadian experience. In lieu of Canada day we took a trip to the cottage with a few friends to showcase what the perfect Canadian day looks like. Grabbing a group of friends to escape the city and enjoy the great outdoors right in our backyards. Sometimes escaping the city is necessary. It's a chance to feel the fresh summer air flowing through the car windows. Blasting music that fits perfectly with the winding roads leading to the cottage, setting the day up for perfection. Abandoning all stress on the highway with each passing kilometre. Reaching our destination is when true relaxation can take place. The day ahead is free for anything. Enjoying the simple pleasures in life, laughing with friends, indulging in the best summer snacks, and testing the waters for a quick swim. Happy and at peace, the day has been more than expected, and just what everyone needs. Curling up by the fire after a long day of soaking in the sun calls for drinks and carefree conversation. The lakeside provides tranquillity that the urban lifestyle is not always able to offer. Roasting marshmallows, enjoying the peace that transpires after the perfect day. The contentment felt after a full day with friends, fun, and laughter is incomparable. Canadian summers fly by in the blink of an eye and you have to pack as much as possible into those long dreamy nights. Shop our Canada Day looks Enjoy free shipping nation wide with code 'canadaday' until June 25
Canadian Spark: In Conversation with Studio.89 Co-founder, Sheryl Sharma
Written by: Radyah Khan We’re back with our second blog post, and as promised we got to talking with Sheryl Sharma, Co-founder of Studio.89. We were excited to get in touch with Sheryl, as she is a strong advocate of non-profiteering and a fellow business owner that works hard to make a difference in her local community. We wanted to connect to learn more about how Studio.89, a cafe and community-hub, came about and what we can expect from its future. Here’s how it went: What propelled you to start Studio.89? SS: I will answer this in multiple parts! Firstly, Studio.89 is the project of Youth Troopers for Global Awareness (YTGA). A youth-led, non-profit organization that has been actively involved in the Mississauga and surrounding area for a decade. YTGA began as a group of high school students (I was not involved in this part!). They felt the world’s injustices were difficult to do much about, given their small size and just how large the world actually is. They were compelled to launch a website, ytga.com, which featured written pieces and expressive articles about their passions. From there, they encouraged and empowered youth through various art forms to make a difference in their community and to be social justice warriors. Through our experiences with YTGA, we found three things. 1. There was a lack of free venues for non-profits and community organizations to work out of. When we held fundraisers, 75% of the fundraised profits would end up as venue charges, versus going to the actual cause. 2. There was a lack of fair-trade options and understanding of what “fair-trade” means. 3. There were very limited free resources for young people to take advantage of to help them fuel their passions. YTGA then decided to focus its efforts on improving these three areas, and their desire to achieve sustainability in a world where funding is consistently being cut is essentially what brought Studio.89 to life. As a business, we are a two-part concept: 1. An all non-profit and community-based hub that functions as a social enterprise and non-profit revenue generator. 2. A fair-trade café that backs our Artademic Resource Centre, where we work toward filling all of the gaps we have recognized within the city and its surrounding area. Our goal was really to be there for our community and all of our neighbors, which is why we launched Studio.89. After four years of conceptual phasing, we opened our doors in March 2014. What do you look for in team members in order to keep Studio.89 running and successful in accomplishing its purpose? SS: Team members must be passionate. This is not a million dollar business – but we can help hone in on creating million dollar minds and projects. We do so by simply providing a safe workspace and an inspirational, community-centric hub of activity. Team members need to know and recognize the value of our space and be willing to commit to its advancement within the community. They also must have a great sense of humour ☺ What is your ultimate wish for Studio.89 as a non-profit in terms of its future - are you looking to open up more locations or is this the type of business that's one-of-a-kind? SS: We would love to see a Studio.89 in every city or region. We feel passionately that everyone needs to make use of this space, but our capacity is of course limited by our location. It would be really great to see the expansion of this social enterprise model, and it has always been in our plans to help as many people and communities as possible. We can only do that once we