This isn’t your average book club, and these definitely aren’t average gals. Kara and Kate are the proud owners of Bad Girls Collective, a gathering of badass women who are on the intellectual tip. In 12 short months they’ve read 6 books, gained thousands of new collective members and created a community of women who lift each other up with every step. When I met Kate and Kara, their energy together was infectious, open, and a lot of fucking fun. Encouraging people to take the time to read, using books as a point of conversation for sharing larger truths, and having a few cocktails along the way is kind of their jam. If you’re in Toronto, the next Book Club is on the 4th of April and you can get all the details here.
Why did you decide to start Bad Girls Collective?
It all started as a New Year’s resolution four years ago.
A crew of our closest gal pals made it our mission to carve out some time from our wildly busy lives to slow down and read more but also to connect with the women in our lives over more meaningful conversation outside of weekend playtime. We formed a small but mighty book club rightly named Bad Girls Book Club. We met monthly to chat about a book, eat tons of cheese and drink more wine then Wednesdays usually allow for.
We were a hodgepodge of friends – from work, university, sports, extended friend groups. Many women hadn’t met prior to the birth of the book club but we all gathered in that living room in Little Italy with a common theme: we were all serious female hustlers.
As the months rolled on our little book club reached 20 or so and we realized we had outgrown the living room. We knew we had something special happening at our Bad Girl meet ups and we had to do something with that powerful energy we had created.
And then came Bad Girls Collective. One year ago on International Women’s Day 2017. The idea was to invite female book clubs from across the city to meet bi-monthly so to expand our girl gangs and form a mega book club. With the political climate south off the border and increasing frustration for equality and change the timing felt perfect to make it happen.
I know it’s over-said, but holy hell, women make magic when they join forces.
What have you learned since starting?
Positive: Once we started Bad Girls and had our ears to the ground seeking out local talent it became increasingly more apparent how truly tight knit of a community Toronto is. Everyone knows everyone. And for that, doers can get anything done by making the right connections. People are looking to collaborate. It doesn’t seem that competition is a negative energy here. Toronto is on one.
Negative: Pleasing everyone is an impossible feat.
How has starting Bad Girls strengthened your friendship?
Kara: It didn’t need strengthening. We get each other. We’re each other’s ying and yang. Kara’s the dreamer and Kate’s the realist. But of course when two friends start a business together there are bound to be moments of tension that did nothing but confirm our friendship.
Kate: Absolutely. Our strengths and experience compliment each other’s perfectly. Kara is our creative lead – the killer graphics and human voice come are thanks to her. My focus has been on marketing, operations and leveraging the incredible network I’ve been fortunate enough to build through my day job(s) to create strategic partnerships. We share the passion behind the concept. The determination to scale. And, the understanding that our friendship always takes precedence.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Kara: Aside from the usual answers like travel, painting, print, Pinterest etc. my true source of inspiration is a rather backwards answer; negative news. I get off on problem solving. Finding a solution to a shitty story is what it’s all about for me.
Kate: I continue to be inspired by all the wonderful women in our growing girl gang. It’s amazing to learn from everyone, gain new perspectives, garner new ideas… I am so fortunate to be surrounded by so many incredible girl bosses as my best pals and through Bad Girls Collective.
How do you decompress?
Kara: Running and wine. I get up every day at 6 and run. Silence. No music. Just my thoughts. And contrastingly I love having a glass of wine and talk non-stop at the end of the day with my man friend or gals.
Kate: I’m obsessed with spinning at Ride. It’s an hour of me time, the best sweat + where I do my best thinking – both personal, work and Bad Girls related. Like Kara, I also enjoy wine and quality time with my friends and my lovely, hunky boyfriend.
What can women look forward to from Bad Girls Collective?
A lot more: more book club author chats, more Run Club kms, more charity initiatives, more workshops, mentoring, networking, getaways, the list goes on. But most importantly more opportunities for women to connect, collaborate and celebrate each other.