Ketology – My Unplanned Journey Into Business: Jacqueline, Gr. 12

Hi York House Community! I hope you are all keeping well. My name is Jacqueline and I graduated from York House this year. Although the spring and summer look different than we anticipated, and the world is shaken up, it is important to find joy and simplicity in the things that we love to do. After losing my job due to COVID-19, I began brainstorming how I could combine doing something I love while being productive and gaining valuable experience during the coming months. I founded Ketology Artisanal Foods. You can find me at or @ketologyvancouver on Instagram!

What is Ketology?
As someone who adheres to a long-term ketogenic diet, I know how hard it is to find foods and treats that are free of refined carbohydrates, sugar, preservatives, and toxic-oils. Sugar is added to everything we eat these days. This inspired me to take my passion for leading a sugar-free, low carbohydrate, clean ingredient lifestyle, and make it easily accessible to others. I also know that everyone likes a yummy treat.

I was walking my dog when it just came to me: a keto-friendly food delivery business that hand-crafts delicious, fresh, and healthy baked goods, condiments, sauces, snacks and more, all with ingredients you can pronounce. All Ketology products are free of sugar, refined carbohydrates, gluten, toxic-oils, aspartame, and preservatives. I have a goal to reform our food system from the bottom up and a genuine passion to help individuals take control of their health. Ketology offers delicious products hand-crafted with almond and coconut flours, and low-carb sugar-free, high-quality alternative sweeteners like monk fruit.

Our Products:
Some of the Ketology products include “The WoCo”: a walnut coconut chocolate chip cookie I have created, Zucchini Coffee Cake Muffins, and Lemon Ricotta Muffins. We also offer a “Green Jar Collection”: Chimichurri, Almond Pesto, and Green Goddess Dressing. A recent, very popular addition to our menu is our “Gummies With a Purpose.” These gummies are unique – made with organic grass-fed gelatin, they are high in protein and have next to zero calories. Like all Ketology products, they are sugar-free and preservative-free. Our gummies have different properties beneficial for your health. “The AntiFlam” is an anti-inflammatory apple cider vinegar turmeric gummy. “The AntiOx” is an antioxidant jasmine green tea matcha gummy. Our “Electrolyte” gummies come in many different fun flavours. We also sell jams in our “Red Jar Collection,” assorted chocolates, and candied nuts called “Krack” (because they are so addictive!). I am constantly looking for ways to expand our product line and perfect different treats for you. There may be a brownie making an appearance soon.

Starting a Business:
My number one challenge in launching Ketology was that I knew absolutely nothing about running a business! However, I did have a general idea about what I wanted my business would look like when I announced it on Instagram. I formulated my company’s mission statement and philosophy and decided on a target market. If I am being totally candid with you, before having “launched” my first few products, I knew nothing about costing.

My business depends on expensive, high-quality ingredients like fresh herbs, monk fruit sweetener, almond and coconut flours, and stevia-sweetened chocolate chips. I quickly learned that sourcing bags and bags of Almond Flour at Choices was not cost-effective and once I ran out of my pretty boxes from Michaels, I had to haul in the big guns: Hubert Canada, a packaging wholesaler. I realized if I didn’t buy wholesale ingredients and packaging, my products would be prohibitively expensive.

My day job is in the kitchen and running around the city doing deliveries, and my night job is research, book-keeping, and product development. I always knew networking was important. I have had the privilege to connect with some local businesses that are much further ahead with their companies than I am, and I am constantly learning. Things are far smoother now than they were one month ago. It’s still a 6:00 am to midnight job right now, but I am having so much fun with it that it doesn’t really feel like a job.

I have learned many different aspects of running a business. I have incorporated a company. I have learned the importance of costing every single muffin and every single chocolate. I have learned the importance of marketing, branding, and customer service. Most importantly, I have learned the value of personal conversations with customers, getting honest feedback, and working to exceed expectations. I am so excited and passionate about my business, especially connecting with many faces, new and old, and all the wonderful front porch conversations. I am finding running a business to be a very rewarding experience. As I mentioned, it is keeping me extremely busy, busier than I ever expected, but I love it.

The Future for Ketology:
What was initially a summer gig has evolved into what I hope will be a long term business. A few weeks into establishing Ketology, a family friend reached out to me. Her name is Nicole Lambert and she is my keto-guru. She has been adhering to a keto diet for years and is extremely knowledgeable about this field and the field of business. She wants to help me make Ketology a viable and sustainable business while I am studying Commerce at McGill for the next four years. Who knows where this will take me, but I do know I have gained the confidence to reach out to mentors, explore my passions, and dive into the unknown. Hopefully, Ketology will keep its momentum and you will see our products on store shelves in the future. Maybe Ketology will be its own store! Who knows!

In these challenging times, we must embrace community, nature, and our hobbies and passions. Now is the best time to start a local, community-based business. If a global pandemic in my senior year has taught me anything, it is that no one can predict the future. Take risks. Explore your passions. Dive into the unknown, and keep diving deeper. You never know what will come of it.