achieve sustainability ourselves, so of course that is every non-profit’s main goal – to achieve something that can stand on its own two feet and then eventually and hopefully branch out even further, to as many locations as possible that are in need of and would appreciate this type of space. "I think Canadians tend to be a lot more loving in many ways – and we emulate this quality by doing our very best at being valuable members of our community, as any good Canadian would do." How does running a business work when you're a non-profit and how did you plan for this type of venture financially, given its nature? SS: We don’t ever expect to be completely funding free (although that would be nice!). We are on route to achieving at least 75% of our revenues through café sales, relying on grant funding from either the province of Ontario (Trillium), or the city of Mississauga for the remaining 25%. We currently receive funding generously from both of these organizations, who helped us shape our plan of reaching semi-sustainability within five years of our operations – and we are currently in year three. The planning of this initiative was four years in the making. We went to workshops at MaRS Discovery District, spoke with various financial planners who approved our business plan, got advice from entrepreneurs, and made friends everywhere. It was and remains to be a true community effort, especially considering about 95% of the stuff in our space has been donated by community members and/or corporate organizations that are also interested in supporting their communities. Our start-up included a lot of boot-strapping as well. We are self-funded in addition to the support we receive from our community, the province, city and now our revenues. We spent two years collecting the various items that you now see in our space, and we stored them in our own personal homes, garages and backyards as we waited for our opening day (our parents were very angry with us!). But when we were ready to move into our location, they understood we were all a little crazy and very passionate about what we were doing. How do you feel people are responding to Studio.89 since its conception and what separates it from other cafés? Could you tell us a little bit about being a free events space and how important that is for fellow non-profits? SS: At first, and even now really, it’s been hard to communicate exactly what we are. So we’ve moved to saying we are a “community hub”. When people hear that, they just seem to get it more, and if they’re still confused it isn’t really hindering us because everyone enjoys the café aspect of it, along with all of the home-baked goods and various dietary options we offer - there’s something for everyone! The best part is actually that every purchase supports this space and what it intends to achieve. In terms of being a free events space, it has been incredibly important to us as a non-profit ourselves, to offer a free space for other non-profits and community organizations to function out of. In our experience, venue rentals are difficult to pay for and when you are doing non-profit work, 100% of your fundraised costs should go toward your cause. For example, a prominent artist in our community wanted to hold an art auction for Syria. By using our space free of cost, she fundraised nearly $3,000 – all of which went directly to helping Syrian refugees instead of having to pay venue costs. We just encourage everyone walking through our doors to make a purchase within our café space – because in the end that’s what will keep us going. Do you feel Studio.89 is distinctly Canadian? SS: I would say that we are very Canadian in a way, yes. We are giving. We love to help. We are for peace and we support ethical business. We’re all about preservation, and we are for humans, animals, and the planet - equally. I think Canadians tend to be a lot more loving in many ways – and we emulate this quality by doing our very best at being valuable members of our community, as any good Canadian would do. What’s the best thing about being a part of Studio.89? SS: We love coming together to support our communities. Plus, we love partnering with fellow non-profits and opening our doors to NGOs and individuals (and even corporate partners!) for events. Check out our calendar at studio89.org for upcoming events and consider booking your next event in our space. As the Co-founder of a non-profit, Sheryl shared some great insights with us on what it takes to be a part of an organization that is geared toward helping its community members. Plus, she shared some great info on the types of people Studio.89 relies on to keep fueling their passion toward bettering and encouraging youth and adults alike when it comes to development. Don’t forget to hit-up Studio.89 if you’re looking for a positive atmosphere and a great workspace with some delicious treats! Check out studio89.org to learn more and get involved, and join us next month to learn more about the fresh and creative ways Canadians are giving back.
