Living Locally   /   Business Services / Building & Design   /   Style / Clothing & Accessories   /   Business Services   /   Community   /   Health & Wellness   /   Style

Seven businesses led by women, for women

Celebrating International Women's Day

March 8, 2018 by Centaine Tyler on Adrienne Furrie Image, Alora Boutique, Amber Approved, Awakened Company, Balsam Clothing, Ellie Bianca, Ryan Murphy Construction

Today is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme, as decided by the United Nations, is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.”

To honour this theme, we’ve compiled a list of REAP businesses that are transforming women’s lives all year round:

  • Adrienne Furrie Image helps women rediscover their beauty and confidence. As an image consultant with a background in makeup and fashion, Adrienne teaches women in the professional realm and beyond how to put their best foot – and best self – forward.
  • Alora Boutique is a jewelry line that works to lift women out of poverty – both through skill-building jewelry workshops at the Mustard Seed, and quarterly donations to the Women in Need Society, Mustard Seed, Louise Dean School, and HomeFront Society for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.
  • Amber Approved is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist committed to helping women who struggle with poor self-image, emotional eating, and binge-eating lead happy and healthy lives. She uses her personal story, as well as her magazine and podcast, to inspire and give hope to others.
  • Balsam Clothing is a children’s clothing line committed to providing meaningful work to single and stay-at-home moms in Calgary. The company started as a therapy for an Alberta woman who turned to sewing baby clothes for others as she struggled to start a family of her own. She and her husband are now expecting their first child this spring.
  • Ellie Bianca is a skincare line that sources most of its all-natural ingredients from Chad, the founder’s home country. The company makes significant effort to employ women in their harvesting efforts, while paying a living wage.
  • Ryan Murphy Construction was founded by two women – Lara Murphy and Karen Ryan. They are passionate about the community and encouraging others in the construction industry. Such community initiatives include collaborating with Calgary Reads, building accessible homes and offices, and raising money to support children with Cerebral Palsy.
  • The Awakened Project is a line of bracelets made in partnership with an Albertan artisan and mother. From each bracelet, a portion of the sale is allocated to a fund set up to help other women chase their entrepreneurial dreams.

We feel honoured to work alongside these inspirational women, today and every day.


  1. Learn more about the efforts and impact of Ellie Bianca, Ryan Murphy Construction and The Awakened Project through a panel discussion featuring their founders - Evelyne Nyairo, Lara Murphy and Catherine Bell respectively - at Sustainability for Breakfast: Honouring International Women’s Day on March 20 at River Café. $30 includes a delicious, locally sourced breakfast (includes gluten-free and vegan options). Click here for tickets.
  2. Click on the names above to learn more about the businesses we mentioned, and click here to peruse our directory for more inspiring businesses.
  3. Get social using the hashtags #PressforProgress and #BeLocalYYC and be part of the conversation on International Women’s Day.
  4. Let the women in your life know how you feel about them today!