We love supporting equality for women and men in Calgary and across the globe, which is why we at the shop are so proud to look up to two strong female leaders every day. Not only are Leslie and Dorian part owners of The Livery Shop, but they also run their own businesses here in Calgary - CoutuKitsch and Camp Brand Goods. We’d like to show our love for these intelligent, strong and caring women in this very fitting International Women’s Day journal entry!
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been held on March 8th every year since the twentieth century (can we get an amen, sista)! After the first IWD took place on March 19, 1911 in Austria, where one million women and men showed their support for gender equality, the United Nations recognized it internationally in 1975 and the world continues to annually celebrate on March 8th!
It is on this meaningful day that we’d like to shine the spotlight on Dorian and Leslie. Here we share some questions they’ve answered on how they’ve grown as women in our community, and what their advice is for other women making an impact in this world.
DORIAN KITSCH of COUTUKITSCH and THE LIVERY SHOP
Q: What originally led you to create CoutuKitsch with your partner, Kofi?
A: I started CoutuKitsch as a creative outlet because I was feeling uninspired and needed something to be excited about. I opened an Etsy Shop and sold a few pieces to friends and family. After a few months Kofi suggested I try to sell at a craft market and I told him I would do it but only if he came with me. We never looked back.
Q: Why are you passionate about International Women’s Day (IWD) and gender equality?
A: I'm passionate about equality because how we look and who we are shouldn't determine how we are treated in this world. Women have been undervalued and not taken seriously for so long, it's amazing to see us rise up together and support each other. My hope is that we are making a difference so the children we are raising will live in a world where they are accepted and treated equal. It's 2019, it's actually bullshit that we still have to fight for this.
Q: Which woman influences you most and why?
A: There isn't just one. I didn't realize how strong women were until I became a mother a year ago. Not to say you have to be a mother to have this strength - we all have it within us and that is powerful. I'm inspired by the women that are closest to me; my friends that are mothers, my mom and mother in law, my sisters and sisters in law, and my friends who have started their own businesses because that is no easy feat.
Q: What advice would you give to another women who is a start-up entrepreneur?
A: Find something you are truly passionate about, and give it your all. Set goals, keep a to-do list, and invest in a good bookkeeper and accountant.
Q: What is some advice you would give to your daughter about gender equality in the future?
A: Of course I want Goldie to understand that we are all equal, despite experiences she will no doubt have being a biracial female. I will teach her to be strong, to always have a voice, and that what she thinks and feels matters.
LESLIE GOULD of CAMP BRAND GOODS and THE LIVERY SHOP
Q: What originally led you to create Camp Brand Goods with your partner, Connor?
A: My husband (then boyfriend) Connor actually started Camp. I jumped in pretty early on to help him with social media and order fulfillment. At the time, Camp had less than 500 followers on Instagram which we grew to over 150k, which has been a major contributor to our success as a business and a brand.
Q: Why are you passionate about International Women's Day (IWD) and gender equality?
A: I’m passionate about equality across the board. I’m active in the fights against sexism, racism, speciesism, transphobia, etc. I have had a few friends terrorized by sexual assault and I won’t be satisfied until they, and the rest of us, are all safe from harm & free to just be.
Q: Which woman influences you most and why?
A: Five months ago I became a mother. Several of my close friends and my sister in law also recently had babies and it has been so inspiring to watch them step into their new roles while still maintaining who they are outside of motherhood.
Q: What advice would you give to another woman who is a start-up entrepreneur?
A: Find a community of like-minded people and support each other. And also don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.
Q: What is some advice you would give to your son about gender equality in the future?
A: This is something I think about all of the time. The responsibility of raising a good human is something I will take very seriously as Walt gets older. I definitely plan to surround him with the exceptional daughters my friends will no doubt raise. I will engrain in him that gender isn’t two separate sets of ideals, but rather a spectrum; that it’s ok to be strong, and it’s ok to be sensitive.
In honour of these two and other empowering Calgarian women, we are hosting an IWD giveaway to two lucky Calgarian entrants on March 8th. Be sure to check out our social accounts @TheLiveryShop to enter!
If you’re also interested in learning more about IWD, be sure to check out all of the Government of Canada deets here.