As a female-founded business, we are constantly inspired and empowered by other Canadian women and their accomplishments. Whether they’ve started their own business or are their brand, we are on a mission to give a voice and help share the stories of Canadian female founders. Every profile is based on actual interviews, and here are their stories. Want to be featured as a female founder? Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“PIVOT, PIVOT, PIVOT” - Ross Geller from the Television series Friends, or a rendition of Elysha Varentbut’s journey. While 26-year-old Elysha Varenbut has found her passion running a successful dessert shop, her dream job wasn’t always so clear to her.
Elysha’s schooling first started in Kinesiology, thinking she wanted to pursue a medical field career. While completing her undergrad, she realized that Kin wasn’t for her and decided to join various clubs with a similar theme: fundraising and event planning.
Elysha quickly realized where her passions lay and decided to go back to school for Nonprofit Management. Following the program, she worked for a small non-profit organization for about a year. “I loved working there... there was always a certain level of excitement. It was very rewarding,” she said. “But, I was finding it difficult to motivate myself to get up every morning, and I could tell something was missing.”
So, Elysha did what any organized event planner would do; she made a list to decide what aspects she liked about the job and what she didn’t. “The common denominator - across this job and other jobs in the past - was that I was passionate about events and connecting with people,” she said.
Fast forward a few months, Elysha went back to school (for the third time) to complete a degree in Special Event Management. While in school, she started working at an events company organizing fashion events, panels, fundraisers, weddings and more.
Around three years ago, Elysha decided to take the plunge and left her full-time job to pursue her real passion - owning her own events company. In 2020, Elysha launched ‘Elysha Varentbut Events’ and worked tirelessly and passionately to line up her dream events for the 2020 calendar year: a new Toronto fashion event, a dog festival and many unique weddings.
“It was everything I could dream of,” said Elysha.
That was until the final pivot hit. While COVID-19 changed the world around us, it specifically hit hard in the events industry. “Everything was put on hold,” she said. “So I had to figure out a new direction with events not happening.”
What started as a late-night snack craving, Choc/ed was born and quickly grew into a successful business. Although Elysha’s journey never followed a typical trajectory, she always knew working for herself was for her.
“When you own your own business, you wear every single hat,” she said. “You have to do everything yourself, and you begin to appreciate and value other people that much more.” Elysha thoroughly enjoys the journey of getting to do something different every day, and she feels like she’s learnt so many different skills.
As an easy-going, laid back and happy person, it only makes sense that the Choc/ed tagline is “Coated In Happy.” “My purpose for starting Choc/ed was to bring the happiness I have to other people,” said Elysha. “My name actually means ‘a dwelling place of happy souls,’ and I try to bring that ethos into everything I do.”
Elysha hopes to one day be a mother and have a family, and for her, that meant having a flexible career life. Elysha believes that an empowering woman is not afraid to do what they want and believes in themselves and their values. Little does she know she was describing herself, and we are empowered by Elysha’s journey every day.
Name: Elysha Varenbut
Current Job: Founder Choc/ed, Event Planner, and Entrepreneur
5 Year Manifestation: Elysha hopes to continue to grow Choc/ed and make it a staple in all Toronto households while also taking on new events and always learning!
Female Role Model: Jessica Alba
Piece of Advice: “To be nice and kind to others and always be building relationships, because you never know where your journey will go or where others will go. Your reputation is most important.”
Favourite Jewelry Item: A Dainty Bracelet