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Facilitating Growth & Inspiration

Pretty Elevated by Irisa Propels Forward Women-Led Businesses

— August 19, 2019 — Business
Pretty Elevated by Irisa is a one-of-a-kind pop-up space which holds community-building at its core. The concept is developed by Irisa — a woman-led wellness brand that "amplifies the female voice in the masculine cannabis space." The company has curated a temporary activation that will provide a brick-and-mortar space for different women-owned business every week, as well as a series of workshops and a co-working space that are free for the public to take advantage of.

Trend Hunter spoke with Berrin Noorata — Irisa's VP of Communications, who elaborated on the importance of launching spaces like Pretty Elevated, facilitating collaboration and supporting the female entrepreneur.

Pretty Elevated by Irisa is a “first-of-its-kind community collective and pop-up.” Can you tell us a little bit more of how this activation disrupts the space of the temporary retail activation?

'Pretty Elevated' is a social impact initiative by Irisa, which is a cannabis wellness brand. The company was developed by a collective of women and a few 'cool' men, as we like to say. As a brand, it was envisioned to disrupt and contribute to the wellness revolution that is happening right now, with a focus on alternative plant-based medicine, specifically cannabis. Through this, we wanted to amplify the female voice in the cannabis industry. We aimed to create something that will help empower women. As a result, the goal of 'Pretty Elevated' is just that -- to directly impact communities in cities across Canada. What makes these spaces different is that they facilitate community-building and invite different women-led companies to dial in, connect, and grow as a business.

'Pretty Elevated' is actually our inaugural activation in Canada that we're launching in Toronto. We are collaborating with over 30 different women-led businesses -- everything from designers, artists, and curators to beauty, fashion, and wellness brands. Irisa is paying for the space. It has curated and designed it. Our goal is to help and support these women-led businesses, to amplify their presence and promote them. We are not charging them to use this space. We simply want to help pay it forward. Thus, we create a safe community where individuals can continue to support one another and collaborate. We hope that people will find a voice and amplify their stories through this space, that people will walk by and make use of it, whether that be for working or shopping.

How did you go about curating the space and selecting the participating businesses? Given Irisa's industry, was cannabis a prerequisite for their business model?

The businesses don't have ties to cannabis at all. That wasn't a priority when we were doing research on who we'd like to partner with. The only prerequisite was for them to be local and women-led. We found these brands through word of mouth -- through friends, collaborators, and so on. It is who our inaugural group consists of. For this space, we will rotate different retailers, artists, and designers every week. In addition, we have a co-working space set up in the back. It is open to the public and usable for free as long as there is space available.

Why do you feel like it's necessary to spotlight women-led businesses in this way?

Supporting this type of activity is really important and rooted in our mission as a brand. In this day-and-age, there is a lot of opportunities and a lot of passion. I believe that getting a job as a means to just pay the bills is no longer all-encompassing. People have become more in tune with what they want to do. We want to help them achieve their dreams, goals, and passions. For example, one of the brands exhibiting this week at 'Pretty Elevated' is called Birdie Fit. Birdie Fit is built on the collective dream of a team of best friends. They've always wanted to launch this retail experience. They have curated it themselves and up until now, it has only been online. Irisa has built a platform to support passions, ideas, and dreams such as these. Our focus is on connecting people with something they've always dreamed of doing. What better way to build a community, right? If we can help people accomplish their dream of building a business, then we are accomplishing our goal. It's really that simple -- supporting each other in this wholesome way.

At the end of the day, we want to say 'Hey, we connected and collaborated with all these women. We believe in them and we want to give them the space, the voice and the opportunity to express themselves. We want to elevate people and their passions.'

Why is building communities so important in today’s day-and-age?

As I mentioned before, what we are striving to do mainly is support the business by giving it a physical space for free and facilitating exposure. In other words, we help them sell their products and establish connections with their consumer base in real ways. Prior, these businesses have been online only. Another avenue for support is connecting these young entrepreneurs with each other, with artist, curators, and media. We hope this will spark ideas and facilitate collaboration moving forward. Because that is what connecting does -- it motivates ideas. Building community and connectivity is at the core of what we want to do.

The event boasts retail, workshops and co-working spaces. Why is this combination highlighted and how do these elements inform one another?

During the day, we have the retail space which is all about driving success and support for businesses and ambitious entrepreneurs. The workshops are events, right? They are about engaging in different topics that are important in the contemporary landscape -- from Art Collecting to Investing. We help amplify these topics. A few opportunities we offer, for example, is Elena's Club who will be speaking to branding in the digital age, as well as Raia Carey -- a Toronto-based life coach, who will be coming in on Wednesday to do one-on-ones with individuals who sign up. The list goes on. It truly is a beautiful space that gives opportunities and support to anyone who is interested. You can sign up online for each of these events. They operate on a broad spectrum -- while appointments with Coach Carey are quite personal, the workshops are more community-focused, connecting on a bigger, broader level.

What is the edge of the female entrepreneur?

What makes the female entrepreneur different, newer, special is her unique connection to creativity and the perception of beauty within it. Ideas are boundless and it is extremely powerful when you bring a diverse group of women together. By 'diverse,' I mean in terms of cultural backgrounds, business experience, and so on. It is quite exciting. Every time I have been in environments such as these, I've felt empowered. There is no judgment, the setting is open, nurturing, and safe. It is all about the ideas and the people behind them. By creating such communities, you never know what you are going to get but something special always comes out.

Join the Pretty Elevated by Irisa community @PrettyElevated and