Girls Doin’ It Amongst Themselves

Ottawa XPress – Shotgun – May 19, 2005

The Victoria Day long weekend is here again. And I have to ask myself: What does the English Queen Victoria – credited with little humour à la “we are not amused,” wearing a lace cap and symbolizing an age of Victorian repression – have to do with Shotgun?

Well, about as much as Molson Canadian has to do with why the May “Two Four” weekend is often about letting loose over a case of beer, thank you very much.

Here at Shotgun, we like to stick it to the Vics and similarly sexually repressed and arched-brow types with columns on beer, blowjobs or Hawksley Workman obsessions. Stay tuned to upcoming Shotguns that will feature the Ottawa-based Heartless Bitches International, menopausal women, and men’s preoccupation with sexual performance. I think we might also field-trip to examine the anatomy of adult video stores.

But for readers with little interest in that tomfoolery, have I got something for you this week! No sex-just straight-up sexy ladies who are doing it amongst themselves, business style. This week’s Shotgun features a handful of inspiring and motivated women in Ottawa who have tossed both their doilies and their doubts to the wind to bravely go where most of us want to go, opening a business or starting the initiative of their dreams.

From fashion to crafty treats, cherry pies and magazines, here are a few favourite things brought to you exclusively by Ottawa ladies.

– Sylvie Hill


Fashion, puh-lease! The law of shopping according to HUSH Clothing’s Angie Russell and Alison Hughes: “Buy re-sale not retail.” With HUSH, Russell and Hughes have created a “boutique-style” atmosphere for Ottawa women to shop for stylish consignment clothing, shoes and accessories in a range of sizes.

They want women to enjoy a positive shopping experience. To help this along, “we help with personal shopping,” Russell says. “And if there is a particular item you are looking for we have a ‘wish list’ and we’ll call you when that item comes in.” The ladies also host a number of events including workshops on how to accessorize or dressing for your body type.

The idea for HUSH was plucked from the pile of unworn clothes Russell and Hughes had been exchanging between friends for the past 10 years to revamp their wardrobes. They encourage women in the same situation to sell previously owned clothes on consignment at HUSH. You can easily browse their inventory and check your account online. If you’d prefer the in-person shopping experience, Russell says, “The store is open evenings and weekends to cater to those working full-time.”

Check them out at 395 Richmond Road while you’re at Westfest on June 10 or 11. Read about them in the May issue of


Dalhousie dollhouses This weekend, as you’re not tiptoeing through the NCC tulips, but around them, make sure to devote some time to wander down Dalhousie Street. Now joining the group of women-run shops (Attic, Amuse and Soho Betty) is the new Workshop Studio and Boutique at 242-1/2 Dalhousie Street. Run by Christina Ballhorn and Bridget Remai, this part-studio, part-boutique sells clothing, handbags and jewellery handcrafted exclusively by women. (Look out for knitting or sewing workshops in the future, which the girls hope will inspire creativity and community.)

Workshop Boutique sells ethically made products to ethically minded consumers. “Consumers here in Ottawa see the need to link the product with the producers,” says Remai, which is one of the reasons why she and Ballhorn post the artisans’ bios in-store.

Two socially conscious and creative ladies, the industrious troopers first met at 4 a.m. on Canada Day last year waiting to get a stall to sell their wares in the Byward Market. After that meeting, Ballhorn and Remai left their professional positions to open the business.

Going into business for yourself is a scary thing,” says Ballhorn. “Before you open the doors, you have no idea what the response will be.” Both girls credit the Cherry Pie event in April for the opportunity to discuss and share with other women the challenges and fears of what Ballhorn calls “taking a chance for their dreams.”



Cherry on top Cherry Pie is an exhibition and networking event organized by Catherine Landry of Helsinki Lounge and Disco. It’s designed to inspire and promote women and their businesses. “In a world that spins so fast, it is important to work together and build a community that is strong,” says Landry. Her events help raise money for local organizations such as Harmony House and Queen Mary School. When the next one rolls around, make sure to get a piece of the pie!


Pink ink Lisane Hurtubise, Mandy McCrone, Cynthia Misener and Emily Turk are self-publishing Hotpink, Ottawa’s new feminist magazine for young women. “We wanted a resource for Ottawa’s feminist community that has very few venues from which to sound off,” says McCrone. “Again and again we heard people saying, ‘Ottawa sucks, Ottawa’s a political town,’ and we wanted to finally move beyond that and start showing people all the amazing things to see, do and buy in Ottawa.”

Got an idea of what those would be? Send submissions to: by June 1. No poetry, and feature articles should be less than 2,500 words on: worthy causes, music, movies, books, TV, sex, crafts and neighbourhood news. Premiere issue out in summer 2005.