Feature Profiles

Jamaican food stall gives Necole Hines freedom to dream

Calgary woman leaves poverty behind to start her own business

thumb finalvertThe rich aroma of Jamaican jerk spices —pimentos, cinnamon, cloves and Scotch bonnet peppers — fills the air at Wings n Tings, Necole Hines' food stall at Crossroads Market. Hines bounces constantly around less than 100 sq. ft. of space. She pops a pan of freshly-made vegetable patties into the oven, then turns around to the stainless steel sink to wash as many dishes as she can in between cheerfully serving customers plates of patties, rice and peas and her signature jerk chicken wings.

Originally from Toronto and born to Jamaican parents, Hines moved to Calgary 10 years ago. A year later, she left a difficult marriage and struck out on her own, taking her three young sons with her.

For the next three years, Hines worked a succession low-paying jobs, struggling to make ends meet as she raised three growing boys on her own. Poverty, she said, stifled her ability to dream about the future.

"When you're living in poverty, you're pretty much in survival mode," she said. "You don't really have a lot of time to spend dreaming. I have to worry about how I'm going to pay for a car payment, or my rent, or a cell phone bill, or food - that's what takes precedent."


Calgarian explores Eastern medicine

Chris Munstermann's health problems shaped his career as an acupuncturist

thumb GarthDymentfinalOne man's family health struggles and loss of his best friend, have forced him to find compassion for himself so he can discover who he is.

Chris Munstermann, 32-years-old, grew up in the Deer Run area of Calgary, Alta. As a young boy, Munstermann faced a long line of hardships, which ranged from watching his best friend move away, to living with his mom as she battled cancer.

Due to these circumstances, Munstermann was thrust into an adult role early on.

"My oldest friend moved away when I was 13," says Munstermann. "That split was something I couldn't get over for the longest time."


Balancing art and motherhood in Calgary

Mandy Wendt: Immaculate Concept tattoo artist 

Thumb The air smells like sterilization, and all you hear are machines constantly buzzing and buzzing. A place with strong smells, strong noises, and strong personalities shouldn't be enticing, but apparently it is. It's Mandy Wendt's sanctuary. It's this single mom's creative outlet, and her second home: Immaculate Concept Tattoo.

Wendt has been a tattoo artist for seven years in Calgary, and has been at Immaculate Concept for four of those years.

Sitting in her private office surrounded by drawings, paintings, and stencils, Wendt discusses how she got into the tattoo business: "I think its just chance.


Men’s style from a woman’s perspective

Young entrepreneur turns her love of shopping, fashion and helping others into a successful career.

thumb LaurenUPLOADAfter graduating with a business degree, Lauren Larsen was in a similar situation as many graduates: overworked, unfulfilled and yearning for more.

However, Larsen decided to take control and within a year turned her own hobby and passion into a successful business, Ensemble Style, which specializes in personalized styling for men.