I’m Emily Mills and this is my first collaboration with The Drake Hotel. The timing couldn’t have been better. So many people are feeling stretched and stressed right now. I can relate.
I’m the founder and CEO of How She Hustles. We’ve been connecting and amplifying diverse women leaders and entrepreneurs in Canada for more than a decade. We’ve hosted sold-out networking events and produced award-winning digital projects. It’s humbling to know our work has made news headlines, caught the attention of the Prime Minister and earned us a meet and greet with former US First Lady Michelle Obama.
Since the pandemic, I’ve pivoted like so many other small businesses. These days my work is more focused on speaking, marketing consulting, influencer campaigns and sponsored events. It’s a hustle, but I love it!
Of course, I’m more than my own boss. I’m got family responsibilities, too.
We’re raising two beautiful Black sons, while the world is still reckoning with racism. And I’m helping to care for aging parents.
So, what does this have to do with The Drake?
It actually inspired our collaboration.
This January, How She Hustles x The Drake launched a Self-Care Staycation Contest including 1-night accommodation, breakfast (for two, or just you!) and a gift box valued at $150+ featuring products from local small businesses owned by Black and Indigenous women.
So many of us need a break – time to exhale from the zillion demands of life.
I’m sure you can relate.
This could be the quiet time YOU need to take care of yourself, or the getaway you need to map out your small business goals for the rest of 2023. Escaping to a hotel has been one of my favourite self-care strategies for many years!
Check out the products that I’ve selected for this giveaway, and self-care advice from the entrepreneurs behind these brands. Shop, support and spread the word.
Good luck if you enter the contest and no matter what, please take good care.
Sequoia Soaps (CEO: Michaelee Lazore | website)
Proudly Indigenous beauty brand inspired by our native legends and ingredients.
How to support: “We wholesale to several businesses in the GTA – check out our store locator on our website! By supporting these businesses, you’re also supporting Sequoia.”
On self-care: “Life can get really hectic at times, so it’s nice to take some time to slow down. A warm bath, a good book, tea, and a cozy couch is a relaxing combination that leaves me feeling content and refreshed.”
Products for #howshehustles gift box: Sequoia Mini Soap Gift Set
Mary’s Brigadeiro (Mary Oliveira | website)
Founded by a Black woman, Mary’s Brigadeiro is a Toronto-based chocolate business inspired by the delicious flavours of a traditional Brazilian chocolate – The Brigadeiro.
How to support: “The best way to support our local business is visiting our Chocolate store, also purchasing our creations even in our online shopping or referring our company to your friends, family, coworkers. This action means the world to small businesses out there and it helps us spread the world.”
On self-care: “One of the best ways to practice self-care is putting my cell phone away, turning off the notifications and having the freedom to decide whatever I want to do without feeling guilt about it. Relaxing for me goes from reading or journaling for hours to walking around the city, have dinner at my favourite spots or relaxing during a staycation. It has been a process and I am still learning how to practice self-care even if it means opening a bottle of wine with myself and enjoying a nice movie or a longer dinner that I prepared.”
Products for the #howshehustles gift box: Furoshiki Gift Wrap + Tin with 12 Brigadeiros + Brigadeiro Chocolate Spread 70% Cacao
ROOTS + RAVEN (CEO: Tanya Gluvakov | website)
Indigenous woman-owned, small batch, hand-pressed bath bombs, eco-conscious packaging, natural, mindful and cruelty-free.
How to support: “Folks in the GTA can find us online or at select retailers in Toronto and surrounding areas including Cedar Basket, Helen + HILDEGARD and likely general.”
On self-care: “I approach self-care by ways of connection to mother nature. When I feel groundless and anxious, I step outside and seek out “the standing ones”: the trees. Sometimes I walk barefoot on the land. Sometimes I pinch off a piece of cedar and rub it between my fingers to release its healing aroma. When I don’t have access to the outdoors, I just remember we are all one and that we rely on each other. I can find healing in giving. From heart to hand.”
Products for the #howshehustles gift box: Shower Steamer Variety Gift Box + Woodland Glow Sugar Scrub
How to support: “My website site: www.shopinheylcandle.ca; follow us on www.instagram.com/shop.inheylcandleco + TikTok (same handle).”
On self-care: “Self-care is a nurturing yet mindful experience for me. Whether it’s through my craft of candle making and sculpting or finding joy in the simple routines like journaling or preparing a solo candlelight dinner At the end of it all, it’s about honouring the love of my life …me.”
Products for #howshehustles gift box: Mindful trio (mini candles) – spa, flow + calm + Mini cotton tote
- Thanks to Kojo Institute and Angelina Williams from The Drake’s Black Advisory Council for laying the foundation for this collaboration.
- Thanks to The Cedar Basket Gift Shop at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto for connecting me with these Indigenous brands.
- Photo credits: Leilah Dhore (all product & hotel images) and Charity Love (How She Hustles brunch picture)