A natural ambassador for her city, Caroline Khangi is in sync with the pulse of what makes Montreal hum. Her curious and passionate nature led her to pursue a career in fashion, music, design and, eventually, the hotel industry. As a W Insider, she is a “wow-factor” professional who uses her vast network of contacts to benefit of the guests of W Montreal. Want to make some amazing discoveries? Follow Caroline Khangi’s shopping itinerary, and let her top picks lead you to what are bound to become prized souvenirs of Montreal.
A return to roots
entrepreneur who has been working as a make-up artist for over 13 years. Known for her fresh, minimalist look, Bégin is in high demand by photographers, fashion magazines and art directors, and Montrealers can’t get enough of the articles published on her lifestyle blog beautiesandco.co, a fashion and beauty platform promoting responsible consumption. Léa is the real deal and doesn’t hide the fact that her greatest strength comes from what once was her greatest weakness. Working in an industry where retouched photos were the norm, and perfection was only achievable on paper, she now shines the spotlight on the unique authenticity of each individual. Once hostage to her own self-created image, Léa has returned to her roots. One habit at a time, she’s reacquainting herself with her natural beauty. Today, Léa runs Beauties Lab, an eco-chic destination located in the Château St-Ambroise. If you want to learn the language of “green beauty,” this is the place to come. Take a make-up class with friends, discover “clean” products from new companies, indulge in a personalized facial, or even experience the delight of having someone play in your hair, like when you were a kid!
Transparency at every step
Eager to do things differently, sisters Myriam and Romy Belzile-Maguire founded their shoe company, Maguire, in 2017. In just two years, this shop has won the hearts of the women of Quebec, not only for the duo’s distinctive designs but also for their vision and values. Myriam and Romy are committed to their no-middlemen business model, and they’re up front about each stage of the production of their creations. Every product is designed locally in their Montreal office and workshop before it is sent to be produced in small, high-end factories, which they personally select to ensure, among other things, that the employees’ working conditions are acceptable. Supported by these small, often family-run, businesses, the sisters select their raw materials and develop their creations without compromising on quality. There are no secrets: customers who purchase a pair of Maguires can see a detailed list of the production costs of their purchase and also know where their new acquisition was manufactured. New Maguire fans may wonder why the retail prices aren’t higher. The answer is simple—no brokers, no distributors, no third-party points of sale and no advertising means they can pass on substantial cost savings to their growing, and very satisfied, customer base. Maguire footwear is available online, at pop-up sales, or in the charming boutique on Saint-Laurent Boulevard.
Les Filles Fattoush
A close-knit community
Les Filles Fattoush is a group of about thirty women of all generations, from Syria and Quebec, who speak French, English and Arabic, and who are dedicated to helping Syrian immigrant women integrate into Quebec. They are part of an inclusive and unifying catering company, which was cooked up by documentary filmmaker Josette Gauthier and businesswoman Adelle Tarzibachi. This social innovation project mitigates the difficulties these newcomers have adjusting and helps them overcome the obstacles they face upon arrival in La Belle Province, as it facilitates their social integration by providing them with valuable work experience. The ingredient that binds everything together is a love of Syrian cuisine. Les Filles Fattoush offers these women something that goes well beyond the culinary experience: an opportunity for everyone to discover another culture and be collectively enriched. This local economy enterprise caters to both companies and individuals. What makes their service unique is that the women step out of the kitchen to meet clients. They chat and provide explanations about the food, while everyone enjoys a delicious plate of meze together! Recently, Les Filles launched a new range of spices, which are imported directly from Syria and beautifully packaged and labelled here in Montreal by the team. If you’re new to Syrian cuisine, be warned that one taste of Les Filles Fattoush’s sumac or pomegranate molasses will leave you wanting more! This extraordinary project invites you to discover the delicious palette of flavours of Middle Eastern cuisine while supporting the international movement to help Syrian refugee women.
