My name is Betenas Abebayehu or Betty (emphasis on the “tts” because that’s the way Africans say it. I’m an Ethio-Canadian young woman who’s a curator, creative director, an upcoming and still learning makeup artists as well as a spoken word poet.

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Photo by GH PHOTOGRAPHY

1. What is your business & why that field / service/ product?

ArtforHerSole YEG is a collective I started as a collaboration of art fashion and solidarity with Black Femmes and creating a safe space for coloured femmes.  However I decided to encompass the entirety of the artistic community by rebranding and presenting the collective as more of a platform showcasing the work of Black Femme creatives while also again presenting a safe space for other coloured femmes. Why not present a platform for all artistic coloured women you may ask? Well I feel as if the Black Woman’s struggle and pain identifies a bit differently and no one really discusses the inter-minority discrimination we face alongside dealing with the system on it’s own. Our storytelling maybe similar but it is unique and has its own different roots.

2. What inspired you to start your own business?

Starting my own business as a Black Femme in this society as well as in the art world allows room for teaching in my own way while also meshing with other artistic collectives who share some similarities. That way independence is established and my voice/story is not distorted by another’s vision. Don’t get me wrong I welcome all perspectives but the respect of my own vision is present when I have something to call my own where I can establish and control, authenticity, autonomy and transparency within my brand. Alongside that I feel like growing up I didn’t have many black women to look up to especially as someone who had always had a knack for social justice and art. I hope this platform can be a learning experience for the viewers and a means of inspiration to do what you are capable and love doing to the best of your abilities.

3. Do you have a go to quote / motto?

My motto is actually a quote from a dear friend of mine: “look into your inner child to reach success”.

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Art Credit: @indahbynatalie

4. What’s a personal goal of yours to accomplish?

I do wish to one day be in front of thousands of young melanin women where I can share my story and if I can’t reach to all of their hearts and ears I hope to at least change the life of one black girl who can recognize my work and tell herself “I can be like her”

5. Do you have a professional goal or set of goals for your business?

I am currently looking at building a website where I showcase the many melanin/coloured women I have interviewed and build I guess a sort of HUB for artistic/creative femmes who can in turn give advice to those who want to do the things they’re doing. Also it doesn’t stop there I hope to collaborate with the many different artistic collectives locally and eventually nationally and internationally to build this HUGE webbed network space. I’ve been currently working on side creative projects here and there and seeing how they mesh well with my collective.

6. Why do you love being an entrepreneur?

I think being an entrepreneur is in itself art. You are a creative with your ideals and projects and in your own way painting your story in your communities, audiences, relationships. It’s quite beautiful

7. Did you ever have a time where you wanted to give up? How did you overcome that feeling?

I tell you everyday is a battlefield of conversation with my own self. Every single day it’s a battle with my own self doubt and moments of downplaying my capabilities. It is never ending until I guess I stop breathing. I always feel like I could be doing more that I’m not doing enough and it’s so hard. My personal life sometimes conflicts with my creative mind and being an emotional and intuitive personal it’s just a struggle juggling it all and managing to stay sane. I’ve had breakdown..heck I still do lol but I always see other people making it and tell myself tomorrow will be better, tomorrow is a new beginning and as cliche as it sounds I’m here today telling this to you because of that mini pep talk.

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8. What’s your best boss babe moment?

I think my first Boss Babe moment was when I planned this artistic photoshoot for a whole three months and there was so many moments of frustration and panic putting this together. Because I created the shoot as floral themed the weather also had to be on my side. My friend Kelsey (also my photographer) was also a great help in this so shoutout to you girl. The day of my birthday (May 4th) was when it happened and let me tell you before the shoot it was a gong show. I was planning a birthday dinner and making sure my friends (models) got their makeup and props done on time and made sure my two friends who were helping with hair and makeup (shoutout to Ejiro and Thomas) got started on the girls I wasn’t working on and at the same time restaurants were a bother and some of the girls did not show for x y z reasons. then it happened. Everyone was prepped and ready and I started directing the shoot. I felt I was alive in that moment and that was where I need to be and well Lordt was it ever a success. Let me tell you being a creative director is not easy at all but damn I pulled through and still managed to book a bomb ass restaurant for the evening (shoutout to Joeys).

9. What platform do you find most success / interaction from? (IE. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook).

I feel Instagram is the way to go. Instagram is a growing platform and people are just now stepping away from Snapchat (Facebook has been history) and I think it’s a great and creative way to get your work out there

10. Work-life Balance: What you do you do to destress? What is your must-have moment of the day?

Lord listen sistas SLEEEEP is your best friend, your lover, your husband, and your family. Don’t be playing with that sleep. There’s nothing more that calms me than getting my full 8 hours not even music (although it does come as a close second).

11. What are you looking to learn from other YEGBOSSBABES in the community?

Other YEGBOSSBABES I want to hear more about you and your journey to where you are. And OF COURSE let’s sip some tea and collaborate. Let’s help each other and let’s build up that girl power.

