This week we are celebrating International Women’s Day! This day recognizes the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world! International Women’s Day was established in the early 1900’s, in a time that the world needed gender parity. Locally in Barrie we celebrate with the annual Women in Business Awards. On March 8th, the Barrie Chamber of Commerce is hosting the award ceremony at the Barrie Golf and Country Club. We are so excited for these local, talented women!.

To celebrate at Entrepreneurs Connect we have asked local women from the Barrie & Surrounding areas to share their stories. We will feature their stories everyday this week! To start we’d like to introduce to you…

Amy De Wolfe, Owner of Renegade Health Bar.
This amazing health bar is located on 51 Collier Street in Barrie. Only using fresh ingredients you can expect to find nutritious and delicious juices, breakfast items as well as lunch entrees. They are open from Monday to Saturday from 9AM to 5PM, closing at 2PM on Saturdays. Be sure to stop in to see what their lunch feature is, last Saturday you missed; tacos, keto Buddha bowls, spring rolls, chickpea salad sandwiches, pad Thai, creamy keto carrot and cauliflower soup, Asian peanut Buddha bowls, pumpkin pie with coconut whipped cream and more!

What got you interested in working in your industry? What was your trajectory to get to where you are today?
I have always been interested in health, and over the years it has become more and more clear to me that eating food in its natural form is a powerful way to manage one’s health – but this is extraordinarily hard for a myriad of reasons, not least of which is our very complex relationship with food. My passion for producing crazy-healthy food that is mouthwateringly good has grown out of wanting to make eating healthy an easy choice for people –myself included. If you can make healthy food taste as crave-worthy as the less ideal foods people are addicted to, it makes healthy eating a no-brainer.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career? What has been the most frustrating?
The most rewarding aspect of my career is definitely seeing the happy and surprised reaction on the face of someone trying our food for the first time. I live for that reaction! The most frustrating part is the short shelf-life of pure foods. It definitely keeps you on your toes in this business!

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in your career?
The biggest challenge I have overcome is my natural-need to please. It has led to many decisions that weren’t the most productive for me or my business in the longer term.

What advice do you have for other women (or men) who would like to get into a career like yours?
My advice is to be prepared for the crazy amount of work involved. Make sure you are passionate about more than just the idea. Consider the day-to-day tasks involved and make sure you are okay with putting in the time, effort, and work that is involved in all areas so that you don’t resent your business in the end.

What piece of advice, or tip from a mentor, do you think about often that has helped you make decisions about your professional life?
Listen to your gut. Sometimes I have a hard time with recognizing that and not over rationalizing to the point of paralysis.

Can you walk me through a typical day?
We are in our early days, so I am in the shop anytime from 7 am in the morning. First task of the day is getting the food set up and fridge stocked for lunch, receiving deliveries, serving the breakfast crowd (love you guys!). Lunch is our busiest time, so those hours are mainly spent with customers. Definitely a highlight of the job. Barrie is full of so many interesting and health-savvy people! The afternoon is spent prepping the core ingredients for the next day, in meetings, brainstorming ideas for collaborations, products, and planning. Then it’s clean up time. On days when we deliver donations to the Busby Centre, I drop those off and I do whichever customer deliveries have been ordered. When I get home, I spend an hour or two with the family, if I haven’t had to work past bedtime. Once we get the kids to bed, I am onto the computer catching up with customer enquiries, working on costing, ordering, graphic design, recipes, etc. If there were another 24 hours in every day, I would be happy!

If you could spend a year studying something, what would it be?
That’s a hard question! Chef training (I’m horrible with knives), business, marketing, personal coaching from Tony Robbins. Who doesn’t want to fire walk? LOL

What hobbies or passions outside of work currently occupy your time? Or what project(s) are you currently working on?
Right now Renegade takes up nearly every waking moment, and so much of what I love to do is related to that business – like trying out new food, recipe testing, checking out what other foodies are into and up to… but outside of that I also love movies, art, music (I have a degree in music), graphic design, and illustration. I also love spending time with my family and travelling.

What advice would you give your fourteen-year-old self?
Enjoy the process.