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24 Sep 2017


By Gracie Carroll

7 Podcasts by Women In Toronto (And Their Tips On How To Start a Podcast)

By Gracie Carroll

podcasts by women

It’s rare to get through a day when the topic of podcasts doesn’t come up in conversation either IRL or the online world. People are regularly asking for recommendations, what everyone else is listening to, and even when you/me/anyone is going to start their own podcast.

How to start a podcast (and what the eff it would be about) is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve been thinking about it too. This got me interested in learning more about how and why some of my favourite podcasts (which happen to be by women in Toronto) got started. Keep reading for this special edition of #FounderFiles that will introduce you to 7 podcasts by women in Toronto and provide you with their tips on how to start a podcast of your very own. Now, whatcha waiting for?


Capsule ’98

Randi Bergman Capsule 98 - Podcasts by women Toronto

Randi Bergman of Capsule ’98

Edit Seven: When did you start your podcast and what inspired you to start?

Randi Bergman: I launched an Instagram to share what I found inside a time capsule that I made in 1998 when I was 13 last year and it went viral for a bit, which got me thinking of other things I could do with it. People had always suggested podcasting to me and I literally can’t stop talking about the ’90s, so I figured why not?

E7: What’s your podcast all about?

RB: It’s rooted in the time capsule, but I talk all things nostalgia and ’90s with a slew of celeb guests. My guests are a mix of people around my age who have similar memories and people who were actually creating culture at the time.

E7: What has been your best or favourite podcast moment so far?

RB: Definitely partnering with the Gap to bring Mona May, the costume designer behind Clueless and every other iconic ’90s comedy to Toronto for an interview.

E7: What has been the hardest or most difficult part about starting (and running) your podcast?

RB: Keeping up a regular schedule when it’s not your full time job.

E7: What advice or tips would you give to someone interested in starting their own podcast?

RB: People told me to do this but I was too excited to wait – recording a bunch and then releasing them over a short period of time is a great way to keep people engaged instead of having to keep yourself on a tight schedule.


Breaking Beauty

Breaking Beauty Podcasts Carlene Higgins and Jill Dunn

Carlene Higgins and Jill Dunn of Breaking Beauty

Edit Seven: When did you start your podcast and what inspired you to start?

Carlene & Jill: When we launched Breaking Beauty in the Spring of 2017, there were very few beauty shows available on Apple Podcasts, so we saw a clear white space and were excited to jump into it.  Since we both worked as beauty editors in the magazine industry for many years – Carlene at Flare and Jill at ELLE Canada and Glow – we were always so inspired by the brand founders that we were fortunate to spend time with – everyone from Lev Glazman at Fresh to Wende Zomnir from Urban Decay. Since entering the freelance game, we became obsessed with podcasts and realized (literally over a glass of prosecco!) that listeners should hear these beauty founders’ stories, too. Just like that, Breaking Beauty was born.

E7: What’s your podcast all about?

C&J: As editors we know that behind every bestseller, there’s a damn good story so we sit down with brand founders like Emily Weiss from Glossier, Tiffany Masterson, the founder of Drunk Elephant, and Smashbox co-founder, Davis Factor, to name a few, as they recount their foils and fist-pump moments along the path to success (#FoundersRule). It’s their story, in their words, in a narrative format about how they “broke in” to the beauty business with their million dollar idea – with our editorial expertise layered in.

E7: What has been your best or favourite podcast moment so far?

Jill:  My favorite mic drop moment was when we found out the scoop that the Drunk Elephant founder, Tiffany Masterson – her childhood best friend was Chris MacMillan – the hair stylist behind Jennifer Aniston’s famous “Rachel” cut.

Carlene: I loved it when Emily Weiss came to meet us to chat all things Glossier. She came in like a movie star, with a super fashiony outfit – so different than a traditional “entrepreneur.” There was this influencer quality, I found her fascinating.

E7: What has been the hardest or most difficult part about starting (and running) your podcast?

C&J: Given our narrative format we do a lot of editing so that can be time-consuming. And being independent podcasters – you have to get creative to get exposure for your show. Doing a show-swap with podcasters who have similar subjects is beneficial. We’ve become podcast pals with Emma Gunavardhana from The Emma Guns Show in the UK and Full Coverage hosts Lindsey Kelk and Harriet Hadfield in L.A., chatting with each other on our respective shows to mutually help grow our audiences.

