Soulful Sunday | Speaker, Kyla Kazeil Tells All

Kyla Kazeil tells all: from entrepreneur life as a new mom to the steps she takes to upkeep her mental health.

Written by: Jamie Bay, The Wellness Warrior, @JMEBAY

I always love getting the chance to sit down (and indulge in wine) with Kyla Kazeil. She is a true rockstar and always chooses to courageously speak her truth. Kyla co-owns 4 local Edmonton businesses, yes, 5, The Bamboo Ballroom, The Common, 99ten, and Grandin Fish & Chips. Oh, and did I mention she also has a 3 month old baby named Stevie? Girl, you're killin' it.

I hope you enjoy Kyla’s genuine answers about her hustle and mental health as much as I did! I'm so excited to have her speak at our upcoming #SoulfulSundayYEG event in just a couple weeks.

Tell us about your hustle.

The hustle has definitely changed for me. It's now more focused on working to empower the people and employees who surround me. So I’d say it’s shifted from focusing on my products and services to community building and creating a better work environment for our employees.

Have you always been an entrepreneur?

When I was 15, my friend and I stole her dad’s truck. My mom punished me by making me count plastic spoons. So my whole summer was spent counting spoons…. for 5 cents a bag. Yes, 5 cents. At first I was like ok, this really sucks, but by the end I was trying to find ways to count these spoons in the most efficient way possible. If I’m going to do it, I want to do it well and find ways to enjoy the pleasure of lining them up perfectly when I slip them into the bag. I learned how to streamline the process to make the most amount of money doing a job that I hated. I feel that was the beginning of my entrepreneurial spirit: finding creative ways to do things, making it fun, and challenging yourself, even when it sucks.

As a new mom and entrepreneur, how do you make it all work?


Right now, I’m relying heavily on my team and putting a lot of trust into them. I’ve spent 14 years building up the people around me, and now I’m able to reap the benefits of that.  I’ve really taken a step back so I can enjoy the small things and time with my baby that I’m never going to get back. I don’t want to live with any regrets. Being able to let go of that control has really helped me and is so good for my mental health.  I do still help with wedding planning and things I really enjoy with the businesses. I'm so happy that I've established this trust with the people around me so I can just spend time doing the things I love.

Have you ever struggled with your own mental health?

Anxiety for sure. I had full blown panic disorders in my early 20’s: 6 to 8 a day, which were triggered essentially by the fear of having another attack. I didn’t want to take medication, so I started trying to change my patterns and habits to avoid triggering them. I learned more about myself and how to change situations that I knew would set me off. I would also make sure I was keeping busy at night (nights were the hardest), and had lots of people around me. All those things really helped.

I feel my anxiety started to decrease the more busy I became and the less I could hyper focus on certain things. Maybe I wouldn’t even have four businesses if I didn’t have anxiety. It was definitely a coping mechanism at one point. I would keep busy until I was so tired I'd have to go to sleep, and not focus on my mind. I’m still always on the go (in different ways). But it’s just who I am so I embrace it.

Then as I got older it sort of just started resolving itself. I found as I started to tailor my life to suit the needs of my mental health that my anxiety decreased because there’s less unknowns and I have more control. With anxiety, dealing with uncertainties in life was something I struggled with for a long time. I still struggle now, but I’m much better at controlling the situation.

What do you keep your mental wellness in check?

I just started going back to the gym, post baby. We go 5 days a week. We bring our daughter and she just hangs out and we get to spend that time together, doing something that’s good for our bodies, and good for our relationship. When your body is more strong, your mind is more strong, and you sleep better.

AND time with friends. Constant, solid connections with the real people who love you.

We're so excited to have you at our very first #SoulfulSundayYEG event. What's favorite thing to do on Sundays?

Sleeping in, going for brunch and having fun with friends. It hasn’t changed since having a baby. I think I had that fear about motherhood. That it was going to tie me down and I wouldn’t like it.  For me, I want to be able to go where we want to go! So we do. If we want to go for brunch, we take Stevie, and if I want to go for girls night, Stevie comes along; I want her to be around the people that are important to me and be well socialized. That's all that really matters and what's truly important in life: the relationships we have with each other. I want her to make real connections with real people, despite living in a social media focused world.

What does being a wellness warrior mean to you?

Now that I have my mental health pretty well under control, I think it means helping other people to not have to live in a situation that would cause anxiety. That means helping my employees by doing things like creating a stable work environment, and having a place where they know they’re respected.

Being a wellness warrior also means advocating for others and changing the retail industry so that those people don’t have to have an exit. Not being able to talk to your manager, feeling like you aren’t being treated fairly, not being able to schedule time off, or not being rewarded for the same job someone else would do - all those things are anxiety inducing. So I think making those changes to establish a place where people can be themselves and have a fun work environment is so important. Life isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. A lot of the time’s it’s hard because of the situations we’re in, and a lot of times that unfortunately has to do with our employment. So I believe being a warrior means making a difference for my staff where I can.  

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