Samantha Regimbal is one busy Boss Lady! Managing three VERY successful businesses, she’s one step away from taking over the world and doesn’t even know it yet. From making all natural creams with her sisters for a family friend that has now turned into a company of it’s own, to launching What’s Up West Island? that has now turned into What’s Up World?, Samantha is turning everything she touches into gold. This week she took some time to tell us how it all started and the struggles that she faced.
BWR: Your blog, The Bossy Babe, talks a lot about your story and how you started the company Sugar & Spice with your sister. Which (kudos btw) is doing great! You also talk about the birth of What’s Up World? If you could narrow it down very briefly, what inspired you to start your own business?
Samantha: I actually never planned on pursuing the self-employment route, let alone owning multiple companies. When Sugar & Spice was born, it was completely by accident. There wasn’t a mainstream supply of natural products and a few of my family members were in need of a chemical-free cream. I started experimenting with ingredients with both of my sisters and was able to create something. I credit my background in sciences as well as my obsession with YouTube for that. Back then, I was living with my uncle in Toronto, who had been using my cream. Due to his positive influence in Canada, the local hospital discovered my formula and placed an order for hundreds of units. This initial order was the catalyst from what was a hobby to the creation of company number one.
At that time, I was working at Via Rail in events and digital strategy while coming home to finish classes in Montreal. Due to the fact that I was slowly starting to burn out, I had to make a decision. So, I left Toronto and moved back home to Montreal to become a girl boss.
What’s Up World also started by accident. After creating a marketing plan for Sugar & Spice, I decided to keep my advertising in house. I created a local Facebook page to connect with locals and introduce them to my product and organizing the occasional event.
Long story short, other local business owners saw what I was doing and asked if I could do the same for them. What’s Up West-Island quickly evolved into company #2. What’s Up World eventually grew from this since there was a need for keeping communities connected across Canada and local businesses. I’m now setting up community hubs across Canada. We currently have 12 What’s Ups and 24 in the works for 2019.
BWR: How are you managing to run three VERY successful businesses at the same time?
Samantha: There is no method to the madness! One of the reasons is probably the fact that I don’t wear all of the “hats” anymore! Having gone through these last 5 years of business development, I’ve learned the importance of focusing on what I’m good at and delegating the rest. If I’m spending time doing things that I don’t excel at, my company isn’t going to get the best return. I have the most incredible team of leaders who eat and breathe my companies’ mindset and I wouldn’t be able to be where I am today without them. I also invest back in my team before investing in myself.
The main reason for my companies’ success is the fact that I’ve continuously received the encouragement, motivation and support that I’ve needed from my entire family and both of my sisters! I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
BWR: You talk a lot about Jack Layton and how he inspired you. What would you say it is about him that inspires you so much?
Samantha: He was in fact the catalyst to my self-employed realm. When I was promoted within VIA Rail and moved out to Toronto to continue my career, I moved in with him. I started appreciating that added leadership mindset that was instilled on me over the next couple of years! You become the product of your environment and I’m super grateful for this.
What most people don’t know is that Jack was the family member who I was referring to in the first question. Not only did he advocate my product to Torontonians, I was fortunate to be surrounded by his positivity on an almost daily basis while he was fighting cancer. Our nighttime tea talks and morning walks down Spadina reinforced my “aim for the moon” mindset. He also opened my eyes to the fact that life is way too short to not love what you do each and every day. Oh, and that it’s possible to have impact and to change the world. #nobigdeal
BWR: You mention in your blog about several challenges that you went through while managing three businesses. Some mental, some health. How would you say you over came those challenges and how have they changed your perspective on life?
Samantha: I have definitely struggled with trauma and health issues while learning how to manage everything. This reality is something that I wasn’t prepared for and unfortunately very common among business owners.
On Physical Health:
Throughout my first few years of self-employment, an enormous amount of stress and crazy hours became my norm. Before I knew it, I didn’t have a life and never stopped. My body eventually broke down and gave up. I was diagnosed with a disease that, at times, crippled me from my neck to the lower back.
After this diagnosis, I came to realize the importance of a healthy lifestyle and “me time.” If I’m not functional for my companies and team, the business will collapse.
To this day I continuously struggle with this condition. This taught me to SLOW DOWN and enjoy the journey because there will never be a final destination.
On Mental Health:
I wish I could say otherwise but success is hard. It is imperative to have a strong mindset and understand that this is business. Not everyone wants you to succeed.
For myself specifically, I’ve been dealing with mental and emotional distress from digital bullying: stalkers who become obsessed with what they see online which isn’t always reality. Toxic mentalities from people who harass you in order to benefit themselves. Plagiarism/identity theft /character defamation are just the beginning. It’s really not fun but it’s apart of the growth and lessons. Quality over quantity.