E7: Is there anything you wish you had known before starting your podcast?

C&J: On the technical front, hosting on a podcast-specific platform like Libsyn or Blubrry from the outset is the best way to go – the metrics are more robust and you can schedule publishing your episodes, which is hugely helpful.

E7: What advice or tips would you give to someone interested in starting their own podcast?

C&J: Get the best microphone that you can afford as sound quality is really important. We like the Shure 58 Microphone – it’s a classic and portable which is important since we’re always on the move. You’ll also need a digital recorder to capture audio, like the Zoom H4N Pro. If you’re recording in the same spot all the time – walk-in closets are a podcasters dream – a USB microphone like the Blue Yeti is perfect for that scenario. And connect with other podcasters – there are a lot of Facebook community groups like The Lady Pod Squad and Podcast Movement that can help resolve technical issues, get tips on booking your dream guests, it’s a super supportive environment in the podcast world.



Toronto Podcasts By Women 2018 Edit Seven

Vass Bednar and Allison Smith of Detangled

Edit Seven: When did you start your podcast and what inspired you to start?

Vass & Allison: Detangled is a bit unique as a podcast because it is actually a recording of a live radio broadcast that we do on the University of Toronto’s community radio station CIUT 89.5 FM. The show airs live on Monday mornings from 9 – 10 a.m. and then we post the audio to iTunes the next day.

Vass: Allison was the visionary behind the show. She noticed CIUT had never filled the timeslot that former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thompson used as a political call-in show. After she and I met while on a panel together at a public policy conference and hit it off, she pitched me on the idea of co-hosting a talk radio show, and I was all in. Together we developed the idea of a show that “detangles” issues for a millennial audience, especially millennial women.

Allison: The next step was convincing the station manager Ken Stowar that we were up to it. He played hard to get for months, something he later admitted was a test of our commitment. We literally used to just show up at his office and force him to talk to us. In February 2016 after a couple (pretty terrible) demos, Detangled hit the airwaves.

E7: What is your podcast about?

V&A: The podcast prides itself in “detangling” subject matter that young people, women in particular, are thinking and talking about on the Internet. We both spend a lot of time on Twitter and reading digital media. There is so much content being created, it’s important to spend more time with some of these stories and ideas.

For example, we just had a journalist from London, U.K. on Detangled who wrote a piece about her experience hiring an Instagram life coach. This prompted a huge convo on mental health, social media influencers and how women monetize their online presences. Who doesn’t want to talk about that?!

E7: What has been the hardest part about starting and running your podcast?

V&A: For the first six months or so it was tough to find guests, but that has definitely gotten easier as our brand recognition has grown. This month we interviewed the authors of two The Walrus cover stories in a row. Volunteering for a community radio station also has its challenges, especially for perfectionists like us. Things go wrong all the time, but we have learned to embrace the quirks.

E7: Is there anything you wish you had known before starting a podcast?

V&A: Putting out a show once a week is a lot! It doesn’t sound like it, but producing, recording and promoting Detangled every week is like being on a treadmill that doesn’t stop. We have honed the scheduling and reduced the amount of time we spend on our runsheet over the years, but it is still a lot of work in addition to our day jobs.

E7: What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a podcast?

V&A: Go for it! It has become a really fun part of our routine. We love the mental exercise that comes with having challenging, insightful conversations. We joke that it is our Monday morning workout.

Detangled gives us the chance to engage with a broader community of writers and thinkers that we admire, and that is priceless. Whatever your interests are, you better bet there are other people out there who share them. Well, except for that one time we needed an expert on social media fem-bots. Indulge yourself!


Dear Seekers

dear seekers - podcasts by women toronto - edit seven

Sasha Xiao of Dear Seekers

E7: When did you start your podcast and what inspired you to start?

Sasha Xiao: The first episode was launched on Jan 18, 2018 (I purposely picked that day because I found it very special. Ha!), but the idea and preparation leading to the podcast started from July, 2017. It was towards the end of my entrepreneurship when I was going through a soul searching phase- questioning my own being and purposes, and in search for something real, honest and gentle. The whole “Girl Boss” idea never resonated with me. It felt overwhelming.  I wanted to dig deeper, softly.

