A love letter about rad female clients, on International Women's Day.

All the clients we work with at The Friday List are husband and wife teams, and mostly the women are the ones I have the most dialogue with in shaping the way we work together.

I’ve settled into a smaller roster of clients for Spring, and these women are a big part of the reason I work with the clients I do. The have all been supportive in their own ways, offering guidance, advice, leadership, and friendship. They have valued my own experience and philosophies, and shared a lot of laughter along the way.

On International Women’s Day I’m sharing just a few words about each of the fabulous women we work with, so you can get to know the women behind the products we represent.

Many of our customers and readers are also women, and I’ve enjoyed working with all of you, your wide range of backgrounds and experience has been really fun to get to know. The vast knowledge of (wines especially) products from around the world is a true inspiration and nod to the rewards of devotion to craft. Cheers to all of you, and the great men that support us as we raise families, work, look towards retirement, travel, march, and encourage each other by being positive examples and living our best lives, even on the hard days spent in pyjamas on the couch, driving someone to school late, or burning dinner for a party.

Leigh Stratton

Leigh Stratton, Bridge Brewing.

Leigh always cracks me up. She frequently posts on Facebook that she’s asked an unsuspecting girlfriend to “join her for a run”, or “come sailing” and it turns out to be a backcountry trail race, a sailboat race where her friend ends up in the ocean, or some other adventure. Leigh’s background in hospitality has given her a clear sense of direction for the tasting room experience and brand portrayal of Bridge Brewing. She’s deeply committed to sustainability, service and positive interactions with each customer. A mom of little ones, she is currently growing a brewery, raising a family, working on projects at home, and committing to her own health with trail running, hiking, paddle boarding and other outdoor pursuits. She leads with a great example, and doesn't shy away from the tough conversations.

Dawn, Doug & Wyatt Lennie / Legend Distilling

Dawn Lennie, Legend Distilling.

Dawn has been one of my biggest supporters and fans, she’s encouraged me and valued my feedback, using our conversations to grow both of our businesses. Her trust in me has led to referrals I value greatly. We're finding the right people to work with, and having a great time doing it. The text exchanges over gin & tonics, the random conversations and ideas, are always encouraged with Dawn. Over the holidays Dawn took the time to send me such a great letter of gratitude, I have it sitting on my desk still today. A mom, wife, business owner and proud spokeswoman for her community and the lifestyle of living in Naramata, Dawn is a true example of how caring about the people you work with, where your ingredients come from, and how you treat others, is the best example.

Miranda & Dell Halladay

Miranda Halladay, Naramata Cider Co.

In my first conversation with Miranda, I knew I wanted to work with her. She has been behind the Elephant Island Fruit Wines brand for almost two decades, and the new(er) Naramata Cider Company is her baby. She has a clear direction for it, engages in market feedback, and has handled it’s growth and challenges with a calm and commitment to longer term planning that only comes with experience. She’s incredibly thorough and thoughtful in her work, and her eye for design and marketing makes the Naramata Cider brand such a fun brand to work with. Selfishly I look forward to learning more from Miranda as we launch into our first Spring together (so called cider season starts now, but who doesn’t love it all year?) and she continues to both share her experience, and ask after mine.

Brad & Audralee / Black Cloud

Audralee Daum, Black Cloud Pinot Noir.

Well this lady, she’s my favourite of the bunch to have a glass bottle of wine with. Partly because we’ve done so in Vancouver, Penticton, points across the Okanagan (she introduced me to the magic that is Wendy in the Bella Wines tasting room), Paris, and deep in the heart of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Of all my clients, Audralee was my first, and the one I had a friendship with first. We’ve shared our lives, almost tears, hugs, laughter, and too many sarcastic jokes to count. Audralee is a mom, step-mom, and career-driven woman with a diverse background. Her career has spanned working with people with disabilities, to presenting wine in some of the best tasting rooms in the Okanagan. Audralee has been a key partner in launching and growing my own business, and we have accomplished much together.

Daydreamer Wines Family

Rachel Ansems, Daydreamer Wines.

Rachel is one of our newest clients, and I haven’t had much time to get to know her just yet, but the glowing reviews from Dawn at Legend led me to Rachel and Daydreamer, so I know there is great potential in our work together. Raising three kids, starting a winery, and keeping on top of all the the things that come along with that, Rachel is committed to small production, sustainable farming, and making sure there are paddle-boarding and ski days for (herself) and the kids, and it’s not all work. A Photographer with international wine experience, I look forward to growing with Rachel and Daydreamer, and learning from her.

Joanna Schlosser / Niche Wine Co.

Joanna Schlosser, Niche Wine Company.

Joanna is awesome. She has an Instagram account just for her wee one, a two year old boy who’s cute as a button. A new(ish) mom, Joanna is leading the charge in all things brand and sales in the 800 case winery she co-owns with her husband James. They are farming and producing wines in a natural way, and with her experience from Lululemon and other branding work, Joanna is driving a deep commitment to creating a brand that tells a real story, stands out, and is true to it’s roots, right from the beginning. She is not afraid to challenge the status quo and is making things happen with Niche all while managing a day job, and creating a growing sales team that’s taking a fresh, personal approach to sharing their wines in a big market. We have had great discussions about the future of BC wine, where it's going, and how she wants Niche Wine Company to grow.

Thanks to all the women, working or striking today, marching or otherwise supporting; each other, your families, colleagues and loved ones, around the world, at home, and next door.

With love, gratitude, and amazement, 
Chantal Ireland