The PEI Business Women’s Association (PEIBWA) is pleased to announce that six Island women entrepreneurs have been selected as finalists for the 2022 Sensational Summer PitchFest Competition launched in May.
Congratulations to the six finalists:
These six companies will receive one-on-one pitch coaching by industry experts – before participating in the live pitch competition with the opportunity to receive $15,000 to grow and expand their operations. The live event will be held in Charlottetown on Wednesday, July 27th where one deserving company will be announced the winner of PEIBWA’s Sensational Summer PitchFest 2022.
Read our Press Release HERE
To Learn More about this Program, click HERE
This week, we introduce you to Paige Martin from PEI Pelvic and Breast Health. Paige joined as a PEIBWA Member in January 2022.
Name of Business: PEI Pelvic and Breast Health Inc.
What kind of work did you do in the past and what inspired you to start your own business?
I was working as a physiotherapist in an orthopedic clinic when I started doing additional training in pelvic health. I quickly realized that women's pelvic health in our province was greatly underserved. I knew that the only way to make a change was to dedicate my full practice to treating pelvic and breast conditions. So I did just that, I left my ortho caseload and opened a clinic dedicated to treating women's pelvic health.
How long have you owned your business?
What challenges have you overcome?
It was very nerve wracking leaving a full ortho caseload, not knowing if I would even be busy enough to stay afloat. It is a double edged sword, I am incredibly busy, but that means there are a lot of women who still need help.
What have your successes been?
Every time I get an email from a patient telling me their successes, I take it on as my own. "I no longer have pain with sex" or "I can jump on a trampoline with my kids and not pee my pants" or "I had the best birth experience I could have hoped for".
Have you had any unexpected surprises?
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have to make monthly lube orders haha
What services does your business provide?
We also treat and educate those that are preparing for pregnancy, delivery and postpartum recovery, lactating parents with blocked milk ducts/mastitis, and babies with latch issues or oral restrictions.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
I don't like to think about other pelvic health physiotherapists as competitors, because we are all working towards the same goal. I have a great admiration for them and we often consult each other when we have challenging cases. The only difference would be that my caseload is 100% pelvic and breast as opposed to also treating typical orthopedic conditions.
What areas do you serve?
I treat patients island wide. I operate in Cornwall but I am currently seeing patients from Souris to Tignish.
How can people contact you?
This week, we introduce you to Steff Sullivan from Steff Sullivan Collective. Steff joined as a PEIBWA Member in March 2022.
Name of Business: Steff Sullivan Collective
I grew up with two entrepreneurial parents and worked within both of their businesses throughout my teens. My own journey into entrepreneurship began while attending nursing school at McMaster University. A roommate and I started an eco-friendly residential cleaning company and ran it for three years serving students, landlords and the community we lived in. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and though I was no longer operating that business, my entrepreneurial spirit burned strong. I continued to explore business ventures, sub-contract work alongside my career and obtained multiple certifications in various realms of wellness. I specialized in Women & Infants Health as a nurse, and while I absolutely loved my career and the skills I gained I always had a dream to own my own business.
I’ve been a business owner for a decade now, but I officially began Steff Sullivan Collective in June of 2021. This is the day I launched a new website, though prior I had already begun to build a brand, blog & community. This collective is an amalgamation of offerings I am incredibly passionate about. I feel so grateful to be able to blend all of the skills and experiences I have had in my various professional roles into a space for people to take care of themselves holistically.
The biggest challenge I have found in entrepreneurship, especially in the times we have found ourselves in, is feeling isolated. I went from a very social career, working with large teams and seeing many humans each day to working virtually (for the most part) and on my own learning many new things. I think many people don’t realize that business owners are oftentimes also social media managers, web designers, customer service, technical support & more all while holding space for others. In the early phases it can be very challenging on your mental health and be challenging to find balance or know when to stop thinking about your business. That said, this year I knew I needed to begin to seek support and have more open conversations with other business owners both locally and online. Since doing so, I am finding that many of us have the same thoughts, fears and struggles. I have joined a few new communities this year that have already been so incredibly supportive. We are better together and collaboration is so key.
What have your successes been?
