uncorked with brewed awakening

I am very fortunate to be the Uncorked host for WESK in Regina this year. Connecting and telling the stories of some amazing women entrepreneurs is such an inspiration.

This month was no exception.

Lisa MacMurchy has owned Brewed Awakening for the last ten years!! That is a worthy milestone in itself, and the fact she has grown the business to 5 thriving locations is an incredible accomplishment.

We could end the story right there, and that would be inspiring enough. But as always, the more to the story is where some of the really good stuff lies.

Local Market was the perfect location, with wood floors exposed brick walls. We nestled in – 6ft apart and with masks as Lisa explained that all she wanted to do was have friends over for coffee!

You can still see the interview on the WESK Facebook page, but being there, I could feel the warmth of her remarks and her often heart-fueled emotional words that I swear could be felt through the floorboards.

At one point we talked about how difficult it can be to be a Mom and an entrepreneur. Lisa is a Mom of four!  I think it is a topic we don’t discuss enough. Lisa spoke of the struggle to “be enough” at work and “enough” at home. That she still carries a lot of guilt around missed events and times together.

We also talked about what she believes her now-adult children learned from growing up in an entrepreneurial home. Those answers came quickly: the value of hard work, to take nothing for granted, and to live the meaning of perseverance. Valuable lessons!

For all of the women entrepreneurs out there who feel the Mom guilt struggle, know that you are not alone and reach out to another women entrepreneur who is going through it or has gone through it. Because no matter what stage you are at with your business and your family, you are always enough!

Lisa’s energy was infectious, and she was quick to refer the success of Brewed to her team and her friends, who were there to cheer her on. She sees her employees like family, and they clearly feel the same way. Laughter and pride flowed easily between them, which is likely why, unlike many restaurants, they are not having a hard time finding or keeping staff!

What’s next for Brewed? Well, she left us perched on the edge of suspense because something is definitely brewing, and the announcement will be coming soon. “It will be a first for Regina,” said Lisa!

Brewed Awakening has given us a place to gather, a place to create community, and a place where kind words are shared. I can’t think of anything our world needs more!

Join us next month when we explore the story of Good Spirit Kombucha with owners Colleen Cretin and Taylor Chapman. I bet it is going to be a fizzy good tale! 🙂

See you then,


Futureproof feature: Cristel, Kendi boutique

It’s time to honour the graduates of the Story School’s FutureProof Retail Program and tell their stories.

First up is Kendi Boutique, located at 1846 Hamilton St. and @kendiboutique on Instagram. If you have never been there – go right now!  

What impressed Lisa Hutcheson, my co-facilitator and I, is how owner Cristel owns her unique value proposition.

Every clothing line that Cristel carries she has an exclusive on it. Meaning that everything you see in Cristel’s store you won’t find in any other store in our marketplace in Saskatchewan.

The freshness of that commitment is something we rarely see in retail.

Her trademark design, savvy is also unmistakeable.

Check out her feed and you can see how she weaves the philosophy of her brand through everything she does. A big part of that brand is how she kindly cares for everyone she encounters.

She believes strongly that a few good pieces can go a long way. Mixing and matching and freeing our closets of fast fashion is not only a good ethical decision; it also reduces the overwhelm of closet fatigue.

As we start to move towards a new way to work and venture back to the office, Cristel has noticed “that people are unsure of what to wear and have lost their confidence in how to dress for in-person work and events.” Watch for her solution as she produces videos to show us the art of mix and match and how stretching a few good pieces can bring back your own savvy swagger. You can do this personally with her, virtually, or in person and she can even show you how to mix and match with pieces you already own.

Kendi Boutique opened just prior to the pandemic so like many retailers this has been a hard time. Cristel quickly adapted, building her social following and sales through social media.

Cristel was integral to our FutureProof course, always open minded to thinking differently. Part of the program includes a virtual tour of the space to offer advice on merchandising. From the first pan of the beautiful windows, it was a treat for the eyes. 

Cristel has brought something new to Regina and we love the business she is building. We think you will too!

Are we truly in this together?

“Women across the globe have been disproportionately affected by the Pandemic, representing 70% of all job losses. In addition, 56% of women workers held occupations in the 5C’s category: caring, cashiering, catering, cleaning and clerical functions. Many of these positions are essential workers, which means more women than men have had to risk their health and safety for the overall good of our community.”

Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen

This is a quote from the CEO of the Regina YWCA at this years Women of Distinction awards.

Once you see it, or hear it, you can’t un-see it, or un-hear it! This is not an untold story, but it is not a fully told story! It felt staggering to me.

We are clearly not in this together!!

I am a woman entrepreneur and I too would like to be called an “entrepreneur” with no identifier, but this is an example of how far away we are from equity in the workforce, on boards and in the 5 C’s.

