Here’s how entrepreneur Arati Sharma loves Toronto

There are two things our city never lacks: fascinating people and interesting experiences. In this series, the Star interviews locals you know (and locals you should know) about their Toronto.

Some people are born entrepreneurs. Arati Sharma, who now co-owns a few businesses and invests in startups, was converted more recently.

In 2018, on the sidelines of her day job as Product Marketing Manager at Shopify, she and a few friends invested in Founder, a bistro on Dundas Street West. “I got a little taste of what the hospitality industry is like,” Sharma says.

Then, in 2019, the Toronto native – who grew up in Brampton – had a baby, just as her naturally entrepreneurial brother, Varun, launched a ghee-based cosmetics business. (Ghee is fabulous in curry, but it’s also a home remedy; the four Sharma children grew up with their mother insisting they use it whenever their skin or hair was dry.)

Sharma agreed to help with Ghlee. “I’m just someone who, after a few months, also needed to do something else,” Sharma recalls.

She quit her job in early 2021, and she and nine former colleagues set up the angel investment group spine angels. “We decided to use our experience and skills to invest in other women,” says Sharma, noting that they primarily support businesses of women of color.

Sharma likes the fact that 75% of companies funded by Backbone Angels are first-time entrepreneurs. “Often the people who get investments are men or people who are second or third time founders.”

This fall, Roncesvalles-High Park-based Sharma will focus on Ghlee, which is launching a muscle balm and lip mask, as well as technology, cosmetics, fertility and other businesses in which it has invested. . Here’s where she, her co-workers and her family, including her husband and their son, who turns three in October, like to hang out around town.

What are some of your favorite lunch spots during the work day?

I live in the West End, but I also have a coworking space membership East Room on Carroll Ave. I miss the office, so I’m there two to three times a week.

I often start my day with an early breakfast with colleagues from Lady Marmelade on Broadview, corner of East Room. The space is designed by one of my favorite architects, Omar Gandhi, and it’s so quiet and peaceful in there, plus the food is really good. I get the Huevos Migas and under the sausage for the avocados. I also like the Baja rice bowl. You should always use some of their homemade hot sauce. We also go to Dinner at the white lily on Queen East. They have great sandwiches and do a really good Caesar.

What about teleworking days?

Property on Roncey is amazing. The owner, Lisa Labute, makes this soup called the Be Well Soup. We’ll have this soup on the hottest day of the year, it’s so soothing.

Where does the family hang out?

We live near High Park and go there most days, and certainly on the weekends. Before leaving, we often stop at Cosette Cafe on Bloor Street. They have the most underrated croissants in the whole city. My husband is disgusted but my son and I love getting the cheese croissants which are super crispy and we take out the crusty parts. We catch them and enter the park.

My son’s favorite place is the off-leash dog park. It has a river. And sometimes dogs play in it and you think, ‘Am I in a fairy tale? Or a Disney movie? It’s great fun for a toddler.

We also spend a lot of time at the ROM. Our son took music lessons at Royal Conservatory of Music all summer, and going to the ROM right after is his jam. He’s going through a dinosaur phase right now. The first floor is now free, so you can take a quick tour without buying tickets or showing your membership. It’s nice to walk around and see your favorite dinosaur in the entrance. There’s a little cafe there that sells that banana bread he loves.

Places in the city with good memories for you?

It’s funny, my husband and I had our wedding reception at the ROM. I love these types of spaces; it reminds you of how insignificant you are. When we got married, we said, we can’t wait to tell our kids we got married at the ROM. What was the bar at our wedding is now the cute cafe our son loves. It brings back a lot of memories of going there.

What are your favorite restaurants for dinner?

We like to take our son to as many restaurants as possible to get him used to eating out and socializing. We often take him to Eataly, which makes him lose his mind that there is a grocery store and a restaurant in the same place, because he loves to shop. We have Spaccio West in our area now, where former Commissioner Drake was. We like that. We buy the pasta fresh and bring it home and cook it.

And without your child?

We like Byblos for a date or for a drink after work. It has an excellent wine list. We like to try every new place in town. Often our date night is to check out places that have just opened. We finally managed to Juliet, which was so cute. We often visit new places on Ossington and Dundas Street West. It’s hard to do the Indian well, so we love it Adrach. The atmosphere is great, with excellent cocktails.

And of course there is Founder. I go there when I want a good cocktail. The care they put into it is just unreal. I love having a gin martini there. If you can make a good gin martini, you’re a real bar in my eyes.

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