Interested in being featured? Contact us at yegbossbabes@gmail.com

Tipsy Tuesday is brought to you by Monika Social – a presenter at our upcoming Marketing Workshop [SOLD OUT – WAIT LIST OPEN]. Thank you Monika for sharing your feedback so far on the new Instagram TV app! View this video below for quick tips and tricks she has found using this new app & ideas on how to get started and ideas for content you may want to share. We know Monika will be sharing more about Instagram TV on her platform and hopefully with us again soon on Tipsy Tuesday! We hope to hear from you about your Instagram TV experience so far on our social media platforms and on our NEW Facebook GROUP!

Our Facebook Group is accepting new members now! We are happy to have a place for fellow YEGBOSSBABES come together, learn about eachother and from one another, provide and receive support from one another and connect with fellow female entrepreneurs in the Edmonton area. Please our Facebook group as an opportunity to share your goals, struggles, ideas, collaboration requests, and more with other YEGBOSSBABES. Just watch the magic happen when you contribute to conversations with other YEGBOSSBABES, meet new connections across different industries or within your own! We encourage support, tip sharing, promoting, and #realtalk

Courtesy of Monika Social
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Courtesy of Sara Jewell Photography

My name is Emilie and I am a portrait photographer based in Edmonton. I have been a photographer for 9 years now… wow time flies! I started as a wedding photographer but I am now only doing portraits, and especially women portraiture.

I have created this photo series called “The Truth in You” where I photograph women who want to celebrate themselves, despise what the society tells them to do or be and away from the beauty standards which are too restrictive. The society currently classifies women regarding their role (you are a mother, you are a wife, you are a daughter…) but women should not be defined by those roles only. You should be able to give yourself a photo session just because you want to celebrate YOU, without waiting to get married, become a mom or getting a promotion. Society teaches girls to be quiet, to follow the rules it has decided for them. Women are not allowed to be single, divorced, and with no kids without being judged EVERY DAY. And I don’t even start with the struggles the women of colour have to face, and also the LGBTQIA community. It takes every human to change the standards but we will get there one step at a time.

I started my own business 9 years ago when I quit my job as a corporate lawyer. As much as I loved my studies, I hated the job and could not see myself being a lawyer my entire life. So I had an opportunity to start my own business and I did it. I never looked back!

I must say being my own boss and having my own business has been eye opening for me. I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur (everyone in my family is a teacher) but I learned along the way, and I love being an entrepreneur now. I love meeting new people all the time, I love having a flexible schedule, I love being my own boss and making the decisions about my business. I am totally in charge of how I do my business and it has been life changing.

One of my professional goals is to open my own studio one day. To have my own space where I could work with other creatives. It’s a big goal for me because I have a very specific idea of what I want (design of the space, the size, the light, etc.) and it’s not something that I can just “rent”. I would need to think of every detail, design the space and maybe even build it myself… well hire someone to build what I want!

Being a small business owner is not always easy though. And I wanted to give up many times! I almost got a 9-5 job a few years ago when I moved to Edmonton and I had to start over here. Long short story about me: I was born and raised in Reunion Island, a French island located in the Indian Ocean nead Madagascar and I moved to Canada in 2011. I lived in Quebec for 5 years before moving to Edmonton in 2016. Nobody knew me in Edmonton and I had t start my photography business from zero. This is when I wanted to give up. But I did not and now my business is doing very well.

One of my mentors, Seth Godin, wrote this and it just sticks with me now: We fail when we give up too soon. Sometimes, well often, the moment we want to give up is actually the moment we need to push forward.

I remember the first time someone in Edmonton came to me at an event and asked me if I was Emilie Iggiotti, and I said yes, and they complimented me on my work and told me they love my work. That’s when I told myself: Okay this is good, people know who you are now, it’s getting there.

Also, because I use Instagram a lot, lots of people “know” me from this platform. Which is very cool! I found that Instagram completely changed the way we interact with each other. I feel like I have a community of people who know me and who I know even if we never really met in real life. And when we meet in real life, we feel like we know each other. It’s the same for my clients. They feel like they know me already and it creates a feeling of trust even before the photo session. And because I work a lot and I spend a lot of time on Instagram, my favourite thing to do when I am not working is going to a coffee shop with a book and just chill. But it’s very hard to do for me. My brain is always working and even when I am supposed to read and chill, I think of a million different ideas for a photo session or for my business. I found that boxing really helps me to disconnect. So I do that a lot!

I love the community of small business owners in Edmonton. We are all very supportive of each other. I try to attend lots of markets or special events and support local businesses. I try to also shop local as much as I can. I met a lot of amazing inspiring women in Edmonton. The way they conduct their business helps me being a better business person. I am always looking for inspiration from other businesses. So I would say I am just looking for that. And it’s a big thing for me. I don’t think we can have a business and not be inspired. We need inspiration every day… inspiration to keep going, to get better, to evolve, to improve our products, our services. Without inspiration, we are not going anywhere. So, cheers to being inspired by other YEGBOSSBABES!

Emilie Iggiotti