Women In Biz - Inspiring Interviews ft. Stephanie Bonetta

 

Welcome to the very first Women In Biz - Inspiring Interview series. This series actually got its inspiration from a book I bought "In the Company of Women" by Grace Bonney, a New York Times Bestseller. I loved that the book was filled with women from all areas and varieties of business, ages and life stages. It was uplifting, had advice and their thoughts. What I wanted to do a little differently was to ask more questions from one person at a time, to dig a little deeper. As I am appreciative of all the fantastic women I choose to surround myself with near and far, this is about authenticity, a celebration of their accomplishments, learning from them and myself being a woman who wants to support other women. There is much-perceived competition out there, so ditch the bitchiness towards each other because I'm not here for that. This is women sharing their insights and experiences with other women. It's about being authentic. There may be some humour and straight talk, definitely real-life experience. It's all about supporting, encouraging and empowering each other as women in life and business. Enjoy it!

Let's create a force within ourselves and others to go further in our journeys.     ~ Melody xo                                                                                                                                                                                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is an absolute thrill to welcome my longtime friend, the fantastic Stephanie Bonetta. Stephanie and I go way back, about 25 years. I love that she is always willing to follow her passions and not afraid to take her journey down several paths. She has always been open to trying new things, a DIY gal at heart she uses her hands and passions to help others. For the past 5 years, she has been working in the Health and Wellness Industry teaching: yoga, meditation, breath work and cooking healthy. She also teaches through workshops on holistic health and private clients to address their health concerns and needs. She does this all while continuing her own health and wellness studies and working remotely around the globe. " I have a passion for educating and empowering people to take their health into their hands and balance their “imbalances” via natural holistic healthcare products." Stephanie Bonetta

The 21 Questions

1. What made you decide to make a business of your creations or services?

Growing need in Western society to eat healthier, way too much health washing out there, my passion to pass on all the knowledge I have learned and 10 years of experience to help those on their own health and wellness journey

2. How did you come up with the name of your business/brand? OR Why did you choose to use your own name?

I choose my name because I am authentic, I am genuine and what you see is what you get - transparency, plus I am proud of who I am and have become. Ok, let me be TOTALLY honest.....I love my last name because so many pronounce it "bonita" and that means beautiful in Spanish lol

3. Where did you start your business? (home, kitchen, garage etc)

My first business Girlnola - vegan, gluten-free health granola and truffles started in my second kitchen....aka the Italian basement!

4. How long did it take for you to go from the birth of the idea to selling your first item or service?

3-4 months the granola was a prototype in plastic cone bags. I sold almost 100 bags at a gym in Mississauga that was attached to Physiomed clinic. In fact, the manager, Andrew, at that time helped me get my foot in the door!

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5. From your own early starting experience and maybe not knowing everything, what do you wish someone had suggested or recommended to you when starting out?

Do MARKET RESEARCH, make a 1, 3 and 5 year SALES and MARKETING PLAN!!! Seek out volunteers and co-op students. I should have done all this the first year and then started selling the following year when I had a much better idea of target markets, budget, costs etc.... instead, I dove head first!

6. What was the best or worst piece of advice you received and why?

Best advice is you can't please everyone all the time, so do your best to be true to your vision and mission and you will please many some of the time. Worst advice is you won't make any money in the first 3 years and it will be so hard! Damn negative Nancy's lol! Another bad piece is "just give them (customer) what they want" ..... unfortunately many pieces of advice were not objective because they were their own personal experiences and we all have different experiences, that's why they are called "personal".

7. What is the biggest leap or bravest thing you did to get your business running?

I listened to myself and my passion and desires and even if the food company had to close its doors after 2.5 years, the experiences and the amazing people and food I made was priceless - I feel so rich because of it and I lost about $80k!