Throughout my various experiences in businesses, I have developed skills for social media and design work which I really love doing. I think having a strong and cohesive social media and brand presence is so important to help develop community and brand awareness. That said, much of my success in my business thus far has been because I have been cultivating relationships and my community for over six years now before officially launching my current business.
Secondly, within my business I offer many entry points for clients from free content on social media and my blog to group experiences and one-on-one services. Accessibility is very important to me and because of this I think I have developed a very approachable and human centered business that truly cares about the consumer. Relationships are the key to my business, especially being a service based brand and because of this many of my clients have come through referrals.
Yes, more than I can recall. The thing about entrepreneurship that not many people share is that it is often a series of trial and error until you gather enough information to see what works and what doesn’t. And also what feels good to you. It can take a while to build a brand voice and set of offerings that feels aligned, but when you do , you just know. Unfortunately, when you do so people notice and sometimes for the wrong reasons. I’ve experienced people copying my work which has been disheartening. But, I believe that being authentic in your business (and in your life) will always pay off, even if it takes a bit longer.
Steff Sullivan Collective has three main pillars of wellness with an emphasis on self-care:
Movement: low impact barre & pilates style movement classes live on Zoom and through my on-demand platform as well as on occasion at local studios
Discovery: learn how you energy operates, how you make decisions and how to honor your unique self-care needs through the modality of Human Design
Cultivate: community experiences include monthly holistic self-care workshops & the newest offering recently launched: well-being retreats
I blend a unique set of skills through my professional experience as a Registered Nurse, Certified Barre, Strength & Pre/Postnatal Coaching and prior business experience with my own humanness into a brand that offers a soft place to land. I offer payment plans for my offerings and I spend a large portion of my energy and resources trying to be the best person I can be so that I can provide inclusive, trauma informed and accessible services because every human deserves self-care. My work has been described as a coming home. People feel seen, validated and loved when they experience offerings in business and that to me, is the ultimate goal.
What areas do you serve?
My business operates mostly online, but I do offer my services to local studios & host workshops and special events on Prince Edward Island. My next in person offering is a well-being retreat called Moon to Sea Well-being Retreat held at Nature Space Resort near Morell, which is taking place this fall from September 8th to 12th, 2022. I have always envisioned that Steff Sullivan Collective would be a blend of virtual and in-person offerings so I am so excited to bring this retreat to life here! For more information visit: www.steffsullivan.co/moon-to-sea-retreat
This week, we present you Shelley Montreuil and her company, Shelley Montreuil, PMP (https://shelleymontreuil.com/). Shelley joined as a PEIBWA Member in March 2022.
Name of Business: Shelley Montreuil, PMP
I have always been self-employed in one way or another as a restaurateur, web developer and a musician but I have also taken time to work in capital campaign fundraising. Most recently I spent some time up in Iqaluit, NU working as a correctional officer and now I am back on the Island revisiting my web career and growing organic haskaps.
I ran a successful web development business in Ontario (OnCouRSS Media Solutions) for ten years before selling it and running off to be a musician (Yo Mama, Fluffy Little Cowboys). This new iteration of my web development career is only a year old but I have been working in the field for over fifteen years.
Web development is a decidedly male-dominated industry. I have had to navigate that and the preconceptions that come with it for most of my career. But I have found that focusing on the facts and over-delivering on promises does a lot to instill confidence and encourage customer loyalty.
OnCouRSS was the developer of choice for a number of high-profile clients in the Lanark County, ON area, most notably Lanark County Tourism. I worked with them to integrate their third-party tourism database into a beautiful, streamlined website experience. And most recently I had the opportunity to develop the website and ecommerce solution for Growers Station – PEI’s new organic growers cooperative.
Hmmmmm, unexpected surprises … I don’t really know. When you run your own business it seems that every day is full of unexpected surprises so none really stand out amongst the others for me, though I would have to say that having that kind of diversity in my day is one of the reasons I love working for myself.
I specialize in building custom WordPress websites (themes). I integrate custom functionality such as ecommerce and membership while paying close attention to design. I have also spent quite a bit of time helping my clients to streamline their online assets ie: hosting, email and domain registration – I find that people often pay much more than they need to for their website services simply because they are not aware of their options.
