March 8 is International Women’s Day, and there’s no better time to celebrate female-owned Canadian businesses. One pair of ground-breaking women we’re excited to highlight is Vancouver-based brand the mother-daughter duo behind a lifestyle brand called AlessiaAdora and a handy new kitchen helper called sousShelf. We chatted with mom Mirabela and eight-year-old Alessia to find out more about their startup, and what it’s like to run a female family biz! —Noa Nichol
Hi Mirabela and Alessia! Please tell us a bit about yourselves to start.
We are a proud exclusively female and family-owned business, which includes me (Mirabela) and my eight-year-old daughter Alessia. Our company AlessiaAdora was inspired by my daughter and is named after Alessia and means “Alessia Loves” in Italian. We adore this name because it perfectly encompasses our business model where we share with our audience the things we love most; our West Coast lifestyle and our vision to design and manufacture products that bring joy in people’s lives and to inspire family and community connection. To tell you a little about myself, I previously worked in the luxury automotive industry and have always had a strong desire to encourage the advancement of women in leadership. I may even say that this is part of the reason AlessiaAdora came to be. It also helped blend that desire with my other passions, such as creativity and aesthetics. Alessia was born and raised in Vancouver. Her entire life, Alessia’s imagination revolved around unicorns and mythical creatures, a passion that allowed her to dream big and believe that anything is possible. This is how she inspired the AlessiaAdora brand to come to fruition. She wanted to share her and her mom’s dreams and vision with the world, and bring joy to other people’s lives. Alessia loves to play in the snow with her dogs, she adores winter sports and rides her mountain bike in our lush forests. Alessia is extremely outgoing and enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She is passionate about reading books and dreams about one day owning a horse she can ride and take care of.
When and why did you launch sousShelf? What is it, how does it work, and how will it make our lives better?!
sousShelf is the ultimate kitchen helper for those who love to follow recipes that they find online. It works as a phone or tablet stand, utensil holder, and so much more. We came up with the idea for sousShelf when the pandemic hit, in the summer of 2020 as we found ourselves seeking solace in cooking and baking. Like many people who dabble in the kitchen, Alessia and I went searching online for recipes, but found that trying to handle a device and bake or cook simultaneously could be quite a nuisance. That’s when the idea for sousShelf was born. We wanted to create a product that could help us easily follow recipes without having to constantly pick up our devices. That’s why sousShelf has a durable phone and tablet stand as well as a stylus so you can follow your favourite recipes touch-free. No more messy flour or liquid-covered tablets and phones for sousShelf users. We also wanted a product that could help us stay tidy and organized in the kitchen during the cooking process. And that’s why we added the convenient utensil holders, four coasters, and a bottle opener. All components of the sousShelf are made from high-quality sustainable and natural materials that look gorgeous anywhere in your home. So whether you have it in your kitchen, living room, dining room, or home office, it always matches your aesthetic. sousShelf is made in Canada from the best Canadian woods, such as maple and black walnut. It gives the product a sleek and modern design without sacrificing its functionality. We understand that this product is different from anything else on the market. Because we wanted to do right by it, we went through seven different prototypes to get it into its final state. Now, we are ready to get it into your home, where it can enable you to avoid the mess and disorganization that would otherwise turn a fun, relaxing activity like cooking into one more source of stress and tension.
Do you love to cook? Together? What’s your favourite dish or recipe to make?
Cooking is something we all eventually learn how to do in life. For some of us, it happens at a young age by watching our parents cook. For others, they learn when they start living on their own and need to feed themselves. I think we can all agree that the former is the ideal way to learn. When the pandemic hit, Alessia and I began experimenting in the kitchen more often, trying our hands in cooking and baking viral banana breads, mushroom pizza and other exotic recipes. Our absolute favourite recipe to make is sourdough bread, which we kept making over and over until we developed our own recipe. During these baking and cooking adventures, I soon realized that there is so much more than cooking and baking that can be taught in the kitchen. Cooking encourages independence and also sparks your child’s creativity, and sense of wonder. When we teach our kids to cook and bake, we are also showing them that amazing things can come from having patience. It’s a gift that will continue to give to them for the rest of their lives. Getting your little ones in on cooking family recipes allows them to bond with you and previous generations.
What’s it like working together, as mom and daughter? Pros and cons?
The connection between a mother and daughter is like no other. I am sure we have all heard this sentiment before, but it’s for a reason. When life blesses a woman with a daughter, she is guaranteed a best friend forever. Alessia and I know that to be a fact. Although much of a mother-daughter relationship comes naturally, a significant part comes from learning and growing together through everyday activities. Bonding time comes in different shapes or forms, and Alessia and I chose to build a brand together. Working together allowed us to get to know each other personally and to spend more valuable time together. Having one-on-one bonding time with your child is crucial for creating a long-lasting, trusting, and loving relationship. I am learning and growing with Alessia and creating a lifetime of memories. Raising our children with an entrepreneurial mindset can set them up for great success in the future. And as Alessia and I continue to grow our company, this becomes more evident. She is learning to take risks, embrace curiosity, open her mind, and become self-reflective. For example, kids often want instant gratification. But if we teach them the importance of investing as opposed to spending, they will be set up for great success. When we started the business, Alessia wanted payment for her work in the form of her favourite video game dollars. Instead, I suggested she invest in stocks for her favorite video game. She has since been able to see how quickly her money can grow if she chooses to save instead of spend. Alessia is involved in every aspect of the business now, despite being only eight years old. After all, she is the inspiration for the brand as a whole. Marketing, social media and product design are very exciting for Alessia, but I want her to get involved and learn about everything, such as accounting, finance, logistics and operations, so my challenge is to engage her and to keep it fun for her.
Mirabela, as we celebrate women in March, what do you hope for your own daughter and the future of females in the near and far future?
After having a fulfilling and successful career, now that my path has changed to becoming my own boss and embarking on an entrepreneurial journey, my dreams are to build up others and support their dreams too. I also wanted to show my daughter that she could follow her dreams by pursuing my own. I want all women to feel hope after reading this article. I want them to see that even in dark times, such as a worldwide pandemic, that has turned our lives upside down, you can do anything. It’s okay to let your imagination soar and follow your dreams, whatever they are. Know that you will face many obstacles and make mistakes along the way, but you will always come out on the other side no matter what anyone else says. Whatever your dream is, you need to follow it wholeheartedly and always remember to keep sight of why it’s important for you—it will be your motivation.
Alessia, how does your mom provide you with a great female role model?
I love nature and animals and I believe that every child has the right to a better planet. My mom taught me that no matter how young I am, I have the power to make a change, even if it’s a small one. She taught me to never give up and follow my dreams. I started Alessia’s Club, as part of our brand to help make my dream of preserving our forests and wildlife habitat a reality. We have partnered with Tree Canada and for every sousShelf sold, a tree gets planted through the National Greening Program and we help contribute to a cleaner planet. I enjoy working and spending time with my mom and love how we always communicate by asking questions. My mom calls them “starbursting sessions”.
Win! A $160 sousShelf!
Congrats Selina Y. of Coquitlam, BC, who will receive a $160 sousShelf! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.