BWR: Obviously you’ve had several accomplishments throughout your businesses. What would you say is your biggest accomplishment? What are you most proud of?
Samantha: Although I am extremely fortunate to have received a few awards throughout my journey thus far, my biggest accomplishment is actually the fact that I’ve been able to follow my passions and turn them all into businesses. I really love what I do!
I am also extremely proud about that, even though I went through some pretty extreme growing pains with my employees and “friends” throughout start-up, I’m now solely surrounded by positive people who want nothing but the best for me. It’s extremely important to continuously be in a good head space.
BWR: Do you have any regrets? If you could go back in time, what would you change? What decisions would you make differently?
Samantha: I don’t have any regrets. I’m a huge believer in making “mistakes” and learning from them. They are what mold you. I also live by the following: “Make the rules, and then break them.” Life is too short to take things too seriously. Everyone has things that they wish they could change but everything really does happen for a reason and if you wouldn’t have gone through those speed bumps you wouldn’t have the same journey.
BWR: You used to work very closely with your sisters for your businesses. A lot of people often say it’s best not to mix family with business to avoid conflicts or falling outs. It doesn’t seem to be the case for you since you often say they are your BFF’s. How would you say working with your sisters has affected your relationships?
Samantha: As a girl who liked to make my own rules, I spent a lot of my adolescents doing my own thing. I was always starting new projects and mini businesses! My younger sisters, Tracey and Emma-Lee, had completely different paths.
While I was building my own companies, Tray geeked out in academia and ended up an expert in social listening. We were also complete opposites. In a weird twist of fate we both ended up as social specialists, her with fortune 500 companies banging at her door, as I grew local community happenings and start-up businesses.
I was always lucky that my youngest sister stayed close to home and helped build the businesses by my side. She became the final decision maker for me, would make sure that I would hit the ground running and even put me in my place when it was “play” time. Em, has been apart of my day-to-day since the beginning and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Today, Tracey and myself get booked to speak globally to inspire younger generations to really follow their passions and the realities of being a boss! Emma-Lee’s always by my side in Canada.
BWR: There must be some moments where you both fight like all sisters do occasionally. Does it get difficult knowing that you have to work together? How do you manage to put your personal issues aside to put your business first?
Samantha: I mean, yes, of course we fight! If we didn’t, there would be a problem. I work better with other “movers and shakers” who have strong mindsets and my sisters are definitely among that crowd! The reality though is that our “fights” are based on love and not on any other factor so we can laugh about it at the end of the day.
What was nice was that the geographical distance between Tracey and I allowed for us to develop a professionalism and with the overlap in our careers. Together we have a robust knowledge base. I mean, working with family may be hard but when you compliment each other’s efforts things tend to go smoothly.
BWR: At Boss Women Rule, we focus on women entrepreneurs. We know that they are very limited compared to men. That’s why we focus on the success and struggles that they face. Can you tell me what it’s like to be a woman entrepreneur and what are some of the challenges you face as a woman in the business world?
Samantha: My sister just told me a crazy stats that she heard from a close female “boss” friend. Only 2% of American startup funding goes to female founders. We have been perpetuating consciously and subconsciously our gender bias in the workplace and this prevalence is even stronger in entrepreneurship.
As a response, I’ve aimed to start my own path and my own companies where we prioritize vulnerable population and champion women.
I’ve been on the receiving end of harassment and bullying as a result of my ambition, largely based on not fitting the “girl next door” vibe society projects on women.
Having “initiative” is the politically correct term but I prefer “Bossy.” Feminism is about equality between men and women. I wouldn’t be a good Canadian if I didn’t quote Trudeau: it’s about time we have workforce balance. Don’t get me wrong, you always catch more flies with honey, but women need to have a voice in 2019.
BWR: Where do you see your business (or businesses) going in the next 5 years? What is your main goal?
Samantha: To be honest, it seems as though each and every time I cross off newly completed goals, I’ve already added on more! I just really love life and thrive off of making impact and influence!
My main goal for What’s Up is to keep Canada connected in the most organic way possible. Organic being real, honest and relatable! I’m excited to have started the expansion process.
As for Sugar & Spice, my goal of creating a girly product line that is safe and natural but that doesn’t encompass the typical go “green type” vibe is already done… but I want to bring it to the next level. Due to the fact that I’ve been exposed to a lot of bullying and struggle with anxiety, I would like to create a movement that gives back to others who struggle with this as well. My dream is to start a campaign or a charity that focuses on self-love and supporting one another. I REALLY want to launch this in 2020.
As for bossy, there’s something very special about being able to speak to my beloved following on a daily basis about the realities of being your own boss!
My overall goal? To enjoy the journey because there will never be a destination. Also, to reinforce that anything is possible if you really want it bad enough!