Recently I have been creating custom tutorial videos for clients – this is helping them to streamline their own client onboarding and to save time and money in the process.
Web development is one of those services that is a little bit of a mystery to many people so when they come to me looking to get a specific job done I take the time to understand their needs in relation to their objectives. If there is a way to save them time and money in the long term or just generally a better, easier way to get the job done then I will bring it to their attention and review their options with them – even if that means they may not engage me or my services.
When I build a website for a client I create a custom dashboard with links to all the important areas of their site and tutorial videos on how to manage their site moving forward (because it is easy to forget how to update your website when you don’t do it every day).
My services are primarily online so I am able to serve clients from anywhere in the world.
This week, we present you Christine Kleinsteuber from All De Tails. Christine joined as a PEIBWA Member in July 2020 and provides service anywhere on PEI. She is also an alumni of our Accelerate HER PEI Program.
Name of Business: All DeTails Pet Sitting
I started off in retail and retail management, but my passion was always animals and animal care. I left retail to follow my dreams and obtained education in animal care and husbandry. I managed a seasonal mini aquarium and explorer lab on Vancouver Island, where I found enjoyment in teaching others not only about the animals, but also about how to properly handle and care for them.
I also obtained my Animal Welfare Certificate, Pet First Aid and CPR, and was a vet assistant at various clinics in B.C. While at the vet clinics, I found many clients were in need of reliable, knowledgeable and professional pet sitters. All DeTails started in 2017 and was increasingly in demand in the area until we moved to PEI in the Fall of 2018. I'm an entrepreneur at heart and could work in any field that involves animal husbandry, I just love caring for them.
What have your challenges been? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was getting the courage to start my business and put myself out there. I have always been more comfortable around animals than I have been around people. I am a perfectionist, and wanted to make sure that the services I offered were everything that I would personally want in a pet sitter to look after my animals.
I started advertising and going to “meet and greets” with potential clients. The first couple did not result in any bookings, which was discouraging, but with the support of my family and partner I continued on and got my first bookings.
An on-going challenge is explaining to potential clients the difference between a Certified Professional Pet Sitter compared to having family, friends, neighbors and/or students looking after their pets. This can be difficult to overcome, as the cost of services is a key factor for many. I explain the differences, and benefits of hiring a Certified Professional, but I am always prepared for them to decide on another/cheaper alternative. I have learned to accept this, and a key thing to realize is that not everyone is the type of client that would desire my services, and that is okay.
I've been lucky enough to have support from PEIBWA with the Accelerate Her program, and Pet Sitters International. I became a Certified Professional Pet Sitter in 2018, renewed my Pet First Aid and CPR, and I continue my learning of all animals with online training. I also continue to have clients in B.C. contact me for advice and referrals to other pet care services that I know are reputable.
Any unexpected surprises?
Yes, there always is, but it's my favorite part of being in business. I'm surprised by how many people own exotic animals on PEI; which I find great, because that's my niche. Whether it's snakes, reptiles, bunnies, ferrets, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, parrots, chickens, you name it, I've looked after it.
We offer in your home pet sitting for animals of all kinds and dog/cat walking services. We also provide various consultations, from habitat set-up for your exotic, to how to provide enrichment to your pets so they stay alert, active and healthy. We often find kids with small animals that may not know how to properly care for them, and we help families with that.
We not only have the requisite business and liability insurance, but we are insured with care, customer and control that is specific to the pet sitting industry. This provides coverage beyond the standard business and liability insurance that others may carry, which is beneficial for all parties in the event an emergency arises when your pet is in our care. We are bonded and Certified Professional Pet Sitters, with up-to-date Pet First Aid and CPR.
Our name, All DeTails means exactly that, we not only care for all the animals with tails, but we look after all the details when caring for your pet(s) and home. We don’t just ask where the food and leashes are, we ask lots of questions to better know your pet and how to tailor our care specifically to them. I often hear, "Wow, you've thought of everything" in my meet and greets. I take pride in knowing that I have over 27 years experience caring for people's pets and homes. I've worked in animal rescues, animal clinics, and volunteered in animal disasters.
We are mobile so we can serve anywhere on PEI, but mostly our clients are between Summerside and Charlottetown.
How can people contact you?
This week, we present you new PEIBWA Member Connie Spencer, from Wee Rover Farm. Her business is located in Murray River!
Name of Business: The name of my business is ‘Wee Rover Farm’ and it’s my dream coming true.
What kind of work did you do in the past and what inspired you to start your own business? How long have you owned your business?
After over 20 years in tourism and customer service I made the leap in 2020. In the midst of the pandemic, I thought “life is too short for not doing what you love”. Last year, I registered the business and had a very soft opening by partaking in the local farmers market in Murray Harbour.
What services does Wee Rover Farm provide?
I sell vegetables, herbs and flowers that I grow sustainably and organically (although not certified yet). I really believe in growing joy with flowers, self care and that everyone should be buying locally grown everything to help our planet and carbon footprint. I also believe everyone should try to grow food and flowers themselves and the mental and physical benefits of gardening are amazing!!!
Along with the farmers market and weekly boxes (pick what you want model) I am also offering by appointment: flower u pick, pick your own for brides, harvest your own supper, and workshops on how to make bouquets. I also have events lined up such as: ‘Beer & Blooms’ at Copper Bottom Brewer, yoga on the farm, ‘sip and snip’ featuring stellar sommelier Leslie, and I am in talks for a vegan farm to table event.
I have had no funding help at all as I’m seasonal and didn’t qualify for anything like SKILLS etc. It’s definitely been building slowly and for a tight few years. Luckily, I have a very supportive hubby and two amazing daughters who help out a bit.
I believe I am set apart from competitors because I offer things no one else does in the Southern Kings area. I’m super excited about this coming season.
See full job posting HERE.
Qualified applicants should forward an electronic resume and cover letter to Margaret Magner, Chief Executive Officer, PEI Business Women’s Association with “Business Development and Membership Officer” in the subject line. Apply HERE.
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS FRIDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2022.
Thank you to all that apply; however, only those that are selected for an interview will be contacted.
This week, we present our PEIBWA Member Faith LeClair, from Sew Blessed Quilters.
Name of Business: Sew Blessed Quilters
I have been in the fabric business for all of my career. I started out doing drapes at Nicholson Interiors when my son went to school and from there I opened a custom drapery business out of my home. In the early 2000 I started working at Bargain Fabrics as their manager and when they decided to close down in 2016 I took the plunge and opened up a quilt shop. I decided to renovate my garage and opened up in Jan. of 2017 with a small selection of fabrics. In 2019 it expanded to an additional room in my home and in Jan. 2022 we moved to a store front location at the Trailside Plaza in Kensington.
I opened up on January 9th, 2017 in the middle of a snow storm.
I have had many challenges over the past 5 years from construction, heating, to working with fabric suppliers and trying to get supplies during covid times. I was lucky enough that I had worked with a few of my suppliers when I worked at Bargain Fabrics so I already had a working relationship with the ones I continue to use today. I have worked 24/7 to build up the business and my inventory and this Jan. on my 5th birthday we opened up in our new location at the Trailside Plaza in Kensington. It was a big leap to open up here but it has been a very positive experience. Even though I was only a mile away from here there are so many people who have come in that did not know that I had been at the other end of town. One of my biggest struggles so far is advertising and deciding where to put your advertising budget. I worked with your organization last year and I was able to develop a web page to advertise my quilts and hopefully one day I will be able to add onto it.
I have grown from my garage, to my garage plus half my house and now I have opened up in a new 1650 square foot location. This new location has made it possible for me to hire a couple of part time employees. Having people to run the store allows me to be able to offer more classes, which is what I love. We run classes in the store a couple days a week and Wed evening with most classes being filled.
Any unexpected surprises?
The hardest thing about opening my own business is learning how to develop a thick skin. It is a hard process from the mental, physical and emotional exhaustion, to the days when you feel you can't go on any longer. Each day has its share of highs and lows and it is hard to find a balance between each of them. The joy on peoples faces when they find the perfect piece of fabric to make their quilt with, to the disappointments that comes with having to make hard decisions so your business can grow, but all in all it is a great way to spend your day surrounded with pretty colors, fabrics and endless possibilities.
What services does your business provide?
