May 14, 2015

SHE'S IN SIMONS: BIANCA OSBOURNE OF VITALITY KITCHEN

She's in Simons is a new blog series produced in collaboration with Canadian retail icon, Simons. Over the next few months we'll be profiling inspiring Alberta creatives who celebrate style through their work and wardrobes.

Bianca Osbourne is the free-spirited, hilarious and wonderfully honest, firecracker chef and holistic nutritionist behind The Vitality Kitchen – a no fuss natural food apothecary based in Edmonton that offers creative catering, customized meal plans and hands on cooking classes hosted in the bright and sunny Vitality Kitchen. Bianca is out to prove that flavour not need be sacrificed for health and healthful living doesn't need to be extreme or intimidating. She's spreading the message with her tasty, body-loving recipes and an incredible army of food-wise educational tools including a Dress Me Dearly favourite - The Vitality Kitchen podcast (We highly recommend giving a listen to the "Eat for Amazing Energy" episode). 




Was there a moment you knew you were destined to be an entrepreneur?
My dad is an entrepreneur, and I’ve always known that owning your own business can provide you with a lot of freedom. Also, I’ve always been a terrible employee, I’ve hated authority or people telling me what to do, because in my head I’ve always thought, 'I don’t want to be building your dream, I want to be building my own dream.' "

When did nutrition become important to you?
Well, I grew up fat. When I graduated from high school I was 200 pounds. Then I moved to Toronto and lost a lot of weight, but I was calorie counting and you can still fit in a lot of garbage when you are calorie counting. Because of my unhealthy lifestyle my body broke out into a rash covering my entire midsection, so then I was like, 'I’m skinny, but I don’t have the perfect skinny body.' So I knew something had to change. After moving back home to Edmonton and studying at culinary school, I made the decision to finally get healthy and count nutrients not calories.

What is the best thing about building a business from scratch?
You feel totally badass. Especially being a female entrepreneur. It feels great to prove to people you can run your business organically and not take crazy risks. It’s also great to lead your team with a compassionate emotion-based focus, and show that not only does it work - but it works really well.




What is the worst thing about building a business from scratch?
Besides being poor initially, I guess just conveying to people exactly what you are doing. In the beginning of Vitality Kitchen it was difficult to explain to people where exactly I was going with it. So many times I had people suggest that I cater big events that weren't really right for Vitality Kitchen, and these usually went tits up because they weren’t part of the vision I had for myself.

It is also easy to get discouraged from one bad review or hiccup. It’s easy to take criticism from your business as a personal criticism, but overtime and with the help of my business manager, I’ve started to develop a thicker skin.

What advice would you give to those wanting to start a business?
Realize your life is going to change. Things that used to mean nothing to you begin to mean a lot. For example, before starting Vitality Kitchen I didn’t think much of sleep, but now I realize how important it is to keep me strong and healthy.

Also, get your financial house in order. When I started Vitality Kitchen I had zero money saved, but I’ve learned just how important it is to have good credit, be with a good bank and be aware of your budgets. This has been a huge learning curve for me. Faith is really important too. I’ve definitely had moments where I’ve had no money in my bank account, no one seemed to get what I was doing and I was doing so much hard work, but eventually things start to happen. For example, I’ve been doing this for about two and a half years, and just now I am starting to see good livable money coming in consistently.

What does your typical day look like?
Every day is different. Mondays are the longest day, and I’m here at the crack of dawn, but I have a two-hour break during the day at which point I usually try to do some yoga and relax. Running a business can be extremely stressful, so it's important to take time to relax and decompress, or you can get sick – and then not be able to run your business at all. I try to do at least 20 minutes of yoga a day, I love Yoga Glo.

Does your personal style impact your life and business?
It definitely does and I love fashion. It’s how you represent yourself. If I’m out and I look schleppy it can reflect poorly on my business. Typically when I’m in the kitchen I wear active wear, but I try to incorporate more stylish pieces so when I go to and fro I still look good. 