Peace Collective Sound EP.4
Peace Collective is back with our monthly mix. Listen to our new sound in collaboration with DJ Big Jacks here
Canadian Bae feature: Jodi Blk
Jodi Blk is a lifestyle blogger based in Toronto curating the best of style and best of the city. Jodi has a strong influence in facilitating trends and has become a staple tastemaker in the country. She boasts over 30,000 fans and supporters over many social platforms and continues to work hard in strive of her passions. We had the pleasure of working with Jodi and a few other lovely ladies for our new women's collection coming out May 27th. The moment these ladies stepped into the room you could feel the positive radiance amplify the atmosphere. The women we worked with embody everything Peace Collective stands for. They work hard in strive of their dreams, no matter how big or far reaching they might be. Jodi Blk has launched one of the most successful blogs in the country and while sitting down with her it was refreshing to see how humble she was. In-spite of her success she had a refreshingly down-to-earth way of carrying herself. Truthful and honest of her journey thus far, we dug deeper to find out the ups and downs of chasing her passion. What does the concept of chasing your passion mean to you? To me chasing your passion means, ignoring the doubtful thoughts and fears in your head. Your mind is always going to give you a million and one reasons why it’s makes more practical sense to choose an easier more traditional path. When you’re truly passionate about something for the right reasons it’s all you think about and all you want to do because when you’re following your passion your soul is happy. It’s a very addicting feeling. What sparked your interest in fashion and style? At a very young age I realized that a person can communicate who they are with what they wear. I had a bit of a rocky childhood so I used fashion as a way control my surroundings. I always wanted to look put together, polished and presentable to hide my vulnerabilities. I literally starting dressing myself at age 3 and my style has been evolving ever since. I honestly think I was born with a passion for fashion, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. What keeps you motivated when you feel down? When I feel down I try to stay off social media because it can create a lot of anxiety and stress. I also try to check in with myself and see how I’m doing. Am I exhausted? Do I need a break? I’ll go to yoga, eat some healthy food or go for a hike to connect with nature. We all have bad days and struggles but it’s important to take care of yourself and show yourself love when you need it. You’re not going to find it outside yourself so it’s best to look within. If none of that works I’ll order a pizza… pizza seems to always do the trick ;) What advice would you give to those who are afraid to chase their passion? I would tell them that we’re all afraid. If someone tells you they’re never afraid they’re lying to themselves. Even the most successful person in the world has insecurities and fears. It’s human nature to worry, stress and think worst case scenario but it’s important to learn to control that little voice in your head. It’s not real and it’s not you. I struggle with this a lot. We’ve all been conditioned to be fearful and I don’t think it serves us well. I’m still working on this one but I know for sure that when you’re constantly putting yourself in uncomfortable situations that is when there’s the most potential for personal growth. When I feel afraid I try to tune into my intuition and listen to what my gut is telling me. It’s normally saying, ‘Jodi, take a deep breath, focus on positive and keep it moving, you’ve got this’.
Canadian Bae feature: Lina Junior of Pradegal
Lina Junior is part of the amazing duo behind Pradegal, an online women's boutique curating minimal, yet design-forward garments. The duo aims to put together a collection of the most coveted pieces from emerging and established designers to create an easy to shop online experience. We had the pleasure of working with Lina and a few other lovely ladies for our new women's collection coming out May 27th. The moment these ladies stepped into the room you could feel the positive radiance amplify the atmosphere. The women we worked with embody everything Peace Collective stands for. They work hard in strive of their dreams, no matter how big or far reaching they might be. What does the concept of chasing your passion mean to you? The concept of chasing your passion is different for everyone. To me it means going after something that gives your life meaning, or a purpose, or fulfilment. It doesn’t necessarily have to have a monetary value. When chasing your passion you set goals for yourself to achieve the things that you want. You will go above and beyond to get there, with no limits or boundaries. It's something that is forever evolving with you as you continue to grow and achieve these goals. I am a firm believer in the saying “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” and i think that is what chasing your passion is all about! What sparked your interest in fashion and style? I love that fashion can be used in a way to express yourself. Each individual has their own unique style and personality and that's often reflected in what they choose to wear everyday. The best part about my job is that we’re able to help our customers dress for any event, occasion or mood and make them feel confident and sexy. Whats amazing is that you can give 2 different people the exact pair of black skinny jeans, and have it be worn and accessorized in two completely different ways; whether its worn with a pair of heels and a beautiful top to dress it up for a night look, or with some sneakers and an over sized T-shirt for a casual day feel. What keeps you motivated when you feel down? My sister is definitely what keeps me motivated and on track when I’m feeling down. Not only is she my sister but she’s also my business partner and mentor. She is definitely the one who keeps us on track and focused! Another huge thing that keeps us motivated is when people come up to us and say “Hey, aren’t you the owner of PRADEGAL?”, tell us they follow us on social media, and how much they love our products and our brand! The feeling of our online boutique being recognized by people we don’t know is so rewarding and motivating! I think that our customers definitely keep us going. The satisfaction our customers get from shopping with us and continue to support and grow with us keeps us going. What advice would you give to those who are afraid to chase their passion? Dont be afraid to go after what you love. Its going to get tough, but don’t give up. You have to work your ass off, and don’t lose sight of your vision because when you get to where you want to be it’ll feel so good!!
