Five Things I Learned from Four of Kingston’s Female Entrepreneurs

Last night, The Claire Closet hosted a panel discussion about building a successful brick and mortar business with four of Kingston’s successful female entrepreneurs. It was so great to see a range of professional experience and life experience discuss the rewards and pitfalls of being business owners. The speakers were Cyndy Gibson owner of shops Agent 99 and Blueprint, Maria Cronk owner of Fancy That and Roundstone, Tiffany Brick owner of The Annex Spa and Melissa Eapen owner of Improbable Escapes and The Kingston Collective. Listening to these women speak reaffirmed why I started the Boss Ladies of the Limestone City series. They support each other and encourage healthy competition for the greater good of our beautiful city. I admire how they contribute to the awesome town we live in. They also offered amazing advice. If you’re considering launching a business of your own, below is a list of five things I learned from their talk. Continue reading

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Boss Ladies of the Limestone City: SimplyWell Owner, Jehna Duncan


When I first discovered SimplyWell’s beautiful space, I fell in love with the concept and loved that Kingston finally had a delicious juice spot. When I found out the owner was an ambitious young woman, I was so impressed and interested to know how she got her start. In two years, owner Jehna Duncan – with the help of her team – has turned SimplyWell into a holistic one-stop shopp catered to helping people with digestive health issues.

After sitting down with Jehna, I learned that her journey to business owner is filled with girl power because of the encouragement of other Kingston Boss Ladies. Learn how this Boss Lady went from selling her juices in the market to her light-filled storefront on Princess street.  Continue reading

Boss Ladies of the Limestone City: Wendy Huot, Owner of The Screening Room

fullsizerender-13If you’re a fan of films then you’ve most likely been to Kingston’s locally owned movie theatre, The Screening Room, a space to indulge in popcorn and experience the thrill of re-watching a classic film on the big screen or a cult classic at a good price. I met with the owner, Wendy Huot, over pints and tacos at Stone City Ales to learn what brought her to Kingston, how she ended up taking ownership of The Screening Room and get the scoop on the upcoming Kingston Canadian Film Festival. What I learned is that Wendy is a kind and ambitious woman who is most certainly a Boss Lady. Learn her story and more in our interview below.  Continue reading

Boss Ladies of the Limestone City: Melissa Eapen, Co-Founder of Improbable Escapes and The Kingston Collective

melissaeapenIf you’ve put your puzzle-solving skills to the test at one of Kingston’s Improbable Escape rooms or indulged in a little shopping at Kingston’s new locally-curated makers shop, The Kingston Collective, then you can thank the brilliant millennial mind of Melissa Eapen. Melissa was born in Brampton and grew up in the Caledon area but saw something special in Kingston. After one visit she decided to move here with her businesses partner and launch Improbable Escapes. She’s not only incredibly smart and kind, after just under two years of living in Kingston she’s created a number of new job opportunities and embodies what it means to be a Kingstonian. She’s taking limestone city by storm and is more than deserving of the title, “Boss Lady.”  Continue reading

Boss Ladies of the Limestone City: Dr. Aba Bowles-Mortley of Cher Mère Spa

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I chat with Dr. Aba Bowles-Mortley, owner of Cher Mère spa. Aba is a Queen’s alumna (undergrad, masters and Phd) who — like many — made Kingston her home with her husband (and eventually four children). She grew up in Trinidad where her family owns five spas and make their own products.

Aba is truly integrated in our community, volunteering for Youth Diversion as well as Hundred Women Who Care. When I sit down with her at Coffeeco she seems to know every other passerby and greets them with a wide grin and a “How are you?!”.

Learn about her Kingston experience and a few realities of raising mixed race children in a town with little diversity. Continue reading

Boss Ladies of the Limestone City: Steph Hogeboom of Taylor Clark Photography

Kingston Photography

Five years ago, Steph Hogeboom, found herself living in Kingston after falling in love with and marrying a Kingstonian. In that short time the native of Ajax has done what many take double that time to accomplish, she has established her own successful photography business that has taken her overseas to capture her clients’ milestone.  She’s now sharing the lessons she’s learned with local aspiring entrepreneurs through an intimate six participant workshop called Gather

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Steph is the epitome of what I consider to be a “Boss Lady”! She pushes herself while encouraging others, she’s incredibly talented and she’s kind. If you have yet to see the moments she captures between doe-eyed couples and brand new adoring parents, check out her website here.

We recently sat down for a chat, read why she loves being a business owner in Kingston, what she loves about our special community and how she plans on guiding future creative entrepreneurs. Continue reading

Boss Ladies of the Limestone City: Ali Houde-Shulman of Queen Street Chiropractic

Meet Ali. Ali is a chiropractor who runs Queen Street Chiropractic clinic as well as Limestone Laser. She lived in Toronto for many years and loves the big city but eventually – like many young people – decided to set her roots down in Kingston three years ago and take over her parent’s business. She serves clients that have been visiting the clinic since she was a child – I think that dynamic of a family-owned business is so special. See below for our chat and learn about how chiropractors heal and why Ali loves being a business owner in Kingston. Continue reading