8. What your favourite part of your work? Least favourite part?

Now, my favorite part of being a nutritionist, cook and yoga teacher are the people I get to meet who want to make a positive change and transition for themselves (self-love is huge!!!!) and the results and positive feedback I get from almost everyone thanking me for having helped them. The least favorite is when clients don't like some of the food I make because its too "healthy". Also clients who expect miracle transformations and even put expectations on themselves and myself for a certain ideal outcome, instead of approaching it as a "lifestyle" or "work in progress, a journey" not a "destination"

9. Many of us get lost in perfectionism…everything must be lined up and’ just right’. Time, location, stage of life, you know those things (excuses) that hold us back from pursuing our dreams. Can you share some words of wisdom in this area?

Just do it! Carpe diem! Definitely get organized and do YOUR RESEARCH but the more you wait, the more others will take the lead and you will be left in 2, 3, 4 or last place. Also, team up or collaborate with like minded companies or people and they don't necessarily need to be in your same line of work!

10. We all occasionally have self-doubt and will question what we are doing. In those times, what do you do to push through it?

I talked to my parents who have been entrepreneurs and business partners for 45+ years, I also went on line and did some research but at the end of the day, I meditate and do my angel cards and ask the universe and my guides for guidance, peace of mind and trust.

11. I personally don’t believe in true work/life balance, it’s all life. One will always be more than the other at different times. Do you have any rules in place that separate them or do you go with the flow and it works out?

I used to go with the flow but that didn't work because I neglected myself. Now I make sure I focus my time on my priorities. Now, having said that I classify my priorities in 3-4 health categories: physical (eating and hydrating, HIIT, sleep min.8 hrs), spiritual (meditation and yoga), emotional (family and friends), mental (clients, website, collaborations, research) and I make sure to adjust my time to do all 4 of these everyday even if its just 10-15 minutes of meditation or speaking with friends, it's awesome!

12. Success is so very different for everyone. What do you personally feel is your greatest success to date? (personal or professional)

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Staying sane in this insane world! LOL! I am proud and grateful for the relationships I have had and those I still invest my time and emotions in to this day, also for the entrepreneurial "carpe diem" drive I have to lead a meaningful life by following my passions and guide and inspire those around me who need and want it.

13. Help for some of us, is a dirty word, as we can be stubborn and think we can do it all. When should we really say it’s time for help? (this is different for everyone, so your experience is great)

I like to use the word guidance and collaboration I think we need to reach out anytime we want to our "tribe" or "community" of friends, family and those we might not know too!

14. What is your greatest strength? What is your least strongest area?

Passion, drive and energy.......tactfully communicating negative or problematic situations

15. What was the toughest part for you starting a business? (funding, finding a location, peoples opinions)

Not having saved up enough money or finding collaborators/investors BEFOREHAND so that money was not constantly worrying me and it thus became such a negative hindrance and slowly ate away at my enthusiasm and drive.

16. We all make mistakes, experiences are made, and lessons learned. What’s one lesson you needed to learn?

Collaborate and work together with like minded people and don't put the cart before the horse. Baby steps and research!

17. How do you deal with competition? (perceived or real)

I used to be intimidated by competition but now I come at it from a place of abundance and there is enough for everyone to have a piece of the huge pie. I am happy and send everyone success, love and fulfillment in all they do. I also look at them as potential collaborators for joint ventures!

18. What is a source(s) of inspiration for you?

My inspiration is my clients but my drive and passion for healthy natural healing, food, yoga and meditation because all these things combined (along with a few other modalities I use) are a recipe for daily inspiration.

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19. Who is an inspirational woman to you and why?

I have many women who inspire me - those uber successful and those just starting out too. My mom and nonna are the closest supporters because of their unconditional love, patience, guidance and understanding.

20. Do you ever have creative blocks or get stuck for fresh ideas? What do you do when it happens?

Yup I do......I completely disengage my mind and go do something totally unrelated to it. Then I revisit it and in the meantime keep my alertness on finding inspiration from things and people around me. Walking and meditation helps me a lot. The less I talk about it the better and clearer things are in my mind. I observe and listen to silence around and within me!

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21. I call it my ‘brain-drain’ - when I purposely take time out (usually to sun and sea) and give myself permission to let go of what isn't working and refresh, re-energize and re-invigorate my mind and spirit. What do you do for it?