Fashion Label CRAZYYABAI Hits Vancouver Fashion Week

It is not unusual to hear stories of remarkable accomplishments by Yorkies. But what is sometimes surprising is that they appear in a way that is a bit unexpected and in someone so young.

Ming, who will be entering Grade 12 next year, has a quiet and humble way about her. But don’t be fooled by her unassuming nature. This spring, this York House student, who is already quite well known for her painting and drawing, was invited to present her fashion-forward label, CRAZYYABAI, at Vancouver Fashion Week.  

People that are truly passionate about something often say that they knew at a very young age. A YHS student since Kindergarten, Ming remembers having an interest in fashion from the age of five. But what is truly remarkable is that she didn’t begin to act on it until just last year, and this is where the story gets really interesting.

Following her mother’s advice, she focused on fine arts. Her mom already recognized her creative talent, but she encouraged Ming to build her foundation skills first. Years later, when she began to get a little bored with painting and drawing, she started personalizing her own clothing (not her uniform of course) in small ways at first.

Watching her mother, a seamstress herself, create clothing eventually inspired Ming to try it herself. Only a year ago, she started with a basic course, and she would practise every chance she got. She started with something simple – a hoodie. She stenciled the pattern, played with the fabric, and sometimes it took her 16 hours just to make one hoodie as she made mistakes along the way.

Last year, Grade 10 for Ming, offered her more time and if she didn’t have homework she would sometimes spend up to eight hours just creating and sewing. The academic commitment in Grade 11 this made that a little more challenging.

It all started with the Fine Arts class she has been taking since she was five on Granville Island. One of her pieces was selected to be featured in an exhibit downtown and at the show opening, she met someone who not only liked her painting but whose interest was piqued by what she was wearing. Ming began sharing her passion for fashion design. And as things sometimes unfold, this person knew the director of Vancouver Fashion Week. Two weeks later Ming had a meeting set with the Director. At her mother’s encouragement, she brought along some of her clothing.

The Director was so impressed with both the uniqueness and maturity of the designs that she invited Ming to present eight outfits for Vancouver Fashion Week and Vancouver Kids Fashion Week in the New Designer category.

With only two months to prepare eight complete outfits (each outfit required four garments each for a total of 32 pieces) during Term 2 (the hardest term in Ming’s opinion), the pressure was on. But with the help of her mom and her friend Sunita, who she used as her fitting model, Ming went to work.

Reflecting back, Ming says that her biggest learning was probably in the whole process. The outfits changed completely from start to finish. She began sketching but when it came time to assemble the outfits she had to be adaptable. Sometimes materials would be unavailable or what looked good on paper didn’t seem to work in reality. During the winter break, her mother and her went to Seoul, Korea on what was meant to be a holiday, but they soon happily discovered that Seoul has a DIY culture that makes it a mecca for finding interesting materials and accessories.

As Vancouver Fashion Week approached, she was then introduced to all that it takes to put a show together. It is not just about the clothing! She had five assistants assigned to her in the days leading up to the show.

One week before the show, she had to fit the models and more than half the clothing didn’t fit properly because she wasn’t given accurate measurements – some measurements were as far out as 10 inches, which changed the entire look of each piece.

She had to collaborate with the show DJ to create a playlist of uncopyrighted music, which was a challenge in itself. For the last four days, she spent her time making accessories to accompany each outfit including chokers and earrings. By the end of those days, her fingers were covered in band-aids, but she would just keep going. She also had to collaborate eight separate looks with the hairdressers and make-up artists, which were hard to narrow down.

In spite of the enormous pressure, what Ming struggled most with was consistency. She was trying to bring together a complete look with consistent lines, but the fact that she is so young made her feel that this was quite a challenge to achieve. She had the maturity to know that it is hard to keep the lines consistent throughout the collection when her own identity is still evolving. Often she felt frustrated and experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, but her mom helped keep her focused.

On the day of the show, there was a scheduled rehearsal in the morning, complete with the choreography, and somehow she was quite relaxed. But by show time there were 120 people backstage, with show assistants and choreographers all running around with headsets, models and six assistants that were there to help her get the models dressed, and photographers taking photos. By then, the realization hit that this was actually happening. Her collection was now on the runway and she was nudged onto the stage where she was just so thankful that it was done. She had accomplished what she set out to do. But only moments after her collection was revealed, the show coordinator grabbed her and suddenly there were about 20 media people surrounding her and clamoring for her attention.

After the show, she simply went for bubble tea and then home to bed where she was probably more tired than she had ever been in her life. But the story doesn’t end there. A few days after Vancouver Fashion Week, she received an email from the Director of Paris/London Fashion Week and they offered her her own exclusive fashion show. Not as a young designer, not as a new designer, but just as a designer in her own right.

She has already started sketching and it looks like she will be working on her collection for much of the summer. It will be exciting to see this next collection from CRAZYYABAI and what will come next for this young fashion designer in our midst!