Canadian Bae: Mary Young
Mary Young is a budding entrepreneur navigating through the world of women's lingerie and loungewear. She understands the void between what's sexy and what's comfortable and has created lingerie and loungewear that finds a balance between the two. It's important to support and celebrate women who step out of the norm to make changes in how people define sexy. She embodies individuality all while empowering women around her. We had the pleasure of working with Mary and a few other lovely ladies for our new women's collection coming out May 27th. The moment these ladies stepped into the room you could feel the positive radiance amplify the atmosphere. The women we worked with embody everything Peace Collective stands for. They work hard in strive of their dreams, no matter how big or far reaching they might be. What does the concept of chasing your passion mean to you? To me chasing your passion means looking at what makes you the happiest and most excited, channeling that energy and focusing on the goals you've set out for yourself. What sparked your interest in fashion and style? My interest in fashion goes back to when I was a kid. I would make clothes for my Barbies out of Kleenex and started making my own clothes at the age of 10 when I was given my first sewing machine. Fashion has always been a part of me and the freedom it offers as a way to express yourself and build up your confidence is what inspires me. What keeps you motivated when you feel down? The little things motivate me the most; whether it's a comment from a customer or a piece of advice from a friend. Just a few words and my accomplishments to date, no matter how big or small, really drive me to keep pushing forward and remembering I'm on the right path. What advice would you give to those who are afraid to chase their passion? My best advice is to not wait for the perfect time to go after your dream, things will never perfectly line up and you wont ever feel 100% confident. Do your research, plan but don't over plan, once you're about 80% confident that's when you need to close your eyes and take a leap of faith.
Canadian Spark: The Introduction
Written by: Radyah Khan Canada is home to so many great philanthropic organizations - but these organizations require very special people to be fruitful in their pursuit of giving back. This is essentially what our latest section of the Peace Collective blog - Canadian Spark is going to be about - people believing in causes so much and having hearts big enough to better them. I've just been lucky enough to be the one who gets to write about it all, and I'm pretty excited. So to start, we handpicked the name of this section to reflect the abundance of good will and good people sprinkled across this place we call home - making it a beautiful place to live and an even better place to love. We’ll be bringing you inspirational stories about the charitable shenanigans Canadians are getting up to these days – talking about everything from your unsung neighbourhood heroin or hero, to the great new things entrepreneurs and thought leaders are doing in the non-profit space. You should definitely come hang here if you're looking for easy reading that will remind you of how lucky we are to be living in an inclusive environment that fosters community development. Of course, that's not the only reason you should be coming to our blog. We're excited for a couple of features we'll be putting out this summer, including our very own exploration of how people are reinventing philanthropy with fresh and innovative ways of giving back. Best of all, you'll come across lots of info about organizations and causes that are close to your heart. We encourage you to get involved with a purpose you're passionate about, and we're excited to come along for the ride, so make sure you let us in on your latest initiatives via social. With so many extraordinary people out there, it's time to get on top of our next post! Join us back here in two weeks for our first feature of the summer. We'll be speaking with Sheryl Sharma - Co-founder of Studio89, the Mississauga non-profit that’s not your average café. Image via @megan.franklin