I cook or bake, bust out some handstands or a short yoga series, go for a walk or bike ride or even just rest by sleeping or being in a meditative state by finding a quiet place either inside or outside and just look at the beauty that surrounds me.

Follow along with Stephanie on Instagram @stephaniebonetta and contact her @ 647-393-3372 or email girlnola3@gmail.com

**Would you like to be featured with these 21 Questions? I'm currently looking for women who have a small business in the following categories: Jewellery designer (you make your own pieces) Skincare and or Makeup Line Creator (make your own, not a private label version) Contact me here and tell me a little about yourself. 

 
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I am a Makeup Artist - But here's why I hired one for my head-shots

 photo:  Michelle Valberg   Makeup: Angelina Luigi

Not everyone likes to have their picture taken. Including me, I'm more comfortable than I used to be, but still not my favourite thing. To be honest I'm actually more chill for a live TV segment because I can move around. I get it people and I'm here to help you through it and put your best, confident self forward. Here's how and why you should hire a professional Makeup Artist for your next head-shots or even public appearance.

It was time to update my own photos for my website, so I had a professional session with the incredible and lovely photographer Michelle Valberg at Westboro Studio. (she has such amazing talent, and client roster plus so much of her work has been seen globally) Truly someone I admire both as a woman and a creative professional. I've wanted her to take my picture for a long time and to have the experience of being in front of her camera lens. I've worked with Michelle and prepping many of her clients for years, so it was fabulous to be the subject. I wanted the full experience, the same one I give to my clients for same photo-shoot service. I HIRED, yes paid for a professional makeup artist for my shoot. Yep, that's right, I didn't do my own makeup. I called in my friend Angelina.

The incredible attention to detail on my face by Angelina was more intense than I would have given myself. We'll cut corners on our own makeup/hair some days, but for a photo shoot? No way. You want the fine details taken care of.  Here's what the best of us artists will do for you; even out complexion with the right shade of foundation, keep your skin looking like skin, smooth application by way of using great tools, make it glow or remove shine, hide dark circles and spots/blemishes and brighten up under eyes (this part is perfect for guys too). Eye and lip makeup is refined while lips and cheeks pop with a healthy, well-blended colour. 

I was relaxed and ready.  Above all, I looked and felt amazing!!! So glad this is what I can offer to clients too. First look (bottom) is a softer, natural look, we all need that photo. The second look (above) is my fave personal style; smokey eye with a nude lip. The end result, are photos that are freakin' amazing...so good in fact that it was tough to choose. 

Why you need a makeup artist.

  • Makeup artists understand the lighting on set is much different from your lighting at home.  We know what will be picked up by the camera and adjust accordingly. 
  • We see ALL the angles that you don't and take care of them. Trust me, you'll be glad you had me help you.
  • You've invested in the professional photographer. Why are you skipping out on the details of your personal appearance? Go the distance people...I make sure those details being photographed, your face, hair and outfit are seen in the best-polished look.
  • You should be moving around changing a pose to adjust those things.
  • Your photographer has the big picture in mind - lighting, background, posing you and getting your best angles, they just can't see it all. As a makeup artist, I'm that other set of eyes looking at those small details. We are a team!!
  • Makeup Artists are the pre-photoshop stage. It may actually cost more in the end than hiring a makeup artist to have your picture fully retouched afterwards (time and experience cost $) 
  • You want your clients to trust you with the details of your expertise...trust me with yours.
  • These pictures are an investment that could go a couple of years if done well from the get-go. 
  • Relax and don't sweat the small stuff. I got you, I want you to look great as well. May even want to use your pictures in my portfolio. 
  • Ease into the session. Feel the pampering that you deserve. (I didn't want to be concerned with messing up my own eyeliner before pictures, that can happen on a regular day to me, lol)
  • A makeup artist attending to you before photos are about having a set of eyes viewing you differently than you see yourself. Working with you to enhance the best.  
  • You deserve to look and feel your best. Feel like a superstar. 
  • My job doesn't end there. I go the extra steps and can help with hair touch-ups, make sure makeup gets any adjusting during lighting test and through the shoot. I keep an eye out for flyaway strands of hair, fix a jacket or shirt so it isn't bunched up and I have been known to help match outfits and accessories before the shoot.  
  • Bonus: Hello, you are in the chair of a Makeup Artist... I love to share beauty tips and recommendations if you ask.
 Photo:   Michelle Valberg                  Makeup:  Angelina Luigi

