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Fresh: Women in Business
Written by Fresh Vancouver   

The Esthetics Innovator

Tammy Dupuis founded Sugar'd Eco-Sweet Hair Removal in 2007. Her goal was to provide a safe waxing alternative for men and women using an all-natural sugar paste. From eyebrows to ankles, the sugar paste, or 'halawa' as it is known in Egypt, is set to change the standards of the hair removal industry. "Unlike other methods, our sugar paste is warm, never hot," says Tammy. "It has quickly gained a reputation as the kindest hair removal product around." The formula, based on sugar, lemon and water, is said to be so natural you could eat it. Sugar'd now has two locations in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

Tammy Pupuis

The Menopause Chick

Introducing yourself as a "peri-menopause chick" might not seem like a usual cocktail party conversation starter, but Shirley Weir set out to crack open the conversation about menopause with an informational and supportive website called Menopause Chicks. "We interview experts, curate the best of the best info, help you save time--and sanity!" says Shirley, "and help find what you need to make the choices that are best for you." Focused on women between the ages of 35 and 60, the site is for women who are noticing changes, overwhelmed by the endless information about hormone replacements, hot flashes, brain fog, and more, and going through menopause without the support they need.

Shirley Weir

The Bling Maven

Marcia Duncan began an innovative shopping concept when she took over the boutique-style jewellery and accessories line six years ago. Bringing together e-commerce, social media and personal service, she set out to find a "human touch" within the e-commerce world. "The number one key to our success is customer service," Marcia says. "We live in a different world and human interaction is important." Shine Jewels offers online virtual parties for their customers to shop through Facebook. Collections are carefully curated by their Shine Stylists for current trends, unique styles and pieces to complement any outfit with nothing over $40.

Marcia Duncan

The Wedding Planner

Before starting her own business, Sharon Kawano graduated from UBC and worked as a realtor. But she quickly realized her passion for staging homes, rather than showing and selling them. Shortly after, she moved into the wedding industry, first with modest centerpieces, then incorporating linen and décor. Eventually, she was involved in the wedding process from start to finish. "Running my business through the eyes of a consumer is a standard I hold myself to and respect deeply," Sharon says. "With that philosophy and extra-special attention to details, I was able to grow my business." She quickly established a reputation within local wedding circuits as one of the most sought after decorators in the industry.

Sharon Kawano

The Makeup Artist

Julie Brown was drawn to makeup artistry and fashion at a very young age. She has now parlayed this lifelong hobby and passion into a career that spans from bridal to TV and film. She is a graduate, and now instructor, at the world-renowned school, Blanche Macdonald. She is also a graduate of the Ash Kumar Beauty Academy, which specializes in South Asian bridal makeup and hair. This year, she was honoured with the Wedding Wire's 2013 Bride's Choice Award. "I love helping women bring out their true beauty potential and giving tips and sharing what works, and what products to avoid," Julie says. "Providing professional service while making you look your best is truly the ultimate reward."

Julie Brown

The Photographer

When Katrina Stewart started her own business after graduating from photography school in 1996, she had no idea where it would take her. Today as a professional photographer at Kalem Photography, she focuses on family portraits, working alongside her husband, Eric. "Looking back at old negatives—pre-digital!—I can see how much my work has grown and how I've changed," Katrina says, "from someone who hid behind her camera to someone who uses the camera as a way to capture the beauty in the world, especially the joy of children." Honoured every time she is invited by a family to share special moments with them, her goal is to help people create a collection of images documenting the changes and milestones in their family lives.

Katrina Stewart

The Fashion Designer

Yvonne Hogenes leads Malary's Fashion Network, Tab Custom-Fitted Bras and Firma Energywear. Sixteen years ago, Yvonne opened the doors to Malary's Fashion Network in Surrey and keeps a a finger on the pulse of current and upcoming fashion trends, offering a venue for local Canadian designers to be introduced to the public alongside quality European designers. She researched, designed and manufactured Tab Custom-Fitted Bras after recognizing a void in the market. Following the line's success, Yvonne founded Firma Energywear, a unique line of shapewear that uses smart yarn technology embedded with bio-active crystals for multiple health benefits including improved circulation, pain relief and cellulite reduction. "Entrepreneurship comes to me naturally. All of us can dream in our heads, but you need to risk letting it come alive," Yvonne says. "It is a very rewarding feeling to take something you have always dreamed of and make it happen."

Yvonne Hogenes

The Cosmetics Mogul

With over 16 years of experience in the hair and beauty industry, Sandra Milligan is the creative force behind boxx cosmetics, a Canadian-made and operated cosmetics company. "boxx cosmetics arose from identifying the need for high quality, practicality, innovation and affordability—a line of stylish cosmetics designed to be simple to use, carry and replace," Sandra says. She has also operated HITEC hair design, a boutique hair and beauty salon in Toronto, since 2004, and is a regular expert source to magazines, major beauty conventions and trade shows. With a focus on simple solutions with a lasting impression, each product in the boxx cosmetics collection is created with innovative packaging concepts such as combining cream and powder cosmetics into one custom compact for ultimate ease of use and a simplified beauty routine.

