Palak Loizides, founder of Embiria, worked in the corporate world for 10 years before taking the leap and launching Embiria, a company that offers unique and creative wellness experiences to help people build a sense of community and reconnect. Read on to find out what inspired her to change her career path, what’s next for Embiria, and some amazing tips on how to be your own boss!
Tell us about your career path leading up to establishing Embiria - what inspired you to start your own company?
After graduating from the University of Toronto with a business degree, I fell into the corporate world right away, working at Kraft Foods, RBC, Indigo (launched the Plum Rewards Free Points Program!), and TIFF. I loved working in the corporate world because there were always new challenges, but I wanted to do something more creative, more personal, and more aligned to me. So I left TIFF and took three months off where I spent time on figuring out what makes me curious, excited, and fulfilled - I meditated, did yoga, took some creative courses and travelled.
I found that going for brunch and drinks was getting repetitive, and I felt like I wanted more connection in my life and to find a sense of community. So I had this idea of combining brunch and yoga together into an experience that can get you to disconnect from your day to dayI then realized that this could evolve to various kinds of experiences, and eventually I had facilitators like artists, yoga teachers, and dance instructors approaching me asking if we could partner. I decided to produce and curate events by pairing local venues with awesome facilitators! I wanted a company that could give people experiences that allowed them to reconnect with themselves and meet new people. It’s been just over a year now since I launched it, and it’s been great.
"I never thought about plan B, so it wasn't like,
'Well if this doesn't work, I'm going to go back to my corporate job.'"
Was it challenging to change your career path from corporate jobs to becoming an entrepreneur?
I’m not a huge risk taker normally, and I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur growing up. I just had an idea of something fun that I wanted to do, and I didn’t approach it from the lens of putting so much pressure on it- it was more like let me just do it and test it. Taking the pressure off allowed me to be more creative, and by doing that, things flowed more naturally. I never thought about plan B, so it wasn’t like, “Well if this doesn’t work, I’m going to go back to my corporate job”. To me, it was more like let’s try this and see how it goes and take each day as it comes, instead of making a 5 year plan.
I do think my experience in the corporate world helped me - it’s also important to get that skillset of understanding structures and processes that you can leverage. In my previous jobs, I learned how to build partnerships and how to market and brand things. I still use all these elements every day and apply them to my business. I get a lot of awesome feedback on my branding, and I really owe that to my years of brand marketing experience in the corporate world!
"You really want to be passionate about and
believe in what you’re doing. You’re going to live
and breathe it day in and day out."
What are the top 3 traits/skills you would say are crucial to running your own business?
- Flexibility: the ability to roll with the punches, be open and willing to take whatever comes because no day is the same, and you have to be able to adapt.
- Drive: there are going to be times where you might have a creative block and feel unmotivated, but it’s about inspiring yourself and pushing through - you’re your own cheerleader.
- Passion: being aligned with what you’re doing. Sometimes people launch businesses with the wrong reasons, such as the sole purpose of making money. You really want to be passionate about and believe in what you’re doing. You’re going to live and breathe it day in and the day out. The best businesses are built out of something that you needed personally in your life and you created something to solve for that.
You’ve accomplished so much this past year! What’s next for Embiria?
Thank you! The first year was a lot of testing and experimenting, and it’s been a wild but amazing year. Now I’m at a point where I can evaluate and get to see what worked and what didn’t. I’m working on holding corporate events over the summer; I want to focus more on helping team building become more fun, going after companies, and helping to improve their culture. Coming from the corporate world I know how it is - we’d often we’d go out for drinks which became very typical, so I want to change that. We also have a Summer Cooking Workshop coming up!
For the Fall, I have many new and exciting workshops coming - we’re launching advanced Calligraphy Workshops (Watercolour Calligraphy!), and creating more of our popular events, such as Yoga x Brunch. I’ll also be speaking on a panel about my journey to entrepreneurship, and doing some events focused on building a business and how to get started.
Decorative name plates from one of Embiria's best-selling calligraphy workshops with Via Calligraphy
Do you have any morning routines or evening rituals to keep you balanced?
I have blocked off an hour every morning, and the first thing I do is a journal called “Morning Pages”. It’s a great way to jot down my thoughts, my intentions for the day and taking in the moment versus just grabbing my phone first thing in the morning. I try not to use my phone for at least an hour after I wake up in the morning. I think it’s so interesting that we wake up and often go on our phone right away. If you give yourself some space, that’s when the ideas come into fruition and you can take that time and be inspired, instead of immersing yourself in someone else’s ideas and looking at other people’s content.
I try to meditate after journalling, then I drink lemon water and a smoothie as I work on my productivity planner and map out my day or my week. I list out the top three things I need to get done for the day.
I also know that I want to take it slow on Monday mornings, so I usually book off until 11AM for personal time. I do the same thing for Friday, I accommodate my personal time after 3PM.
For evenings, I have a “no social media after 9PM” rule. I try to sleep with my phone outside of my bedroom. I read every night, and I end my day with meditation or journaling and reflect on what I want to happen differently and what I was happy with.
What’s one skin care product you can’t live without?
Serums and oils! I bought some from The Detox Market, and they have been amazing at balancing out the oil in your skin, which improved my skin complexion. I use NIU BODY's Repair Serum - I use it every night before bed, and it gives me the glow that I’m looking for. I also like Odacité's Aloe Mist - I take it on the plane to keep me hydrated. I also use Saje’s eye cream every evening.
Interview conducted by Yuri Hirama