Photo:  Michelle Valberg                 Makeup: Angelina Luigi

And by the way, what is talked about in my makeup hair stays in the makeup chair. I value the trust you have put in me to put your best face forward and give it back to you.

Have you ever had head-shots done before? Did you love or hate them? If it's time for new ones, perhaps I can help? Reach out and we can chat about ideas and some photographer recommendations.

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Clean Your Makeup Brushes - Your Skin & Makeup Products Will Thank You

As a makeup artist is is absolutely imperative that brushes are cleaned after every client use. I have two types of cleansers, one is a liquid I put into a spray bottle and carry in my kit. It's great for quick colour removal and sanitizing on the go, however, all brushes should be cleaned with water and a cleanser to pull out colour, sanitize and product build-up and just a really deep clean. There are also several skin benefits to keeping your brushes regularly cleaned.

Washing brushes isn't tough to do, just not fun for most. Although I actually do enjoy cleaning mine. If you knew what was on your personal brushes or sponges after multiple uses you'd want them fresher more often. Click on the video to see what I'm using (pssst it's cruelty-free and vegan) and how it extends the life of my brushes while keeping them fresh and in shape for best application and client experience. 
 

*product was sent for trial. Opinions and pro tips are my own.
Thank you Hoppy and Poppy

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How I'm Fighting Gravity & Firming My Skin FT. Silk'n Titan

One day it just happened, I woke up, looked in the mirror - as per the usual beauty routine - then pulled, poked and squished my face checking out gravity’s work that looked like it appeared over night. I’m sure I’m not the only one wanting to fight the effects of gravity. Perhaps it’s time for more oomph in the skincare routine? 

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As a both a beauty industry pro and a consumer, I wanted to know, is there anything out there that can do a bit more than my lotions and potions? Can it be convenient, easy to use and complimentary to one’s existing anti-aging routine? Something I would be willing to share with others that had the same concerns? Not too big of a wish list is it? I'm thrilled to share with you my partnership with Silk'n Titan, the chic and sleek at home beauty device that was provided for me to work with during my treatment journey. I was to use it twice per week over a 10-week period. It's my #TitanTime. Perfect for those areas I was having extra ‘gravitational’ concerns over. 

I found the Titan to be super convenient and require no downtime, in fact, I’ve used it before an event because I needed to fit in the treatment that week and really liked the extra healthy glow it gives afterwards. During treatment time, the Titan gets warm and is working to stimulate cell renewal in a painless way. It helps to rejuvenate and repair collagen and elastin fibers (think of those fibers like tiny springs that push and hold up the surface) to tighten, firm and lift the skin from within, which leads to reduced lines and wrinkles. Just as each of us has different skin types, ages and stages of ageing, results can vary person to person.

The first thing I noticed after the first use was that healthy glow I mentioned. Then after a few uses, I could feel like my skin seemed to be juicier or plumper is the better word, firmer than before. The texture also felt nice, and I noticed makeup was wearing well (a bonus). I still used my regular skin care, nothing else was changed. With time and more treatments with the Silk’n Titan, I felt effects were lasting longer between treatments like my skin was being worked into better condition overall.

BEAUTY TIPS: Here are extra ones I learned along the way and were shared with me for even better results:

1)      I have drier skin, so I found my skin really absorbed the water-based, hyaluronic slider gel when used alone on clean skin, making for a few interruptions to reapply during treatment. I prepped my skin, as usual, using my nightly moisturizer before a treatment and noticed my skin didn’t drink up the gel as quickly, making for fewer interruptions during my #TitanTime. The use of the slider is also bonus hydration for me.