For a healthy, united and
Byron and Dexter Peart’s passion for creating and developing of-the-moment brands led them to co-found WANT Les Essentiels in 2000. This internationally recognized accessories line embraces the design ethos of timelessness, quality and a modern interpretation of the past. But the visionary and ultra-creative twin brothers were becoming increasingly aware of the modern-day challenges of overconsumption, and after much research and thought into how to change habits, they launched GOODEE. “Conspicuous consumption has reached an unsustainable point,” says Dexter Peart. “We believe that many people, especially younger generations, are searching for tools to consume ‘less but better’ products.” GOODEE is an e-commerce platform that aims to meet this demand by connecting conscious consumers with ethical makers. It offers everyday objects and accessories that combine culture, values and purpose-driven design. GOODEE’s impressive repertoire features brands focused on creating products that drive positive change around the world. These include Haeckels, which uses seaweed in their luxury cosmetics and is helping to change industry trends, and ecoBirdy, which transforms used plastic toys into fun, functional and environmentally friendly furniture for children. The platform’s partners are selected with great care and must adhere to a rigorous set of rules to ensure the highest quality of design. The product range is structured around brands that value sustainability, social impact, heritage production, or organic materials and ingredients.
Le Mouvement HappyFitness
Get moving, be happy
Founder and head trainer Chloé Rochette and co-founder and nutrition expert Sophie Geoffrion are the two “happy” people behind Le Mouvement HappyFitness. Other happy people who have come on board include more than 300 women who share the same values (simplicity, happiness and community). They take part in outdoor training groups, sports retreats, active adventures to tropical destinations, or private training and nutrition consultations. Growing up in an active family where fun was always the focus of sports activities, Chloé has always had a healthy relationship to exercise. For her part, Sophie has always had a passion for the outdoors and hiking. Her first job as a cook’s assistant set the stage for future graduate studies in nutrition. In 2014, a girlfriend with a keen instinct introduced them to each other, and the meeting resulted in an instant “professional match”! “Health and beauty are two distinct concepts,” they tell us. “We help you with the first one, you manage the second one as you like.” Achieving your goals is so much more enjoyable when you’re having fun, which is why the young team presents training as a source of happiness. A note to the business community: Le Mouvement HappyFitness provides corporate services, including conferences, group sessions and team building activities. Happiness guaranteed!
Santé Bien Cultivée
Shaking up the world of natural health products
A few years ago, Monica Ruffo, founder and CEO of Well Told Health, was diagnosed with breast cancer. As she went in search of supplements that contained no synthetic substances, fillers or isolates, she soon realized that very few of the ingredients on supplement labels could be considered natural. Collaborating with health specialists, she set out to develop a new type of supplement, called “Health Boosters.” Using a science-based approach, Well Told Health offers complete transparency around every ingredient they use and provides clients with all available research behind them. “I created the company I would have liked to know existed when I was having to devote all my energy to recovering my health,” says the businesswoman. These supplements are made from pure, organic, nutritious and whole ingredients, such as organic wild blueberries from the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, grapes from a certified organic vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake and organic rhodiola from Alberta. Each product is suitable for vegans, is non-GMO and contains no soya or gluten. And because sustainable health and sustainable practices should always go hand in hand, all their packaging is made from recycled paper, printed with water-based inks and is 100% recyclable. Give your body a clean boost!
An avant-garde vision
During a humanitarian trip to Ecuador, three university friends realized that together, they could have a huge impact on the optometric world. A few months ago, these young optometrists opened a visionary clinic in the Petit Laurier neighbourhood. “The concept for Uvée came at a time when we were personally trying to reduce our emissions and the amount of waste we produced. But we realized that we weren’t making the same efforts in our professional lives,” they explained. Alex-Anne Harvey, Olivier Parenteau and Steven A. Sutton decided to offer their customers eco-responsible optometry services and products. At the same time, they wanted to encourage the optometric industry to become socially and ecologically engaged. All the companies Uvée works with pay special attention to their impact on the environment, particularly through their use of organic, recycled or biodegradable materials, by planting trees to offset their carbon footprints, or by giving back to non-profit organizations. The three optometrists have also adopted a zero-waste approach in all of the clinic’s practices. And they are proud to collaborate with Optométristes Sans Frontières (Optometrists Without Borders), helping to prepare the organization’s humanitarian expeditions to communities who don’t have easy access to eye care, by recycling eyewear from donors in Quebec.