Since I couldn’t find anything that was for me, I figured I could create one and have it as an “excuse” to reach out or even seek out the women I admire and just have some real conversations. The society has overly idealized this idea of “made it”, but I believe none of us has and never will. We are all on this journey together despite the amazing milestones some of the women may have achieved.

E7: What’s your podcast all about?

SX: Dear Seekers is a podcast where I have honest conversations with creative, conscious and curious women. We invite ourselves to each woman’s home (sometimes, I even bring a bottle of wine), we have a great chat, and then we do a little photoshoot in her most intimate space. By brining souls, stories and style together, our goal is to inspire each other to continually seek for a deeper connection with ourselves as well as the people, places and products around us. To date, I’ve had the honour chatting with incredible women like Randi Bergman (formal Executive Digital Editor of Fashion Canada and now host of her own podcast Capsule 98), Heidi Sopinka (Novelist, co-founder/designer of cult following fashion label Horses Atelier), Danielle Suppa (owner of Souvenir Studio), and more.

E7: What has been your best or favourite podcast moment so far?

SX: Honestly, every chat has been so great since each woman we feature has something special to share- their experiences, their ups-and-downs, their wisdom… I’ve learnt so much and have been inspired by each of them in a unique way. Also, when someone DM’d or messaged me and told me how much they like the podcast, it’s not only an ego boost (sometimes we do need it), but also a satisfying experience to know that what I’m doing is being appreciated and is impacting someone’s life, hopefully in a positive way.

E7: What has been the hardest or most difficult part about starting (and running) your podcast?

SX: The hardest part is organizing and confirming the date and time for each recording. Since I also have a full-time job, I’m only available on the weekends. And plus, we also have an editorial component for each feature, so I need to accommodate my Photographer Vai Yu Law‘s busy schedule as well. I know some podcasters would record in batches or via skype, which is way more efficient than I am. But chatting with each woman face to face was why I started this podcast in the first place, so I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that. Plus, I’ve always had this thing of wanting to visit other people’s homes since I was little (I know. A little creepy!), so touring each woman’s home and creeping their bookshelves is another benefit of having this podcast. So even though I’m fully aware of other ways to make this process more efficient, I’m actually enjoying this slow and painful production.

E7: Is there anything you wish you had known before starting your podcast?

SX: I can’t think of anything yet. Ask me again in a year and I’m sure I will have tons to share!

E7: What advice or tips would you give to someone interested in starting their own podcast?

SX: Make sure you invest in good equipment. Nowadays, it’s not as expensive to purchase a high quality mic that won’t your bank (Amazon would be your best friend). Of course content is the most important element, but a great sound quality is like a good icing on a delicious cake. It definitely makes you stand out from the rest of bad quality podcasts. Thinking in your listeners’ shoes, who would want to listen to something that sounds unpleasant? Well, unless you’re Oprah, then sure, you can do whatever you want.


Ya We’re Basic.

Lex Niko Little Likes Podcast - women with podcasts toronto

Alexandra Nikolojev of Ya We’re Basic.

E7: When did you start your podcast and what inspired you to start?

Alexandra Nikolajev: I started my podcast in January of 2017 because I was constantly on my Instagram Stories and my followers said I should be on-camera. Since I am frequently not camera-ready, I decided a podcast was a happy medium to reach my audience.

E7: What’s your podcast all about?

AN: I’ve actually just rebranded my podcast from the Little Likes Podcast to Ya We’re Basic Podcast. The podcast became a community for people who are unapologetically basic. The ones who love rosé all day, The Bachelor and a solid SoulCycle class. So we discuss everything from reality TV, to beauty and fashion trends, interview guests and answer audience advice questions. We do a lot lol.

E7: What has been your best or favourite podcast moment so far?

AN: Definitely interviewing some of the guys from The Bachelorette. It was crazy and I was SO NERVOUS. Podcasting and interviewing have allowed me to exercise some new muscles and I love the new challenge while also still creating really fun content that my audience is genuinely interested in.

E7: What has been the hardest or most difficult part about starting (and running) your podcast?

AN: I think for me, it took me a while to hunker down and focus on the rebrand. I am thrilled that I finally got there but it caused me to step back from the podcast and consider how to turn it in to a turnkey piece of programming. When you just start and don’t overthink it, at some point you need to start getting strategic.