Why did you pick this outfit today?
This is pretty much my summer look. It feels good, and I’m all about comfort. I definitely think you can be stylish and comfortable. There is nothing worse than seeing a girlfriend teeter tottering in an uncomfortable outfit and shoes.

Is there an essential fashion item for a chef?
Basics. Pieces you can move in, bend and lift. Of course as an entrepreneur you need some more professional looking pieces too. 






Bianca is wearing an Icone jersey maxi dress, Chiqle denim vest, raw stone necklace, double-wrap gold bracelet and the Ancient Greece Ring, all from Simons at West Edmonton Mall. Photos by Jillian Schecher. 

May 11, 2015

DMD STYLING: ALBERTA VENTURE "OFFICE ESSENTIALS"


Last month, the Dress Me Dearly team was on set with Alberta Venture to style its May "Office Essentials" fashion spread and chat spring trends. What are we loving? Culottes for women, pineapple prints galore and the classic camel suit for men.

May 3, 2015

HAPPENINGS: MAY 2015


Monday, May 4 / 6 pm / The Beauty Parlour, #201 10011 82 Ave
Head over to the Beauty Parlour to part with your gently used, good condition clothing items and pick up a few gems for yourself! Be sure to get there on time, you only have one hour to set up your items and pick through the treasures. 

Thursday, May 7 / 6 pm / The Bamboo Ballroom, 8206 104 Street
Dress Me Dearly is thrilled to partner with Calgary jewelry designer, Kate Hewko, for a one-night only pop-up! Hewko's signature collections harness powers both mystical and tribal with substantial raw stones left in their natural beauty. Come for a cocktail, and shop Kate's newest collections at 25% off for one-night only!

Thursday, May 7 / 7 pm / Gravitypope, 8222 Gateway Boulevard 
Is this Malorie's best collection yet? It's possible. The Dress Me Dearly team is dying over the Edmonton designer's spring collection, specifically a perfect-hue-blue jacket with faux fur collar (peep photos from its debut on the Toronto Fashion Week runway here). After our Kate Hewko event, take a jaunt down the block to celebrate Malorie's new collection.

Friday, May 8 / 7 pm / Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Support AGA's youth programs while enjoying an evening full of cocktails and auction battles over amazing artworks and art-inspired items, like a "Forbidden Dinner" on the Manulife Place secret terrace, six months of flowers from Artworks and an AGA Behind-the-Scenes Collection Tour! 

Friday, May 8 - Sunday, May 10 / 5 pm / 8426 Gateway Boulevard
Three days and two rooms of Edmonton's best and most unique indie-artists and makers selling handmade goods including jewelry, clothing, sculpture, mix tapes, comic books, edibles and more! Go for the shopping, stay for the hot bearded men selling homemade soap.

ParkShow
Saturday, May 23 / 7 pm / Chinook Centre, 6455 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary
ParkShow is dear to the Dress Me Dearly heart and Alberta's absolute best showcase of emerging fashion talent. Catch collections from some of our favourite Canadian designers including Eliza Faulkner, Suka Clothing, Bano eeMee and Luxx Ready to Wear. 
Sunday, May 24 / 1 PM / Emerge Dance Academy, 10104 121 Street
Reduce, reuse, recycle! Help other fashionistas purge their closets and give their garments a second life by shopping over a thousand pieces of gently used garments and accessories.

Apr 20, 2015

SHOP LOCAL SERIES: KATE HEWKO

I’m thrilled to be partnering with Calgary jewellery designer, Kate Hewko, once again for an exclusive pop-up where we'll shop, sip, schmooze and celebrate Alberta fashion at Edmonton's biggest supporter of Alberta fashion – Bamboo Ballroom. 
Hewko's signature collections harness powers both mystical and tribal with substantial raw stones left in their natural beauty. Janis of Dress Me Dearly will play hostess for the night, sharing style tips and her favourite Kate Hewko picks. 

And just for you Edmonton – you get to shop Kate Hewko's newest collections at 25% off for one-night only!

