Julie Clark; Toronto; @ProvinceApothecary
Let’s say we’ve just met at a cocktail party. How would you describe, in a nutshell, what you do?
I make organic skincare using all-natural ingredients and I’m also an aesthetician who administers custom facials at my clinic.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I first went to school for costume design in Montreal. When I decided to change career paths I went back to school for aromatherapy and holistic health in Toronto.
What was your first paying gig out of school? (In your field, or not.)
I was really lucky because I was able to start working making skincare products and giving facials while I was still in aromatherapy school; my teacher had a business at the school so I got to work for her. After completing school, I waited tables and started giving facials and making products out of my apartment.
What was your BIG break? How did you land it?
My biggest break was in December 2012 when I started selling my products at the Junction Flea Market in Toronto. I continued to take part in them for the next two years and built an amazing client and retailer base and met so many amazing people!
Describe the moment in which you first realized, I think this is actually going to work out?
It really wasn’t until last year when we moved out of our Kensington Market studio into a new storefront and treatment clinic. I finally felt that the business was solid and that things were going to work out.
What would you say has been your biggest failure or shortcoming, career-wise, to date? How did you bounce back?
Deciding to change careers at 27 was extremely difficult and initially felt like the biggest mistake I had ever made. But whenever I felt discouraged or like a failure, I would speak with my friends and my partner and thankfully they were all so encouraging and would remind me that things were going to get better. I feel super lucky I haven’t made any major business mistakes; I have been very cautious and prefer to make small changes, not big ones. Looking back though, I do wish I had taken out a loan to start the business.
Name one piece of career advice you always give.
Ask for help! As an entrepreneur, you think you can do everything yourself but it’s better for you to spend time on things you are actually good at and interested in doing. Get a bookkeeper and an accountant and save yourself the headache.
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever gotten?
To make it big I need to compromise on the quality of my ingredients.
Did you deal with barriers in your field because you are a woman? If so, what were they?
No, not that I’m aware of.
Are you making a fair income for your work? Why or why not? Do you have a side hustle for extra cash? If so, what is it?
I always pay myself last. I would rather hire another team member to help make the company run smoothly then take money out of the business. I have a super simple life—no car, no house and very minimal expenses.
What’s the worst stereotype you’ve heard about millennials at work?
We don’t work very hard and we’re constantly on our phones.