Serial entrepreneur Mary Bratko dropped away from her neuromedical dreams when she discovered the life-changing magic of creating a life doing something she loved.
Learning that she could earn a living offering what she knew to others, Mary found herself building one of Canada’s highest-profile wedding planning blogs, a full-time wedding planner, in the event-planning space , running a floral design studio, campaigning vendor marketing initiatives, offering training for aspiring bloggers and planners, and finally teaching large-scale how-to workshops on everything she’d learned.
It was her own disdain for doing her hair and make-up, and the need to look polished for filming and appearances, that inspired Mary to build Canada’s 1st on-demand mobile beauty app. PrettyBird was born.
Working with hundreds of Beauty Pros to complete thousands of PrettyBird bookings, Mary and her co-founder Mark Wilson saw the potential in tying Mary’s wedding prowess together with work opportunities for women across Canada but somehow it still didn’t feel like enough.
“You don’t even care about how you look, Mary.” a close friend reflected.
“Is PrettyBird really enough for you?”
Well people evolve. And so do their brands.
Amidst her trials and tribulations of developing the PrettyBird brand, it was the women Mary connected with most.
“With courage comes the ability to change the world.”
“Our Beauty Pros, these amazing artists and stylists, they are all so much more than just their ability to style a boho braid or draw the perfect winged liner. When I would ask them why they became Hair Stylists or Make-Up Artists they all spoke about their love for making women feel beautiful. With beauty comes confidence, with confidence comes fearlessness, and with courage comes the ability to change the world.”
Mary knew the power of PrettyBird could reach far beyond hair and makeup for someone’s wedding day or a job interview. In the midst of PrettyBird bookings it was clear that clients cared most about the connections they made with their Pros.
“Sarah is just the sweetest girl! We absolutely loved her!”
“Did you know that Katie and I both graduated from political science? We had so much in common that we didn’t stop talking the entire time!”
“Alison and I chatted about our toddlers the whole time she did my make-up. It was unlike any appointment I’ve ever had. I left feeling like she understood me and I was so inspired by all the parenting advice she shared!”
Even Canadian celebrity actress Kat Barrell contacted PrettyBird to book her wedding day and red-carpet VIP event beauty teams.
That’s about the time when Mary and Mark sold everything they owned to travel the world. Suddenly they found themselves in a foreign country, learned they were expecting twins, and they were alone.
- Birthing twins was hard
- Postpartum was hard
- Overcoming such a difficult time without a tribe was proving damn near impossible
“Even though we were living in this gorgeous medieval European town, our twins were healthy and we were all adjusting to life together, I was alone. I felt alone. Language was a barrier. I struggled to find where to turn for support, for information, for love. I had no girlfriends nearby who could relate to what I was going through.” – and it was this lack of a tribe at such a pivotal moment in Mary’s life that inspired the PrettyBird revolution.
In an attempt to heal emotionally and mentally, Mary traveled to London to spend a few days clearing her head and opening herself up to anything the Universe had in line for her. She unexpectedly found herself at SoulSpace, an urban healing center, where she connected with two powerful likeminded women, entrepreneurs. One was a birth doula and spiritual healer and the other was a mystic and fertility expert.
The connections were unplanned but their impact was exactly what Mary had been looking for: love, strength, and hope funnelling back into her heart by women with so much power and expertise to give.
“Women get women. It’s visceral. We connect.”
From the soul-stuff came the business-stuff. Mary, a storyteller and marketing maven connecting with passionate, talented light workers and healers who struggle to share themselves online and use their work to reach a large audience. “There aren’t marketing opportunities for our field of work.” they explained.
The exchange that afternoon was not only physical/spiritual but it was cognitive and pragmatic. These women were suddenly the tribe Mary was looking for. They gave her a gift beyond their skills: the solace of connection.
Women have been connecting with each other for love, support, wisdom, skills, and experience since the beginning of time. But today, faceless booking tools match us with whoever’s closest and earliest available.
Can we bring the human element of meaningful connection to the ease and simplicity of booking the services women need?
Can we build a network of beauty, wellness, and parenting pros that can offer their insight and skills not just nearby but to women around the world?
Hair Stylists. Makeup Artists. Massage Therapists. Yoga Teachers. Nutritionists. Life Coaches. Self-Care Experts. Meditation Gurus. Nail Technicians. Personal Trainers. Midwives. Birth Doulas. Lactation Consultants. Nannies. These, and more, are the Pros we need to live, look, feel, and be our best.
And they’re working hard to create a life doing what they love as well! They’re not just experts in their field but they, too, have a story, a family, past experiences, struggles, accomplishments.
Imagine booking a hair stylist not just based on the skills she has but being matched because you’re both aspiring vegans and avid yoga practitioners. Or picture booking a babysitter on demand and having the power to filter by language in a foreign country. Our personality is power, and Lella was built to harness it.
It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a tribe to support a woman. Lella helps you find yours.
Lella is going live soon and you can be among the first to join!
You can download the Lella (Beta version) now: