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You know what is one of the coolest things about being in business? Meeting all of the other cool chicks following their dreams and living intentionally. On our latest collaborative shoot, we got to work with the Dancewear Centre and Tendu Active — two Toronto companies that are paving the way for innovation.

After working with them, I had so many questions.. like, what inspires them? Why do they do what they do? How can more young girls and boys in our industry follow their dreams like they did theirs? So I asked them, and here’s what they had to say.

MEET TALISA — Owner of Tendu Active

How has dance shaped your life and led you to start your own business?

I started dancing at four and became a competitive studio dancer . I absolutely loved it! The feeling of stepping onto a stage, with your group, after months of training, knowing in your heart you are going to crush it together; was unreal!! I loved my studio years at DLDA xx

After the studio, I auditioned for the Toronto Raptors Dance Pack and made the team at nineteen. Dancing for the Toronto Raptors was an amazing experience. I was a professional NBA Dancer from 2004 – 2008, then again in 2014 when I was selected to be on the Raptors Alumni Dance Team. Performing for a stadium of over 19,000 fans was epic. I danced at every home game, volunteered for charity events, performed at promo events, travelled to China and all over Canada. Representing the Toronto Raptors organization all while being a full time student. The Raptors Dance Pack helped me realize how beautifully diverse our city is and that there are lots of proud Canadian supporters amongst us.

What’s your WHY? Why did you start Tendu Active and what drives your passion?

I created Tendu Active because I love activities. I love wearing athletic outfits but the fashioniesta side of me always wanted to look fabulous regardless of what I was doing. If you have to put clothes on, I say they should say something about your personality. I felt that the sports bras I previously owned were boring, meant to be covered up, not shown off.

Tendu Active was created by a dancer but made for active women everywhere. When I stopped dancing and started my fashion career I naturally lost muscle. I was sitting in an office, working crazy late hours and my diet was all over the place. I realized something, I like being active, moving makes me feel good. I needed to incorporate activity into my life everyday. The one thing I put on no matter what class I took was always a sports bra!

Currently my friends and I take classes every week, it is a fun way to stay in shape and socialize with people. My favourite activities are, dance, barre, bootcamp, cycle, yoga, boxing and going for walks. I love wearing sports bras because they are super comfortable. We all wear them, why not make them hot? I merged my Raptors Dance Pack Style with my years of experience in the fashion industry. Being Canadian, I wanted to help the Canadian economy grow therefore I designed my line in Toronto and manufacture it in Canada, generating the highest quality garment possible.

What do you envision for Tendu Active in the next 5 years?

In the next five years I hope to make Tendu Active the top clothing brand in the dance community, collaborating with local dance studios and professional dance teams while running a chain of Tendu Active stores across Canada.

If you could give one piece of advice to young dreamers, what would it be?

Never give up, if you are passionate about something purse it but do your research because knowledge is power.

MEET AMANDA — Head of Marketing + Activewear at Dancewear Centre

Who, what, where? Give us the breakdown on everything Amanda.

My name is Amanda Gaskin (Vorps) and I am the head of marketing and activewear at Dancewear Centre, Canada’s largest dance retailer and one and only dance lifestyle store. I was born and raised in a musical household in Markham, Ontario with my sister, parents and grandparents from Hong Kong. Growing up around music every day has really shaped who I am today. My parents have always been supporters of the arts which is why both my sister and I have gone down that path. I’ve always had a love for the performing arts industry.

How has dance shaped your life and led you to where you are today?

Dance has shaped my life in so many ways I can’t even begin to explain. I started ballet at a very young age and grew up with it my whole life. It has definitely shaped me into the person I am today. Would I be the same person without dance? Absolutely not. I would have to say dance has shaped my personality, the way I enjoy listening to music, the way I dress, the way I carry myself, the way I think, the way I walk (duck walk…a.k.a “Indefinite turnout”. Can’t be turned off, haha)… pretty much everything.
Dance has always been there in my life and as much as it has brought tears in the years of training it has also brought loads of happiness and laughter. I wouldn’t be the same person without dance and I am thankful for dance in my life.

What is your favourite part of being your own boss?

Hmmm, I would honestly have to say being able to work on my own schedule without the stress of following someone else’s. (I also love putting my ideas into actuality without being shut down right away or having to go through a higher position to get those ideas out into the world).

What is your least favourite?

As much as having my own schedule as one of favourite things about being my own boss it is also one of the most difficult parts. It’s easy to stray from your self-made schedule so you definitely have to gain a lot of self discipline to push yourself to get things done! You are also always working. Even if you’re on vacation… you are working. (Your brain is always running and always thinking about the business)

Do you have a mantra you live by? If so, what is it and why?

Be thankful for the opportunities that you’re given in life, even if they are small. Remember to always take them and shoot for the stars. Push yourself to be the best version of you and trust me, you’ll surprise yourself! 🙂
You are capable of anything if you just put your mind to it!

I’ve struggled with self-confidence my whole life and still do. Still working on it, but the more I learn about myself the stronger I feel, the more confident I feel and the more proud I am about myself. As a dancer you are always trying to be 120% (probably even more sometimes) but I’ve learned that you can only please so many people, so focus on you, because “you” are the most important.

What can we expect to see from the Dancewear Centre in the next year?

Lots more events that will bring the dance community together under one roof. 🙂 You’ll have to wait and see what that might be!

If you could give one piece of advice to young dreamers, what would it be?

It might sound cheesy but truthfully: Go chase your dreams, dream big and don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way!

CHECK OUT the L O O K B O O K that we created here!

What would you do if you could do ANYTHING? What would you do even if you failed at it first? Whatever that is for you… go on and do it.

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