2)      Don’t be shy about applying the gel, the Titan needs to glide easily. Add some to the device head itself. I suggest ordering an extra tube of slider gel.

3)      When the Titan doesn’t glide smoothly, and you are still in your 15 minutes, time to add more slider gel to skin.

4)      Each area you want to work on is a 15 minute treatment. Work in small areas to get the most out of the treatment. i.e. work on half of the forehead at a time.

5)      While there are multiple intensities, the best results achieved are using levels 4 & 5 regularly. Start with the first 2 minutes on levels 1-3, like a warm up session.

6)      Yes, it’s warm. Do not hold your Titan in one place, keep it gliding over the skin. Try to work in upwards motion when possible

7)      I found evenings were the best time for me, as I could plug in the Titan, sit with a book or TV show and relax for some quiet Melody time.

If you are looking for something to add to your anti-aging skincare routine, but hesitant on heading into the pricier alternatives of in-office procedures, the Silk’n Titan is something I highly recommend you reach for. Just remember, you need to be consistent with treatments if you want to see changes in your skin, beyond your favourite creams. You can see my introduction and TV Beauty Segment ft. the Silk'n Titan to see why I trust and will continue to include it in my skincare routine. 

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

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Magic Metals - Mini Eye Palettes By Huda Beauty

 Huda Beauty Palette from  www.shophudabeauty.com

Huda Beauty Palette from www.shophudabeauty.com

I’ve always loved the shine of metal since I was a child, something so luxurious with it. It goes back to a ring I found in the neighbourhood, dug it out of the dirt when I was about 6 yrs old. I ran home with it and showed my mom that "I found a real ring" (yep even then I knew the good stuff) Now as a Makeup Artist, I adore shine and shimmer and love mixing metallics. #MelodysMixology

Honestly, I'm a little bored with a new launch every 5 minutes. I'm not hypnotized by the media hype, many of them are just meh anyways. However, should a palette  A) have great shades B) have quality pigments C) have textures that are blend-able D) more timeless shades, perhaps I'll take a closer look. The Huda Beauty "Smokey" Obsessions caught my eye while I waited in line at Sephora. (not on Huda brand-wagon either, read exceptions A-D above) It has a beautiful colour payoff, super velvety to the touch and a friendlier price than most. At only $35 it was an easy purchase for experimentation In the Beauty Lab. 

My fave makeup/fashion motto: “It’s never too early in the day for sequins and smokey eyes” Please don’t be afraid of these shades, they can be worked softly and I share a few beauty tips below. These are neutrals, they'll go with any outfit you wear. The choice is yours of how soft or intense you want to pull them off. Absolutely ANYONE (any age and skin tone) can wear it!


BEAUTY TIPS:

  • Tap a shiny or shimmery shade on to the centre of the eyelid after your done with the eye look for an instant pop of light. 
                                 
  • Metal shades can be worn over the eyelid fully as their own colour. Sweep a little across the lid for a sheer version OR pat it on to build up the boldness of it. Go bolder and use a metal hue under the lower lash line.
     
  • Apply matte shadows first, then blend a metallic over top to alter it. Example black matte eyeshadows first, then topped with gold or silver will make the metallic deeper.
     
  • Apply metal shade first (see step #2 above) Then, in the outer corner add a touch of one of the deeper matte shades. Blend softly into lid but not too far across. You just want to keep it in the outer corner and soft looking.
     
  • Use the deep matte shades as a liner instead of a pencil or gel. Instant, easy smake show. 
     
  • Bonus, if you want to add a bit of shine but not gooey gloss to your lip colour, pat a touch of one of the metallics to slightly alter the lip look.                                                                             
    This palette has great pigment, so you only need a little to start off with. I purchased it at  Sephora.

PS Remember that ring I found? It was a vintage white and yellow gold diamond ring. (love for mixed metals) My mother posted the lost ring and asked around the neighbourhood many times but no one ever claimed it. She saved it for me and I still have it.

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