Thursday, 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. 

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