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A business fair for Lovely Ladies who make

By François Levesque on June 22, 2012

I first heard of Magida El-Kassis a couple of years ago, when she was still at SPAO – the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa. She had been recognized by her peers and the staff at SPAO for her great photography. Little did I know she was a country girl from Richmond, Ontario, just outside of Stittsville. Even now that she’s been back in Richmond for about 3 years, El-Kassis still has a foot in Ottawa and is making things happen. Her latest endeavour is the Ottawa Women Small Business Fair and Fundraiser.

When Magida got the idea to showcase creations by women, she was thinking small. But an encounter with Jenny Walker, now her business partner in this adventure, convinced her to go big. Through connections, they landed the new city archives building – a prime spot, even though it is a bit out of the way. And all they had to do was fill it. The Lovely Ladies, as they like to call themselves, recruited over forty vendors to participate in the first annual edition of the business fair. They got to visit many of them in their workspace. “We wanted to keep things diverse, says El-Kassis, we didn’t pick more than 3 of each type of creations.” There will also be facials for women as well as things for men. Magida is particularly excited to have the women behind Purple Urchin, who’ve been making quite a splash in Ottawa’s small business scene with their soaps and other products. Purple Urchin makes all their products in small batches, for quality, consistency, and freshness – everything is done in house. She mentions The Lost City, with its screen-printed wears, and sweetstitch as other creative vendors that should draw a crowd.

Admission is free for the event but a percentage of the profits raised will go to Chrysalis House, a shelter for women in Ottawa. “My sister used to work at the women’s shelter and I used to go help her once in a while. The atmosphere there is always intense, and they need all the support they can get. With messed up things like what just happened in Stittsville, shelters for women are needed more than ever.”

The event runs Saturday June 23, 2012 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m AND Sunday June 24, 2012 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m the city of Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive.