Victoria Spataro and Brittany McBride-Catling wanted to take their business, Shiny Soul Creations, to the next level so they enrolled in the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre’s (HBEC) Further Faster 13-week program. Through the program, they gained many valuable tools to help start, grow and scale their businesses.
HBEC selected nine finalists from the program to pitch for a $10,000 cash prize recently and Shiny Soul Creations came away with the winning pitch.
Who runs Shiny Soul Creations? Victoria, 27: I hold a Bachelor of Psychology and Sociology degree, a Bachelor of Education and just recently acquired a master’s of Counselling Psychology.
Brittany, 29: I hold a Bachelor of History and Psychology as well as a Bachelor of Education degree.
We’re about as opposite as they come, but as business partners we’re the yin to the other’s yang. Our differences bring a balance and unique diversity to our brand that we’re both grateful for.
Tell us a bit about your business. Shiny Soul Creations was founded in 2017. The true essence behind our brand is that we don’t just sell a product. We sell a feeling, a connection, a change in mindset through the physicality of gemstone jewellery.
How did you come up with the idea for your company? Victoria: A few years ago, Brittany’s dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. Through her journey of grieving, she began doing a lot of inner-work to help heal her heart. It was around this time that we formed a friendship at teacher’s college where we shared a mutual love and connection to gemstones. We discovered Ocean Jasper, a stone for grieving that emulated properties of comfort and support. The intention was to make a bracelet for each person in Brittany’s family who was feeling the depths of their loss.
Months later, our hearts were full knowing that Brittany’s family was still wearing their creations as a reminder of their strength and the support that surrounded them. After this, we both began creating and wearing various gemstone bracelets. As we continued to gift these creations to people around us needing a reminder to love deeper, find their purpose, or to feel uplifted, we began to receive messages from people asking us to create a special bracelet sealed with a specific intention. Organically, we thought we’d create a little name for ourselves, which began our journey together as Shiny Soul Creations.
Tell us a bit about The Compassion Project. Shiny Soul Creations first began by gifting bracelets that held meaning to people close to us who needed a little extra love and support. This still remains close to both of our hearts and so we created the Compassion Project to mirror why and how we began our journey together.
We’ve created a space on our website for people to recommend someone who is going through a tough time or who simply needs a little extra love to get them through their day.
The rest is up to us and we do our very best to do something extra special for them. We started Shiny Soul Creations from a place of compassion and hope to spread the same values into all future growth of our business.
Where are you located? We are located in Barrie. You can find us at our retail location located inside of Studio B Yoga (431 Bayview Drive), online, or a variety of retail locations across the city.
How did you prepare for your pitch? A lot of coffee! Preparing for our pitch in less than two weeks was a little bit of a whirlwind. Our biggest sources of inspiration came from our HBEC mentors, Don, Chris and Rob. They encouraged us to channel the very essence of our business in every slide – from the purpose of our business, right down to the financials and competition. We also met with our business consultant, Steph Grimbly, to really tune into the message we were hoping to convey throughout our presentation. From here, practise, practise, practise. We spent hours together rehearsing, shortening a 10-minute presentation to five minutes (we realized how emotionally attached we were to each part, so this part was really challenging). When we weren’t together, we were on the phone practising more.
What does winning $10,000 mean for your business? What are your next steps? We are forever grateful to have been gifted the winnings of the pitch competition. We plan to create touching videos that will shed light on who we are as a brand and how our jewellery can impact lives. We will also allocate a percentage of the earnings to various ad spends in order to increase brand awareness, and any remaining income to launch our Shiny Ambassador program.
What’s the Shiny Ambassador program? We’re so excited to launch our Shiny Ambassador Program! Essentially, we’ll be selecting 10 individuals across Canada who represent the core values of our brand. These ambassadors will have access to a network of learning, new products and help us spread brand awareness.
What were your main takeaways from HBEC’s Further Faster program? The Further Faster program really helped us get clear on the core essence of our business. It gave us confidence to really own our status as young, female entrepreneurs. It also opened our eyes to the incredible support and resources available through the centre. The HBEC team is truly a family, inspiring all entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and guiding them toward those dreams every step of the way.
Would you recommend other businesses take advantage of the program? 100%. The structure of the 13-week program is not only beneficial for businesses that have been in market like ourselves, but also for individuals who have only just planted a seed for a business that they want to bring to fruition. All of the knowledge and wisdom embedded into this program is a valuable asset any entrepreneur could benefit from.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as you’ve grown your business? Create a strong brand. And then everything you do after that needs to be reflective of the brand you created.
What advice would you give to someone considering starting their own business? Although starting a business can be scary, if you believe in your vision and work incredibly hard to bring that to fruition, trusting in the process will get you closer to where you want to be. Our hope is that whatever you choose to do, you find true happiness and fulfillment in it because at the end of the day your customers will feel how much heart has gone into your business and in our opinion, and for us, that’s the key to a successful business.
Anything else you want to add? There’s no one quite like the team and the family at HBEC. The passion, love and inspiration that each team member at the centre embodies is a true source of inspiration to all and we’re so grateful for the opportunities they continue to present and share with us.
If you’re interested in taking your business further, faster, the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre can help. They assist entrepreneurs in four main areas: training, connections, funding and mentorship, bringing all areas together to surround an entrepreneur and help take their business or idea to the next level.