Sandra Milligan

The Spa Savant

When Cindy Charles joined the team at South Surrey's Saunte Medical Laser Spa in 2010, she immediately saw potential to grow. With a passion for helping clients look and feel better about themselves, and giving them all the options to do just that, she led the clinic's expansion into a one-stop-shop for wellness and beauty. "Personally I don't like going to various places to have things done," Cindy says. "The concept of one roof becomes more personal and saves a lot of time. And we can give a better quality service, with second opinions or insight from doctors and other professionals just down the hall." She now oversees the entire clinic, including staff, retail and promotions. Under her leadership alongside Dr Jeff Rostvig, Saunte was voted Best Laser Spa in 2012 and continues to offer new and innovative treatments while staying actively involved in the community and leading support for local charities.

Cindy Charles

The Online Editor

Tiffany Auvinen is the founder and co-owner of As a wife of a doctor and a marketing communications specialist, she offers relationship and investment advice, as well as health, beauty and travel information. The website was launched in May 2012 after Tiffany had a conversation with long-time friend Sally Walton and discovered a keen sense of wanting to lead a business using her creativity and strengths in networking. She started the online business from her living room while completing a Master's in Professional Communication and caring for her family. "I believe that if you want to build your own business, you need to be proactive and be willing to take risks," Tiffany says. now has over 90,000 visitors each month and has been named Best Multi-Author Blog in Canada. She is now developing a handbook for entertaining and a weight loss program, both of which will be sold online in 2014.

Tiffany Auvinen

The Naturopath

Practicing with a great passion for naturopathic medicine, Dr Allana Polo truly believes that we all have the ability to heal and achieve balance in our lives. "My goal is to empower, inspire and motivate my patients to achieve their highest level of wellness," she says. After receiving her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Dr Polo continued specialized training in intravenous vitamin and mineral therapy, Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and mesotherapy for facial rejuvenation and cellulite reduction. She also is a certified practitioner in the "Pound a Day" medically-supervised weight loss program. Dr Polo is a member of the BC Naturopathic Association, Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine and the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine.

Dr Allana Polo

The Serial Entrepreneur

Charlene SanJenko is a serial entrepreneur and owner of PowHerhouse Performance Strategies. As a thought leader building strong female leaders, or "HIP" (high-impact performance) women, through lifestyle and leadership events, communication and performance coaching, she believes in the intrinsic link between physical and emotional fitness, leadership and excellence. "The stronger we are in our bodies, the stronger and more confident we are in our lives - fully alive, engaged, and ready for and attracting opportunities," Charlene says. "The opportunities we long for are all around us just waiting for a place to land when we're ready." PowHERhouse kicks off with an official launch party in October.

Charlene SanJenko

The Wellness Expert

Christine Barrie's journey toward optimum, empowered wellness began when, at age 16, the doctor informed her that she would never have a normal immune system. Believing that her body was designed to sustain full health, she sought ways to support the amazing body-mind she was given. In 2007, Christine discovered success with BodyTalk as a natural health care system designed to heal and balance the whole body, mind and spirit. The safety and effectiveness of this client-centered modality inspired her to establish BCBodyTalk for the purpose of sharing this wellness opportunity with others locally and around the world. As an Advanced Practitioner and Instructor, certified by the International BodyTalk Association, Christine facilitates classes and private sessions worldwide. "When your body 'talks' through symptoms like pain, swelling, disease, emotional distress, or confusion, how do you listen?" Christine says. "Your body knows how to heal itself; it just needs to be heard and then reminded how."

Christine Barrie

The Beauty Queen

Catherine Lalonde is the driving passion behind Feel Fabulous Mobile Spa Inc. "I've been interested in beauty as far back as I can remember," Catherine says. "I used to whip up a myriad of beauty concoctions in the kitchen." This fascination with organics and beauty only grew with age, fueling her to desire to pursue a career in esthetics. After years of working in some of Vancouver's best spas, she created a company catering to kid and teen mobile spa birthday parties. With a spa party menu consisting of mini manicures and pedicures, organic facials, hairstyling, light makeup and homemade beauty product-making activities, Feel Fabulous takes pampering to a whole new level, making any little girl's birthday party an event to remember.
Catherine Lalonde

The Coiffeur

Karen Cole founded 1 Track-Mind Hair with a life-long passion for changing her own hair style. "I would and still feel like a completely different woman after a day at the salon," she says. Combined with another dream of having her own business, in 2011 she decided to bring the world of hair extensions to women across Canada. Catering to women in all walks of life, the Indian human hair extensions are available in multiple styles such as weaves, clip-in extensions and bangs which look as natural as if they were your own.

Karen Cole

The Interior Designer

At Tammy Sagar Design Group, Tammy and her staff have a passion for making a space both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Working closely with their clients to bring ideas to life, they are committed to ensuring their clients feel good about the design for their home. "We work with a qualified contractor to take your project from start to finish," says Tammy. "Plus, clients are able to see their kitchen come to life through the 3D design program we use." TSDG offers full-service design with a focus on kitchens and baths. Their expertise assists in choosing counters, tile, backsplashes, sinks, faucets, and more. Tammy served on her local chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association for six years.

Tammy Sagar