E7: Is there anything you wish you had known before starting your podcast?

AN: The proof is in the prep! Whether it’s interviews, segments or collecting advice questions, I am constantly prepping to record the podcast whereas when I first began, I truly thought it was just pushing record and talking for an hour. NOT THE CASE!

E7: What advice or tips would you give to someone interested in starting their own podcast?

AN: This may contradict the above answer, but JUST START and be consistent. You can always evaluate and update from the beginning, but if you are worried about how it’ll sound or what the response will be, don’t overthink it. Just Start. You may not even want to upload the first few episodes you record, but it’s really about finding your flow and learning to feel comfortable with the platform. Other than that, definitely stay consistent. I lost momentum with my rebrand and now I have to relearn the process and adapt it to a new routine.


Nobody Cares (Except For Me)

Anne T Donahue Podcast - podcasts by women toronto

Anne T. Donahue of Nobody Cares (Except For Me)

Edit Seven: When did you start your podcast and what inspired you to start?

Anne T. Donahue: I just started! Episode one dropped this month (March), so it’s still quite new. But inspiration-wise, I was approached by Dila Velazquez and Annalise Nielson at eOne last summer who asked if I’d ever be into podcasting. Which, at the time, I was very “Um, maybe!” about. I’d podcasted with friends before, but because of distance or schedules they only lasted a little while. But after months of back and forth with Dila and co., we finally found a premise that really fit. Which was especially helpful since my book (also called Nobody Cares) comes out in September, and we wanted this to align nicely with that. So there was inspiration all around!

E7: What’s your podcast all about?

ATD: Okay, now here’s where the book and podcast differ: the podcast is about the things guests and listeners love and/or are obsessed with and nobody else cares about, and the book is about my own experiences. So where the book’s title comes from a much more personal place, the podcast is broader and more personal for the guest. So every week, I have a someone on who talks about what they love or what they can’t stop talking about, and we do a deep dive into why and when and go down the avenues we find ourselves on.

E7: What has been your best or favourite podcast moment so far?

ATD: I love watching people get psyched about something they love. I think these conversations have been the first ones I’ve had — at least in a professional setting — where there haven’t been lulls or awkward pauses or silences or I’ve prayed for time to be up. When you give someone a platform to talk about a thing they’re obsessed with, it’s almost magical because you get to know them in this entirely different way. And without fail, we end up talking about childhoods or high school or big life moments or quieter life moments that you don’t pay much attention to until you realize how important they were. We love what we love for a reason, so I’m very lucky that for half an hour-ish, my guests let me see them be totally themselves.

E7: What has been the hardest or most difficult part about starting your podcast?

ATD: I think committing to it, as weird as that sounds. You can plan and plot and what-if forever, but once it’s out there and announced and people expect you to be true to your word, there’s the pressure not to let anybody down and do your job well. I had to get out of my head in a big way, and that meant sitting down and actually recording an episode — which was the first episode with Randi Bergman. She’s my friend, so that made it easier. And that’s when it felt real and like it was something I could do. Until then it was like any massive assignment or job: terrifying and easier to think about hypothetically than to actually sit down and do it.

E7: Is there anything you wish you had known before starting your podcast?

ATD: I think because my experiences with podcasting in the past had been collaborations with friends, I’d always seen podcasting as something fun and laid back and less of an industry and more of a cool thing to do. And now, especially since teaming up with eOne, I’ve learned that it’s very much an industry and very much a job and very much something to take seriously and execute professionally. And if I slack, then my producers have to deal with that, and that’s not fair. So there’s very much that element of getting out of your head when you realize that, too. Like, “Oh shit, people are going to listen to me?” Even if you have the biggest God complex in the world (and believe me, I do! I’m the worst!) you don’t actually think anybody cares until you find out someone does.

Basically, shut up and do your work and get out of your own head, is what I’m saying. And to myself, most of the time.

E7: What advice or tips would you give to someone interested in starting their own podcast?

ATD: The above! But also: just start one. Some of the best podcasts began with two pals on their couch talking about something they cared about. And even if you’re like “But there are already 259258 podcasts on Dawson’s Creek!” Who cares! Yours will be different! Your perspective is unique, your voice is yours. Just do the thing. Stop overthinking it, and go make something. And then have me on as a guest.


