Name: Nicole Staltari
Age: 28 years old
Occupation: Women Entrepreneur & Business Owner 'Not Your Nonna'
Current Location: Toronto, ON
I guess you could say I’m an entrepreneur, but really I’m a Nonna. When Facebook first came out I put that I was born in 1920 because that’s how far you could go back, but it’s like Facebook is trying to kill me off because it won’t let me go back and change it. So, I guess I’m a 99 year old Nonna and I’m okay with that [laughs]
I love cooking, I love trying new foods and feeding people but I never planned on starting my own business. One day at work someone asked me if I could make something for them and this guy never asks for anything, so of course I said yes. Then, someone else had offered me $50.00 to make them a lasagna. And then, over the summer the restaurant that I worked at ended up closing and instead of looking for something else I just went with it. Now it’s evolved into a business. It hasn’t even been a year, but I’ve been able to sustain myself by cooking food for other people and catering events out of my little home kitchen on Queen West.
Five years ago I would have never imagined that I would be here. And, don’t get me wrong its tough. Financially, it’s really tough. But, there is something so incredibly rewarding when you work for yourself, doing something you love and you’re not working for someone else. It’s hard to explain …you just really end of appreciating everything that is given to you. I take the way I present myself and my food seriously, because I’m putting my self and my heart completely out there on the line.
And, truthfully I’ve had people offer to pay for my apartment, to take me on trips to Europe, to put up a restaurant for me but I don’t want that. I don’t want any of that because at the end of the day I’d be loosing a part of myself. And, it’s not just the struggle which is important, but who you become by being grounded as well. Not to mention my self-respect. Like, why would I do that? Because it’s easy - it’s not easy. It causes other problems that are worse. You know what I mean? And, I might not like where I’m at, while I do but it’s hard. I truthfully can’t say that isn’t.
And, the women that I am today has everything to do with the way I was raised. My dad has always told me that ever since I was younger I have been confident and sure of myself, which truthfully comes from my parents. They have always told me I was beautiful. That I was smart. They truly love me to my core. But, the thing is people are really put off by my confidence. They judge me based off of the way I present myself and the way that I talk. People have told me before that my appearance doesn’t match my personality and assume that I’ve never worked or that things are just handed to me, but in reality I’ve worked really really hard to be where I am. They instantly make negative judgements about me based off of their perception of me and I feel like I’m always having to prove myself.
But listen, the funny thing is I never went out. I didn’t party. I had my first drink when I was 25. I’ve never had a cigarette. Never used to swear. I’ve never had a boyfriend. I only lost my virginity like 2 or 3 years ago. I genuinely thought that I was going to wait until marriage. And, another messed up thing is that we live in a society now where you get more judged for not sleeping around. It happens to me all the time. And, listen there’s nothing wrong with both. But, I choose to wait to sleep with someone until I actually get to know them and because people don’t know that or assume that of me when they first meet me it becomes this “negative” thing.
But, ultimately negative perceptions is a you problem that’s not a me problem. That is something you need to deal with and you need to figure out for yourself, because I’ve figured myself out and figured out who I am. I’ve never compromised who I am for anybody. How I treat people, my prices, anything and everything that I do is me. I represent myself. I’m my own advertisement, especially now a days. And, I take the way I treat people very seriously because I’ve had toxic people in my life before that are soul suckers and I grew up knowing that I never wanted to be that person.
I just know that the universe has a plan for me. That I have a purpose. And, as we get older we continue to learn what exactly that purpose is and realize why certain people come in and out of our lives. I feel like I’m a really kind person and people need more kindness. So, if that’s my purpose I’m okay with that. I feel like I can easily adapt to change because I I’ve never had a boyfriend or a relationship, so I’ve always been very independent. And, I believe that if something is suppose to work then it works because it’s meant to be, because it’s organic and not forced.
I have to admit though, one of my biggest faults is being able to put myself first. If I literally only had a shirt to give I would give it, even if I meant I would have nothing. I’ve given money to other people even when I’ve had none. But, I can’t help it. Even when I know I’m not going to get it in return because it’s those people that sometimes need it the most and I see the good in everyone or at least I try. And, even though it can be a fault I’m really starting to realize that I’m never going to change.
Overall, as long as I’m giving love and being true to who I am I know I’ll be happy. That I’ll be fine.This was never a dream, but it is now. When I was younger my mother had me peeling potatoes and hammering out the meat. Then, eventually when I was living on my own I had to figure it out for myself. I love cooking. I love having people over at my house and feeding them. I tell people, if you see me online and I’m cooking and you’re hungry. Come. Because, chances are I’m cooking for my family on Queen West and have more than enough. I just love people. I love being around them. I am a people person, that is my gift. It’s something you can’t teach.
But in all honesty, I think pasta is soul mate. Like no offence, what is this gluten free shit that is going on in the world - it’s traumatizing me. I just love pasta. Tortellini, it’s just so good. With fresh parmesan cheese and with some sauce on a Sunday sitting outside on the balcony is all I want. And maybe I’m not your Nonna, but I’m pretty close. And, if you don’t have a Nonna I’ll be your Nonna. In the end, I really just want to put myself out there more this year and maybe get a store front or a business partner. I’m doing everything myself right now and I definitely need someone to help me with a website and all the technical things. I can’t do both - I’ll have to learn to use a computer [laughs], because literally I’m like a 1950’s house wife that dresses way more “cleavagy" and is independent. Like, I don’t need you all I need is pasta.
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