Sometimes I grow weary – equity and injustice weary!

But weariness has never stopped women.

And so we carry on, finding opportunities to make change. Women and men together until we are truly in “this” together!

Do Something Unscalable

What can you do for one of your customers that is completely unscalable? I know the buzzword right now is scalable, not unscalable, but stick with me for a minute.

Think of the one gesture, which immediately has you and your team saying “Well, we can’t do that for everyone!”

Think show stopping, I can’t believe it, outrageous, kind, thoughtful, out-of-the-box, hilarious, unexpected, empathic, differentiating, unforgettable, and purpose driven.

What can you package up, send over, create, do (covid friendly mariachi band serenades are on the table here) to delight and surprise (in a good way) your customer.

Yup, it is so outrageous you can’t do it every day, that is the beauty of it!

I am convinced this unscalable action will become a scalable story.

I am sending one out the door today…I wonder where it will land 🙂

I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

Kind Acts, the value of Constraints and the Art of Propelling Questions

I have a beautiful, big, journal that I bought at the most amazing store called Paper Umbrella.  It’s a local store filled with so many treasures!!! I am inspired every time I go into the shop, not just because they have such an irresistible array of paper goods, sassy cards, and drool-worthy pens, but because the owners Theresa and Brad provide an experience that always lifts my day. They understand community in the purest sense.

All through the pandemic they have held imaginative and kind activities. One of my favourites was “letter love” where they encouraged us to write a letter to a senior in a care home. Brad and Theresa would deliver them to various homes and the notes would find their way to those who needed to know they were being thought of.

When we couldn’t go in their store we could order and have curbside pick-up. Our paper bags always adorned with a personalized note splashed with beautiful calligraphy.

Then there was the “daily dose” a five-minute video every day on something you could craft yourself and you could count on it like clockwork. They showed up to cheer us on and cheer up others. I won’t ever forget that.

Back to my journal….

I keep all my notes for blogging in this journal.  It’s a fab “evening azure ocean blue colour” (Can you tell that I always wished I had a job where I could name colours and paint!)  There is something about being able to sketch out a blog on paper first that appeals to me, and then I translate that using a keyboard.

But today my tried-and-true system is unavailable. I’ve broken my right wrist, so the keyboard and the journal will be getting dusty for the next little while.  This is my very first voice-dictated blog.

I feel a bit like I’m flapping in the wind, in freefall gripping the armchair with my one good hand, reaching out for something that is familiar.

Then again it is 2020! Working within a constraint has become familiar! A broken wrist? No problem just another constraint!

Constraints have been shown to lead to better practises, to the transformation of businesses, and the invention of vaccines! (Which last year we never even knew we needed.)

I admire so deeply the many businesses who have had to change their business model on a dime, and be nimble enough to respond to even the most remote opportunity to rewrite what is possible. These businesses chose to believe in a narrative that taking small steps forward would pay off.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Aimee Schulhauser, owner of two restaurants (Tangerine, Slice), a cooking school (Schoolhause Culinary Arts) and a catering business (Evolution Catering). Infact she opened a new restaurant right at the start of the pandemic! As you can imagine she has been hard hit.

“The fact that we are so nimble really paid off for us”, says Amy. “We were able to respond very quickly to the needs of not only our customer but our community. When we could no longer seat people in our restaurant we thought about how we might be able to help. At that time many grocery items were hard to come by. We opened up a mini-grocery with items like flour and yeast and some fresh fruit. We expanded our takeout with what our customers wanted, which was not our trademark salads. They were looking for mac & cheese and meatloaf! We became very determined to just keep showing up however we were needed.”

We are not in control of the constraints put upon us by this pandemic, but we can control the ambition and inventiveness it can generate in ourselves and in our business. Despite this, not every business story or personal story will end well.  That reality hurts our collective hearts.

So how do we move forward?

I think the first step is accepting the constraint, changing our mindset to remove some of our traditional ways of solving problems, and asking new questions. 

The type of questions you ask yourself can change your direction. Try asking yourself propelling questions. A propelling question is defined by linking together a bold ambition and a considerable constraint. It is a hopeful question challenging us to find the right idea. The practice of asking propelling questions can be used at all levels of business.

Some examples include:

How can I maintain relationships with our customers when our business is closed?

How can we expand our business when we don’t have an advertising budget?

How can I elevate the customer experience and reduce my expenses?

How can we prevent layoffs when our sales have slid?

Asking propelling questions will introduce tension and discomfort and make us examine what we thought we knew. I believe it will also propel us to new solutions.

Like voice dictating a blog. 🙂


*this blog is not endorsed or sponsored it is simply an opportunity to cheer on purpose driven brands

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