Mo’ Money

Toronto Podcasts By Women 2018 Edit Seven

Jessica Moorhouse of Mo’ Money

Edit Seven: When did you start your podcast and what inspired you to start?

Jessica Moorhouse: I started it in June 2015 (wow, does that sound forever ago!). Up until then, I had my personal finance blog (then named Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses) for almost 4 years, and I felt like it was getting a bit stagnant. There were so many other blogs to compete with, and I knew I needed to do something different to stand out. Podcasts were becoming more popular as Serial had just come out, and I started listening to more podcasts (and then getting totally addicted) on my daily commute to work. But, something I realized pretty quick was that there weren’t any podcasts by women or millennials (or both) talking about personal finance. Everything out there was hosted by a white man in a suit, and focused more on investing strategies and taxes, not money mindsets or real people’s stories with money. So, since nothing out there existed, I saw a great opportunity to start my own podcast. Mind you, I had no experience with radio or podcasting, but I dove in head-first. I found a free course by John Lee Dumas on how to start a podcast. I started listening to podcasts about podcasting (yes, they exist), and I bought some equipment and got started.

To me, it was a huge risk. It’s a lot of time and effort doing a podcast on top of a blog while still working full-time, but I also knew I had nothing to lose. Now, almost 3 years later, my podcast (the Mo’ Money Podcast) is now what I’m most known for. Most of my fans don’t even know I have a blog!

E7: What’s your podcast all about?

JM: When I started it, I had no idea what direction it would take. I just had the idea that I didn’t want to sound like a knock-off radio show. I wanted it to sound like you were listening in to a conversation between two people about money. Since then, it’s maintained that core element, but it’s purpose is to help regular people (people without MBAs in Finance or who like to play the stock market) manage their money themselves and become more financially literate. People like me really. I didn’t start off as a big money nerd. I went to film school! I’m an artist at heart, but I also didn’t want to be broke. That’s what led me to start teaching myself about personal finance. And that’s what drives me to teach others too. So, I touch on all aspects of personal finance: budgeting, paying off debt, investing, early retirement, taxes, insurance, credit cards, you name it, I’ve had a guest on to talk about it!

E7: What has been your best or favourite podcast moment so far?

JM: That’s hard because I’ve had so many. I’d say one of my favourite one’s this year was having the opportunity to talk to Perez Hilton about how he filed for bankruptcy when he was younger and the money lessons he learned along the way. He’s a blogger I’ve been reading for years, and to be able to talk to him about just money and what he does with his was a big treat!

E7: What has been the hardest or most difficult part about starting (and running) your podcast?

JM: The hardest part was just trying to get people to listen. I thought my blog readers would turn into my podcast listeners, but what I’ve realized is podcast listeners aren’t blog readers. That’s why they listen to podcasts. So basically, I had to create an entirely new audience from scratch. Those first few months I only got a few hundred downloads, but now, I get on average 30,000 downloads per month and am just about to cross 500,000 total downloads. It’s really about putting out quality, consistent content and not quitting.

E7: Is there anything you wish you had known before starting your podcast?

JM: Ya, I wish I started sooner! I was afraid of failing and there were a number of times I thought I was going to throw in the towel. But I’m glad I didn’t and persevered. But looking back, I wish I had the courage to start 6 months or a year sooner. I wonder how much bigger my audience would be now if I had.

E7: What advice or tips would you give to someone interested in starting their own podcast?

JM: Podcasting is nothing like blogging. It’s so much more work, which is why a ton of people start podcasts, then abandon them after a few months. For me, because I do interviews for all my episodes and put out 1-2 episodes per week, I probably spend a good 8 hours on my podcast each week. I’ve got to book interviews, interview people and record it, edit it, send it to my mixer, create the show notes and promo elements, publish and promote the episodes, email the guests to get them to promote it, then repeat. There also is a bigger financial investment. You can start a blog for almost no money these days, but if you want to be taken seriously as a podcaster, you need to invest in good equipment. For me, I’ve probably spent a total of $1,500 on my podcast to date (if not more). What you need to invest in is recording equipment, recording software, an audio editor/mixer if you want to hire it out, podcast hosting, and some advertising dollars to get the word out there. This shouldn’t scare you off from starting a podcast, but it should indicate that if you want to start a podcast, you need to be serious about it and be prepared.



(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)

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