Montreal’s Mavens: Rita Spadafora

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Montreal’s Mavens: Celebrating the Strong, Hardworking, and Inspirational Women in our City

I am extremely excited about launching Montreal’s Mavens, which could be found under the Mind tab on the menu bar! Throughout the past 2 years working on this blog I have realized how many strong and inspirational women there are in this city and felt it was something I wanted to highlight and share with you all. To all the women out there breaking barriers, working tirelessly for gender equality, and empowering other women, rather than tearing them down – I want to hear from you. If you know one of these women, if you are one of these women, or if you have a story to share about one of these women – please don’t be shy to reach out to me!

With Mother’s Day coming up, I want to give a huge shout out to all of the mothers who have sacrificed, encouraged, and empowered their own young girls to grow up as a generation of strong women and to do whatever they desire.

A huge thanks to my own mom for doing just that.

In the spirit of Mother’s Day I conducted an interview with business owner, Rita Spadafora, who curates personalized gift boxes with only the highest quality products from local sources. Not only is this a great gift idea for your mother this May, but Spadafora is also clearly one of Montreal’s Mavens!

Meet Rita Spadafora – Founder of Les Essentiels

What is Les Essentiels and how does it work?

Les Essentiels is a personalized gifting service. Clients can select products from my web site to customize their own gift box. I work with my clients, make suggestions as to what products they can select and work according to their budget.

Prior to starting your own small business, what were you up to?

I started working for the family business back in 1999-a Real Estate Management company-as an Administrative Director. As a matter of fact I still work there. I took some time off in September 2016 to launch my company and returned in February of this year.

What was the inspiration behind Les Essentiels?
I’ve always loved expressing my creative side – photography, décor, design- so I decided to put these passions together and start my own business.
I was looking to bring a unique and untraditional way to gift giving here in Montreal.


What makes Les Essentiels different from other gift-box services?
Well for starters there are no other gifting services like Les Essentiels here in Montreal!
The giftbox comes in a lovely wooden crate and clients have the opportunity to select the products they would like in their giftbox. Les Essentiels offers gifts for every occasion – whether it be a birthday, baby shower, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day… You can find it all here!


How do you choose the products for each box?
Lots and lots of research! It is important for me to have quality products to offer my clients.  The concept behind Les Essentiels is to offer all natural, handmade artisanal products so I take the time to read up on all the ingredients that go into making each product.  I strongly believe in supporting small local businesses so all my products are made here in Canada.


What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in business – either in your current job or in the past?
The business world is not for everyone-it’s tough.  I’ve often said “It’s a man’s world out there”-women are often seen as too soft or too emotional or even have a hard time to be taken seriously. We lack the confidence to stand up to the Big Boys. To be respected and treated as an equal – that is what I strive for.


What advice would you give to women in Montreal considering starting their own business?

I believe that starting a business is difficult for anyone but If I had to offer any advice to women it would be DON’T GIVE UP!  It may sound cliché, yes, but it’s true. You can achieve anything you put your mind to. Don’t let anything stand in your way.

I know this city is full of inspirational women working hard to push boundaries each and every day. If you or someone you know fits my description as one of Montreal’s Mavens PLEASE do not hesitate to send me an e-mail through my blog contact form. I want to have a coffee with you, hear your story, and most importantly, learn from you!

I am hoping to meet some amazing women and more importantly SHARE just how amazing our city is!


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