I sell cottons, flannels, batiks and all the notions to create your quilts or other projects you are making. We do quilting classes to help you learn about different quilt techniques. I have started having quilt retreats at Our Lady of Hope retreat center, which have been a great success. I think one of the things I have found through this whole process is how much joy quilters find sewing with other quilters. The friendships that have formed that will last through the rest of their lives. Covid has left us all pretty beat up but you can always find a smile and a pick me up from your quilting friends. We have donated to some amazing organizations over the past five years, The Christmas Tree of Hope, The Kensington Fire Department, Life House and the Dementia unit in Summerside. We have also contributed to some local fundraisers for some people who could use a helping hand.
I try to keep my prices as low as I can to make it as economical as possible for new quilters to try their hand at quilting. I am available most days for advice if someone is feeling stuck with their projects. I also have a strong following with our quilting classes and nothing makes me happier than seeing the smiles on their faces when they finish a project that they are especially proud of. With covid there has been a struggle finding spaces for our classes but we have made it through this far and I couldn't be happier with the progress everyone has made.
I serve the entire Island and many tourists during the summer months.
This week, we present you New Member Angela Rogerson, from Keep Moving Physiotherapy Inc.
Member Since: February 2022
Business Name: Keep Moving Physiotherapy Inc.
What kind of work did you do in the past and what inspired you to start your own business?
I have worked as a physiotherapist for the past 27 years. In 2016, my employer passed away suddenly and I was left with a decision to make. How would I spend the second half of my career? That was when I decided to ‘ jump off the cliff’ and open my own physiotherapy clinic.
My father was a huge inspiration for me. He also was a health professional who had owned his own business and I felt I was ready to take on a challenge and change things up a bit. However, this wasn’t just going to affect me, this was a family decision and I needed their support. They believed in me and supported the decision empowering me even more. I opened my business in the fall of 2016.
Leading up to the 2016 opening, I was scared and had a lot of sleepless nights constantly wondering if I was doing the right thing. One day I was driving through town when I saw a sign that said “you are capable of more than you think”. That was a pivotal moment for me!
What have your challenges been? How did you overcome them? What have your successes been?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was learning how to operate a business. Educated as a health professional, I had no skill set to call upon for running a business. I knew nothing but quickly realized there are people and resources out there that can help you as long as you are willing to learn and embrace the challenge.
I was very blessed to have the community support me and within 5 months of opening, I was busy enough to hire a therapist to work two nights a week with me. Before I knew it, we were busy enough to have two full time therapists and currently, we have grown to have 2.5 physiotherapists.
The clinic provides physiotherapy services for acute injuries (including sport-related injuries), chronic pain, post surgical rehabilitation, sprains and strains. We are proud to offer the internationally based hip and knee arthritis program GLA:D as well as other specialized services such as acupuncture, dry needling, TMJ treatment and functional movement assessments.
Our goal is to provide a calm, relaxed environment with one on one care by a physiotherapist. We take a very active approach to therapy and believe in getting to the root of the problem. It is important to us that our clients understand what is happening and empower them to play a role in their recovery. We also provide a professional, collaborative approach to wellness with easy access to many services. We also want to play a key role in supporting the community and promoting health and wellness.
What sets you apart from your competition?
We offer before and after work appointments (7am-7pm) to be able to accommodate busy lives and will go the extra mile to assist you in getting back to the level of function you deserve. This spring, we will be relocating and opening Cornwall’s first multidisciplinary wellness centre. Joining us will be PEI PELVIC AND BREAST HEALTH INC owned by Paige Martin as well as Caley McDonald, Registered massage therapist. We will have space to include other health care disciplines such as councilors, speech pathologists etc.
The PEI Business Women’s Association is excited to announce a new Pitch Competition for women entrepreneurs in Prince Edward Island. The Sensational Summer PitchFest 2022 – the first of its kind in PEI – is a competitive pitch competition for women entrepreneurs in early growth-stage businesses seeking growth capital for an innovative business venture or to further develop or launch a new product or service.
Through a series of workshops, coaching with industry experts, and networking opportunities, participants will have a chance to compete for a $15,000 cash award!
Learn more about eligibility requirements, important dates and FAQs HERE.