In honour of Women's History Month, we wanted to feature women who inspire us. These entrepreneurs turned problems and passions into a successful business. We hope their stories inspire you to create or grow businesses and lives that you can truly love.
First up, the Founder & Owner of The Cure Apothecary, a natural beauty and wellness boutique in Toronto.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Nitasha Goel and I own The Cure Apothecary. I grew up in Guelph and moved to Toronto when I was in 18 for school and never moved back.
The Cure Apothecary is a natural beauty boutique that carries mostly Canadian brands as well as brands from the USA, Sweden and New Zealand. I chose brands from those countries because they have products with ingredients that you can’t find in Canada. They also have high ethical and sustainability standards.
How do you usually find the brands you carry?
So, I curated the boutique and as you can see, it’s a very tight assortment. I don’t necessarily follow what’s trendy in skincare, although a lot of what I carry is trendy and works extremely well but I’m listening to my clients’ wants and needs.
What was the moment that made you realize you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I think that moment happened when I was a kid. I remember always telling my parents I wanted to open a clothing store or a store in general. Fashion was my background so a clothing store was probably what I spoke of the most, I was obsessed with fashion. They always told me to study and get a good job to become a computer engineer or a lawyer. They slowly started to realize that I wasn’t going to do things that way.
After finishing school, I fell into the fashion industry and got my first buying job and that’s kind of the path I took. Even at that time, I struggled. It wasn’t easy working corporate because I’m a free bird. I couldn’t stick within the conformities of what people expected - knowledge was the biggest thing I took from it. I learned everything I needed to learn to be able to open my store.
One day, I just decided I’m going to write a business plan and see what happens. I wrote my business plan and it was for The Cure and I just called it Apothecary because I didn’t know what the name should be; I wasn’t even there yet. I sent the plan to my dad and I also sent it to a company called Futurepreneur. They’re an amazing Canadian-based company and they help small businesses get funding, guidance and they connect you with a mentor - they’re really supportive. I applied and I got approved. Everything just sort of rolled from there. I reached out to a handful of brands - a lot of them are still here today, and a lot of them said no to me because I didn’t really have anything to tell them. The ones that really did support me sent me samples and they believed in my dream. To hear that, as a woman starting something on her own is insane. It melted my heart because they didn’t know me and they believed in my crazy dream.
What has been your biggest success in your business? Biggest challenge?
I think this is a good and bad thing but I think I molded my clients to expect me here, which is great but it can be a bad thing at the same time. A big success for me is the fact that every single day I get to open my door, hands down. That is a big success for me that I’m celebrating 4 years soon and I’m still running.
The biggest challenge for me, I think, would be how to compete with the bigger corporations following suit in this world. There’s bigger stores that have their clean beauty section so it’s about how to make yourself stand out but I think that applies to any business.
What do you love most about what you do?
I still to date have people come in that have never used a natural product in their life and they leave with so much knowledge and usually a sample or a product. The best feeling, though, is when someone comes back and tells me they’re in love with the product they found or even if they come back and didn’t love it but they’re willing to try something else - that’s just as good.
I’m a one woman show, I mean, I have help here and there but I’m in the store every single day selling because I love my clients. I want them to walk away with exactly what they need, that’s so important to me.
"Follow your heart. Don’t be scared, failure is definitely something that could happen but learn from that”
What advice would you give someone looking to start their own business?
Follow your heart. Don’t be scared, failure is definitely something that could happen but learn from that. Don’t let the roadblocks stop you. It’s hard for anyone to build a business but then it’s even harder for a woman to breakthrough and really have their voice heard. I would say just do it and no experience is a bad experience because you’ll always be learning. If you’re always scared, one day you’ll be 60 and wake and think, ‘I didn’t do it’ so just try.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from the people around me - my friends, my family - and what’s happening in our community.
The shop was actually built by everyone I know - there was no one hired.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I think people have ideas and they don’t have the work ethic to push through. Everyone has amazing ideas but you need to be able to have that drive. It’s not easy to do your own thing so something that will always stick with me is ‘work harder’. It sounds a little harsh but it’s not coming from a harsh place - just work harder. Do one more thing every single day. Build intentions for your day, week, month, and year based on what you see coming out of what you’re creating.
"Do one more thing every single day. Build intentions for your day, week, month, and year based on what you see coming out of what you’re creating."
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Be with the people I love. I love my alone time but I really love spending time with the most important people in my life. I create product as well so sometimes I’ll sit down and create a few things.
About The Cure Apothecary
The Cure Apothecary grew out of a love for green beauty. Realizing a gap in the market for natural skin care, the Cure was born. Each brand is meticulously tried and tested making the apothecary a perfectly curated source for natural beauty needs for both men and women. You can shop the boutique in person if you're in the GTA or online (they only ship to the US and Canada). Check out their site here
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