We are super excited to have local mama/career coach Kathryn Meisner on our new blog!! That's right. we're interviewing local mama's about the products they use, what they love about their neighbourhood and why they shop at Tokki. We chose Kathryn because we love her and she's always giving a free workshop at the store on Monday June 17th at 10:30 on negotiating your salary. We asked her a few questions about all things parenting.
1. Who are you?
I'm Kathryn Meisner, Career & Salary Negotiation Coach.
I help people figure out the next step in their career without relying on resumes or gross networking.
At this point, I've had the privilege of working with 300+ people in 9 countries to find and land the job that's right for them with salary increases of over $55k.
Before I went full-time with my business almost 4 years ago, I was a career chameleon with range of roles in the tech, start-up, and non-profit sectors (ask me about the time I got a job from a tweet).
I have a wonderful husband, Eric, and a one year old, Astrid.
And two black cats who are definitely not upset that they've been replaced.
2. What are 5 essential things that are in your diaper bag also what diaper bag do you have?
One of the best tips I got about baby gear was that you don't have to use a regular diaper bag - you can just use a backpack.
So that's what I did.
This is my trusty, 8-year old backpack, made in Toronto in the Junction by YNOT.
I always carry one book in my bag for me and one book for Astrid.
I am a total New School fangirl! They helped me pay off $65k of student debt by age 30 and they're a team of all-women financial advisors.
Shoes from Tokki! They've been well-loved by Astrid.
"Love Makes a Family" by Sophia Beer - Whether a kid has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each this book teaches that it love that makes a family. From Type Books in the Junction.
Astrid's favourite stuffed animal aptly named, "Unicorn."
This was handmade by my mother-in-law's friends.
There's no actual unicorn horn but we figured it's probably a unicorn so the name stuck.
3. What neighbourhood do you live and why do you love it?
I live in the Junction and I LOVE it!
It has everything we need within a 10 minute walking distance of our home.
And it turns out that so many of the Junctions' local businesses are owned by women.
Here are a few of my go-to places in the Junction:
My absolute favourite brunch place. Amazing food (the cinnamon buns! the hashbrowns! the fried chicken and grits!) and incredibly kid-friendly atmosphere with a great kids' menu, high chairs, kids' books, and even a gameboy to keep kids entertained.
And if you have a super curious kid like I do, sit at the bar so they can watch the cooks.
Bonus: Dirty Food is a local, woman-owned business.
This is possibly my favourite cafe in all of Toronto.
Crema's high ceilings, beautiful hardwood floors, solid wi-fi, high-chairs, and a patio means I'm a regular.
I'm a coffee nerd but since getting pregnant all coffee tastes like variations on cafeteria coffee. I was this would change when I gave birth but it hasn't! This hasn't stopped me from drinking Crema's pourovers though...
Yet another women-owned business!
I could buy everything here.
The gorgeous jewelry and clothes are all from local designers.
This isn't your ordinary eco store.
All packaging is 100% plastic free and you can buy all the eco cleaning products you'd ever need IN BULK. Everything from toilet cleaning cubes (I tried them and they work) to laundry detergent.
And yup, Pretty Clean Shop is another local, woman-owned business.
This is where I go when I need a thoughtful gift (for a friend or myself), beautifully designed cards, or home decor.
Case in point: I just bought a gorgeous simple bangle with a twist in the centre to remind a friend whose mom had just finished cancer treatment that her community is there for her whatever twists and turns life may bring.
Hot tip: They have a loyalty program for cards. I buy A LOT of cards because I love thanking people for referring clients to me.
To borrow a phrase from the amazing local queer intersectional feminist tarot card reader and therapist, Carly Boyce: Referrals are my love language.
Vine Ave Park (200 Vine Ave)
Before I was a parent, parks were just for sitting in the shade and drinking beers.
I had no idea how essential parks would become once I had Astrid.
I'm so so grateful we have places like Vine Ave Park in Toronto.
With it's awesome partially-shaded splash pad (my kid and I are basically both vampires so this is key), TWO playground structures with swings, a soccer field, a basketball park
Fun fact: The soccer field and basketball park used to be grain silos and the rest was a park. Kids used to play in the silos - eep!
Source: My father-in-law who grew up in the Junction.
Do you hear that?
That's the sound of money leaving my bank account and going straight to this independent bookstore.
Hot tip: Type has THE BEST story-time I've ever been to led by children's book editor and Worn Journal's former editor, Serah-Marie.
Yay for public libraries! And this one has a massive children's book section.
Astrid got her first library card on the day she was born (my mother-in-law is a branch head of Black Creek Library - so tbh Type's story time is tied for first place with the story-time at her library).
4. Why do you shop at Tokki?
Oh wow - there are SO many reasons!
Every time I meet a mom, I'm like, "Have you been to Tokki? You have to go!"
Here are my top 5 reasons why I love Tokki:
1. Tokki is a local, women-owned business. I just want to give all my money to women-own businesses, you know? It takes blood, sweat, and tears to start your own business, especially when you're a mom like Tokki's co-founders, Amanda and Julie are.
2. Tokki goes out of their way to support other local businesses run by moms. For instance they carry My Kindness Calendar by local mom Maran Stern-Kubista and Strong Mama t-shirts by Jenn Green, founder of Baby Mama Fitness.
3. Tokki is more than just a kids' consignment store. There are epic pop-ups (I'm looking at you, Sonic Boom), workshops for parents, and classes for babies and toddlers. Astrid has already been to a 6-week baby sign language class and is halfway through her second 7 week Little Rebels music class.
4. Tokki doesn't separate clothing or toys by gender - yay! Having a daughter made me dread the clothing options. Some typically girly stuff is ok but I didn't want to feel forced into dressing her in all-pink, all-princess all-the time.
5. Tokki's space is designed for strollers! Why is this so rare?! This seems like a minor, practical detail but it's such a breath of fresh air. You don't have to wrestle with any stairs at their entrance and you can actually maneuver around the whole store without bumping into anything.
5. What was the last thing you bought at the store and why?
The Think Baby sunscreen lotion and stick.
Since I'm incredibly fair and Astrid has inherited my complexion, I've been on a quest for quality, non-sticky sunscreen for her.
Did you know that mineral sunscreen is supposedly best for kids and needs to have at least 20% zinc in it for it to be adequately effective? I had no idea until my paediatrician told me.
I've tried 5+ baby sunscreens and this is the best brand, by far.
Plus, it's non-greasy enough that I can use it as well!
6. Link to your business or social media profile if you’d like us to share
You can find out more about me and sign up for the salary negotiation workshop at Tokki here(space is limited).
In the meantime, you can get my complementary Salary Negotiation Guide for Women here.