Join us on May 7th to preview Hewko’s newest designs, shop, sip and schmooze – ain’t no party like a Bamboo Ballroom party!
RSVP HERE > >

Dec 28, 2014

SEE YA 2014!

On December 12 I entered the last year of my 20's and now, here we are on the doorstep of 2015. It's been a big year for me, full of new friends, new clients and mammoth growth for my business. I'm feeling like my direction is becoming much more clear and precise as I'm figuring out exactly which part of this world I'd like to carve out for myself. 

It was a whirlwind year. I've never been one for "five year plans" and my life philosophy up to this point has simply been "say yes to everything". This can make life hectic, but always exciting and full of endless possibilities. The universe has plunked me down right where I ought to be.

I thought I'd share a little snapshot of the past year:




1, 2, 3 /
I traveled. A lot. A solo trip to Indonesia was by far the highlight (Turns out I love traveling alone, who woulda thought?), a romantic getaway to Palm Springs, my first Toronto Fashion Week with fashion bestie Caroline, and a weekend gallivanting and giggling in Jasper with Anya. More global adventures await me in 2015. 


4 /  I joined StartUp Edmonton, the co-working space that saved me from going completely bonkers working from my couch. I found an incredible community at StartUp and an environment which has provided undeniable momentum behind my brand.

5 / I worked with a lot of great non-profits this year including Calgary-based PARK to help bring its first major fashion event to Edmonton in support of Alberta designers. 


6 / I welcomed Deema, the first ever Dress Me Dearly Intern to the team, a program I'm excited to continue in 2015. Stay tuned to meet the new fleet...

7 /  I joined forces with Golden West Music Fest, an indie, outdoor music festival that had me frolicking under the sun and stars in absolute glee this past summer. I'll be working hard with them to bring you the best fest yet in 2015. Get ready to melt your face off.

8 / Poppy Barley held an intimate gathering of Edmonton's most kick ass female entrepreneurs called The Founders Assembly in partnership with Bloom. This was monumental for me. To be included in a group of entrepreneurial women I hold in very high regard was a significant indicator I'm on the right path. Mega thanks to Poppy Barley for letting me be the poster girl for this event. Beyond honoured. 

9 / I hired my best friend. Andrea and I have been partners in crime since we were five years old. She is the smartest woman I know and hugely influential in the success of Dress Me Dearly. She's going to keep me in check in 2015 as my Project Coordinator and Creative Assistant. 

10 / I attended/coordinated/hosted a lot of parties and gained some really awesome new clients. Mega thanks to FLARE Magazine, French Connection, Doc Martens, Oak + Fort, DKNY, Latitude 53, Edmonton City Centre, Kingsway Mall, Kate Hewko, American Apparel, Simons, Flatter Me Belts, Vitamin Daily Edmonton, the list goes on. 

11 / I was in the media – a lot. In November alone I hosted six media segments on behalf of clients and organizations I volunteer with. For the second year in a row I was voted Edmonton's Best Fashion Blog in Vue Weekly (whoop whoop, thanks!). I showed up in some cool fashion stories in local publications. I had my first piece published in the Edmonton Journal about Edmonton designer Malorie Urbanovitch. Great thanks to Global, CBC, CTV and Breakfast Television for letting me gab fashion on your air waves.

12 / I announced a rad partnership with Simons as its first ever Simons Fashion Ambassador. This has been an incredible collaboration, and I'm excited about the momentum we've created with the SIMONSxDMD campaign. Stay tuned for more fashion fun in the new year. 

Dec 20, 2014

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM SIMONSxDMD



Happy Holidays from Simons and Dress Me Dearly! I hope your holiday season is full of rest, love, festive fashion and a dash of shenanigans. Thanks for all the love this year, I can't wait to share more exciting fashion projects with you in 2015.

Looking for more holiday outfit inspo? I shared my favourite holiday looks from Simons on Breakfast Television Edmonton last week and you can watch it here!>

Outfit: Top, Skirt, Earrings, Hairband from Simons. Shoes, Spring.
Photos by Mrs. Schecher